Some Comments on Cassinga Are Unwarranted [opinion]

IT is true every person has the right to freely express himselfherself in our beloved country. However, there are some issues that people have to be careful and sensitive about because they may have the potential of affecting other peoples’ feelings negatively and cause resentment, anger or sadness to those people. In this case I am referring to the lives of the hundreds of innocent people lost as the result of the Cassinga massacre carried out by the colonial regime of South Africa.

I felt so sad and dismayed when I read an article in one local newspaper about the Cassinga massacre. It must be clearly stated the South African government had no legal right to be in Namibia, and administer and rule our country. The UN General Assembly passed Resolution 2145 (XXI) which terminated South Africa’s Mandate over the then South West Africa and placed the Territory under the direct responsibility of the United Nations to ensure the UN worked towards achieving and promoting the well-being of the people of Namibia.

The General Assembly passed yet another Resolution 2248 (S-V) through which it established a United Nations Council for South West Africa which later became the UN Council for Namibia. This Council was to administer Namibia until independence. Therefore South Africa had no legal right to be in Namibia or administer our country – whatsoever. Surely, not talking about killing the people of our country under any pretext.

Therefore the issues here are not whether some people recorded the events in Cassinga correctly or not – as it is claimed in this article. The issue is that colonial criminal regimes, which illegally occupied and administered our country, found it necessary to massacre our people. It is also immaterial and irrelevant whether the Cassinga camp was a refugee camp or a military camp. Although, of course, it was surely not a military camp and those SWAPO forces, which were there were necessary to protect our vulnerable people and there was nothing wrong with that. It is also irrelevant as to which military equipment was used at what time and whether Comrade Sam Nujoma in his book said that Casspir APCs were destroyed in this or the other year.

What does that have to do with mourning the death of our people who perished at Cassinga?

What is at stake is the fact that Namibians were massacred by an illegal colonial regime and this should not be confused with other issues.

It does not also matter whether this massacre took place in Namibia or in any other country to which the Namibians were forced to flee by the criminal South African regime. Or do some people have doubt whether our people were indeed massacred in Cassinga by the South African regime? If anybody has a problem with what Comrade Sam Nujoma or any other person wrote in hisher book let that person find an appropriate academic platform and befitting time to take issue with those who wrote those books. But it is not acceptable to turn an occasion of remembering a massacre of our people and their suffering, and mourning their death, into a platform for a moment of political attacks on who wrote what or did not write what about this tragic event. Another issue, which apparently seems to be irking some people, is what is written about ‘no one seems prepared to question the dubious claim by SWAPO and some Cassinga survivors that nerve gas was used in the attack.’ Here again it is irrelevant whether some people claim nerve gas was used. The fact is that whether nerve gas or any other substance, weapons or equipment were used, our people were brutally and mercilessly killed for no other reason but for just having dared to resist the illegal occupation of their motherland by a colonial pariah regime, by that same criminal regime. It really doesn’t matter so much as to what kind of weapons or gases were used to massacre our people. What must be of concern to us is the mere fact that foreign illegal occupiers massacred our countrymen, women and children.

It is, indeed, unbelievable some Namibians can question the fact that there was a limited presence of guerrillas at Cassinga camp to where Namibians were forced to escape. The question is naive in the sense that, as I have stated above, we had a serious and patriotic responsibility to look after the safety of our people. South Africa, in the first place, did not have any right to be in Namibia, more so to follow our people into foreign countries and bomb them there. Therefore, I am afraid to say this question might be interpreted to mean that there are some Namibians who regarded the illegal presence of South Africa in our country as reasonable, permissible and legitimate, therefore that regime had the right to kill those of our people who dared to oppose the occupation of our country. Knowingly or not knowingly to argue that the presence of guerrillas at Cassinga might have given “the enemy a pretext to attack the camp,” may just be perceived to indirectly give the South African regime’s presence in Namibia a credibility and legal justification. I may just end by saying that South Africa did not and could not have any right whatsoever to follow and kill Namibians, under no pretext for that matter. I really feel bad when some people have the audacity to bring up all these things at the time when we are mourning the terrible death of our country men, women and children. This surely should be the day when all patriotic Namibians put aside all their differences and unite in remembrance of and respect for our people who were the victims of a massacre by the evil colonial regime. But here we are now confronted with political and academic attacks and subjected to some out-of-lace analyses of the horrible and fateful event in the history of our country. Why not find another appropriate time to do all those things?

Source : New Era