One of the most vital imports South Africa gets from the United States is a television program: "The Cosby Show." Cosby is the most popular program on South African TV. Next come ''Dallas," "Golden Girls," "Dynasty," "Murder She Wrote," "Winds of War," and "The A-Team." If the intent of sanctions against South Africa is to communicate outrage at apartheid, and to do so in a way that puts more pressure on whites than on blacks, then why not impose a ban on the export of American TV shows to South Africa?
The next battlefield over the so-called Regan Doctrine is the decade-old consensus that America should stay out of the civil war in Angola. Based on the belief that the United States should assist anti-Communist freedom fighters everywhere, elements within the Reagan administration and in Congress are urging that the U.S. supply as much as $200 million in aid to Jonas Savimbi's anti-Marxist guerrilla group, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).
Louis Farrakhan has figured out the secret of demagoguery. First the posters announcing his appearance go up—"Power at Last Forever," they say—and alarm bells go off in the city's Jewish community. Then pressure is exerted on black officials, not always subtly, to denounce the Black Muslim minister. Next a press conference is called at which Jews and some but not all black leaders criticize Farrakhan. This gets TV and newspaper coverage, but so do comments by other blacks who either defend Farrakhan or complain about being leaned on to attack him.
I had reported from some twenty-four countries before I set foot in America. I will never forget the first shock—even after having been in every country from the Sudan to South Africa—at realizing that I was in another place entirely, a New World. In the casbah of Algiers during the first referendum called by de Gaulle in 1959, when the women hurrying down the steep streets to vote for the first time pulled their yashmaks around their faces as they passed a man (which seemed to me only to make their dark eyes more fascinating), I was still in the Old World, however strange it was.
Edward Kennedy favors national health insurance, everybody knows. He also favors detente with Soviet Union, a break-up of the big oil companies, immediate normalization of relations with Communist-China, the Equal Rights Amendment and Medicaid-financed abortions. He doesn't think Russian mucking about in Africa should affect our willingness to negotiate arms limitation treaties. He co-sponsored the Humphrey-Hawkins full employment bill. He publicly criticizes human rights violations in Chile, Argentina, South Africa and Nicaragua, but prefers the "quiet approach" to the Soviet Union.
Mahatma Gandhi and his Apostles by Ved Mehta (Viking; $14.95) Gandhi and Civil Disobedience by Judith M. Brown (Cambridge University Press; $32.50) The elephant is like a rope, says the blind man. It is like a tree-trunk, says another. No, it is like a snake, says a third.
Will the all-too-precipitate departure of the black nations brand the twenty-first Olympiad as "the White Games?" This was obviously Africa's purpose in exiting en bloc, if helter-skelter: to emphasize the dignity of the black man by undermining the international character of the event. The issue for the Africans was the presence in Montreal of New Zealand, which earlier this month had sent a rugby team to play in racist South Africa. Sadly, despite the commendable motives of the Africans, their gesture is doomed to failure. And, what is worse, oblivion.
… I was arrested on May 11, 1970, in Sao Paulo, on my way to dinner with a young lady I had recently met… She had been arrested several days previously and violently tortured and taken to Operacion Bandeirantes… With four armed policemen we went to OBAN headquarters. During the journey [one] ordered the young lady to show me her hands so that I 'could have an idea of what awaited me.' They… were handcuffed… greatly swollen and covered with dark purple hematomas.
Robert Kennedy is on to something. He hovers over it like a pig in the Perigord sniffing a truffle. It is just below the surface; he can't quite see it; he doesn't know its size or shape or worth or even what it's called. He only knows it's there, and he is going to get it. Where does he look? Among the grape-pickers on strike in central California, in Cloth Market Square in Cracow, on the Ole Miss campus, in a Senate hearing room. And always with the same single-minded, almost frightening intensity.