You Say Vote

you-say-voteYou say vote and someone says:

“Democracy is a sham. Those people don’t speak for me. The system is rigged.”

You say vote. Someone says:

“Well, it doesn’t make a difference. This state is red. Another state is blue. This thing is already a lock.”

You say vote. Someone says:

“Hey, I’m making a statement by not voting.”

And, you say:

Well, I can’t hear it. This is not about the White House. This is about your house. If you’re not registered to vote, you can’t sit on that jury. You can’t choose your mayor. You can’t choose your city council. You can’t even choose your district attorney. You can’t decide which measures will help your family and community and which will put them at risk.

This government was designed to be changed.

You can either make that change or you can take what little they give you. Democracy is not a sham. It’s a job. Our job. And it took too goddamn long to get it to just let it slide.

You say vote because there are people who still don’t want you to.

Go to to get more information.


By GENE MUSTAIN and MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writers | Sunday, April 3, 1994

JOHANNESBURGAgainst a backdrop of hope and fear, a nation’s epic march toward democracy has entered a bloody home stretch.

The people of South Africa—including, for the first time, the majority black population—will go to the polls later this month and alter the course of their bitter history.

They will elect a new national government and officially close the door on apartheid—the code of racist law by which some 5.6 million whites kept 24 million blacks and others of mixed race in symbolic chains for nearly half a century.

“It’s a liberation election that finally puts the beast of apartheid in the grave,” said Larry Shore, a Hunter College professor who, like many white activist South Africans, left the country long ago out of fear or disgust.

Continue reading “BREAKING THE CHAINS”

TAKE NOTE, AMERICANS_Lessons from Across the Sea

By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writer | Sunday, April 3, 1994

Saraan Ajaye did not even know South Africa was a country until she took a human rights course a year ago.

Ajaye, a senior at the Bronx alternative high school Schomburg Satelite Academy, now sees the country’s gallop to democracy after three centuries of oppression as a civics lesson.

Never take your vote for granted, she said, pointing out how low turnout of African-American and Latino voters affected the outcome of the recent mayoral election. “As soon as I turned 18, I registered to vote,” she added.

Continue reading “TAKE NOTE, AMERICANS_Lessons from Across the Sea”

VISIT TO SOWETO_INSIDE THE NECKLACE Pointless deaths but real victims

By GENE MUSTAIN and MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writers, Wednesday | April 6, 1994

SOWETO—He was an unidentified man, a weekly newspaper reported, and lucky for him that the police and paramedics came along when they did.

He was walking past the Dube Hostel, a decrepit barracks-like encampment where the so-called Zulu royalists live, when a man from the hostel came up and shot him in the face as the day sank toward night.

“Bastards!” he screamed, through his fractured jaw.

But the shooter and some other Zulu royalists were not finished. They wrapped the man in plastic, put him in a cardboard box, doused the box with gasoline and set it afire.

Continue reading “VISIT TO SOWETO_INSIDE THE NECKLACE Pointless deaths but real victims”

The killing fields of Zululand

By GENE MUSTAIN and MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writers | Sunday, April 17, 1994

DURBAN—Andy Cox wept for South Africa last week.

He cried when his frantic search through the lush green bush of Zululand came to its dreadful end, and he wept again when he faced the relatives of the missing men. Two days ago, the horror was still so close he could not describe what he saw without breaking down twice more.

“How can we ever have peace when people are this way?” he said. “This was so savage.”

The dead were poor young Zulus. They were day laborers for Cox, a young white businessman hired by the government to distribute non-partisan pamphlets about the upcoming election — which has created a figurative Mason-Dixon line of killing hate in KwaZulu, the Zulu homeland surrounding this seaside city.

Last Monday, they wandered over the wrong side of the line—into an area controlled by KwaZula’s chief minister, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who sent mediator Henry Kissinger packing later in the week by demanding the impossible, the postponent of the nation’s first non-racial election.

Around noon, shortly after their driver telephoned Cox’s office and said they were thinking of leaving because the area seemed tense, the victims were kidnapped, tortured, shot, hacked and set afire. As different points along the frenzied bloodletting, the driver and two others managed to escape.

“I lay on the ground and pretended I was dead,” said one of the survivors, a teenager named Lucky Mkhwanazi. “Then I ran.”

Continue reading “The killing fields of Zululand”

CASTING OUT APARTHEID: White Rule Dying Amid Ballots

By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and GENE MUSTAIN, Daily News Staff Writers | Wednesday, April 27, 1994

JOHANNESBURG—Filled with indescribable emotions, South Africa’s liberation hero, Nelson Mandela, will vote today for the first time in his remarkable life.

Mandela, the former political prisoner poised to become the first president of the new South Africa, is set to vote in a school founded by one of the men who preceded him as leader of the once-banned African National Congress.

“There are certain feelings one cannot express in words. . . . What I feel is beyond words,” he said yesterday while meeting with a world press corps here to witness the death and rebirth of a nation.

Continue reading “CASTING OUT APARTHEID: White Rule Dying Amid Ballots”

NATION HEADS TO POLLS: South Africans Turn Out in Force in 1st All-Race Vote

By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and GENE MUSTAIN, Daily News Staff Writers | Thursday, April 28, 1994

JOHANNESBURG—Their freedom finally at hand, millions upon jubilant millions of blacks voted for the first time yesterday and began sending the last colonial outpost on the Africa continent into the history books.

On an epic day of stirring images across South Africa, the newly enfranchised experienced the joy of democracy—and discovered that democracy is not always easy or pretty.

The turnout was so great the nation’s election machinery—assembled only four months ago—broke down at numerous points, prompting much controversy and raising the chances of a disputed outcome and renewed strife.

Most of the breakdowns occurred in the distribution of ballots—not enough in urban areas, too many in the countryside—and election officials began printing 5 million more ballots for today’s last day of voting.

Trying to defuse the crisis and assure everyone the opportunity to vote, officials declared today another national holiday and vowed to keep the polls as long as voters are in line.

“Every effort is being made,” President F. W. de Klerk said. “This election is the most historical event in the history of South Africa. We must make it a success.”

Continue reading “NATION HEADS TO POLLS: South Africans Turn Out in Force in 1st All-Race Vote”