During my recent foray back into South Africa, I had the opportunity to visit Apartheid Museum in Soweto. I would say I had a good time, but good seems to imply some sense of joy, rather than respect that such a heavy topic requires. It was simply an experience (rather hard to swallow, at many times) that showed all too well the terror and injustice that ruled South Africa officially (and unofficially) for so many years during the Apartheid era. I couldn’t help but wonder, “How would I have acted if I had been here during this time? Would I have supported the system? Would I have fought against it?” More chilling were the similarities I noted about the South African policy of apartheid, the German extermination of Jews, and even America’s unjust treatment of Native Americans. All of these scenarios included one group of people who assumed they were superior to another group of people. All were afraid of those they were persecuting. And most decisions made during those various “campaigns” were made out of fear. Don’t believe me? Just change the word township to ghetto to reservation… they mean essentially the same thing; a way to keep “them” away from “us”.
Apartheid in South Africa officially ended in 1994. The German holocaust is taught in history class, as is the slaughter and eventual removal of Native Americans from their land. But with such a scary thing happening so many times the world over (and the three I’ve noted are but a few examples) I can’t help but think “Where is the injustice happening now? What people are being tortured, detained, jailed, beaten, persecuted; just for being different, right now, in my lifetime?”
Look for those that are Apart. Don’t be afraid of them. Welcome them. Or the world will be ruled by fear and a constant sense of Apartheid.