Mr. Prime Minister,
Comrade leaders of SWAPO of Namibia,
Distinguished delegates to this historic Swedish People's Parliament against Apartheid,
It is difficult to find words to describe our feelings as stand here today. Never in the history of our struggle have we witnessed such an event as is represented by this People's Parliament. We have here today an entire nation gathered in its capital city, Stockholm, to discuss a situation which obtains at the other end of the globe.
Yet the geographic distance of South Africa from these shores has not reduced the deep sense of offence and grievance that the Swedish people feel at the existence and perpetuation of the apartheid crime against humanity. And so you have met here to consider what you can do to help accomplish what has become a national Swedish task, namely, the speedy and complete eradication of the apartheid system and its replacement by a democratic and nonracial society.
We feel it deeply that what you are engaged in today and have been in the past, is more than an act of solidarity. It goes beyond mere support for us and for the struggling people of South Africa. You are not acting simply as a result of a feeling of sympathy for our people.
We are inspired by the sense we have of this country that the millions of Swedish people whom you represent, know it in the depth of their being that the apartheid system is a gross and intolerable denial of their own humanity. We believe that it is your own conviction that the degradation to which the people of South Africa are subjected is a felony against you as a people and a blight on a universal order which the Swedish nation would like to see, one in which the ideals of peace, friendship, equality and the fulfilment of all persons, without regard to race, colour or nationality, would reign supreme.
The warm and heartfelt greetings that we bring from Africa, from the leadership and the members of the ANC, as well as the millions of our struggling people, to this historic parliament, are therefore directed to a people who do not stand apart from us. We trust that you will accept these greetings in the spirit in which they are sent, as fellow freedom fighters who stand in the same ranks with us in the united struggle whose victory is the common cause of all mankind.
The blood of our people continues to flow in the cities, towns and villages of South Africa without stop. The sight of the corpses produced by apartheid violence is the gruesome daily reply which families, communities and an entire people receive for having dared to rise up and demand freedom now.
Botha's prisons are full to overflowing, occupied by thousands of people whose only crime is that they demand that all South Africans, both black and white, should live together as equals, compatriots, brothers and sisters who share a common nationhood. Leaders of our people are facing charges of treason and may be sentenced to death simply because they have struggled for a political system which will ensure that our country is ruled by a government which derives its authority from the will of all our people.
Elsewhere in southern Africa, in Namibia, in Lesotho and Botswana, Angola and Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Swaziland, the people know no peace. For the independent countries and for the South African and Namibian refugees resident in this region, death and the prospect of death at the hands of Pretoria army of aggression and occupation has become a feature of their daily reality.
The gravity of the situation facing the peoples of southern Africa has been emphasised in no uncertain terms by the arrogant and provocative reception in the United States of the puppet of Pretoria and Washington, Jonas Savimbi of UNITA. The subsequent statement of the Reagan Administration that it has agreed to extend all-round support, including military assistance, to this band of mercenaries, constitutes a declaration of war not only against the people of Angola but also the whole of southern Africa.
It is inevitable that the peoples of southern Africa are going to experience a sharply increased offensive carried out by the South African army of aggression and its adjuncts such as UNITA, the MNR, the Zimbabwe mercenaries, the LLA and others. The open endorsement of UNITA by the United States Government is at the same time a public encouragement of the Botha regime itself to step up its use of these mercenary formations, to increase repression in South Africa and to continue its illegal occupation of Namibia. In this situation, for the United States Government to denounce State terrorism is nothing but a deceitful and hollow sham.
Having wept for too long, our mothers have no more tears to shed for those who have fallen. Having carried dead bodies much too often, the young have lost all fear of death. We have learnt from the experience of a generation that to guarantee life itself we need justice and peace. To achieve that objective we must eradicate the source of iniquity, repression and war in our country and region, the apartheid system.
That is why our people are fighting today with unequalled courage and persistence. Despite the imposition of severe restrictions on the press, the Pretoria regime cannot hide the fact that our country in all its parts in engulfed in flames which will only be extinguished when the goal of national emancipation is achieved.
We are determined further to raise the level of our political and military struggle to new heights. We shall succeed and are succeeding in this because the masses of our people are impatient for victory. Because we are no longer prepared to live as slaves, we are today paying the supreme sacrifice and will continue to do so until South Africa is a democratic and peaceful country.
The Pretoria regime continues to entertain the illusion that it can hold on to its illegitimate power by the use of force against the people. It also hopes that it can trick our people into abandoning the struggle by persuading them that it has embarked on a programme aimed at reforming the apartheid system out of existence.
This is exactly what Botha sought to do when he opened the racist parliament three weeks ago. On that occasion, he tried to camouflage a nakedly racist series of measures that he announced with such noble words as democracy, equality and justice. A few days later, he could not avoid coming out in his true colours when he denounced the mere idea of a black president of South Africa as anathema to him, his party and his regime.
Of course, neither the ANC nor any of our people who are engaged in struggle could have been misled by sweet-sounding words, because even as Botha was speaking in his apartheid parliament, his army of murderers was committing fresh massacres of our people. As we stand here, our people in Alexandra Township in Johannesburg are still counting the number of casualties we have suffered in the latest brutal attempt to suppress the democratic movement.
We have understood it clearly that the perspective ahead of us is one of even more massive killing of our people, both inside and outside South Africa. This will be so because the apartheid regime and the system it represents are facing destruction, thanks to the heroic struggle that our people are waging.
Throughout the length and breadth of our country, the people are inspired by the knowledge that victory is in sight. All around us we see the beginning of the end of the apartheid system. Already the Pretoria regime is unable to govern as it wishes. The economy is in crisis, producing enormous social tensions in a country which is already beset by untold conflicts.
At the same time, our white compatriots are beginning to desert the camp of racism in significant numbers. The resignation of Dr. Slabbert from the apartheid parliament and from his position as leader of the official opposition party, dramatised this awakening to the fact that the apartheid system spells disaster for all the people of South Africa.
Driven to desperation by these developments which point to the fact that the apartheid system is doomed, the Botha regime can only resort to ever greater use of force in a hopeless effort to save itself from defeat.
This reality emphasises the urgent necessity for decisive international action to reduce the capacity of the Pretoria regime to carry out this genocidal campaign of terror. The need for comprehensive sanctions against racist South Africa has never been more obvious than it is today.
This People's Parliament against Apartheid understands this very clearly and will not waste its time with self-serving and paternalistic arguments that sanctions will hurt the black oppressed and the neighbouring independent African States. The practical result that the white power bloc is breaking up, thanks to mounting pressure from both within and outside South Africa, has put paid to arguments that action against the apartheid system will result in unifying the whites and thus making change more difficult.
We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation of the measures that Sweden has already taken to isolate apartheid South Africa, including the ban on new investment, the prohibition of the importation of agricultural produce and the Krugerrand, the implementation of the sports and cultural boycott and other measures taken within the Nordic context, such as the cessation of SAS flights to South Africa.
The fact that Sweden has taken these measures has an important effect internationally in that it serves as an example to other countries that sanctions can and must be imposed, unilaterally if necessary. We would like Sweden to continue to play its pioneering role in the struggle against apartheid.
It would seem to us that the continuing unwillingness of Swedish companies to withdraw from South Africa constitutes a contemptuous rejection of the view of the Swedish people in favour of disinvestment. Perhaps the time has come that action is taken to compel these companies to discontinue their policy of destructive engagement with the murderous apartheid system. It is encouraging that a mass popular campaign in this direction has already started. The initiatives already taken in the field of trade sanctions lay the basis for further action in this area as well.
The Swedish Government and people have also played an outstanding role in extending material support to the ANC, SWAPO and the independent countries of our region. That support has been of vital importance in enabling us to look after our own people who are victims of apartheid brutality, and to intensify the mass political struggle. In this regard, we wish to express our appreciation of the excellent initiatives taken by the people themselves to extend assistance to us.
Among others, we refer here to the contribution made by the Swedish cultural workers who organised the Gothenburg Gala concerts as an expression of their unqualified involvement with us, with the ANC, in the struggle to free our country. We refer also to the young, organised in the Swedish Pupils Organisation (ELEV), who have made such an important input to the further strengthening of our relations as peoples, as well as to our material capacity to look after and bring up their counterparts. Our College in Tanzania, SOMAFCO, continues to enjoy the support of many people including, appropriately, the teachers of this country.
This assistance, from people to people, lends added significance to the ever-increasing assistance that is extended to us by the Government of this country. When the Government, through the person of the distinguished statesman, Olof Palme, decided to increase the funds raised by the cultural workers for the ANC, for us that reaffirmed the fact of the level of unity in Sweden on the question of apartheid as well as the extent to which the invaluable government assistance to the ANC and to our struggle expresses the wishes of the Swedish people.
The extraordinary unity that you have achieved as a people in support of SWAPO, the ANC and the independent States of our region is a matter of great strength and encouragement to us. We too need that unity in our struggle as never before.
We are happy to inform you that our own people, both black and white, are consolidating their unity in the most inspiring way. Today, none but the most ignorant or prejudiced can doubt that the overwhelming majority of our people support the demands contained in the Freedom Charter. Similarly, none can be confused about the enormous prestige and popularity that the ANC and its leaders enjoy among our people, including such leaders as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Elias Motsoaledi, Harry Gwala, Ahmed Kathrada and others.
Even the Botha regime is unable to ignore this reality. That is why Pretoria is obliged to concede the necessity for the release of Nelson Mandela and the other leaders that are illegally held in bondage. Yet it is clear that the racists wish to use these leaders as bargaining chips - to exploit their release to buy a longer lease of life for the apartheid system. Together, you, ourselves and the rest of the world have to give an unequivocal response to this manoeuvre and press our demand for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.
As the leader and organiser of our people, we have the responsibility to utilise the enormous united strength of our people to transform the prospect of victory into reality. We do not doubt that our success is both inevitable and at hand. At the same time, we know that our common enemy, which continues to enjoy the support of the Reagan Administration among others, is both stubborn and brutal. But stubborn and brutal as it is, the racist enemy cannot vanquish a people such as ours who are saying, in action, that we are prepared to sacrifice everything to get our freedom here and now.
This pioneering People's Parliament represents the resolve of the millions of Swedish people to act together with us to achieve this objective. We are honoured to be here today as history is being made and are convinced that we shall together produce a programme of action that will, through its implementation, bring nearer the day of liberation.
We congratulate the organisers of this pacesetting Swedish People's Parliament against Apartheid and wish you success in your work. The results of this endeavour will help to remove colonialism and apartheid from the world stage once and for all and thereby push further forward the world frontiers of liberty, peace, international friendship and cooperation. Our common victory is assured.