Two novels about racism

Not easy - but definitely worthwhile - reading

I have recently read two novels about racism, both published in the 1950s, one describing the persecution of Jews by the Nazis, the other the oppression of blacks by the South African apartheid regime. I do not make any facile identification of the two sets of experiences, but rather draw from the two books some of the effects of racism and prejudice on those who suffer under racist regimes.

The two books are Episode by former Johannesburg lawyer Harry Bloom (Collins, 1956, re-issued as Transvaal Episode) and Andre Schwarz-Bart's Le Dernier des justes (1959, Editions Du Seuil; The Last of the Just, 1960, Martin Secker and Warburg).

Neither book is particularly easy reading, but both are very worthwhile reading. They are both also clearly fiction, though equally based on the real experiences of real people.

An interesting parallel between the two books is also that a key figure in each story offers himself up, almost sacrificially, to the oppressors, and each is killed for his action.

The "Yellow Star" which the Nazis forced Jews to wear. Image: Imperial War Museum
The "Yellow Star" which the Nazis forced Jews to wear. Image: Imperial War Museum
Harry Bloom
Harry Bloom
Andre Schwrz-Bart. Image Wikipedia
Andre Schwrz-Bart. Image Wikipedia

The authors

Harry Bloom was born in 1913 and studied at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg after which he practised as an advocate. He married his first wife Beryl in 1940. Bloom went to Britain to work as a war correspondent during World War II.

Bloom wrote Episode after the Defiance Campaign against the pass laws in the early 50s. The novel was banned by the apartheid regime for being “seditions” and won the British Authors Club Prize for the best novel of 1956.

Bloom worked with Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela as a lawyer and was a close friend of Bram Fischer, one of the defence team at the Rivonia Trial which led to Mandela's incarceration on Robben Island.

In 1960 Bloom wrote the play King Kong which became the celebrated “jazz opera” of the same name. In 1962 he wrote, while in prison for his political activities against the apartheid regime, his second novel, Whittaker's Wife .

In 1963 Bloom left South Africa for good, leaving Beryl and their two children behind. He died in 1981.

Andre Schwarz-Bart was born in France in 1928, just four years after his parents had moved there from Poland. He joined the resistance in the early years of the war and his first novel, Le Dernier des justes, was based on his experiences during the war.

Andre was the only survivor in his family, the rest all perished in Auschwitz.

Schwarz-Bart married fellow-novelist Simone and went to live with her in her native Guadeloupe, where he died in 2006. Their son Jacques is a jazz musician who plays saxophone.

With his wife he wrote Pork and Green Bananas (1967) and possibly also with her collaboration A Woman Named Solitude ( 1971). His last work, In Praise of Black Women , was published in 2001.

The novels

There are, as noted above, some interesting parallels between the two novels, as well as very important differences. The first, and most obvious difference, is that Episode is a novel of Africa, and of South Africa in particular. It resonates with the characteristics of the South African experience of racism, in which the oppressed are the majority, the indigenous people, whose land has been expropriated from them and on which they find themselves landless and rightless. The Last of the Just , by contrast, is a very European novel, rooted in the experiences of a minority people who are, like their African counterparts, landless and rightless, due to the viciousness of Nazi racial ideology and practice.

The resonance of the Jewish experience of discrimination with the experience of South African blacks is interestingly highlighted by many Jewish anti-apartheid activists. An example is Ronnie Kasrils, former freedom fighter and later Cabinet Minister in the ANC-led government of South Africa after 1994: “I always took the injunction of loving one's fellow human beings as oneself to heart. South Africa made me see that injunction specifically in terms of applying it across race, colour and creed. … I think it's an important part of being a decent human being, or striving to be one. I am positive about people, their life force. This is the Judaism in me – the belief that human life has tremendous value, that human beings can soar to the clouds irrespective of the barbarity that they can sink to. I've found that in life.” (From an interview published in Cutting Through the Mountain, edited by Immanuel Suttner, Viking, 1997).

The late Ronald Segal, another Jew intimately involved in the struggle for liberation in South Africa, put it this way: “...I believe now, that a people with a past infused by oppression and suffering is charged with a special responsibility, to remember and remind: to redeem that past with a creative meaning; to recognise and insist that we must treat one another as equally human, beyond differences of race or nationality, religion or culture, if we are not to become mere beasts that talk.” (From the Preface to his great book The Black Diaspora, Faber and Faber, 1995).

While The Last of the Just follows the history of anti-Semitism through some seven centuries, culminating in the horrors of the holocaust, Episode is concentrated on the events of a few days, though within the context of a few years.

Farm labour at Bethal (Eastern Transvaal) in the 1950s. Photo from Drum Magazine
Farm labour at Bethal (Eastern Transvaal) in the 1950s. Photo from Drum Magazine
ANC meeting in the 1950s. Photo from Drum Magazine
ANC meeting in the 1950s. Photo from Drum Magazine

Episode

“His story never happened, yet every word of it is true.” - Alan Paton, cover notes.

The "real character" of Episode, as noted by renowned South African writer Alan Paton, “... is the location itself (that part of every South African town set aside for the African people) ... and Mr Bloom portrays it with a fidelity and a skill that command my admiration.”

In his foreword to the Fontana edition of King Kong (1961) Bloom wrote this about the townships in which blacks lived (the term “location” was replaced by “township” by most blacks, seeing the former word as somewhat demeaning): “Africans lead bitter, frustrated and tragic lives under apartheid, but hopelessness is not the spirit of the townships. On the contrary there is a feeling of youthful strength and courage, of communal warmheartedness and laughter, of indestructibility. I cannot explain why this is so, except perhaps by saying that in spite of the ugly interim in which they live, Africans seem to feel instinctively that the future belongs to them.” (Author's italics).

Episode chronicles events in the small town of Nelstroom (a fictional place loosely based on the real town of Nelspruit in the Mpumalanga Province, formerly the eastern Transvaal) and its “location”:

“The whole town has a clean and tidy look, and with the mountains behind and the green valley rolling out below, it is pretty and sheltered and peaceful. This is Nelstroom as the passing traveller sees it. This is the town that the visitor likes to remember. But there is another town, a submerged half, an ominous counterpart that lives within its shadow. The people of Nelstroom seldom speak about this other town. They would prefer not to think about it. But it is always present, somewhere, in their thoughts. Like captor and captive chained together, the two towns are never free from one another.”

The town and its shadow self are represented in the novel by, respectively, the “location superintendent” Hendrik du Toit, and the representative of the ANC in the location Walter Mabaso.

“Hendrik du Toit was not a typical superintendent, but then there is no such thing. Every superintendent works out his own problems in his own way, and Du Toit's way was about as good as any man's attempt to handle the dilemmas of his peculiar job.”

“One day in the hot, dry November of 1952 a new man came to live in the location...He travelled by train from Johannesburg and it was late afternoon when he reached Nelstroom...There was something about this man that drew eyes to him, but it was hard to say just what it was.” Thus Mabaso arrived to take on his key role in the location.

The timing is critical for an understanding of the novel. In 1950 the government had passed the Suppression of Communism Act which defined as communist any activities designed to bring about “any political, industrial, social or economic change within the Union (of South Africa – this was before the declaration of the Republic, which came about in 1961).”

The three-hundredth anniversary of the landing of Jan van Riebeeck at the Cape was due to be celebrated on 6 April 1952 and the government planned huge celebrations to mark the occasion.

In response the ANC and its allies initiated the Defiance Campaign, designed to follow Gandhian civil disobedience lines, to protest the growing number of discriminatory laws and regulations under which blacks suffered. By December 1952 more than 8000 had been arrested, 26 Africans and six whites had been killed.

So the horrible events in Nelstroom took place against that backdrop of tension and fear on the part of whites and enthusiasm and anger on the part of blacks.

The specific incident which sparked the riots which form the major part of the novel was the decision by Du Toit to implement the extension of passes to women, who had until then not had to carry them, as was required of all black men. Du Toit called a meeting of the location's residents to announce his decision and it is during this meeting that the confrontation between himself and Mabaso takes place:

“If you don't leave immediately, I'll have you arrested for incitement,” Du Toit says to Mabaso, who has made it clear that he has some questions for which he demands answers.

“I'm not going to stand here and argue with you,” says Du Toit. “If you want to know anything come and see me in my office.”

Mabaso responds: “Oh no, sir. Don't go away. I'm not the only one who wants to know – the whole location wants to know.” The crowd, by now restive and angry, starts to chant “Phendula, phendula (answer, answer).”

This leaves Du Toit with a quandary: “He could not answer: he could not go away. To answer or to go, whatever he did, would be to surrender to Mabaso.” He attempts, and fails, to have his location police arrest Mabaso. Meanwhile the crowd becomes extremely angry and volatile. “He (Du Toit) looked at Mabaso – their eyes exchanged a look. The look in Du Toit's eyes asked Mabaso to restore order, but Mabaso made no move.” At this moment Du Toit perceives himself to be in Mabaso's hands. As the town is locked in a fatal embrace with the location, so Du Toit is locked into his shadow, Mabaso.

That night, in a sort of panic, the police conduct a “raid,” a house-to-house search of the location, conducted with many random acts of violence on both sides. As a result large numbers of location residents are arrested and taken to the police station in the white town.

Flames engulf many of the houses and other buildings, including the administration offices where Du Toit had worked. Du Toit's career ends in defeat and humiliation, Mabaso's in arrest and death.

A note at the beginning of the novel reads: “1953 was a quiet year. The previous year had been one of upheaval and violence, but in 1953 everything quietened down, as if exhaustion had forced a rest upon the contenders. Nobody had won and nothing was decided, but an hour of uneasy quiet settled on the land. And then the flames leapt up, briefly, in a town called Nelstroom.”

NOTE: Episode was re-issued under the title Transvaal Episode.

German policemen tormenting a Jew in Rzeszw, Poland. Image from Wikipedia
German policemen tormenting a Jew in Rzeszw, Poland. Image from Wikipedia
"Selection" on the Judenrampe, Auschwitz, May/June 1944. To be sent to the right meant slave labor; to the left, the gas chambers. This image shows the arrival of Hungarian Jews from Carpatho-Ruthenia, many of them from the Berehov ghetto. It was tak
"Selection" on the Judenrampe, Auschwitz, May/June 1944. To be sent to the right meant slave labor; to the left, the gas chambers. This image shows the arrival of Hungarian Jews from Carpatho-Ruthenia, many of them from the Berehov ghetto. It was tak

The Last of the Just

“Our eyes register the light of dead stars.” So opens The Last of the Just . And the novel from the first sentence on is full of death. It's full of life, too, though.

Of course, the reference to “star” is possibly also a reminder of the fact that Jews after about 1938, and certainly in Poland after the invasion in 1939, were required to wear the “yellow star” of identification as a Jew. Unlike the blacks in South Africa, whose difference was obvious, Jews were not that different from the rest of the European population. The wearing of the star made them immediately noticeable, the way a black skin set the oppressed apart in South Africa.

As Jennifer Rosenberg has written in the article “The Yellow Star”: “One day there were just people on the street, and the next day, there were Jews and non-Jews.”

This book tells the story, in the words of an unnamed "friend" of main protagonist Ernie Levy, of the systematic and centuries-long discrimination against the Jewish people in Europe. Schwarz-Bart used the legend of the Lamed-Waf, (Lamed Vav Zaddikim - ל״ו צַדִּיקִים) the 36 “just men” “who are to be found in each generation according to the Babylonian Talmud, upon whom the Shekhinah (Divine Presence) rests, and whose very existence in the world prevents its destruction” (from the Encyclopedia of Judaism), to underpin the history of persecution, starting in “...the old Anglican city of York. More precisely,, on 11 March 1185.”

Other versions of the legend has it that the “Just Men” are isolated and unknown to each other. In Schwarz-Bart's novel they are all part of the Levy lineage, descended from Rabbi Yom Tov Levy, who led his congregation to take refuge in a tower in York after a fiery anti-Jewish sermon by .Bishop William of Nordhouse had incited the Christians of the city who “...moiled through the church square; within minutes, Jewish souls were accounting for their crimes to their God, who had called them to him through the voice of his Bishop.” The Rabbi, after they had spent seven days in the tower, blessed them all and slit their throats, committing suicide himself once all the others were dead.

One baby survived this catastrophe, the Rabbi's infant son Solomon Levy, from whom the protagonists of the rest of the novel are descended.

By the time the Nazis have taken power in 1933, the Levy family is living in the town of Stillenstadt: “One of those charming German villages of a vanished age.” Here Benjamin Levy, father of the final hero of the novel, Ernie Levy, sets up his business as a tailor, marries Ernie's mother, who is known always as “Miss Blumenthal”, and looks after his parents, the patriarch Mordecai and his wife Mother Judith.

In this “charming village” the family comes face to face with the brutality of the Nazis, with their incredible cruelty and pervasive evil.

The nightmare starts to overshadow the family, though they do not always recognise it for what it is – a terminal dream. The patriarch Mordecai especially seems to be unruffled by the gathering forces of doom. An approaching Nazi gang, singing obscene anti-Jewish songs, is approaching, and the patriarch doesn't understand the implications, to Ernie's amazement: “Once more, Ernie was astonished at the calm of the patriarch, who never seemed to be upset about anything that did not bear on the observance of the Law.” Mother Judith is the one who takes charge and gets the family into a neighbour's house and away, for the moment, from the gang.

By the end of the novel Ernie is the last of the family Levy still alive and he too dies in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. The last of the just to die. The world has no more just people – or has it?

“At times, it is true, one's heart could break in sorrow. But often too, preferably in the evening, I cannot help thinking that Ernie Levy, dead six million times, is still alive, somewhere, I don't know where...Yesterday, as I stood in the street trembling in despair, rooted to the spot, a drop of pity fell from above upon my face; but there was no breeze in the air, no cloud in the sky...there was only a presence.”

A presence

I think that presence is the love and empathy of those who say “No” to racism and prejudice, those who say “No” to judgement; those who say an even louder, more emphatic “Yes” to life, to acceptance, to the humanity of all. Perhaps these two books can help us to a deeper sense of our common people-ness, to our essential oneness, across all boundaries and barriers.

Neither book is perfect, and we would be silly to expect perfection from any book. They do however, convey in simple and human terms the ravages of racism, the damage to people caused by prejudice and judgement. This they do in terms which rise on occasion to the poetic, in the sense that the stories and the words provoke profound feelings – at least they did in me – of shame at my complicity in the kind of prejudice which causes such horror, at my lack of courage in facing it in myself, of my judgement of others. Unforgettable, these stories are unforgettable, and no-one should ever forget the two manifestations of racism that were Nazism and apartheid – two of the greatest (though, sadly, not the only) crimes committed against humanity in the 20th Century. May they never happen again. There has been enough sorrow in the world and we need to be more than “mere beasts that talk.”

More by this Author


Comments 52 comments

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

It is so sad – in all causes too many have to die in order to change the direction of the present. As if the present is an enormous train on a specific railway with many routes. All routes lead to the future, but some run through deserts and others through paradises (where racism does not exist). Great hub, Tony! Thoroughly research, as always, and presented in an amazingly polite and humble manner. As jy ‘n tydjie kry, gaan loer asseblief na my hub “My favourite hubbers.” I also need your opinion of ‘Disasters in South-Africa’. I've sent you peace and love on the breath of Spring.


cluense profile image

cluense 6 years ago from Cartersville, GA

Awesome Hub! I rated it up a notch! Keep writing!


Dame Scribe profile image

Dame Scribe 6 years ago from Canada

I understand quite well the effects of displacement in one's own lands. Great article and going to have to add these books to my own collections. Thank you! :)


cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago

tonymac04, thank you for reviwing this 2 books. While I never read them, the second book, the last of the just, sounds familiar to me; I think it was among my mom's books ...of course with a translated romanian title.

It is hard to understand why some, under certain circumstances, will go as far as killing large communities of people believed not to be alike. I never understood that. It makes my mind spin around when thinking of such incommensurable crimes.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Martie - dankie baie vir die mooi woorde waarvoor ek opreg dankbaar is! Ek gaan nou by jou Hub Loer. Nogmaals dankie!

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Katie - thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it very much. And I will certainly keep on writing!

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Dame Scribe - you will not be disappointed by the books, but might find the Harry Bloom one difficult to get hold of. Hope you do find it.

Thanks again

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Camelia - there are indeed things which seem beyond any reason, and the Holocaust is certainly something that I find it very difficult to understand. And the racist apartheid regime that existed for more than 40 years in South Africa is also very difficult to understand. But these things happen and we need to do whatever we can to avoid them happening again.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting so thoughtfully.

Love and peace

Tony


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Great write as always Tony! Thank you for the heads-up for these books. Books that speak as these do are parts of the bread of life.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Micky - thank you for your kind comment! These books are "bread of life" type books indeed!

Love and peace

Tony


Hummingbird5356 profile image

Hummingbird5356 6 years ago

Thank you for writing about these two books. It is the fact that people were taught that black people and Jews were not human that made it possible for these atrocities to be committed. Many of the Nazis were sadistic and cruel but they were few compared to the rest who committed many of these crimes against the Jews.

We need to know about these things to prevent them happening again.

Racial discrimination is a terrible thing.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Man's inhumanity to man. We never cease to behave in appalling ways do we.


HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Very poignant Tony. I have not read the books but they are obviously examples of two of the greatest and most horrific eras of prejudice and genocide in human history. Of course my country, the United States had it's own horrible institution of slavery and then the subsequent segregation. This has greatly improved in the U.S. but it's ugly head continually rears up and bites us. It is still always below the surface. I wrote a Hub asking for my country to stop brushing these incidents away so we could have an honest discussion about it. Racism and bigotry needs to be faced and fought wherever it's found. You are right on with your Hub and your reference to empathy which you used in an earlier Hub. I used it myself in my Hub because I also believe that it is the key to ending racism and finding peace in this world.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Hummingbird - I agree it is important to keep the awareness of these things alive as one way of helping prevent them happening again. Unfortunately the awareness by itself is not going to do it. We need to be constantly aware of prejudice within ourselves also.

Thanks for a very thoughtful comment.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Ethel - it's a puzzle for sure! I mean why we continue to act with cruelty and disrespect when really it's as easy to act with kindness and respect for all.

Thanks for stopping by.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

HS - I really apreciate your thoughtful comment. Empathy is the key, as well as the Golden Rule that Micky Dee keeps reminding us about!

Thanks again.

Love and peace

Tony


Loves To Read profile image

Loves To Read 6 years ago

Tony first of all i would like to thank you for sharing this History with us. You have done a wonderful job. The first words that come to mind are "Many of those who were first, will be last and those who were last will become first". I believe that these are some of those cases that were written about. God bless you and your family.

Peace and Blessings


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

It never ceases to amaze me how we humans can be hosts to two such completely oposite and conflicting characters: The hate filled Nazi and the love filled Albert Schweitzer.

I just cannot understand.

Another excellent article, Brother Tony, for which I must thank you :-)


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

LTR - thanks for those kind words and the thoughtful comment. I think you are right, and the text that comes to me is something about the meek ...!

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Dimitris - this is the great conundrum of life, I think. That a Himmler and a Bach can emerge from the same culture is something too much for my brain too. Or a Goebbels and an Einstein? Or in South African terms a Eugene Terre'Blanche and a Breyten Breytenbach (if you don't know about the latter, a Hub is coming up!)?

Thanks, Brother Dimitris, for you kind comment.

Love and peace

Tony


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 6 years ago from USA

Great article and I bet it was hard to write and keep your emotions in check. I will never understand those who consider themselves above others because of race or religion. Who anointed them as the chosen few? This sounds like the radical religious who tried to rule the world hundreds of years ago. We call them the “religious right” in today’s world. Study your history and you’ll see that their behavior is the same as the terrorists who, in the name of God, judge, kill, and look down on those who are different; and yes, they still consider women second class citizens…


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Nancy - yes I tried to be dispassionate in writing this, as my anger and disappointment in us people was never far below the surface! I agree with your points about the religious right - in fact, the more I read of history the less I like religion of any stripe!

Thanks for stopping by and making such a thoughtful comment.

Love and peace

Tony


Mark Monroe profile image

Mark Monroe 6 years ago from Dover De

thank you for the review of these two books.


HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Tony, you asked me for the Shirley Sherrod video link on my latest Hub. It is www.naacp.org/news/entry/video_sherrod


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 6 years ago

Great review of these books. I thought of you this evening. Hubby and I watch a move on TV after we return home from dinner out many Saturdays. Tonight's was about apartheid in South Africa. Like these books, I believe much of it was fiction but it captured the essence of the time. (I don't recall the name of it, but Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine were in it.)


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Mark - you are most welcome and thanks for the read and the comment.

Love and peace

Tony


caretakerray profile image

caretakerray 6 years ago from Michigan U.S.A.

tonymac04:

Great Hub Tony! You always excede my expectations. This Hub reminded me that there is still a ton of racisim in this world. Though I don't quite understand it, I know it is mainly caused by fear and misunderstanding.

You have inspired me to read both books!

thanx

caretakerray :)


loriamoore 6 years ago

I will add those to my "to read" list.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Christine - thanks for the comment. I have seen that movie also. Can't remember the title either! It was quite good, I must say.

Thanks again for stopping by.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Ray - thanks so much for your kind words, I do appreciate them. It is a great puzzle that there is still so much prejudice in the world, and then maybe it's not such a puzzle, as there are those who, for their own benefit, continue to promote it.

Thanks again for stopping by

Love and peace

Tony


equealla profile image

equealla 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

Tony, you are so absolutely right. The human race have to be aware to constantly do introspection into their own selves about this difficult topic.

Sadly, though we have so many examples teaching us this will not lead to anyone "winning", there are still places and incidents, blowing the flames of racism.

If only we can all be able to controll emotions, and use clear understanding of the bigger picture. I fear for some countries at present, holding my breath, that this will not explode into horror stories, like the novels above!

Thank you for publishing the info about these books.


nifty@50 profile image

nifty@50 6 years ago

The word Racism is often used instead of prejudice or bigotry, it is refreshing to see it used in it's proper context! Great hub!


jo miller profile image

jo miller 6 years ago from Tennessee

Enjoyed this hub and will add these books to my reading lists as they sound like just my kind of good read. When a friend asked me once what kind of books I liked my 10-year old daughter piped up to tell him, "She likes old and depressing books." I suppose I still do. Stories of difficult times that people go through almost always give me hope, oddly enough. There is something in the human spirit that endures.

Will also look forward to learning more about South Africa, as we Americans sometimes forget that a world exists outside our borders.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Francis - thanks for your very supportive comment. In the game of raciswm, you rightly say, no one will win! Thanks again.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Nifty - thanks for the comment and the kind words.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Jo - yes, the endurance of the human spirit is something remarkable. We do seem to get through the most amazingly difficult times tht are almost beyond human capacity, and it is the spirit that gets us through.

I share your love of "old and depressing" books, and agree that the stories, however "depressing" can sometimes give us strength and hope. I have just read a truly amazing story along these lines right here on HubPages, Marijana Reynders wonderful Hub "My Right Hand." - http://hubpages.com/health/My-right-hand

Love and peace

Tony


Joe Badtoe profile image

Joe Badtoe 6 years ago from UK

Great Hub and reemphasises that ruling by fear and discrimination does not and never will work. Well written and beautifully flowing.

Great Stuff


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Joe - thanks for the very kind words. Discrimination, as you say, does not work and never will.

Love and peace

Tony


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

I think that presence is the love and empathy of those who say “No” to racism and prejudice, those who say “No” to judgment; those who say an even louder, more emphatic “Yes” to life, to acceptance, to the humanity of all.

I hope, if the time comes, I am strong enough to do the right thing. I cannot imagine living with the knowledge that I did not.


BeatsMe profile image

BeatsMe 6 years ago

Surely, many people can relate to the problems of racism and discrimination. One way or another, almost everyone experience it throughout life. Some may have experienced worse than others. The Jews and the indigenous Africans have probably experienced the worst.

Great eye-opener hub.


Mystique1957 profile image

Mystique1957 6 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

My liefste broer Tony ... Ek weet ek is weg vir 'n lang tyd. Ek het hard situasies gesig staar, maar ek is terug op my voete. Ek is bly om terug na my ou vriende en deel kom. This is a theme that saddens me a whole lot. I still do not comprehend why the human race reacts this way. We are all but One...I wonder how long it´s going to take...

Excellent reviews! Thumbs up and rated awesome!

Warmest hugs and infinite heavenly blessings,

Al


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Barbara - thanks for the lovely comment. I am sure that with the grace abounding in your life you will always do what is right in the moment!

Sorry to have taken so long to respond - having computer problems. Nursing my old laptop as I can't afford a new one! LOL!

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

BeatsMe - thanks for visiting and commenting. Prejudice is indeed a sadly too common experience. Wish it were not so.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Beste broer Al - ek is baie bly om jou weer hier te sien! Welkom terug, my broer!

I also wonder how long ...?

Thanks for the visit and the comment, dear brother. And I hope all is well with you.

Love and peace

Tony


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA

Thank you for sharing your insights on these novels Tony. Your hub has a very good lesson for all to learn and grasp about showing more tolerance and empathy for others.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

SweetiePie - I appreciate your visit and comment very much, thank you. Tolerance and empathy are the most important attributes, I believe.

Thanks again

Love and peace

Tony


Andy Watson  5 years ago

I agree with what those books teach. Racism is a terrible thing and should never happen to anyone regardless of who they are or what they believe.

Last year some wanna be Klansmen were harrassing me for no reason and they don't even know the horrible atrosities they commit to their fellow man.

Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ once said, " Love one another as I have loved you." If only the world could listen to those simple yet very meaningful words.


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tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Andy - thanks for stopping by. I really am sorry to hear of your dreadful experience with the "wanna-be Klansmen." Understanding and love are indeed the only ways to overcome the fear and insecurity that lies behind such behaviour, and racism.

Love and peace

Tony


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jandee 5 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

Hello Tony,enjoyed your writing even though it gets all the 'Anger Bells' ringing at injustice ! best from M


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Maxine - thanks for the visit and yes, the "Anger Bells" are set off by these books, no doubt! The tales they tell are rather frightful.

Love and peace

Tony


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Ben Graves 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

Great hub, and I'll be on the lookout for these two novels. I'm not as aware of what's happened in South Africa as I should be, so this was really informative beside the novel suggestions.


Radwa 5 years ago

Undoubtedly,racism is a vital issue that more than one writer handled in his/her works. in fact, ididn't read the aforementioned works you wrote about and i wanna admit my admiration to your effort. what i wanna say is that i studied works discussing racism like "The Unbelonging" by Joan Riley and it's so interesting and i read it more than one time and every time i read it i feal the amount of hatred and descrimination that the heroine bothers beginning from travelling to london until her return to homeland "Jamaica" "Haycinth" the heroine is pathetic and actually speaking it captured my admiration through her determination to accomplish what she wants regardless of the hardships surrounding her. In adition, we've a great Egyptian writer named Alaa Al-aswany who wrote a novel about a different kind of racism through his residence in shicago.

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