South Africa reaction to Benjamin Moloise execution

Reaction to the execution of Poet Benjamin Moloise - a little too far for a little too long.

South Africa reaction to Benjamin Moloise execution
Reaction to the execution of Poet Benjamin Moloise – a little too far for a little too long.

October 19, 1985 – CBS World News Roundup – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

October 19, 1985 – A day of reactions and protest. Anti-American sentiment was running high in Rome as an emissary of the White House arrived for discussions over the Italian stance on the Achille Lauro hijacking and death of U.S. citizen Leon Klinghofer by Palestinian terrorists.

In an effort to repair relations between Italy and the U.S., Deputy Secretary of State John Whitehead arrived to “turn down the thermostat a bit”, but not to apologize for the U.S. actions during the Achille Lauro incident. There were unusually strong denunciations of America in most of the Italian press, saying the U.S. was acting with arrogance and treating Italy like a “banana republic” as it refused to turn over the suspected hijackers to the U.S. government, instead allowing the hijackers to leave the country on an Egyptian airliner, which was intercepted by U.S. warplanes. The military actions were praised, but the diplomatic fallout was far from triumphant.

The body of Leon Klinghofer, the American executed by the terrorists on the Achille Lauro, was scheduled to arrive the following day. The State Department confirmed autopsy findings from Italian investigators that Klinghofer was killed with a bullet to the brain.

And the hanging of a South African Poet, Benjamin Moioise by the White Minority government sparked outrage and violence in downtown Johannesburg. Dozens of White bystanders were attacked when news of the execution spread. Until now, racial rioting had been confined to black and non-white townships. But anyone wondering why whites in this downtown area of a major city could be swept up in racial violence had to only look around; Whites were outnumbered five to one. And as demonstrated during this outbreak, when pushed came to shove, there just weren’t enough police to protect everyone, everywhere. It was sign that times were changing, and changing rapidly.

And that’s a small slice of what happened, this October 19, 1985 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.

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