On May 8 the House of Representatives passed by voice vote H.R. 5690, a bill to remove the African National Congress (ANC) from treatment as a terrorist organization for certain acts or events and to provide relief for some members of the ANC regarding admissibility into the United States. The passage of this bill identifies those whom our Representatives on the left admire and are willing to help.
H.R. 5690 was sponsored by Representative Howard L. Berman (D-CA) and had six co-sponsors - Representatives John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Donald Payne (D-NJ) and Peter Welch (D-VT). The bill states that for the purpose of entry into the United States present and former members of the ANC will not be inadmissible based upon either their membership in the organization or their "anti-apartheid activities undertaken during the 1948-1990 period of apartheid rule in South Africa." As far as exempting the ANC from treatment as a terrorist organization, the bill states that anything ANC members did before H.R. 5690 is enacted will not qualify the organization for inclusion among the ranks of terrorists.
A little historical background is in order. ANC was formed in 1912 to advocate the increase of rights for black South Africans. This surely was a laudable goal, as was resistance to the policy of apartheid, which was implemented formally in 1948. But as the years passed, the organization became increasingly enamored with violence until in 1961 it created Umkhonto we Sizwe, a military wing intended to fight the South African Government in a series of guerrilla campaigns.
The ANC Website acknowledges its revolutionary and military fervor and "desire for radical change." It states, "Does this mean that before an actual beginning can be made by the armed challenge we have to wait for the evolvement of some sort of deep crisis in the enemy camp which is serious enough to hold out the possibility of an immediate all-round insurrection? Certainly not! We believe that given certain basic factors, both international and local, the actual beginning of armed struggle or guerrilla warfare can be made and having begun can steadily develop conditions for the future all-out war which will eventually lead to the conquest of power." And so ANC began its "all-out war" to seize power in South Africa (all of it duly noted on its current website in increasingly militant and racist language).
During the 1970s and 1980s the ANC murdered a number of military and government personnel as well as civilians. Its attacks included the bombing of the Amanzimtoti shopping center, in which five people were killed and over 60 injured; the Sterland bombing in Pretoria; the bombing of the Wimpy Bar in Pretoria, which injured 16 people; the Juicy Lucy Cafe bombing in Pretoria, which left five women severely injured; and the Magoo's Bar bombing in Durban, which left three people dead and 71 injured. ANC acts of sabotage aimed at government institutions included the bombing of the Johannesburg Magistrates Court; an attack on the Koeberg nuclear power station; a rocket attack on Voortrekkerhoogte, a military base in Pretoria; and the 1983 Church Street bombing in Pretoria, which killed 19 and wounded more than 200. The above list provides a glimpse of how violent the ANC was and how many people it murdered or injured, yet it is not a comprehensive list. Many more individuals and their families were targeted for assassination, prisons, theaters and railway stations were bombed, and members of the South African police force were murdered. If these barbaric acts do not qualify as terrorism it would be hard to define what would.
ANC, which today governs South Africa, has been allied with the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (CSATU) in the Tripartite Alliance since apartheid ended in 1994. Some, though certainly not all, members of the ANC have been dedicated Communists themselves with extensive ties to Moscow during the Cold War.
And yet in spite of this, the House of Representatives has voted to rewrite history and declare that ANC's 20th-Century actions were not the actions of a terrorist organization and to give safe haven to the men and women who committed these atrocities.
What makes this even more appalling is that currently there is a long waiting list for entry into the United States for Iraqis who have served and translated faithfully for our soldiers. Many of these Iraqis have placed themselves and their families at risk and have become the target of murderous retaliation campaigns by al Qaeda. Instead of helping these men and women who have sacrificed everything to assist the American military and build a free and democratic Iraq, Congress is busy providing succor to people among whom are terrorists and former terrorists.
What next? Twenty years from now will Congress pursue legislation to remove al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah from the list of terrorist organizations for the atrocities they have committed around the world in the 1990s and 2000s?
For obvious reasons the vote was voice, no recordation. The Senate probably will not acquiesce. Should the House pass such a disgraceful measure even if there is no disclosure of more than a handful of its proponents?