Strongly worded

Johan van Zyl, Gordon’s Bay

I read about the “demented schemes” conceptualised by DF Malan and “an equally demented” HF Verwoerd in Norman McFarlane’s column, (Bolander September 7), and I immediately wanted to respond, but alas – things got in the way.

Now Prof WJ Verwoerd has rightly voiced his dismay at this attack, Dr Verwoerd being closely related to him.

I am on record in this letters column that I hold your columnist in high regard (I really still do), and I therefore beg him to please publicly withdraw that unkind description as a matter of urgency.

I understand full well that a columnist is a word artist who tries to make as strong and direct a point as possible in his reasoning when in front of the computer screen, but I believe Mr McFarlane let this one through in a heated, unguarded moment.

Of course it is not fair towards the Prof or any of the other relatives to smear a close family member’s name like that.

Whatever Dr Verwoerd was, he was also a father, a grandfather and a husband, and he acted decisively in his capacity as a cabinet minister with his country’s well-being at stake.

Current thinking has branded his policies as unfair in the extreme, to misguided, to evil.

Future thinking might brand certain political party policies today in the same way.

And these are going on under our noses.

But many of today’s politicians are waxing lyrical on their own schemes, with all kinds of arguments to justify their way of thinking. Examples abound.

Dr Verwoerd did that, too. I have read many of his speeches, but I still have to come across the kind of hate rhetoric in those transcripts that I frequently hear in the utterings of people in power these days. Demented?

No, I believe not.

I’m hoping that if your columnist will kindly retract those hastily chosen adjectives, the dust will settle.