War­wick’s take on ECC at odds with his­tory

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

ROD­NEY War­wick has pro­vided an idio­syn­cratic take on the ECC in his opin­ion piece pub­lished in your pages (Week­end Ar­gus, Novem­ber 14). Sadly there is no ev­i­dence in the ar­ti­cle that he has fa­mil­iarised him­self with the or­gan­i­sa­tion. It broad­casts his ig­no­rance.

Based on some anec­do­tal con­ver­sa­tions with stu­dents who may or may not have had any­thing to do with the ECC, War­wick is con­vinced the ECC was blind to the moral re­al­i­ties of vi­o­lence in South Africa. Ig­nored is that the ECC did not have in­di­vid­ual mem­bers, but was a broad front of or­gan­i­sa­tions that in­cluded the churches and the Black Sash. Most de­cried vi­o­lence in all its forms, but in the ECC (a sin­gle-is­sue cam­paign) they in­ten­tion­ally fo­cused on the vi­o­lence that young white men were con­scripted into.

There is also ev­i­dence of con­fused logic. For ex­am­ple, War­wick ar­gues that the or­gan­i­sa­tion never re­ally un­der­stood the mil­i­tary cul­ture of the SADF be­cause it was “top heavy with women mem­bers”.

He seems to think moth­ers, wives, girl­friends and sis­ters were too de­tached to fig­ure out the mean­ing of con­scrip­tion to the apartheid mil­i­tary.

He is en­ti­tled to his opin­ion, of course. But it seems to be one re­mark­ably at odds with the his­tor­i­cal record as cap­tured in the TRC hear­ings, and the re­flec­tions of count­less troepies. Visit the South African His­tor­i­cal Archive at www.saha.org.za

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