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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 25. 3rd October 1973

Do We Need These 'Diplomats'?

Do We Need These 'Diplomats'?

Last Sunday, September 30, Herr Philip of the South African Consulate burst into print in the 'Sunday Times' with a full page advertisement headed: "Should the Black peoples of South Africa rule themselves? The South African Government answered 'Yes', years ago." The text of the ad boasted "Today 6 of the Black nations living in South Africa already have local self government in their historic homelands".

It goes on to say that the land area, the population, the annual budget, and the per capita income of the Transkei (Xhosa nation) and Kwa Zulu (Zulu nation) arc greater than some random countries named. Or arc they so random? The land areas and populations are bigger than the Bahamas, Bahrain, etc. and richer than Burundi, Guinea, etc. — in fact a selection of countries designed to distort the true picture about as far as it could be distorted.

If anyone still doubts that the white South African rulers are fascists, that Vorster and his henchmen supported the Nazis in World War II (they were actually jailed for it at the time), then Herr Philip's propagandising in New Zealand surely proves it. Philip must have learned his tactics from Goebbels, who based his on the theory that the bigger the lies you tell, the more people will believe them.

Docs Philip's latest advertisement compare the budget or the percapita income of the blacks to the whites in Southern Africa? Of course not. Have his figures about land areas and populations any relevance to living standards in the countries compared? Does the bit about the South African Black nations having self-government actually mean anything, e.g. are they independent of the cruel white-imposed pass laws and similarly fascistic legislation? Not likely.

The "Sunday Times" advert is the work of a desperate man. Thanks to the efforts of the anti-apartheid movement and the Labour Government's opposition to apartheid, Philip is now finding people are increasingly sceptical of his propaganda. Lately he has given up trying to rebut UN and other statistics which illustrate the miserable life of non-whites in South Africa. He is now given to saying that because things are moving so quickly in South Africa, all statistics arc out of date!

While Philip still wins the prize as number one ratbag in the diplomatic corps in Wellington, he is very closely followed by the Malaysian High Commissioner, Mr Jack De Silva. They arc similar in their politics and the arrogant way in which they have interfered in New Zealand's internal politics. Like Philip, De Silva is an experienced diplomat who has come to New Zealand with a sinister purpose — to ruthlessly weed out any Malaysian students who are the least bit critical of the Malaysian Government.

De Silva claims to have been a communist sympathiser in his youth. That admission means he is either a renegade or a long established agent of the Malaysian security service. In either case no New Zealander or Malaysian student can trust him.

To date De Silva has been unsuccessful in his attempts to bully Malaysian students. His charges of "communist propaganda" against the Otago Chinese Language Club have been effectively rubbished by that group. The Students Associations and a few academics with guts like Victoria's I.D. Campbell have exposed his cries about "communist subversion" as direct intimidation of Malaysian students in New Zealand. And the Labour Government has refused to co-operate in his witch-hunt.

Newspaper reports from Kuala Lumpur indicate that the Malaysian Government is supporting De Silva's campaign. So it is clear that the Malaysian High Commission's efforts to make all Malaysian students toe the government line will continue. For this reason NZUSA and its constitutent students associations must continue to ensure that Malaysian and other overseas students enjoy the same rights of free speech as local students.

Salient has been accused by De Silva and his friends of being "anti-Malaysian". In fact our only crime has been to print a few articles explaining the reality of life in Malaysia, and scores of letters from Malaysian students of all points of view. De Silva's real objection is that we have allowed Malaysian students the right of free speech, a right they do not enjoy in their own country.

NZUSA has recently made protests to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about Philip's advertisements and De Silva's hysterical mouthings. Because they have flagrantly violated accepted diplomatic practice by interfering in New Zealand's internal affairs, Philip and De Silva deserve to be booted out of New Zealand. This country has enough grubby little right-wingers without these two reminders of the Third Reich swelling their numbers.

—Roger Steele & Peter Franks