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I protest at Jörgensen's erroneous comparison of the treatment of women in many countries to South Africa's apartheid, which I lived through. The opposition of many medical colleagues led to our emigrating after the 1960 Sharpeville and Langa massacres. Another major medical exodus took place after schoolchildren were massacred in the Soweto township in 1976. Living with apartheid was untenable. Fighting it was futile.
Dr Neil Aggett, despite being 'white', was tortured to the point that he ‘allegedly hanged himself’ after 70 days of detention without trial. Dr Costa Gazidis (also white) was jailed in solitary confinement for months before being exiled to the UK.
Apartheid was not a simple separation of the 'races', denial of the vote and of education. It was the vicious and violent suppression of all non-white opposition. Non-whites had no political influence at all.
The use of the word ‘apartheid’ should be restricted to the truly awful situation in South Africa between 1948 and 1989. Comparing almost any social or political situation to apartheid is to belittle, if not deny, the absolute nastiness of apartheid and to diminish the well-deserved admiration for people like Mandela, whose suffering infinitely surpassed Jörgensen's warranted objection to women's disadvantage in most countries.
1. Arnold, PC A Unique Migration: South African Doctors Fleeing to Australia. Amazon.com. 2010
No competing interests
10 February 2018
Peter C Arnold
PO Box 280, Edgecliff, New South Wales 2027, Australia