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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 9, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Saturday, Jun. 9, 1973 THE lETHBRIDGE HMALO 17 The trial and triumph of the Macuti Fathers By PETER DEELEY London Observer A rare glimpse of the "white colonialist" struggle in Portuguese controlled Mozambique has come to light with the transcritps of a mil- itary court trying two Roman Catholic priests for denounc- ing racist actions and reveal- ing details of a massacre of villagers by Portuguese troops. The transcripts were brought to London and given to The Observer by a num- ber of people who have now returned to Africa and who have requested anonymity for their actions for fear of re- prisals. He records show that, from the pulpit at an even- ing mass to celebrate World Peace Day, one of the priests: how Portu- guese soldiers herded 21 wo- men and children into a hut and burned them alive dur- ing a "scorched earth war- fare campaign near the Ca- bora Bassa dam; condemned (to an al- most exclusively white, mid- dle-class congregation) "ra- cism repressive terror- ism injustrc-s the "white superiority" mentality torture, detention, expul- sion of clerics who opposed brutality The court documents show that the other priest the Portuguese flag from the church dur- ing a Scouts "swearing in" ceremony because it would offend the black population refused to permit the singing of the Hymn to the Holy Constable by the Scouts, because it was "riddled with Sympathy Remarkably, two of the three judges appear from the transcripts to have been in sympathy with some of the priests' general political and social criticisms These judges: that the massa- cre had taken place; -4eld that the priests' con- demnation of such crimes was a "moral, legal that there was ra- cism in Mozambique and call- ed for it to be "rooted local leaders, in- cluding a newspaper owner, who had whipped up "false racist hysteria" against the priests. The paper's campaign had led to the church being at- tacked and the Portuguese flag raised on the tower while police turned a blind eye; at- tempts to attack the priests themselves, the stoning of their home, rumours that one was to be "liquidated" all culminating in a protest pro- cessions of cars waving Por- tuguese flags to the home of the district governor In Portugal, the case has never been reported nor dis- cussed on radio or televison. No public mention of the Macuti Fathers as they have come to be known is allowed, because of the law which forbids discussion of troubles in the African colon- ies Attacks The area in which the mas- sacre took place is 125 miles up the Zambezi river from the Cabora Bassa dam. This area is to attacks by FRELIMO, the Mozambique Liberation Front, and the Portuguese troops there have gone in for a policy of forced resettlement of villages into fortified areas called aldea- mentos. It is in one of these aldeamentos that the tailings are alleged to have taken place. On Jan 1, 1972, Father Joaquun Teles Sampaio, rec- tor of Macuti parish church in the port of Beira, selected for his sermon the theme "if you desire peace, work for justice Apart from about a dozen blacks, the large congrega- tion was while and included many influential leaders of the local community. Father Sampaio, scorning platitudes, began to cite in- stances of injustice to the black population in the hope that his congregation would use its influence to prevent any repetition. He instanced "the domina- tion of one race by another, displayed by the mental con- viction that we the whites superior; the precar- ious economic condition of blacks the white man gets rich quickly in Africa, the African stays poor. There are still people among us who would not like the African to develop, so as always to have a "piccanniny" to order about" Injustice, he said, also took other hunger of millions shamelessly exploited while huge sums of money ipefll OD to increase the power of the powerful; inhuman police methods such as torture; the degrading conditions of emi- grants. "Have you not noticed that the weakest, the poorest, the smallest always have more duties than rights: the pow- erful always have more rights than he asked his congregat ion, many of whom according to tie records were by now visibly angry and upset. Father Sampaio said a day of peace was being celebrat- ed with a war in Mozambi- que "We know from eye wit- nesses that in November 1971 a group of 40 commandos ar- rived in Mucumbura reg- ion, burning and wiping out everything in their path; more than 50 huts were burn- ed down "We do nothing, we do not protest at this barbarity- some because of fear, others because of their economic in- terest in allowing this slaugh- ter to continue, oifrers be- cause they are not, nor do they wish to be, well-inform- ed While the congregation was still recovering from these denunciations a DGC (secret police) man who had been amongst (he worshippers was on his way to headquarters, where tie priest was later taken and accused of preach- ing "separatism and com- munism." In the following week, when Scout troops were rehearsing a vigil, the Macuti church as- sistant priest, Fatter Fre- xnando Marques Mendes, re- fused to let them include the Humn to the Holy Constable in their devotions. Both priests faced sen- tences of more than 20 year's jail if convicted of the mam charge that they had attempt- ed to separate Portuguese tenvory from "the Mother- land Portugal. They were also charged with inciting crimes against state securi- ty and contravening a decree of 1911 forbidding priests of any religion from attacking the government or its laws Most of these charges, in- cluding the main count, were dismissed by the mili- tary court, and both priests were released at (he end of their trial. Father Sampaio was given a suspended sen- tence and Father Mendes a five moafas' jail sentence, which he had already serv- ed awaiting trial. Schweitzer's daughter urges reverence for life TORONTO (CP) The daughter of the late Dr. Albert Schweiter says that the funda- mental problems facing human- the nuclear threat and be solved only by a universal acceptance of the "reverence for life." Rhena Schweitzer Miller, only daughter of Dr. Schweitzer, made the comments at a press conference here Friday. Dr. Schweitzer, famed theo- logian, musician, philosopher and medical missionary, left Europe in 1913 to build jungle hospitals and minister to lepers in Africa. He died in 1965 at the age of 90. The First World War was a turning point m Dr ScLweit- zer's thinking, Mrs. Miller said. "He looked on the war as the sign of the break-up of civ- ilization and wanted to find a base for the future. It suddenly flashed through his mind that in a universe where we have a will to live and are surrounded by myriads of other wills to live, the basic good is to en- courage and enhance life and the basic evil, to destroy it. "Once this is seen, he argued, you have something to guide you in a search for a better quality of Me Mrs. Miller, who worked for 10 years with her father in Af- rica at Lambarene, was in To- ronto to address a meeting of the Church of the Large Fellow- ship, Unitarian, with which her father was associated. THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD RELIGION Church blasts media profanity TORONTO (CP) The in- creased use of profanity and the exploitation of sex by the media was deplored by the Presbyterian General Assem- bly here this week. "In the media, sex is fre- quently an object of humor; and promiscuity, adultery and homosexuality are freq u e nt the board of evange- lism and social action said in a report. The assembly will ask the Canadian Radio Television Commission and the federal minister of communications to halt these trends. In another move, the assem- bly agreed to ask the Canadian Football League to have the Grey Cup game played on a day other than Sunday as it conflicts with hours of church worship. Come over on the Mayflower It's 5 softer I It's safer 1 We II give your things an Air-Cushion-Ride Esti- mates upon request Exclusive Inditnipolis Ageht FERNIE CARTAGE COMPANY 518 3rd ST. S. PHONE 328-8643 I NOTICE PROPERTY OWNERS TOWN of FORT MACLEOD A General Assessment of all land, private homw, commercial properties, and businesses will under- taken by members of the Assessment Staff, Depart- ment of Municipal Affairs, Ptovince of Alberta, In the near future for taxation purposes In 1974, The Town Council of Fort Madeod asks for your co-operation In allowing the Assessors to obtafn the information they require, and access to your homes as. well as outside improvements, as is necessary. You hove the privilege of asking for identifica- tion cards should you so desire. D. L WHITE SECRETARY-TREASURER TOWN OF FORT MACLEOD Fortunately, our children don't have to worry about their rights We do. he rights of children living in Alberta are clearly spelled out and worth remembering, especially during Child Welfare Week, June 10-16. Every child, regardless of race, color or creed, is entitled to the respect due an Individual, and, as such, enjoys these inalienable privileges: 1. The right to the affection and intelligent guidance of understanding parents The right to a decent home, with adequate food and shelter The right to the benefits of religious guidance and training The right to a school program which, in ad- dition to sound academic training, offers maximum opportunity for individual develop- ment The right to receive constructive discipline for the proper development of good character, conduct and habits The right to be secure in the community against all influences detrimental to proper and wholesome development The right to individual selection of free and wholesome recreation The right to live in a community where adults believe the welfare of their children to be of primary importance The right to receive good adult example The right to a job equal with his or her ability, training and experience and to protection from physical or moral employment hazards which adversely affect wholesome develop- ment The right to early diagnosis and treatment of physical handicaps and mental and social maladjustments at public expense whenever necessary These same nghtsare enjoyed by all children, ever their social status, and whether they gifted or handicapped. It's something to think about the next time you look down on a child. HEALTH SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT 9 10 11 ;