“The spectre of racial discrimination which has for so long cast its dark and evil shadow over much of this globe is slowly disappearing. Men are coming increasingly to be judged by their talents and abilities rather than the less meaningful and far more superficial standards of race and religion. But there yet remain those who in their bigotry and ignorance resist this flooding tide, and it is against these that our efforts must be directed.
“The struggle to win for our brothers in South Africa that status as free men, free to stand heads high among free men as equals, which so many million of Asians and Africans have attained but yesterday, goes on. Our duty is not discharged, our course is not run, our victory not won so long as apartheid, the illegitimised policy of the Government of South Africa, prevails in any area of the world.
“In South Africa an attempt has been made to legislate the inequality of the races. This attempt is doomed to failure. We here are all pledged not to pause in this strife until its emptiness and mockery are revealed for all to see and those who have used it for their own purposes have abjured this doctrine which is an insult to all men and to Almighty God in whose image we are created. But at the same time let us not bemuse ourselves with the notion that it is any more possible to legislate equality, for these matters concern attitudes and values over which intellect sadly exercises but little control.
“Let us not recoil in hatred against those who, even while protecting their freedom from bias and prejudice, reveal by their actions that the poison of racial discrimination has left its lasting effects, and by this reaction reveal that we, no less than they are prey to unreasoning emotion, that we, no less than they are susceptible to that virus which is called intolerance.
Apartheid must be discredited
“The African States have already imposed direct sanctions in the economic and diplomatic fields as an attempt to influence the policies of South Africa and to convince the South African leaders that it is in no sense in their interest longer to adhere to this policy. We should, during this conference, consider if there are not additional measures which we may adopt to speed the inevitable day when the policy of racial discrimination and the principle of apartheid are discredited and abandoned.
“Let us take pride in the fact that as free men we attack and abhor racial discrimination on principle, wherever it is found and in whatever guise. We can, in addition to the economic pressures of which we dispose, bring our moral weight to bear and rally world opinion to our cause by revealing the brutality, the inhumanity, the inherent viciousness, and the evil represented by this policy.
“It is only natural for man to strive towards a better life. To wish to educate his children while he himself was uneducated. To desire to shelter and clothe them while he himself was naked and scourged by the elements. To strive to spare them from the cruel diseases by which he himself was ravaged. But when these ends are realized at the expense of others, at the cost of their degradation and poverty, these desires which are not intrinsically immoral or pernicious in themselves, must be frustrated, and the means by which these otherwise legitimate ends are sought to be attained must be scorned and shunned.
“We ourselves, the Non-Aigned Nations of the world, seek no less than others these same objectives. And it is not by mere chance that we also count among our number the great majority of the underdeveloped nations of the world. For not until the directions and determination of man’s fate is firmly within his own grasp can he devote the totality of his strength to his own good.”
excerpt from H.I.M. Address to the Belgrade Conference – September 3, 1961