Thursday, 11 December 2008

Respect is due: Mike Terry 1947 - 2008

From his obituary in the Independent:
In 1975 Terry joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement as Executive Secretary. The organisation had been formed in London in 1959, as a "boycott committee" to draw attention to the evils of apartheid. Julius Nyerere addressed the first meeting, along with Trevor Huddleston, later president of the AAM. As the years passed, the movement's main objective was to campaign for a democratic South Africa where every section of society had equal voting rights. It seemed at the time that the apartheid regime was impregnable since it had the support of Western governments, South Africa having played the card that it was a bastion of the free world in the fight against Soviet expansionism.

Maintaining close links with the African National Congress, the AAM evolved policies to isolate South Africa, advocating economic, diplomatic and sporting sanctions, and no military or nuclear collaboration with the country. It is difficult to imagine the initial and lingering hostility to these policies, especially in the present climate of international relations where the application of sanctions is the weapon of first resort in dealing with a "rogue" state. (1)
Doesn't that bit about the apartheid regime seeming impregnable because it was actively and passively supported by the west sound familiar? We don't learn from our mistakes and , at a national level, we yet to evolve any sort of meaningful conscience. Thankfully, people like Mike Terry have the courage, commitment and intelligence to act when we fail as a nation.

And having helped change the world, he went back to being a teacher. Good man.
1 "Mike Terry: Campaigner who led the Anti-Apartheid Movement for two decades," by Bob Jones, published in The Independent, 10th of December, 2008. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/mike-terry-campaigner-who-led-the-antiapartheid-movement-for-two-decades-1059367.html)

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