Discussion in 'New Roundtable' started by islstl, Aug 2, 2009.
No the Republicans left him. He never changed.
Oh Winston, wrong again!
Dean Stockwell from Quantum Leap, Battlestar Galactica, and the original Dune movie is gone at 85.
He played a son of a bitch of a Cylon in Battlestar. This is some great line reading here:
Battlestar Galactica | “I’m A Machine” - YouTube
I couldn't place his Dune roll and I've seen it a hundred times so had to look it up. Dr Yueh, the traitor.
It was a bravura performance. He was able to show the conflict in his soul and was the best actor in the movie by a mile.
FW de Klerk was a complicated and interesting man.
F.W. de Klerk, who as South Africa’s last White president opened the door to Black majority rule in one of sub-Saharan Africa’s most prosperous nations by releasing Nelson Mandela from prison, died Nov. 11 at his home in Cape Town. He was 85 years old.
The F.W. de Klerk Foundation announced his death Thursday and said it came after his battle with mesothelioma cancer. The foundation added that he is survived by his wife Elita, his children Jan and Susan and his grandchildren.
A son of a politically prominent family within South Africa’s White Afrikaner minority, Mr. de Klerk saw himself as a moderate reformer who hoped to preserve the old White-dominated political order even while loosening the reins of repression. Like Mikhail Gorbachev in his attempts to reform the Soviet Union, Mr. de Klerk unleashed a process of rapid transformation that he could not control and that inevitably led to the toppling of the old regime. Still, under Mr. de Klerk’s stewardship, the changes came without large-scale bloodshed, which many observers hailed as near-miraculous.
Although he and Mandela shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the two men became bitter antagonists during the grueling negotiations over the shape of South Africa’s future government. At the peace prize ceremony in Oslo, though, Mandela graciously praised his fellow Nobel winner.
“He had the courage to admit that a terrible wrong had been done to our country and people,” said Mandela, and “the foresight to understand and accept that all the people of South Africa must, through negotiations and as equal participants, together determine what they want to make of their future.”
Born in Johannesburg on March 18, 1936, Frederik Willem de Klerk was the youngest chief executive in South African history when he took power in 1989. His predecessor, P.W. Botha, was a deeply conservative leader and former defense minister who fit firmly into the traditional mold of Afrikaner heads of state.
At first glance, Mr. de Klerk did as well. His father, Jan de Klerk, was a cabinet minister in the original National Party government that took power in 1948 and implemented apartheid, codifying long-standing racial repression and disenfranchising Blacks as noncitizens. The younger de Klerk’s uncle, Johannes Strijdom, was prime minister in the 1950s.
Descendants of Dutch, French and German colonists who first settled in the southern tip of Africa in 1652, Afrikaners developed their own language, culture and shared sense of grievances, embodied in the platform of the National Party. They saw themselves as a “White tribe in Africa” — both a chosen people and yet a uniquely vulnerable minority in their own homeland, in which they and other Whites constituted about 15 percent of the population.
Trained as a lawyer near Johannesburg at Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, Mr. de Klerk came of age during the heyday of apartheid, when millions of Black people were consigned to impoverished rural “homelands” and those who sought to live and work in South Africa’s thriving cities needed special passes. In 1969, he married Marike Willemse, his college sweetheart, with whom he had three children, and entered the Whites-only Parliament in 1972.
Mr. de Klerk served as one of Botha’s right-hand men for more than a decade as party leader in the Transvaal, the northern province that was part of the Afrikaner heartland. But by the mid-1980s, the apartheid government came under increasing pressure from large-scale Black unrest at home and from international sanctions, and business confidence hit an all-time low.
Botha attempted to institute a program of halfhearted political reforms, but it only inflamed Black resistance. Meanwhile, Mr. de Klerk was quietly beginning to question apartheid’s efficacy. “I took a leap in my own mind, more decisively than many of the National Party politicians, that power-sharing with Blacks was the right course for a new political dispensation,” he told journalist Allister Sparks years later.
Mr. de Klerk was also motivated by his religious beliefs. A member of the smallest and most strictly Calvinist branch of the Dutch Reformed Church, he developed the sense that God had called upon him to unite and save the people of South Africa from a prolonged and bloody conflict.
After Botha suffered a stroke, Mr. de Klerk took over as party leader in February 1989; he forced Botha from the presidency in August with the support of the cabinet. One month later, he won a general election and earned a solid governing majority.
As president, Mr. de Klerk moved slowly but decisively. In October 1989, he released six of Mandela’s comrades from life sentences. He met three times with Mandela, who had served 27 years for seeking to overthrow the regime. Mandela came away believing Mr. de Klerk was “a man we could do business with” — a phrase similar to what British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had used to describe Gorbachev a few years earlier.
From their first meeting, Mandela noticed that Mr. de Klerk was listening to him. “This was a novel experience,” Mandela recalled in his autobiography. “Mr. de Klerk seemed to be making an attempt to truly understand.”
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The result came a few weeks later in a historic televised address on Feb. 2, 1990. Mr. de Klerk declared that the election had “placed our country on the road of drastic change,” and announced that he planned to free Mandela. He also said he would end the banning of the long-outlawed African National Congress, which was the main organization seeking to overthrow apartheid, and open talks about the country’s future.
“The new president, short, rotund, balding, polished but without much charisma, head cocked to one side like a sparrow and bobbing on his right foot as he spoke, turned three centuries of his country’s history on its head,” Sparks wrote in his book, “Tomorrow Is Another Country.”
“He didn’t just change the country, he transmuted it.”
After releasing Mandela, Mr. de Klerk’s government began repealing many of the apartheid laws, but he remained strongly opposed to a “winner takes all” system of majority rule. “Don’t expect me to negotiate myself out of power,” he told Western diplomats. Yet he proceeded to do just that.
After 18 months of talks about talks, the two sides launched the Convention for a Democratic South Africa outside Johannesburg in December 1991. They signed a Record of Understanding in September 1992, which broke the deadlock over how to go about drafting a new constitution.
Mr. de Klerk had wanted multiple race-based assemblies, each with veto power, but agreed to accept a single elected assembly to create a new political system and serve as a transitional legislature for the new government. He also settled for a government of national unity with a multiparty cabinet for a fixed period of five years.
There were times when the two sides engaged in bitter recriminations, with each accusing the other of bad faith. Mandela denounced Mr. de Klerk as “the head of an illegitimate, discredited minority regime.” Mr. de Klerk argued that he faced the difficult balancing act of placating hard-liners inside his cabinet and ruling party, while making adequate compromises to keep Mandela and the activists at the table.
After a by-election defeat by White Conservatives in the Transvaal, Mr. de Klerk called for a nationwide referendum among White voters that, by a margin of 69 percent to 31 percent, gave him a decisive mandate to complete the reform process. He and his party were defeated by Mandela and the ANC in South Africa’s first multiracial election in April 1994.
Mr. de Klerk was appointed second vice president in the ANC-led national unity government, a position with almost no power. Two years later, when the government adopted a new constitution calling for the elimination of multiparty rule in 1999, Mr. de Klerk resigned and led his deeply divided party into opposition.
He resigned as party leader the next year and faded from public view, except for an embarrassing episode in 1998 when he announced he was divorcing his wife of 39 years. One week later, he married his mistress, Elita Georgiades. Details of the affair and the divorce became public when the first Mrs. de Klerk published her ghostwritten autobiography.
For years, Mr. de Klerk insisted that apartheid was in its origins “an honorable vision of justice” that over time had proven unworkable and unjust. He characterized the system as a mere mistake rather than a machine of brutal repression that had denied the vast majority of South Africans the most basic human rights. But in August 1996, he apologized to the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the “pain and suffering” the regime caused.
Still, the legacy of the apartheid years trailed him. In 2007, Eugene de Kock, an apartheid-era police commander who headed a death squad that targeted anti-government activists, said Mr. de Klerk’s hands were “soaked in blood.” He accused Mr. de Klerk of approving gross human rights violations, a charge the former president vehemently denied.
“I have not only a clear conscience; I am not guilty of any crime whatsoever,” Mr. de Klerk said during a news conference in Cape Town.
Glenn Frankel, a former Washington Post foreign correspondent and editor, is the author of several books. His latest is “Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic.”
Democracy Dies in Darkness
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