28 January 2007


The roots of this tragedy go back to the early ’90s, when responsibility for arms procurement was handed to the then deputy president, Thabo Mbeki.

The above is what the Weekender editorial of yesterday had to say. And it is true. See the first item linked below. At least it has been announced that no South African troops will be sent to Somalia. That is a mercy, for the time being. But other troops may go, and then there will be big trouble. These troops will be doing the dirty business of Kenya and Ethiopia, whose narrow self-interests have contributed to the war in Somalia. Yet these two adjacent countries dare not leave their own troops in Somalia. And behind them stands the looming shadow of Imperialism, personified by the USA. Why should Nigerians, for example, fight Somalis for the sake of the Kenya, Ethiopia and the USA? This is going to be a big mess, whichever way you look at it.

From the same newspaper we hear of the death of David Rattray, shot and killed by robbers while coming to the aid of his wife. The robbers afterwards ran away without taking anything. Their gun was useless to them. It made them into murderers, and for nothing. This is a very sad case. Mr Rattray was a scholar and a gentleman. The death of such a person is a loss to the whole country, and not just to his family.

Rattray knew a lot about Isandlwana, the South African Dien Bien Phu, when colonial troops were beaten in full-scale formal battle. Like many military historians, Rattray had tender feelings for the men of both sides, and knew that war is a thing to be avoided.

The YCL press briefing scheduled for 11h00 today should make the country sit up and take notice, if their anno0uncement is anything to go by (see below). It looks like the YCL is determined to punch its considerable weight in 2007.

Click on these links:

Arms deal was opening act in Greek tragedy of ANC, Editorial, Weekender (703 words)

Battlefield icon Rattray slain in botched robbery, Tim Cohen, Weekender (562 words)

YCL National Committee press briefing, COSATU House today 11h00 (notice)


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