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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

South Africa: Racist White Writer Peter Berger Wins Duranty-Blair Award for Journalistic Infamy; He Supports Genocide, Calling Bloodsoaked Nation a “Vibrant Democracy”

By Nicholas Stix

Peter Berger, of The American Interest, has been named the fourth winner of Duranty-Blair Award for Journalistic Infamy.

Berger, not to be confused with the Austrian-born sociologist, Peter L. Berger, wrote in 2011 that he had “been coming to that country for over twenty-five years, watching with empathy its transformation from an odious racist regime to a vibrant democracy.” He claims that the economy has been robust under the rule of black kleptocracy. However, even though he mentions the black supremacist regime of “so-called Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), which imposes a quite radical affirmative-action regime on the economy,” he somehow manages not to mention the economic dispossession of whites, while expressing concern about the rights of mulattoes (“coloureds”) and Indians.

“[Trevor] Manuel presided over decidedly market-oriented policies which have almost certainly brought about the respectable economic growth and stability of the country…”

“Unrest has spread over failures to provide basic public services and to reduce unemployment.”

The preceding two statements are at odds with each other. South Africa has been in a state of anarchical violence for the entire history of what Berger fondly calls “the democratic experiment.” And what is this experiment, but two wolves voting to eat a lamb? But Berger loves lamb, as long as he’s not the lamb!

“South Africa, despite its many problems, has a functioning democracy, a robust market economy, and a vibrant civil society. Everyday relations between the races are remarkably amicable, as manifested dramatically during the recent World Cup.”

At the time Berger wrote those Orwellian words, blacks had reportedly slaughtered over 60,000 whites since the black takeover in 1994, during which time they murdered 3,000 white farmers (“Boers”), often following gang rapes and blood-curdling torture. That Berger mentions nothing of the genocide, while trumpeting fictional democratic virtue, economic robustness, “a vibrant civil society” and racial comity, puts him on a par with communist New York Times “correspondent” Walter Duranty, who wrote propaganda for Stalin, while millions died in the Ukrainian Holocaust. Thus, do I bestow on Peter Berger the fourth Duranty-Blair Award for Journalistic Infamy.

The Duranty-Blair Award recognizes those journalists whose work embodies the spirit of Walter Duranty and Jayson Blair, two of the most notorious journalists in the history of the Fourth Estate. It is no accident that both men worked for the New York Times.

Walter Duranty wrote a series of early 1930s dispatches from the Soviet Union, where he was Times Moscow bureau chief, in which he lied about the Ukrainian Holocaust, in which Stalin deliberately starved millions of Kulaks (peasants) to death, through a man-made famine. Instead of reporting the truth, Duranty reported that the peasants were happy and well-fed, and was rewarded for his lies with a Pulitzer Prize.

Jayson Blair (here, here, and here) was an early 2000s black affirmative action hire who alternately plagiarized reporters at other newspapers, and fabricated articles out of whole cloth, all for stories set hundreds and even thousands of miles away, while he sat in New York City cafés.

Previous Duranty-Blair winners have been producer Mary “Memogate,” aka Rathergate Mapes of CBS News; New Orleans Times-Picayune reporters Brian Thevenot, Gordon Russell, Jeff Duncan and Gwen Filosa; managing editors, news, Peter Kovacs and Dan Shea; and editor Jim Amoss, for their September 26, 2005 attempt to “untell” the story of the savage black violence that befell New Orleans just before and after Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29 of that year (1,900-word version; two-part, 3,900-word version (here and here; and 9,900-word version); and ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent” Brian Ross, who in 2002 had sought, on behalf of the Justice Department/FBI, to railroad innocent weapons scientist Dr. Steven J. Hatfill for the fall, 2002 anthrax murders, and who in 2012 falsely asserted that Aurora, CO movie theater mass murderer, James Holmes, was a member of the TEA Party.

 

Peter Berger
Religion & Other Curiosities
March 23, 2011
South Africa: A Fading Rainbow?
The American Interest

I just spent a week in South Africa, attending a fascinating conference of limited “godder” interest. I have been coming to that country for over twenty-five years, watching with empathy its transformation from an odious racist regime to a vibrant democracy. This was a visit after an interval of about three years, and once again I was intrigued by the ongoing changes in the society. Throughout the week the major story in all South African newspapers was a very public quarrel between two important figures in the government. It struck me as containing in a nutshell some of the most pressing political and indeed moral challenges before the country.

Both men involved in the contretemps are prominent members of the African National Congress (ANC), the party which has been in charge of the national government since the first non-racial election in 1994. Their dispute highlights some growing fissures within the party. It also points to some troubling moral questions about the direction of the country.

Jimmy Manyi, a government spokesmen, observed in a speech that there were “too many coloureds” in the Western Cape and that they ought to disperse more evenly throughout the country. Manyi was passionately attacked by Trevor Manuel, himself a “coloured,” former minister of finance in the Mbeki administration, now given a rather nebulous job heading a national planning commission appointed by President Zuma. Manuel called Manyi a racist, as bad as Hendrik Verwoerd. A leading ANC official then attacked Manuel for playing politics as if he were “king of the coloureds.” Whatever else the “new South Africa” may lack, it has an unrestrained free press, and other voices noisily supported both sides in the dispute.

The language of the two men must be understood in the context of recent South African history as well as of its present political landscape. The term “coloureds” refers to people of mixed race. The apartheid regime gave this group some significant privileges as against blacks, which resulted in the term acquiring a certain opprobrium. In the movement of resistance to apartheid, many “coloureds” repudiated the designation and defiantly called themselves “black.” Thus Manyi’s use of the term has very unfortunate associations (perhaps roughly analogous to an American politician referring to “Negroes”). [Not at all analogous; the South African situation simply does not relate to America.] Between 1950 and 1966 Hendrik Verwoerd was first minister of so-called “native affairs,” then prime minister. He was rightly called “the architect of apartheid”. While he was in charge of “native affairs,” some of the most hated apartheid legislation was enacted, including the Population Registration Act (which classified every individual within an official racial hierarchy), the Group Areas Act (which determined where different racial groups were to live), and the law that required all non-whites to carry passes while staying in designated white areas. The analogy would be calling a White House press secretary “worse than Goebbels”.

The present political context is significant too. The Western Cape, which contains the city of Cape Town, is the only province whose government is controlled by a party other than the ANC—the Democratic Alliance. It is also the only province in which blacks are not the overwhelming majority. Many mixed-race voters have moved to support of the DA. Local elections are coming soon, and the ANC is eager to gain control of the province. Critics of Manuel have suspected him, an ANC member, to curry favor with mixed-race voters—though it is hard to see how the ANC could possibly gain from this dispute. Reading Manuel’s text (it was released as a public letter to Manyi), one gets the sense of genuine personal outrage rather than political calculation. Incidentally, Manyi has sort of half-apologized, suggesting that he only wanted to say that “coloureds” should have equal opportunities throughout the country.

The recent political history of the two men is also significant. As finance minister, Manuel presided over decidedly market-oriented policies which have almost certainly brought about the respectable economic growth and stability of the country—and which have enraged the leftist components of the so-called triple alliance (which links the ANC with Cosatu, the labor federation, and the CPSA, one of the few remaining openly Communist parties in the world). As to Manyi, he was formerly the top civil servant in the department of labor. In that capacity he was in charge of enforcing so-called Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), which imposes a quite radical affirmative-action regime on the economy. Currently a law being proposed would set racial quotas throughout the country by national rather than regional demographics, with obviously devastating effects on mixed-race people in the Western Cape (as well as people of Indian descent, who are strongly represented in Kwazulu/Natal). So far President Zuma, who generally avoids making controversial decisions, has only said that mixed-race people and Indians should not worry about their jobs.

The Manyi-Manuel spat comes in a period of widespread disillusion with the ANC government (though in all likelihood nowhere near threatening its dominance among black voters). There has been a widening series of corruption scandals, some lapping at Jacob Zuma himself. Unrest has spread over failures to provide basic public services and to reduce unemployment. There has been a disturbing discrepancy between the democratic ideals of the “new South Africa” and its foreign policy (consistently voting with authoritarian regimes against human rights in the UN, refraining from opposing the Mugabe tyranny in next-door Zimbabwe). Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town and hero of the anti-apartheid struggle, has been vocally critical of some of these failings.

It would be very premature to see these developments as heralding the collapse of the democratic experiment. South Africa, despite its many problems, has a functioning democracy, a robust market economy, and a vibrant civil society. Everyday relations between the races are remarkably amicable, as manifested dramatically during the recent World Cup. Many of its failings demonstrate once again that long periods of one-party governance breed corruption and misuse of power (compare the former hegemony of the Democrazia Christiana in Italy and of the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan). All the same, the present developments in South Africa reinforce an old insight: It is very difficult for a nation to keep to the moral high ground. (Americans—take notice!)

There was the bright promise as Nelson Mandela walked out of jail and presided over the remarkable transformation of an entire country. There was a palpable reality to the slogan of South Africa as “the rainbow nation”—widely perceived throughout the world as a shining example of non-violent revolution and multi-racial democracy. Is the rainbow fading? It is a bit, perhaps inevitably. In time all icons lose some of their shine. But promises, once given, can be renewed. One may hope so, and not only for the sake of South Africa.


2 comments:

Lygeia said...

Maybe Peter Berger can drive himself to one of the black townships one night (by himself, no film crew or publicity that might save his life) and we take bets as to if he will survive the experience.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article, but there is one error:

"The Duranty-Blair Award recognizes those journalists whose work embodies the spirit of Walter Duranty and Jayson Blair, two of the most notorious journalists in the history of the Third Estate."

The media is the FOURTH Estate.