Editorials

commonweal TO DISINVEST OR NOT CAESAR MAY HAVE reckoned correctly that Gaul is divided into three parts, but the government of P. W. Botha erred fatally when it trisected South African political...

...It should consider seriously the Solarz-Gray bill now before Congress...
...A lot of very decent Britons feel instinctively that people should not hire their bodies out as baby makers, and that other people should not pay them to do so...
...Some of these have exemplary records in terms of equal pay for blacks, equal access to promotion, and educational possibilities...
...Otherwise, you may be separated from wife and children for years...
...Finally, we must not forget the story of Reuben...
...It remains the government's point of departure," Mr...
...Cry the beloved country cry, while there may yet be time...
...Thatcher's government, and the opposition all oppose buying babies...
...The difficulty is that it must be responded to not only morally, but effectively...
...When you tickle us, we laugh...
...The logic is impeccable...
...And the disengaged Reagan administration must be forced to urge Pretoria to welcome all its peoples...
...Chamber of Commerce urged Pretoria to include outlawed leaders and organizations in discussions about South Africa's future...
...You are aware that the security forces behave like "an occupying foreign army controlling enemy territory," to use the words of Archbishop Denis Hurley...
...A thousand have been detained without charge...
...A parliamentary commission, Mrs...
...Still, Americans must continue to prod South Africa with possible embargoes and disinvestment...
...As for the baby . . . "Would baby mind being bought...
...Well, there are far more British couples (as there are American) seeking children to adopt than available babies...
...No wonder South Africa's Catholic bishops' conference last year condemned the Botha constitution...
...Bit by bit, the spirit of capitalism, democratic or whatever, is making its way into the promising market for fresh humans...
...Please, we are trying to avert a blood bath . . . When you scratch us, we bleed...
...Blacks make up forty percent of South Africa's 45,000 police...
...The "precious commodity," of course, was the unborn child...
...Paton writes that South Africa has become increasingly more sensitive to the moral judgment of the West...
...If that language jars just a little bit, you probably haven't been keeping up...
...Botha said this January,' 'that because of the diversity of South African society, it is neither desirable nor practicable to accommodate all communities in the same way...
...Oh well, give it time...
...Congress will attempt to do so this session...
...You cannot own real estate in the white areas of your country eighty-seven percent of your nation...
...American investment is weighted toward the innovative sectors of the economy: oil, cars, and computers, sectors crucial to the growth of the South African economy...
...The Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility has been consistent in urging prompt disinvestment...
...Joseph's life and freedom must not be sold for our own immoderate prudence...
...The United States is apartheid South Africa's largest trading partner, and American banks and business one of its largest investors...
...If you have been resettled in Thornhill, Ciskei homeland's largest resettlement site, you know only half your children will reach the age of five...
...If you are one of South Africa's 23 million black people, you cannot vote in national elections...
...Do we sense some "understandable" instincts not yet eradicated by the logic of commerce and commodity some lingering suspicion that baby deals are not quite like pork belly deals...
...In Walking on Thorns (Eerdmans, $3.95), Allan Boesak, president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and a renowned foe of apartheid, warns of the "Reuben factor...
...Forty other states and numerous municipalities are considering similar legislation...
...Quite the contrary, says the Economist...
...It would be a shame, says the Economist, if an "emotional Commonweal: 228 spasm" on the part of British politicians put a stop to such an all-around beneficial transaction...
...Your country is becoming a tinderbox...
...commonweal TO DISINVEST OR NOT CAESAR MAY HAVE reckoned correctly that Gaul is divided into three parts, but the government of P. W. Botha erred fatally when it trisected South African political life with its 1983 constitution...
...It has already forceably relocated 3.5 million of your people...
...You are told with whom you may socialize and where you can look for work...
...Many have joined because no other work is available...
...It's not just the politicians, of course...
...This was true of the oil embargo and the arms embargo...
...You know better than anyone that South Africa is experiencing its worst recession in fifty years, that as the recession has deepened, so has the unrest and instability...
...And when the government banned twenty-nine associations in March, including the 1.5 million multi-racial United Democratic Front, a group committed to peaceful change which formally disavows violence, you knew that the government was only piling 19 April 1985: 227 the fagots higher, readying its own eventual explosive demise...
...There are 350 American companies in South Africa...
...If many people are willing to tolerate surrogate motherhood as "all right, if a bit fishy," they draw the line at making it commercial...
...Men can sell their sperm, the Economist points out, for purposes of artificial insemination...
...If a miner, you are subject to the ' 'three percent'' rule: only three percent of the black miners can have their families with them...
...The State of Connecticut recently sold $80 million in stock in companies with South African connections...
...In the last fifteen months, 270 people have been killed in your country, all black but one...
...Other voices warn that such action will prove counterproductive, leaving South Africa more impervious to outside international pressure than it already is...
...INFANTREPRENEURS If you had been watching ABC's ' 'Nightline" last March 29 you would have heard a reporter say of a young pregnant woman, " She has a precious commodity there.'' The program dealt with for-profit brokers who arrange private adoptions between unwed mothers and prospective parents in search of "premium" (i.e., healthy, Caucasian)babies...
...You deplore this, but you know the government has fostered tribal factionalism...
...Thus the Economist's conclusion: "Commercial surrogacy would increase the supply of babies to parents who want them...
...There is no legislative chamber for you, not even one with a ' 'blacks only'' sign...
...Such a child might more normally reflect that he [sic] would not have been born if the parents he knows had not wanted him so much that they paid out big money to get him...
...Some say American firms are Reubenesque: despite what they have done to implement the Sullivan Principles (and not all have), they are nonetheless collaborating in Joseph's bondage...
...Not, however, the Economist...
...In the U.S., as a result of a mounting repugnance for apartheid, there is a growing move on the part of American citizens and stockholders for disinvestment in South African industry and finance...
...You must carry an identification pass with you at all times...
...Reuben was responsible but cowardly, saving his brother Joseph's life, but agreeing to have him sold into slavery...
...If the government decides to resettle you, for whatever reason, it may do so at any time...
...Unrest is endemic...
...The Economist's answer was a definite "no...
...He proposes to monitor the situation over the next two years before recommending such punitive economic sanctions...
...It seems that a British firm specializing in surrogate motherhood had arranged for a woman to be artificially inseminated with the sperm of an American citizen...
...So you are not surprised at "the troubles...
...Of these, 125 subscribe to the Sullivan Principles, pledging to overcome apartheid in the work place...
...The Economist points out that when South Africa has been isolated, it has a remarkable record for developing means of going it alone...
...South Africa's economic system is predicated on your cheap labor...
...Will white people hear what we are trying to say...
...He has no serious intention of dismantling apartheid...
...A press uproar stopped the American couple from taking the baby...
...In December, thirty-five Republican congressional members spoke jointly against apartheid...
...Our European and Japanese trading partners must be convinced to fall into line...
...But why...
...Clearly, there is a growing awareness of the necrosis of apartheid...
...With all the condescension of the Future speaking to the Past, the Economist calls these instincts' 'understandable" but nonetheless bad guides to policy...
...Why should women be banned from marketing their half of the reproduction process...
...What would you ask of ours...
...They said it entrenches racial segregation...
...Cost of the child: around $7,000 to the mother, somewhat more to the broker...
...By excluding its black majority, eighty percent of the population, from representation in a new three-chamber Parliament, South Africa has chosen a powerful but mistaken course: national exsanguination...
...All the more so because it is incremental...
...Remember supply and demand...
...Last January, the dependably no-nonsense Economist ran an editorial under the title, "Is Buying Babies Bad...
...Nor has Bishop Desmond Tutu urged immediate disinvestment...
...Forty percent of your children are malnourished, ten percent with kwasiorkor, extreme protein deficiency...
...It is such laughter the world, including South Africa, longs to hear...
...To believe that disinvestment will bring our government 'to its knees,' " wrote Alan Paton recently, "is to believe nonsense...
...It has become nearly self-sufficient in both areas...
...Yet such firms employ only one percent of South Africa's work force...
...You have seen a growing black rage hack to death so-called collaborators, and even their babies...
...In ghettos masquerading as "homelands," such as Tsweletswele near East London, there is no safe drinking water, and no proper sanitation...
...More recently, the U.S...
...You cry your beloved country...
...Admittedly, it is a small beachhead, but the most effective leverage point outsiders can now reckon on...
...The latter's decision to keep her child must be honored, the editorial allows, regardless of any contract...
...The Economist does worry momentarily about the infant who might be turned down by the "commissioning parents" or not surrendered by the biological mother...
...It should not be squandered...

Vol. 112 • April 1985 • No. 8


 
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