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    System of 'Ethnic Domination' in South Africa Has to be Changed - Activist

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    Members of South Africa's white Boer and Afrikaner minorities are calling for help, saying that they have no place in today's "Rainbow country." Sputnik interviewed Dan Roodt – an activist who has traveled to many world capitals in an attempt to attract attention to their plight.

    Sputnik: Afrikaners and Boers — the descendants of European settlers — have been living in South Africa for centuries. Why do you say that they are in trouble now, what is happening?

    Dan Roodt: It is, of course, a very complex history that we have, but it seems to me that over the last few years especially, there has been a lot of polarization and there have been specific attacks on us — both physical attacks in the form of farm murders, but also attacks in the media, and anti-white, anti-Afrikaner sentiment in the country, that has been gaining ground. And that seems to be also tolerated by the ruling party.

    Sputnik: When it comes to "farm murders", are there any numbers for such crimes, aside from what we're hearing from farmers themselves, and from separate police reports? What is the scale of the problem?

    Dan Roodt: Until now about 4,000 farmers have been killed in South Africa since 1994, and members of the white minority — up to 70 or 80 thousand have been murdered. Do you know that we have a very high murder rate in South Africa — one of the highest in the world? And coupled with all these other pronouncements in the media, I think there is definitely an ethnic element to it — there is a sort of "racist anti-white" element to it.

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    And, regarding the farm attacks, of course, for every farmer killed there were some attacks that do not lead to murder but just to robberies or violence. The farm attacks must number over 30, 000 already. So, that shows you how widespread this phenomenon is. So, literally, each and every farm must have been attacked over the last 20 years. 

    Sputnik: It seems that there is a "wall of silence" in the Western mainstream media when it comes to farm attacks. It's not that they don't talk about news from Africa — almost every major TV channel has a program that "focuses on Africa." Why is the problem being ignored by the media?

    Dan Roodt: I think the West has problems with its media. We can see also how Russia is being unfairly criticized in the media all the time — saying that Russia influenced the American elections and things like that.

    But also there is a lot of antipathy towards Mr. Putin — which, you wonder why because he's not really doing anything to damage Western interests. And, I think we are also at the receiving end from the Western mainstream media of certain stereotypes and half-truths, and even lies that have been spread about us for decades. 

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    For example, people say that we massacred black people when we were in power in South Africa, but if you look at the official statistics of the "Truth and reconciliation commission" — that was a body set up by the ANC, by the current ruling party, only about 500 people ever died at the hands of the police over the past 40 years, and in the US, the UK, France it must have been far higher — the number of people who die in police custody, during riots or something like that, especially in the US. In the 1960's lots of black people were killed in riots, more than here. 

    Yet, they say that we are "guilty of a crime against humanity". And that phrase is being repeated every day in South Africa, and also in the mainstream media. That's why we've been labeled and falsely accused, and that's why now when we are the victims at the receiving end of discrimination and violence, they don't want to talk about it. Because it goes against the construction — a kind of construction of half-truths and lies that they broadcast over the last 30-40 years. 

    Sputnik: Western companies and individuals own land and businesses here. Why aren't they voicing their concern? Aren't they worried about what's going on?

    Dan Roodt: Yes, possibly they are, but the paradox now is that they are protected by the economic exchange treaty between South Africa and the European Union. So, it's not possible for this government to confiscate the property or the land belonging to a German or a French company. But it's possible to confiscate our land (we, the people who live here and who have lived in the country for three hundred years), because we're not protected by this treaty.

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    Sputnik: You mentioned the land issue. I know that there the law about "expropriation without compensation" is currently being discussed, and according to many, it might primarily affect landowners from Boer and Afrikaner minorities. Is it so?

    Dan Roodt: Yes, it is. And, traditionally in this country ever since the 19th century, when the British came here, and took over the Cape from the Dutch the second time in 1806, since then they mainly dominated the urban economy, even though after the Second World War we were also successful in creating large industries.

    But, traditionally the English speakers dominated the urban economy, whereas we are traditionally farmers and we've lived all over South Africa in rural areas, and that's why most of the land or large portion of it still belongs to us, and the families — I mean, there are farms that have been passed from generation to generation.

    Sputnik: You personally brought up the problems of the Afrikaner and Boer minorities before European politicians, you had meetings at the European Parliament earlier this year. What was the reaction in Brussels?

    Dan Roodt: We're getting a lot of support from the patriotic, or the "new patriotic" parties in Europe — from the French Front Nacional, and Vlaams Belang in Belgium, or the Dutch Freedom Party in the Netherlands, or the Alternative for Germany, but from the mainstream parties — yes, it's also complete silence. They are not interested in talking to us. I've also written to the EU ambassador in Pretoria representing the entire European Union, and they didn't even reply to me.

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    I've also contacted the British Commonwealth Human Rights Commission in London. They did reply to me, but they referred me back to our own human rights commission. But it's doing absolutely nothing to address these issues. And if you look at especially the German ambassador or the Swedish ambassador, and their tweets on Twitter and so on — they are very happy with the situation here, and they've only got praise for our government. 

    They don't say anything about the violence taking place on farms, or the killings, or the antipathy towards white people, or the slogans like "one settler — one bullet" and "you stole our land". These sorts of slogans — they are inherently dangerous, I think, and they could lead to polarization and violence in South Africa.

    Sputnik: In your opinion, what could be done to solve the problems of Afrikaner and Boer minorities — is it raising awareness, is it talking about their problems openly?

    Dan Roodt: I think raising awareness, of course, must come first, because people don't even know that it exists, and luckily people like Lauren Southern, like other YouTubers, they've come to South Africa and they've made some videos. For example, this documentary video that Lauren shot in South Africa — it already has a million views on Youtube, which is quite a lot. 

    But, in a second phase, I think, the system in South Africa has to be changed, because we've got a form of ethnic domination in South Africa at the moment, where the two largest black tribes — the Zulus and the Xhosa, that are traditionally from the east coast of the country, they dominate politics in South Africa. They also dominate the public companies, the state-owned enterprises, which they have convoluted dry.

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    I mean you see the headlines in the newspapers every day in the newspapers about how much money has been stolen, or misspent, I mean they bankrupted our national airline several times over. So, we must get rid of that domination, we must have a far more balanced system, where we also have a say, as in Europe or in any other place. In all the other countries minorities also have a say in the affairs of the country.

    In Canada, there are only 6 million Québécois out of about 13 million Canadians, but they've got their own province, and they can maintain their own language and culture. So that's what we should have in South Africa too. There is a huge attack on our culture. 

    They've actually destroyed a lot of our statues, books in public collections have been lost or simply made into pulp. They are literally destroying our heritage in this country and that's against international law. It's against the treaties that this government has signed, I also contacted UNESCO in Paris about that, and then they referred me to the local ministry here, but they are just not interested in communicating with you.

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    So, we have a huge problem here, and I would like to see countries in Europe mediating in this issue, so that perhaps our government will speak to us if there is another government on the other side — bringing us together to talk about these issues, because they are getting worse and worse all the time.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    farmers, minority, violence, human rights, European Union, United States, Russia, United Kingdom, South Africa
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