Some remarks about Handré Brand’s remarks about The man who killed apartheid

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Picture of Harris Dousemetzis: Gerrit Rautenbach

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Enkele opmerkings oor Harris Dousemetzis se The man who killed apartheid

I knew before my book’s publication that apartheid nostalgics and Dr Verwoerd worshipers would question my findings, despite the plethora of unquestionable evidence that supports them (and this was one of the reasons I gave the evidence and the report to the five jurists and the Minister of Justice). Unfortunately, there are some people in this world, like Holocaust deniers and apartheid nostalgics, who, no matter how much evidence you present, will still insist that the Holocaust did not happen, and that apartheid was something good and not a crime against humanity. Now, once again, I have to prove that I am not an elephant to someone whose superficial and inadequate research has led him to write some irresponsible and slanderous “remarks”. Thus, I feel that I must respond to these comments to expose this gentleman’s feeble remarks, as I do not want anyone who reads them to believe that he is correct (not that this matters much, as my conclusions and evidence have been accepted by the vast majority of people).

Mr Brand seems to consider himself to be more intelligent or more qualified, so as to spot mistakes in the book that he believes the “average reader might be unaware of”. Let’s examine now these “mistakes”, or whatever does not seem right to him.

Mr Brand is attempting to challenge my book by questioning my research methods, and he supports his argument by pointing to some mistakes he claims he spotted on trivial things, like the way General Kreipe was transported after his abduction. His criticism of my methods is unfounded, and the mistakes he spotted are non-existent; he is mistaken with the evidence that he produces, which is the result of his limited and inadequate research. However, what is astonishing in his remarks, is the fact that he does not attack the main point of the book – which is Tsafendas’s motive, his political ideology and his committed political activism – or the archival evidence, which are the core of the book, but attempts to question my methods, by pointing to three entirely peripheral, trivial areas. What is even more astonishing is that he even gets these facts wrong! It is like Mr Brand attempting to kill a man, but instead of shooting him or stabbing him in the head or the heart, he attempts to remove a single hair from his head, believing that in this way he would kill his victim; and, the most laughable thing here is that he cannot even remove this single hair!

Mr Brand, like his predecessor in the criticism of my book, completely avoids any discussion about Tsafendas’s motive, ideology and political activism. All this is supported in the book by overwhelming and unquestionable evidence from the South African and Portuguese National Archives, but both Mr Brand and his predecessive critic deliberately did not mention any of this. They did not, because in the book, there is a picture of a portion of Tsafendas’s statement to the police, where he tells his interrogators that he killed Verwoerd because he hoped that “a change of policy would take place”. There is also a picture of a top-secret document from PIDE in Lisbon, sent two day after the assassination, to PIDE in Mozambique, asking them to conceal from the apartheid authorities any information indicating Tsafendas as a partisan of the independence of Mozambique. There are also large extracts from Tsafendas’s interrogation by the apartheid police and from PIDE, as well as other evidence collected by the apartheid police at the time. Obviously Mr Brand cannot dispute this evidence so he turned his attention to trivial things.

Now, let’s examine what Mr Brand has written. First of all, he focuses his criticism on the way I conducted my interviews, although he is unaware of the method I used to conduct them. What is more absurd is the fact that the interviews play a secondary role in the book, as its core is the archival evidence. The fact that Tsafendas killed Verwoerd for political reasons, that he had a long history of political activism and that the apartheid authorities misportrayed him and all the important information, is evident from the archival documents, not from interviews. The main conclusion of the book and of my research is proven by archival documents, not by interviews, and it would have been exactly the same without them; to make it simpler, even if I had not had a single interview, the outcome would have been exactly the same. The interviews offer really nothing to the main conclusion; they only help to learn details about Tsafendas’s life that have not been recorded before. The only really important information from interviews, which the book and the research could very easily survive without, comes from Father Michalis Constandinou and Bishop Ioannis Tsaftaridis, to whom Tsafendas confided about the killing of Verwoerd; however, what Tsafendas told them is what he had also told the police, so it is really nothing more than confirmation of what I already had from the archival documents.

Let’s now examine the actual interviews; Mr Brand goes to extreme lengths to challenge the way I conducted them, without even knowing what method I used. His hypothesis is built entirely on an assumption on his part that I used a specific method, although nowhere in the book have I mentioned such a method, and there is no indication that I did this. Nevertheless, still he hypothesised about it, and went to great lengths to explain the method’s shortcomings. I have read several historical biographies, and I have never come across one where the author had to explain his methodology and the method of interviews he used; I did this for my PhD, but this is not a PhD, this is a historical biography. The same also applies to the “theory” that he refers to. I have never come across a biography where the author has applied some theoretical discussion in his subject or findings, in order to explain or support his arguments. Again, this is something that one would do in a PhD (which I have obtained from the sixth-best university in the UK, and 74th in the world, and not from a Mickey Mouse university), not in a biography. I am very well aware where I need to apply theory and where I do not. This is a historical biography; I do not need to talk about a theory, Mr Brand, or apply it, in order to support my arguments. The same applies to my report to the Minister.

Furthermore, in my report to the Minister of Justice, I have included in the text some of the questions that I asked in my interviews; again, I did not think that this was something necessary to do in a biography, and again, I have never come across a biography where the author has listed the questions he asked in his interviews. If Mr Brand knows one, he can please let me know.

Mr Brand also questions my ability to collect and evaluate data, as well as conduct interviews. I interviewed about 40 people for my PhD and about 70 for other projects; with the Tsafendas interviews, I interviewed about 250 people. I think this is a quite big enough number for someone to be considered an experienced interviewer. I have also, in my life, interviewed some very prominent people, and some of them have complimented me for the way I conducted my interviews; for example: Mike Dukakis (who, by the way, was the one who suggested to me to give the evidence on the Tsafendas case to prominent jurists, and then to the SA authorities, as he had done something quite similar with the Sacco and Vanzetti case), professor at UCLA, former governor of Massachusetts and the Democratic nominee in the 1988 USA presidential election; Stuart E Eizenstat, the USA ambassador to the EU, USA deputy secretary of the treasury, Jimmy Carter’s chief policy adviser and executive director of the White House domestic policy staff; and Peter Bourne, Jimmy Carter’s special assistant on health issues. For my PhD, I also consulted more than 5 000 pages of documents found in various archives in the USA; none of my examiners questioned my methods of collecting and evaluating my evidence. For my PhD, I also received training in interview methods, data collection and analysis practices; again, no one spotted any shortcomings in my PhD. In addition, I have a postgraduate certificate in academic practice from Durham University, specialising in supervising PhD students.

As for the interviews being 106 and not 137, I clarify in the preface that, in total, I interviewed 137 people, and 69 of them knew Tsafendas; the rest were either involved in the case somehow, or are experts in their field, like jurists, psychologists and psychiatrists. In the report to the Minister, I have included all 137 names; however, in the book, I only included the names of those whom I quoted or who contributed something to the book. For example, I consulted two professors of history, James Ward and Timothy Brown, who are experts on M-Apparat – it would be a long story to explain here what the M-Apparat was, but there was a conspiracy theory that involved Tsafendas with this organisation, so I contacted these two scientists to enquire about this organisation, and to find out more about it; however, this organisation is not mentioned in the book, and neither are their comments, so they are not mentioned, although they are, of course, mentioned in my report to the Minister.

Now, if I seriously wanted to challenge someone’s interviews, I would go and talk to those who were interviewed to check whether what has been attributed to them is correct. This way, I could easily expose any “shortcomings” in the interviews. However, Mr Brand did not do this, although it would have been very easy for him to do so, since most of the witnesses I interviewed are in South Africa. Instead, Mr Brand hypothesised about my methods, and he questioned them, when he knows nothing about them and has absolutely no evidence at all to support his claims, which is really pathetic, petty, slanderous and irresponsible. I would be happy to get him in touch with anyone he wishes, and then he can report his findings and publicly apologise for what he wrote. He can start with Bishop Ioannis, who is the most important witness. It is also really pathetic and petty for someone to present a one-sided review of a book, where he only sees “shortcomings”, without acknowledging anything that needs to be applauded, while it is even more pathetic when someone diverts the conversation from the main subject to petty things, which I am going to examine now.

The first of my “mistakes”, according to Mr Brand, is that the Medical Association of South Africa (MASA) was not expelled from the World Medical Association, as I wrote, and he also wrote that I have not provided a source for this information. Unfortunately for Mr Brand, my information seems to be correct, and this proves the limits of his “research” to challenge my sources. I got this information from Professor Lawrence Baxter’s article in the South African Journal of Human Rights. This is the full source:

Baxter, LC (1985). “Doctors on trial: Steve Biko, medical ethics and the courts.” South African Journal on Human Rights, 137–51 (1985), pp 137–8.

And, to make it easier for Mr Brand, who limits his research to the first two sources that come up in Google, or for anyone else who wishes to check this, this is the link for the source:

https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2678&context=faculty_scholarship

To make it even easier, this is what this article says:

Biko’s death continues to have serious consequences for the medical profession. The conduct of the doctors who attended the victim when he was in extremis was called into question as a result of the evidence at the inquest, and the absence of any disciplinary actions by their peers led to the expulsion of the Medical Association of South Africa from the World Medical Association.

He is correct, though, that I have not included the source in the book (this is the only thing that he gets right in his entire piece); I added this part quite late in the production of the book, and, because the footnotes are added manually by the publisher, it was not easy to add it, so they omitted it. However, I find it absolutely unbelievable that a psychologist in South Africa, with so many years of experience, is unaware of MASA’s expulsion, especially taking into account that he was a practising psychologist at the time when it happened! It is even more shocking that Mr Brand, who criticises my research, conducted his own research on the topic and failed to find this information! This is what usually happens when one just reads the first two articles that come up in Google.

Now for my absolute favourite part in Mr Brand’s criticism: Mr Brand questions Costas Kargakis’s participation in the kidnapping of Nazi General Kreipe in Crete during WWII, and he wrote that his name does not appear in the two sources that he checked and provided in his piece. First of all, I have also mentioned in my book that Tsafendas met with Tyrakis, who also participated in Kreipe’s kidnapping, and that he got in touch with him from Kargakis; Tyrakis’s name and participation in the operation appears in both Mr Brand’s sources, but, very conveniently, he has not mentioned this. Now, going back to Kargakis. His full name was Constandinos Kargakis (Costas is a shortened version of Constandinos; anyone can easily check on the internet that it is common practice in Greece for the name Constandinos to be shortened to Costas), but, as a partisan, he was known as Psarokostas (because of his distinctive white beard; psaros in Crete means “white”), as I have mentioned in my book. Kargakis is a famed partisan in Crete, and participated not only in the kidnapping of Kreipe, but in several other missions and battles, including the Battle of Crete, and was a member of the famed partisan team of Georgios Petrakis (also known in the mountains as Captain Petrakogiorgis). Tsafendas told two priests, Father Minas Constandinou and Bishop Ioannis Tsaftaridis, that, while he was in Crete, he met and stayed at the house of Costas Kargakis, who had been a member of the Greek Resistance during WWII, and who had participated in the kidnapping of Kreipe; he also said that this gave him the idea of kidnapping Verwoerd and exchanging him with political prisoners, and that he was introduced by Kargakis to other partisans, who trained him in bomb-making. One of them was Kargakis’s brother, Giorgos Kargakis (also known as Psarogiorgas). Three of Kargakis’s relatives, as well as Tsafendas’s distant relatives, confirmed to me in interviews that Costas Kargakis and his brother Giorgos had participated in the kidnapping, and that they had trained Tsafendas in bomb-making. I could have used several published sources confirming that Kargakis had participated in the kidnapping, but I never thought that anyone would ever doubt such information! I also did not find it necessary to include in the book the names of all the partisans who met with Tsafendas and trained him in bomb-making.

Now, if you look at the links below (you can translate them with Google translator, as, unfortunately, they are in Greek), you will see that all of them contain several names of partisans who participated in the kidnapping, and they are not mentioned in Mr Brand’s two sources. More than 50 partisans, in total, participated in the Kreipe operation in various roles. Several names are not included in Mr Brand’s sources, but they are in several others, if one searches a little more than Mr Brand did: for example, Raftopoulos, Aggelakis, Zabetakis, Kimonas Zografakis, Katsias, Boutzalis, Paradisianos, Kriovrisaki, Xilouris, Petrakis (Petrakogiorgis) and the Kargakis brothers. The reason why these partisans are not always mentioned is because they did not carry out the kidnapping themselves; but, they did participate in the operation in several of its stages. The ones who are mentioned in Mr Brand’s sources are the ones who carried out the actual kidnapping. I did not write that Kargakis participated in the actual kidnapping; I wrote: “Kargakis was one of the band that marched the general over the mountains”. I never wrote that he participated in the actual kidnapping; he only participated in the transportation of the general, and this should have been clear to anyone reading the book, but apparently it was not to Mr Brand. As you will see in the first link below, it says that the team who had carried out the kidnapping was met in the mountains by the team of Petrakis (Petrakogiorgis), and this team helped them reach their destination; the names of the people who comprised his team are not mentioned in this link, but they are mentioned in the other links I have included further down. Let’s establish, first, that Petrakogiorgis did participate in the Kreipe operation, by looking at the links below:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgios_Petrakis

https://e-mesara.gr/14-septemvrioy-1972-o-stayraetos-tis-kritis-kapetan-georgios-petrakogiorgis-feygei-apo-ti-zoi/

https://www.militaire.gr/i-apagogi-toy-germanoy-stratigoy-kraipe-apo-toys-kritikoys-apochairetismos-s-enan-ap-aytoys/

https://mesaralive.gr/post/to-tumpaki-ths-krhths-isopedwnetai-gia-na-ginei-to-nazistiko-aerodromio/local-news/

This link contains a picture of Petrakogiorgis, taken during the operation; this is what it says in the caption. It is a widely publicised picture of Petrakogiorgis, and can also be found in Crete’s Historical Museum:

https://cretablog.gr/%CE%BF%CF%83%CF%84%CE%B1%CF%85%CF%81%CE%B1%CE%B7%CF%84%CF%8C%CF%82-%CF%84%CE%B7%CF%82-%CE%BA%CF%81%CE%AE%CF%84%CE%B7%CF%82-%CE%BA%CE%B1%CF%80%CE%B5%CF%84%CE%AC%CE%BD-%CE%B3%CE%B5%CF%8E/

One can find several pieces of information confirming Petrakogiorgis’s team’s participation in the kidnapping and in other operations, in the several links below, and several more if one conducts proper research, not like that carried out by Mr Brand.

The following is a report by Petrakogiorgis regarding the members and casualties of his team:

https://stratistoria.wordpress.com/1944/10/24/19441024-drasis-petrogiorgi/

You can see Costas Kargakis’s name as this: Κ Καργάκης ή Ψαρόκωστας (C Kargakis or Psarokostas).

In the following link, you can see the full team of Petrakogiorgis. Kargakis is given with his code name Ψαρόκωστας (Psarokostas). Compare the person second from the left at the bottom, with the picture of Kargakis in my book. It is easy to recognise him because of his distinctive white beard.

http://creteheroes.blogspot.com/2017/11/blog-post.html

And, in order to make sure that Mr Brand spotted the correct person, I have pointed him out, too:

https://scontent.fath2-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.15752-9/57172542_1278487745639676_5774747206380683264_n.jpg?_nc_cat=106&_nc_ht=scontent.fath2-1.fna&oh=45af6c07ae97d4347c5e9fddbee129f8&oe=5D35B76D

To make it easier to compare, this is Kargakis’s picture in my book:

https://scontent.fath2-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.15752-9/s2048x2048/41252335_243239409708708_2039677005342965760_n.jpg?_nc_cat=108&_nc_ht=scontent.fath2-1.fna&oh=4f235adb6658f9751441cbe23ad209d2&oe=5D38D5C6

The following links contain a picture and a list of Petrakogiorgis’s team; Costas Kargakis is mentioned as Κωντσταντίνος Καργάκης (Ψαρόκωστας) από τα Βορίζα (Constandinos Kargakis (Psarokostas) from Voriza). Costas Kargakis is second from the right, standing up:

http://iscreta.gr/2015/08/%CE%B7-%CE%BC%CE%AC%CF%87%CE%B7-%CF%83%CF%84%CE%BF-%CF%84%CF%81%CE%B1%CF%87%CE%AE%CE%BB%CE%B9-%CF%83%CF%84%CE%B9%CF%82-15-%CE%B1%CF%85%CE%B3%CE%BF%CF%8D%CF%83%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%85-1943/

The same picture can be seen here again, where it is stated that this is Petrakogiorgis’s team:

https://www.patris.gr/2018/09/17/i-psarogiorgena-eleni-kargaki-leratoy/12169-2/

To make sure, I have marked Kargakis again:

https://scontent.fath2-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.15752-9/58551682_323101348394115_7740414808452759552_n.jpg?_nc_cat=107&_nc_ht=scontent.fath2-1.fna&oh=1597519b189439a494ce76cfc09162e0&oe=5D347279

The following links contain information about Petrakogiorgis’s team, as well as lists with its members; of course, Costas Kargakis’s name is included:

https://www.cretanmagazine.gr/i-machi-sto-trachili-ke-to-olokaftoma-ton-vorizon/

http://www.politistiko-rethymno.org/%CE%B7-%CE%BC%CE%AC%CF%87%CE%B7-%CF%83%CF%84%CE%BF-%CF%84%CF%81%CE%B1%CF%87%CE%AE%CE%BB%CE%B9-%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%85-%CF%88%CE%B7%CE%BB%CE%BF%CF%81%CE%B5%CE%AF%CF%84%CE%B7/

https://dreamfm.gr/i-machi-sto-trachili-stis-15-avgoustou-1943/#.XLgvkuhKiM8

https://www.cretanmagazine.gr/i-machi-sto-trachili-ke-to-olokaftoma-ton-vorizon/

http://www.rethnea.gr/article.aspx?id=54218

These two links have a picture of Petrakogiorgis with Giorgos Kargakis and some other partisans.

http://mydaimoncom.blogspot.com/2011/03/blog-post_20.html

http://users.sch.gr/chetzogian/globalsch-autosch/iware/?D=0884e57d2093e2b6b2013dc9c951d70b

And here, you can read a witness’s account about Giorgos Kargakis:

http://www.anogi.gr/p19800

I hope that this is enough to convince anyone that Mr Brand’s limited research is again exposed, but if anyone wishes to see further evidence of Kargakis’s participation in the kidnapping, I am happy to provide them with published sources and Costas Kargakis’s medal that was given to him by the Greek government in recognition of his participation in the Greek Resistance, including his participation in the Kreipe operation.

Mr Brand also says that I am wrong and that Kreipe was not transported to Egypt by submarine, as I wrote, but by the British Special Boat Service. He cited two sources for his information, although neither of them mentions anything about the general being transported by such a boat to Egypt.

The limits of Mr Brand’s “research” are proven once again by looking at the four reputable sources below: the BBC, the Financial Times, the New Statesman and the Daily Beast. The four accounts all have the same source – Sir Patrick (Paddy) Leigh Fermor's book about Kreipe’s kidnapping, “Abducting a General”; three being book reviews, one being a reference to the book contained in an obituary of Sir Leigh Fermor, the man who designed and carried out the kidnapping and transportation of Kreipe in Egypt. All these four accounts refer to a submarine:

The BBC talks of "a journey to a rendezvous with a British submarine".

The Financial Times says "He was taken into the mountains and hidden there until such times as it was safe to bring him back down to the road and escort him via submarine to Egypt".

The New Statesman says “In Paddy’s own account of the abduction of Kreipe, the climax comes not as the general’s staff car is stopped at 9.30pm by a British SOE party dressed in the stolen uniforms of German military police, nor as they drive coolly through no fewer than 22 German checkpoints in the city of Heraklion with the general lying gagged at their feet, nor as the Cretan partisans help smuggle Kreipe into the Cretan highlands and thence to a waiting British submarine – but instead as “a brilliant dawn was breaking over the crest of Mount Ida.”

The Daily Beast said almost exactly what the New Statesman said, same phraseology.

https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29518321

And, here are two other sources with references to Sir Fermor’s account regarding the kidnapping, in the New Statesman and the Financial Times:

https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/12/awfully-big-adventure-william-dalrymple-paddy-leigh-fermors-wartime-exploits

https://www.ft.com/content/7996e904-53aa-11e4-8285-00144feab7de

And, his obituary:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/patrick-leigh-fermor-obituary-william-dalrymple-remembers-his-hero

And, a Greek article in English:

http://www.madeincrete.com/crete-world-war-2-invasion-resistance-liberation/

Thus, unless Fermor, BBC and the other sources got it wrong, Mr Brand is wrong again, and I am right. However, from all the information I have included in the book, the piece about the submarine is by far the least researched, and, even more, the least important; I did not even need to include it! I only looked at some of the above sources, and I thought that the BBC, the Financial Times and Sir Fermor himself are reliable enough sources for such a completely unimportant piece of information in my book; if I knew that someone would ever question whether Kreipe was transported by submarine or not, I would have cited these sources. I am really astonished, and find it unbelievable and petty that someone would even bother questioning such trivial information; if Mr Brand wanted to challenge my book’s main theme, he should have dared to challenge the main theme, and not this.

As for the Wechsler Bellevue Test Profile, what I have written is what happened in the trial; I suggest Mr Brand look at the trial transcript and compare it, and then start questioning what I have written. All the IQ results that were given in the trial have been included in my book; no other is mentioned in the trial transcript. Van Zyl told the court: “His full IQ tests at 113,5. His verbal IQ tests at 125,00.”

Mr Brand has also taken out of context what I said at Woordfees, and about the priests and the purpose of the book, and he also suggests that the Minister of Justice and his advisers are incapable of properly evaluating my evidence and my interviews. I suppose, though, that Mr Brand’s ideal Ministers of Justice to deal with the matter would have been Vorster and Kruger. I could continue providing more evidence proving Mr Brand’s comments to be laughable, unfounded and irresponsible, but I am getting tired doing this, and I find it pointless; I think anyone who has read my book can distinguish between the quality and extent of my research and my work, and this gentleman’s remarks.

The main question is Tsafendas’s motive, and the fact that, for more than 50 years, people believed that Tsafendas killed Verwoerd because of a tapeworm, and that he was an apolitical idiot. The book presents unquestionable evidence, such as Tsafendas’s statements to the police; the fact that PIDE had a huge file on him; that he had a long history of political activism; that the apartheid police were aware that Tsafendas had faked mental illness in the past while in custody, but failed to mention this to those who examined him; and, not to repeat myself again, everything I told Mr Pienaar. Instead of trying to challenge this important information, which is the core of the book, Mr Brand challenges the information regarding the submarine that transported Kreipe, an incident that plays no role at all in the story. Of course, Mr Brand says that if I got this wrong, I might have made other mistakes, too; however, instead of attempting to challenge the important information, like any respectable person would do, he cowardly challenges this unimportant information, where, even if I had got it wrong (just for the sake of argument, as I have not!), again, this would hardly question the rest of the findings. It is like someone saying that he has evidence that Jeremy Corbyn and the whole Labour Party in Britain are corrupt, and then the evidence that they produce is the fact that, 20 years ago, the ex-wife of the ex-husband of a security guard in the Labour Party’s office in London attempted to bribe a policeman!

Mr Brand attempts to divert the conversation from Tsafendas’s motive and his political activism, by saying nothing at all about this evidence, and instead, he is wasting my time with really petty things. Whether one likes it or not, Tsafendas killed Verwoerd because he hoped that “a change of policy would take place”, as he told the police, not because of a tapeworm, which was non-existent in his questioning by the police. The book consists of information and statements from more than 100 people who were questioned by the police at the time; they are the core of the book, not the interviews. However, Mr Brand does not mention this, and he focuses on the interviews and the other petty things. I think one should research one’s subject more before one starts making accusations or raising doubts and wasting someone’s time, which could also lead one to court for slander.

To conclude, Mr Brand’s criticism is completely unfounded and 100 percent wrong. My conclusions about Tsafendas and the evidence that supports them are “unquestionable” and “overwhelming”, as advocate George Bizos said about the matter. I also find it really petty to question absolutely minor things, such as whether a submarine or a boat transported from Crete, when the main argument of the book is Tsafendas’s motive, and when the book has produced an absolutely massive amount of archival evidence that cannot be disputed. Instead, Mr Brand says nothing at all about the archival evidence and the main issue of the book, but questions petty things like the ones mentioned above – where, even on these, he is again 100 percent wrong.

I believe that all the above shortcomings in Mr Brand’s comments, and his limited research; as well as the fact that, although he was a practising psychologist at the time of MESA’s expulsion, he did not know about it; the fact that he deliberately focuses on trivial issues and ignores the main theme of the book; the fact that he ignores a plethora of archival evidence; that he questions the interviews and my methodology without knowing anything about them, and without having any evidence to support his claims, all raise the inevitable question of whether there might have been a continuous pattern of this nature of shortcomings in his work that, maybe, for whatever reason, no one has noticed yet. What is, however, more astonishing for me, and which raises other types of questions regarding Mr Brand, is his opinion about not waking sleeping dogs in a matter of historical inaccuracy. I suppose if Mr Brand ever comes up with evidence proving, for example, that Chief Luthuli was murdered, he will keep it to himself, because he does not want to wake up sleeping dogs.

Also read:

Enkele opmerkings oor Harris Dousemetzis se The man who killed apartheid

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Kommentaar

  • Shakespeare, Wm ±1600. "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark", Act III, Sc II, Ln 210 (Queen Gertrude).

  • Since Mr D quotes the New York Times ad nauseam, it is appropriate to quote what Time Magazine (USA) had to say about Verwoerd in the issue published in August 1966 shortly before his assassination: "Verwoerd is one of the ablest white leaders that Africa has ever produced. He has a photographic memory, an analytical mind and an endless capacity for work. He is a brilliant diplomat and an inventive politician. He is the inspired defender of the Afrikaner faith, the unquestioned captain of the Afrikaner laager."

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    Harris Dousemetzis

    Dear Mr Boyd, since you used these remarks from the Time Magazine please allow me to add some other remarks regarding Dr Verwoerd from the same issue. First of all, a little bit further down the paragraph you used, it says about Dr Verwoerd: “Outside his confident country, there are those who fear that the slick oppression he has made a science will one day explode in a wrathful orgy endangering the peace of lands beyond his own frontiers.”
    Furthermore, the whole article, whose title is “The Delusions of Apartheid,” is “highly critical of apartheid,” as Professor Giliomee also observed in The Last Afrikaner Leaders (p.85), and had characterized it as “madness (p: 21-22)”. In the same article South Africa is characterized as a “symbol of oppression” (p: 18), while it also refers to Verwoerd as being an “extremist (p:22)”, Pro-Nazi (“cheers for Hitler”), that the Die Transvaler under Verwoerd was “violently racist” and “less of a newspaper than a political broadsheet” (p: 20).
    In addition, Time Magazine was always highly critical of Verwoerd and of his policies. For example, on 3 February 1958, in an article entitled ‘South Africa: Mohammed’s coffin’ (p: 22) it characterized Verwoerd as “unbendingly racist.”
    The compliments about Dr Verwoerd are about his skills, which he undoubtedly had, not about his policies or his ideology. One can find several similar remarks about Hitler’s skills and abilities all over the Western Press and in academic works; that does not mean that they admire him or that they condoned his policies and ideology. For example, the New York Times had wrote (‘New popular idol rises in Bavaria.’ 21 November 1922) that Hitler has “extraordinary powers of swaying crowds to his will.” This was a fact, it did not mean that the NYT approved his policies or his ideology and the article had also made it clear that Hitler was anti-Semitic.

  • You’re also mistaken in suggesting that apartheid laws were copied from laws of the Third Reich. In fact, they were to some extent copied from the segregation laws in the southern states of the USA. Are you suggesting that someone should have shot and killed white Southerners for enacting and supporting these laws?

  • You are misquoting the Time Magazine article. It says that Vorster was pro-Nazi, not Verwoerd. And it says that some people thought he was doing too much for the black people in South Africa (that’s where the word “extremist”) comes in. Indeed, my understanding of segregation in the Southern US was based on the notion that blacks were inferior whereas Verwoerd said that blacks could achieve anything in their own areas. That is certainly not what was taught in American schools, and undoubtedly many Southern Americans would have taken umbrage at Verwoerd’s suggestion that blacks were capable of accomplishing anything. And note that unlike white South Africans, the whites who came to the US killed off most of the natives (Indians) and put the rest in reservations, where they linger today. Verwoerd pointed out that South Africa did not treat the natives like that.

  • Avatar
    Harris Dousemetzis

    Mr Boyd,
    I have not misquoted the Time Magazine article, you haven’t read it properly; the “Cheers for Hitler” is for Verwoerd not for Vorster. I am copying here the relevant part of the paragraph:
    “Cheers for Hitler. With Verwoerd at the helm, Die Transvaler was less of a newspaper than a political broadsheet. Violently racist, it demanded laws to protect the unskilled and often illiterate Afrikaner laborers against the “indignity” of working alongside blacks, hammered home the theme that Strijdom was the only man who could save South Africa from the swart gevaar (black peril). So anti-British was the paper that it cheered Hitler and protested South Africa’s participation in World War Two.”
    So, it is for Verwoerd, not for Vorster, although the article elsewhere says that Vorster was also pro-Nazi. Verwoerd was widely characterized at the time as pro-Nazi from the major Western press.
    Under the US Constitution “all men are created equal”; under US law, the black Americans had equal rights as the white Americans; it was only Southern States in which through state and local laws enforced segregation. This is not what was happening in South Africa where apartheid was the country’s official policy. In the USA, people were, at least supposed to be, “separate but equal”; this was not the case in South Africa. South Africa treated its black population worse than the Southern Americans did (not that they were much better) and as to the whites not killing the natives in South Africa this is not really accurate; I suppose you are aware of the Khoikhoi-Dutch Wars, the Xhosa Wars, and the Anglo-Zulu Wars.
    Verwoerd’s claim about blacks being able to accomplish anything in their own areas was for public consumption and very far from the reality that the black people experienced at the time; if he really cared for the black population and wanted them to accomplish anything, he wouldn’t have implemented such unequal, barbaric and inhuman policies and would have given them equal rights and benefits as he was giving to the whites; how could the black people have really accomplished anything living under conditions when the government spent $180 every year on the education of every white child, and only $25 on each black child; in a country where 79% of the population had no land rights, were forced to live in designated areas and were forbidden to enter “whites only” territory; a country where the white people, 21% of the population, owned 87% of the land, forcing the 79% of the blacks into the remaining 13%; a country which was effectively a police state, where the law allowed police to hold a person in custody for 180 days without access to a lawyer, where political opponents of the government were impassioned, exiled, tortured, persecuted and banned. Bad hygiene, poverty, under-nourishment or starvation and lack of funding for black hospitals seriously affected the health of the black population. In 1964, the life expectancy of a white was seventy; for a black it was forty. In the 1970s, at least 23 000 people died of tuberculosis and only 1% of them were white. However, it was among children that the killer effects of apartheid were most obvious. In 1952, the infant mortality rate for white babies was 34 in 1 000 live births, while that for coloureds was 140. No figure was given for Black babies, but it was certainly significantly higher than for the coloureds. In 1960, the infant mortality rate per 1 000 live births for whites was 29,6, for Asians 59,6, for blacks 95 and for coloureds 128,6. Assuming the black baby survived at birth, it faced a strong possibility of contracting tuberculosis, but its biggest threat was from lack of nourishment. Up to 40% of pre-school children suffered from malnutrition and between 15 000 and 30 000 died each year from starvation or illnesses related to lack of nutrition. About 50% of black children died under five, while the same figure for white children was just 5%. In addition, gastroenteritis killed 10% of the infant population, with thousands of other succumbing to measles and gastroenteritis, conditions which could be cured by timely treatment. Is this how Verwoerd expected or helped the black population achieve something worthy instead of being just a servant for the whites?
    Yes, the article says that there are some people who believe that Verwoerd is doing “too much” for the black people, but the article clearly states that these were “a vocal minority of [white] racists even more extremist than he is”. So, I have also correctly used the word “extremist” for Verwoerd.
    I have not made a mistake suggesting that apartheid laws were copied from laws of the Third Reich, simply because I never made such statement; I said Tsafendas called Verwoerd “Hitler’s best student” because he believed that he had copied some of the Nurnberg Laws and applied them to black South Africans; this was Tsafendas’s view. However, Tsafendas was correct as some of Verwoerd’s policies were indeed similar to the Nurnberg Laws and not to the Southern US:
    • Both Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa banned sexual relations between individuals who had been classified as belonging to different races, so that the “master” race would remain “pure.” For example, although the Immorality Act of 1927, prohibited sex between whites and blacks, this prohibition was extended to “Europeans” and “non-Europeans” by the Immorality Amendment Act, 1950 (Act No 21 of 1950), thus banning sexual relations between whites and coloureds and whites and Asians. Marriages between the races had been outlawed the year before, by the 1949 Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act. The amendment Immorality Acts of 1950 and 1957, were aimed at keeping the European race “pure,” by widening the prohibitions on marriage and sexual relations. They were similar to the Nazis’ Nuremburg Laws aimed at keeping the German nation “pure.” And Verwoerd said: “Ek gaan nie die geskiedenis in as die man wat die Afrikanervolk na verbastering gelei het nie.”)
    • Both countries devised complex racial categories into which people had to fit, and according to which they would be compelled to live their lives in a certain way.
    • Both Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa prevented those who were considered lesser from holding citizenship. This was manifested in many ways, including banning such people from taking part in national sporting events or representing the country.
    • There were parallels between South African “Bantu Education” and the education system the Nazis envisioned for the Poles, both of which were supposed to equip the “master race” with a servant class trained to do its bidding.
    • Both regimes operated a strict control of the media, and used censorship and propaganda to ensure that people heard the message that they wanted to deliver.
    • In both situations the authorities made no effort to curtail or punish those who engaged in torture; rather, techniques of torture were employed as part of the state apparatus of terror.
    • Dr Verwoerd’s forced removals were similar to the ruthless concentration by the Nazis of Warsaw’s Jews into the Ghetto; precisely the same process operated here.
    In addition, both Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu compared apartheid to the holocaust. Arthur Chaskalson agreed that the Nuremberg Laws, and the techniques the Nazis used initially to marginalise Jewish communities, were very similar to the techniques used by the Nationalists. Arthur Goldreich also compared apartheid to Adolf Hitler’s racist philosophy and policies, saying that “apartheid smelled like Nazism.”
    On a final note, I hope you are not the author, as if you are, and you being a Verwoerd sympathizer, you have gone very down in my estimation and you lost a reader and admirer of your books.

  • You obviously don't have a clue about the United States. The line you quote "all men are created equal" is not part of the US Constitution, but part of the Declaration of Independence, which was drafted by slaveholders who obviously didn't include slaves in their definition of "men."
    You are obviously unaware of the state of Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924 (long before the law in South Africa) which classified all persons as belonging either to the "white" or the "Negro" race. There were similar laws throughout the United States (including the western part of the country). And while segregation (similar to apartheid) was "de jure" (required by law) in the Southern United States, it was "de facto" in the North, where everything was just as segregated as in the South.
    And as for Time magazine, surely no serious historian relies on weekly magazines as a primary source! It just reflects the thoughts of one (biased) journalist. Have you found articles in Die Transvaler that "cheered Hitler"? If so, why don't you quote them instead of quoting an American journalist second-hand (not to mention the fact that the American journalist was undoubtedly incapable of reading Die Transvaler since it was not in English).

  • Avatar
    Harris Dousemetzis

    Mr. Boyd,
    Are you for real? You are the one who first quoted the Time Magazine when it praised some of Verwoerd’s qualities! It was not me! And now, after I broke down to pieces your ignorant argument, you say that I used it as a primary source. You used it as a source and I only then used it because you had selectively used parts of it.
    As for Die Transvaler, you are miseducated about it; I am astonished that you are obviously unaware that Verwoerd was convicted by a South African court for being Pro-Nazi and for having made Die Transvaler “a tool of the Nazis.”
    In 1941, Verwoerd’s editorials led to the court case, Verwoerd vs Paver and Others. The Johannesburg newspaper The Star published an editorial entitled “Speaking Up for Hitler” accusing Verwoerd of falsifying the news to promote Germany’s cause and being a supporter of the Nazis. The Star charged that Verwoerd’s “spiritual home is nearer to Bechtesgaden” than to South Africa and set out a list of stories published by Die Transvaler, all of which carried errors which reflected positively on the Axis powers. It highlighted Die Transvaler’s version of a report by the South African Information Bureau on how the Nazi regime promised not to interfere with South African affairs but had in fact done so. Die Transvaler omitted the main point of a broken promise and reported only the Nazis’ reference to non-interference. The Star said such dishonesty identified Die Transvaler closely with Nazi propaganda, making it “a tool of malignant forces from which this country has everything to fear.”
    As result of the editorial, Verwoerd sued for defamation, demanding damages of £15 000. However, case was dismissed with the court agreeing that Verwoerd had consciously aided the war aims of Hitler, while costs were awarded against him. The judge declared that:
    “There have been proved two very grave cases of the publication of false news in reckless disregard of whether it was true or false; six cases, on the whole less serious but still clear cases of falsification where news, originally correctly reported, was falsely portrayed for the purpose of editorial comment; and two cases in which news was falsified by means of misleading headlines. On the evidence he, Verwoerd, is not entitled to complain. He did support Nazi propaganda, he did make his paper a tool of the Nazis in South Africa, and he knew it.”
    So, Mr Boyd one does necessarily have to read Die Transvaler (although I have read it) in order to say that Verwoerd was pro-Nazi; you can rely on a court’s decision. Thus, the Time journalist, as well as other journalist and historians, and me, are perfectly correct to say that Verwoerd was pro-Nazi and that he had made Die Transvaler “a tool of the Nazis.”
    As for the US, politics, it is you who is again miseducated (I have a PhD by the way in US politics). You misquoted my words to make a dubious point. I did not say that. “All men are created equal” is a line in the Constitution, I wrote that “under the US Constitution ‘all men are created equal’” and this is accurate, as it is the “separate but equal” doctrine (which I also mentioned). I suggest you read the XIV Amendment to the Constitution (1868). As for the Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924, I am very well aware of it and of several other similar acts.
    I also fail to see the importance and credibility of your argument, which is also made by several apartheid defenders and nostalgics that some of the apartheid laws were copied from the Jim Crow laws. So what? Does it make the apartheid laws less inhuman and barbaric because they were copied from some despicable US laws? It is like a South African copycat serial killer who has murdered ten people saying that “oh, I only did what Ted Bundy did in the US.” Is he less guilty because he copied what Bundy did? Or, you are trying to say, “look the US did it too,” so it can’t be that bad. Both the apartheid and the Jim Crow laws have gone down to history like racist, inhuman and barbaric and no one would ever change this.

  • Avatar
    Chris Erasmus

    Mr Dousemetzis, I have a simple philosophy in life which has saved me from embarresment, many times in life. I hope you will also apply it, for future reference. When you are in a hole, you stop digging.

  • Avatar
    Chris Erasmus

    Sir, I read your responses on the comments. It seems that you are very sensitive if somebody have an opinion that does not correspond with yours. By branding people as Nazi or apartheid nostalgics if they dare to disagree with your book is a sign of immaturity on your side. In our country if your dare to disagree with the present regime, you are branded as a racist. Very immature. By the way, how many books have you sold so far? You might have heard the saying , lies lies and statistics. It seems in your case it might be research, research and still searching. All the best with your endeavours. I am eagerly awaiting for another gem from your pen.

  • Reageer

    Jou e-posadres sal nie gepubliseer word nie. Kommentaar is onderhewig aan moderering.


     

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