Sunday, May 03, 2015

Death Merchant #46: Blood Bath

It would be wrong to call the first half of Blood Bath a pro-apartheid tract, but it is tempting.

First, as he did in Operation Thunderbolt (DM #31), author Joseph Rosenberger provides an explanatory note about the language he will be using:
"In this book there will be certain words and phrases, terms and racial vulgarisms, that are in current usage among white groups in the Republic of South Africa. These words and terms are not meant as racial insults to any group. We use them only for the effects of realism."
Then, the quotation at the beginning of the book is from none other than the Death Merchant himself, Richard J. Camellion of Votaw, Texas:
"The fight of the South Africans against Communist-motivated terrorists such as the Southwest Africa People's Organization [SWAPO] can be compared to the struggle of the Israelis to keep their homeland from being flooded by a tidal wave of Arabs."
This sentiment is 180 degrees from past comments made by Rosenberger's main character. Not that long ago, Camellion was mercilessly ripping the Israelis for their racist and violent policies towards the Palestinians. But now, Israel is the suffering underdog.

In Blood Bath, the Death Merchant is brought in to assist South Africa's Bureau of State Security ("BOSS") in assassinating Samuel Nujomo of SWAPO and KGB Colonel Josef Markevski, both of whom are fighting for equality in South Africa and an end to apartheid.

Although the book's boilerplate states, "All the characters ... portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people ... is purely coincidental", Nujomo is clearly meant to be Samuel Nujoma, a Namibian anti-apartheid activist. (In fact, the text on the back of the book gives the character's name as "Sam Nujoma"!) Likewise, another character is South African Prime Minister Bitha (a stand-in for the actual PM from 1978-84, P.W. Botha).

Since Camellion is working closely with white nationalists, the reader gets a steady diet of pro-apartheid and anti-black rhetoric, including a 7½-page (!) conversation early in the book. A small sampling of the discussion:
Pieter derMeer (BOSS): "Blacks are cheeky in any country; it's their nature. But I guess you Americans think we Afrikaners behave like SS men toward our natives?"

Frank Stockwell (CIA): "Not at all - at least I don't. Our American blacks have chased us out of our cities. Of course, the real fault lies with the do-gooders and other dreamers in our government. It's their preposterous theories that have resulted in bussing and integration. ... Whites are ever discriminated against in jobs. You see, our damn fool lawmakers are 'minority happy.'"

Earl Moorland (BOSS): "You can't mix the races and have any kind of culture, any kind of values."

derMeer: "In South Africa, we have more common sense. ... That is why we have apartheid."

Moorland: "Some races are prone to extreme violence. The black race heads the list. The Mexicans invading your [US] southern borders are another example."

derMeer: "On a weekend there are maybe a hundred thousand drunken blacks in Soweto. ... And you'd have us make those savages our equals! ... Do you know what would happen to us if we made them our equals? Hundreds of years of civilization would collapse overnight."

derMeer: "Another thing you don't know - most foreigners don't - is that we whites didn't create the black states. Neither did our ancestors. The black states were determined by the settlement patterns and migratory movements of the black races in past centuries, more or less in the same way the location of countries in Europe was determined."

Moorland: "The worst charge against us is that we are fostering institutionalized segregation. The foreign media have twisted the real meaning of apartheid beyond recognition. ... The foreign press insists on confusing apartheid with discrimination , and the more we try to explain it, the more we're accused of modern slavery."

Nick Vister (BOSS): "It's the implementation of apartheid that actually permits us to safeguard the national identity of the various black people within our borders."

Camellion: "I really couldn't care less what you South Africans do in your own country, or for that matter on the continent of Africa. Neither does the average American. It's the liberals of the world you have to worry about. Their approach to most problems, especially to the problem of crime, is the infantile assumption that the identifying of a problem can immediately be solved by a solution, usually through government action. They have had the solution to the 'South Africa Problem' for years. All you do is make everyone equal ... Naturally your society would fall apart."
After Camellion's comment: "The three BOSS agents smiles. Here was a man who was a realist."

During the discussion, CIA agent Robert Duigen offers a different view: "Sure, the blacks over here are explosive, but in a sense you can't blame them." And he mentions a section of the Bantu Urban Areas Consolidation Act, requiring blacks to carry passbooks, proving they had a right to be wherever they were. But it's merely a blip during the long, one-sided conversation. (Late in the book, Duigen shows his racist side, referring to Cubans as "chili peppers" and bemoaning the hordes of immigrant "trash" allowed into the United States.)

It is not until halfway through the book that Camellion offers somewhat of a rebuttal to the steady flow of pro-apartheid comments - but his comment is immediately dismissed.
One has to analyze the situation from the standpoint of the colored people. As far as they're concerned, they're still second-rate citizens. Right after I arrived in South Africa, I recall a mulatto telling me, "They bring in these goddamned Italians and Greeks here who can't begin to speak any of the languages of the country and treat them equal, like white men. I speak English, Afrikaans and a little Xhosa and have lived here all my life, yet I can't even ride on the same bus with those bastards. Don't give me any propaganda bullshit about apartheid preserving a culture or nationalism!"
Arnaud van Wyk replies: "Whoever told you that is a good-for-nothing liar. Most of those half-breeds are nothing but a bunch of drunks. ... We whites must preserve our identity and culture."

Throughout the book, the anti-black asides pile up: Blacks are "existing in one long night of ignorance" despite Afrikaners' "attempts to educate them". ... "Whoever heard of a bunch of dumb niggers being able to rule themselves intelligently?" ... "Sadists, savages and murders who would turn this nation into a Marxist hell."

At one point, derMeer states: "There's every indication that your President Reagan and his administration are on our side." (But we still get Camellion thinking about Jimmy Carter's "Girl Scout leadership" during the Iranian hostages situation. "The Iranian camel lovers released the hostages because they wanted to get rid of them. They were frightened stiff of our new President." The Death Merchant then thinks how he'd like to use nerve gas on the entire country of Iran and slit the throat of every Iranian living in the United States.)

It is clear that Camellion has been hired to execute Nujomo because Nujomo has become too popular and is seen as a threat to the pro-apartheid rulers. Nujomo is planning a nationwide revolution and must be stopped before he broadcasts the day and time of the revolt via radio. The end of apartheid would be "a severe [economic] setback for the west, especially the United States" as there are vital minerals that can be obtained only from South Africa. Camellion thinks: "I'll be damned if I'll see Namibia fall into the hands of black commie savages controlled by these damned pig-farmers in the Soviet Union."

Etc.:

"To the Death Merchant the Reverend Verkramptes and his wife were the same kind of simpletons who had been well on the way toward wrecking the United States before the 1980 presidential election. In the US it was halfwits like the Verkramptes who would deify a murdered rock star [John Lennon, presumably], all the while forgetting that he was nothing more than a non-talent Pied Piper who helped lead millions of teen-agers down the wide road of drugs, rebellion and purposelessness. The same kind of liberal morons would hand the republic of South Africa, the most stable and advanced nation in all of Africa, over to millions of ignorant, bloodthirsty savages."

"Getting the Verkramples to tell all they knew was easier than making a wino accept a fifth of 'Sweet Lucy'".

"We should put him up in a suite at the Hotel Stupid!"

"Vaguely wondering why lovers close their eyes when they kiss - the psychological explanation is self-annulling - Camellion fired both Backpacker Auto Mags."

Two Camellion quips, before wasting someone: "You silly slob. You couldn't steal a banana from a drunken monkey!" & "You couldn't outdraw a crayon, you poor halfwit!"

1 comment:

Tim Gueguen said...

This is the one Death Merchant book I've never been able to bring myself to buy, or want to read. The racism in many of the other books is bad enough, but one set in apartheid era South Africa? The squick factor is just too high.