Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Terrorism has been a part of human society for centuries if not millennials. Even if we struggle to agree on a common definition we can still have an educated conversation on what it looks like and what has been the impact on societies both past and present. This series will examine terrorist movements and terrorist acts across time and place.
We will discuss how ideology feeds terrorism and how disparate groups can share ideologies in different parts of the world. We will look at how leadership functions as well as how terrorist groups get their message out, both to gain recruits as well as to strike fear and anxiety in populations.
What happened today:
- October 30, 2002: Bombings in Soweto, South Africa
One person was killed and three wounded in Boer extremist bombings in Soweto, South Africa in October 2002.
SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA – Once an extremist always an extremist?
You would be hard pressed to come up with a worse example of minority rule over the majority than what was called ‘governance’ in South Africa for much of the 20th century. A tiny number of whites, some who had settled in the region from the Netherlands (he so-called ‘Afrikaaners’) and others from the UK, lorded it over the vast population of black Africans to whom it gave few if any rights.
The campaign to oust this regime lasted decades and gave us one of history’s most inspiring leaders: Nelson Mandela. His perseverance through prison and isolation and his subsequent passion over bringing real change to South Africa is legendary.
Alas, South Africa is not what it could be. Apartheid rule has been supplanted by corrupt black rule and the nation is a mess to put it mildly. I am fairly certain that many citizens of that country are not very happy with what in the end replaced a horrid system that oppressed them, often violently.
At the same time I would imagine that few want to see a resurrection of the system of governance that gave us segregation and the ‘townships’: poor, underserviced areas where the majority blacks were forced to live. The present is no paradise to be sure, but no on wants to go back.
Except a few extremists.
White South Africans clearly lost a lot when apartheid fell. Some may look wistfully on what they once possessed but thankfully very few are keen to use violence to intimidate others to kowtow to their demands.
On this day in 2002, however, a series of bombs were detonated in Soweto, killing one woman and injuring her husband. Other explosions targeted a mosque and a gas station and a further two individuals were wounded. A group calling itself the Boeremag (aka Warriors of the Boer Nation) claimed responsibility.
We also declare that it is the end of suppression of the Boer nation, and for that we honour only God. For this reason the ANC must also know that it is not only dealing with the Boer nation, but with the revenge… of the God of the Boer nation. Here in the Southland we will establish a nation for our God that will honour only HimLetter sent to police with the title ‘Soldiers of God’
The trial of the suspected bombers went on for over a decade but finally in October 2013 the leader of the Boeremag, Tom Vorster, and five members of his co-conspirators were sentenced to an effective 25 years’ imprisonment by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Others involved got lighter sentences.
There are still white supremacist groups seeking to jump back to what they see as the glory days of white-ruled South Africa. But, while we may see more acts of violence, it is highly unlikely those terrible times will return. Thank god!