We are all Amy Biehl now

Grooming more dupes
Grooming more dupes

The white American exchange student, Amy Elizabeth Biehl, died just over 20 years ago on August 25, 1993. The circumstances of her death read like a chronicle foretold to the current racial animosity in South Africa where singing struggle songs like “Kill a Boer” and attacking white farms continue unabated.

The graduate from Stanford University and anti-Apartheid activist was murdered by black Cape Town residents while a black mob shouted racial slurs. The four men convicted of her murder were released as part of the Truth and Reconciliation process.

Biehl was a student at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town as a scholar in the Fulbright Program.

As she drove a friend home to the black township of Guguletu, outside Cape Town, on August 25, 1993, a black mob pulled her from the car and stabbed and stoned her to death. She probably tried to remind them how much she hated white Afrikaners while she was dying.

The attack on the car driven by Amy Biehl was one of many incidents of general lawlessness in NY1, blamed on the “lack of opportunity as a result of Apartheid” as was fashionable then. These days the reigning anarchy in NY1 is attributed to lacking “service delivery”. Any explanation which ignores a racial motive will do.

To sane South Africans Biehl’s death was simply the result of ignoring the racial divide. Had she gone into NY1 last week, she probably would have met with the same fate. But blinding ideology comes at a price, everywhere in Africa, also in places where no one has ever heard of Apartheid.

Bands of toyi-toying black youths threw stones at delivery vehicles and cars driven by whites. One delivery vehicle was toppled over and set alight and only the arrival of the police prevented more damage. A quick scrutiny of any South African newspaper today would inform the reader of the lasting legacy that Mandela’s release had on black urban violence.

Black urban youths, born well after Apartheid, do not suffer from Mandela’s oft cited “terrible past”. They suffer instead from a terrible example set by the likes of Biehl: Proof that killing whites are rewarded, hate crimes are lauded.

Amy Biehl’s possessions in her car were stolen. According to Rex van Schalkwyk, in his 1998 book One Miracle is Not Enough: “Supporters of the three men accused of murdering [her] … burst out laughing in the public gallery of the Supreme Court today when a witness told how the battered woman groaned in pain.” (pp. 188–89.)

Four people were convicted of killing her. In 1998, all were pardoned by South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a travesty to hide the ANC’s past crimes and future intentions.The usual suspects, Britain and the US, gave their firm support to the shameless whitewash.

Amy Biehl’s killing was pardoned at the TRC when the four stated that their actions had been “politically motivated.”. Biehl’s family supported the release of the killers,and her father shook the murderers’ hands, smiling.

“Among those we remember today is young Amy Biehl. She made our aspirations her own and lost her life in the turmoil of our transition, as the new South Africa struggled to be born in the dying moments of apartheid. Through her, our peoples have also shared the pain of confronting a terrible past, as we take the path towards the reconciliation and healing of our nation.”

There was no “terrible past” however. There was only bad faith in depicting a system designed to protect minorities. The smiling handshake would sadly be a prescient gesture of our terrible future, the one that the Biehls enabled by their bought forgiveness.

In 1994, Biehl’s parents, Linda and Peter, founded the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust “to develop and empower youth in the townships, in order to discourage further violence.” The money must have eased the pain of losing a child to such a useless cause.

Two of the men who had been convicted of her murder also received money from the foundation. In 1999, Biehl’s parents were honored with the Aline and Norman Felton Humanitarian Award.

In his speech accepting the Congressional Gold Medal on 23 September 1998, Nelson Mandela said:
“Among those we remember today is young Amy Biehl. She made our aspirations her own and lost her life in the turmoil of our transition, as the new South Africa struggled to be born in the dying moments of apartheid. Through her, our peoples have also shared the pain of confronting a terrible past, as we take the path towards the reconciliation and healing of our nation.”

There was never a path towards reconciliation, never any healing. Mandela simply rubberstamped racial hate crimes.

On August 25, 2010, on the 17th anniversary of Biehl’s death, a bronze plaque mounted on a stone was unveiled by the U.S. Ambassador, Donald Gips, and Biehl’s mother, Linda Biehl, at the Cape Town site where she was killed. It was yet another effort by the US to displace the blame, but this time with little enthusiam.

The faces of laughing black killers had been visited on too many by 2010.