The Süd Tirol question

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   The Süd Tirol is a region in the North of Italy which is mainly inhabited by German speaking people and people of Germanic genetics, the South Tyrolean’s. This region was historically part of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Italian forces occupied the territory in 1918 and in the aftermath of the First World War in 1919 these region was annexed by Italy as it was accorded in the Treaty of Saint Germain that marked the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1922, Benito Mussolini, became president of Italy and the migration of Italian people to the Süd Tirol began. The fascist dictator wanted an united Italy, formed only by Italian speaking people and tried to create a new empire in Africa. That mean the Italinization of the Süd Tirol region. The references to the old Tirol region was banned and the region became being known as Venezia Trendentina. The major cities as Bozen and Meran suffered the migration of many Italians but the rural and Alpine areas of the region continued to be largely German speaking and inhabited by South Tyrolean’s. In 1938 Hitler and Mussolini agreed to transfer the German speaking people of the South Tirol to regions of the Third Reich. Some people where indeed transferred to Austria or Germany but with the begin of Second World War the Hitler-Mussolini plan where stopped.

      After the Second War World the Agreement Gruber-De Gasperi between the ministers of the foreign relations of Austria and Italy granted that the region with still be part of Italy but with a considerable amount of autonomy. However both the South Tyrolean’s and the Austria government were unhappy with the application of the agreement and brought the case to the United Nations but the negotiations prove unsuccessful  in part because of the sabotage campaign led by South Tyrolean’s independentists. Those independentists where organized in an organization named Befreiungsausschuss Süd Tirol abbreviated BAS. The organization founded in the mid-50’s wanted the self-determination of the Süd Tirol and was responsible by some bomb attacks in Italy and attacks on polices. In the begin the organization focus their action in attacking symbols of the old Fascist regime and infrastructures trying to avoid victims but with the infiltration of Neo-Nazis from Austria and Germany the organization became more violent killing some policies and because of that became more inactive. A new treaty in 1971 between Austria and Italy resolved the issue granted more autonomy to Süd Tirol and the respect to their identity which led a decrease in the idependentist tensions.

     

      The Süd Tirol region is still a region of mainly German speakers, 69%, despite the capital of the region, Bozen or Bolzano in Italian, as a large majority of Italian speakers of 73%. The second most important city Meran or Merano in Italian has almost a 50-50 distribution of language. The rural regions especially to more at North have a very large majority of German speakers in many cases 80, 90% or in some cases almost 100% and there are a minority of South Tyrolean’s that speak Ladin, a regional language. The region, Trentin – Süd Tirol is also the one with the highest PIB per capita in Italy and one of the most productive.  The main economic activity is the tourism especially in the Alps, with the winter sports being very popular especially alpine skiing but also cross-country skiing, in the summer cycling is very popular as well and the services in the cities are also very important to the economy.

      

      South Tyrolean’s alongside with Catalans, Flemish, Tibetans, Scotts, Basques and of course Boer-Afrikaners are people that deserve to choose their future independently of the will of the people in which country they live. In the case of the South Tyrolean’s this is obvious because they are very different from the Italians. They are a Germanic not a Mediterranean people, the language, German, is much different than the Italian, the history in also very different and their culture is very different than the Italian culture, and their culture has being attacked by Italy in several moments of history specially, but not only, during the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini. So they deserve to choose their future, independent than what they choose, continue to be part of Italy, become an independent state or join to Austria, country in which the rest of the Tirol region is integrated.

       

        South Tyrolean’s of Germanic ancestry should be allowed to choose the future of their people. They have a very different culture from the Italians and that mean they should have the right to be independent or to join Austria where the rest of the Tirol region is integrated. Recently members of the Orania movement visited the South Tyrolean’s and in November a delegation of the South Tyrol visited Orania which is very positive because shows that there are an international support between different people with the same objective, have the right to their homeland and choose their future. We think that the Boer-Afrikaners, South Tyrolean’s, Catalan’s, Flemish, Scotts,  French speaking people from Canada and others in the same situation should create a international movement in order to support each other in their common struggle for independence which will be make easier the ultimate objective of all these people to be achieved.

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2 responses to “The Süd Tirol question

  1. Afrikaners have to take cognisance of international law principles should they strive for self-determination. A “white” Afrikaner “volkstaat” will never materialise since international law (in particular the United Nations) prohibits the recognition of a state’s independence if the new state discriminates on the basis of race. Without international recognition, or at least recognition by a number of sovereign states, an Afrikaner controlled state will not enjoy sovereignty. The RSA Constitution also allows for “language and culture” groups to claim self-determination, not groups based on race.

    A people (“ ’n volk”) being entitled to self-determination as referred to in the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights is defined by UNESCO as a group of people who share in the same ethnic identity. Afrikaners became “a people” in the late 1700’s on the African continent and can be called a people indigenous to Africa, but with a Western cultural or ethnic identity.

    International law experts agree that a people striving for self-determination should have a strong historical connection with the territory where they claim independence. The Catalonians, Tyroleans and other peoples mentioned in the article above all have a strong historic association (over centuries) with the territories in which they strive for self-determination. The strongest historical connection a people can have to territory is sovereignty (= internationally recognised independence).

    Afrikaners never enjoyed any independence or sovereignty in any part of the old Cape Colony, which was occupied by the Dutch East India Company in 1652 (the Cape peninsula) when the Khoi and the San people had been living there for centuries. As the Dutch, German and French settlers gradually moved into the interior towards the Orange River they came across more Khoi and San people. According to the British missionary Bartlett, Khoi people were living in tribal social structures all over the Northern Cape and alongside the Orange River by 1815 – long before any people of European descent settled in the area. By 1800 there were less than 1200 people of European descent living in the Northern Cape, mostly men who, according to the anthropologist Fischer, had sexual relationships with Coloured women and women of Khoi descent due to the shortage of European women.

    By 1780, more or less at the same time that Afrikaners became “a people” with an own ethnic identity according to most historians and anthropologists, several thousand Afrikaners lived in the Eastern Cape south of the Fish River where they clashed with Nguni (black) tribes of Africa. These Nguni (Xhosa) tribes were biologically mixed with Khoi people who had also been living in those parts of the Cape for centuries. Soon after this (1795) the British colonized the entire Cape region south of the Orange River. In 1803, as part of a European agreement, the Cape Colony was transferred to the Batavian Republic (Dutch), but three years later in 1806 the British again took control of the entire Cape Colony. Many Afrikaners soon became disgruntled with British rule and this led to large numbers of Afrikaners leaving the Cape Colony during the Great Trek in order to find territory where they could enjoy independence.

    The entire territory which forms part of South Africa north of the Orange River was subsequently occupied by Afrikaners, excluding parts of Natal. Just in the first two years of the Great Trek more than 12 000 Afrikaners crossed the Orange River to find a new heimat in the interior. By 1852 the Transvaal, or Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek as it was known, and by 1854 the Oranje-Vrystaatse Republiek enjoyed international recognition as independent Boer Republics, which means that Afrikaners enjoyed full sovereignty over these territories. By 1884 the Republiek van Vryheid which included the Republiek van Utrecht in the northern parts of Natal also enjoyed international recognition as an independent Boer Republic – this territory was incorporated into the ZAR by 1888.

    The British ruled over the Cape Colony from 1806 until 1910 when it became part of the Union of SA together with the Natal Colony (also British), as well as the Transvaal and Free State which were conquered by the British during the Anglo-Boer War in 1902. Afrikaners, therefore, lost their sovereignty over African territory as a direct result of British colonialism and as a people they are victims of colonization just as any other indigenous people of Africa. This historic fact gives Afrikaners a real claim for self-determination in territories or part thereof where they enjoyed sovereignty prior to British colonization.

    Afrikaners’ historical connection with the old Transvaal and Orange Free State is undeniable, with the Highveld region of these territories as an area where Afrikaners settled permanently before any other people/s of SA who currently lives there. Adjacent to the Highveld Afrikaners conquered territory and/or obtained territory by means of cession during the 19th century which, if still permanently occupied by Afrikaners today, give them a claim for self-determination to the territory just as people of European descent have such a claim on Australia, New Zeeland, Canada and the USA. In accordance with the Montevideo Convention Afrikaners have a claim to territory if they can prove that they are living permanently in the territory and, as explained by the international law expert David Raic (Statehood and the Law of Self-Determination (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2002)), where they are in the majority.

    Since the uti possidetis juris rule has been turned on its head in an advisory opinion by ten judges against four in the Kosovo case of the International Court of Justice in 2010, Afrikaners can now demarcate territory within the regions mentioned above (where they have a strong historical connection) in such a way that they form a majority in order to claim legitimate self-determination where they can exercise political control. In order to achieve independence Afrikaners as a people will have to show their WILL to take control of their own fate and this will have to be done in large numbers. Without a mandate from a substantial number of Afrikaners (probably several hundreds of thousands out of a total population of approximately 3.5 million), neither the RSA government nor the international community will take any organisation’s attempt to claim self-determination on behalf of Afrikaners seriously.

    So called Boere-Afrikaners or the Boerevolk represent a small minority within the Afrikaner people and such minority groups will not easily succeed with a claim for self-determination – neither within the framework of Section 235 of the RSA Constitution, nor in terms of Section 1(1) of the Covenant for Civil and Political Rights. The sooner ALL Afrikaners are made aware of their inalienable right to self-determination over territory where they have a strong historical connection and demarcated in a way that they will form a political majority, the sooner will they succeed in their strive for independence.

  2. Thank you for your comment. Sorry for being take so long in make the response but we have been quite busy.

    We would like to make a correction, is that the Boer-Afrikaner Volk for us is the whole Afrikaners independently of having Boer origin or being Cape Afrikaners. We preferred to use the term Boer-Afrikaners in honor to the history of all Afrikaners being Boer or Kaap-Afrikaners. So the Boer-Afrikaner people for us are not the BoereVolk and the population and so it has a population of around 3.5 million people.
    But for us is not a question of number but a question of identity. We think that even that a people is a small people with some thousands of individuals they still deserve the right to choose their future and the south Tyrolean’s is a good example of that, they should have the right to choose their future, to remain in Italy, join Austria or became an independent country. The Boer-Afrikaners should also have the option to choose their future, remain in South Africa, create an autonomous region or advance to full independence.

    We agree with you that perhaps the major problem for the independency of the Boer-Afrikaner people is the fact that the people as a whole is strongly linked to the whole South Africa. Unlike the Afrikaans speaking coloureds that are mainly in the Northern and Western Cape provinces, where form the vast majority of people, the Boer-Afrikaners are very dispersed throughout the country. We previously have done a post about the localization of a Volkstaat that we put in the eastern part of the Northern Cape, Western and North part of the Vry Staat and the Southern part of the North West. We choose that area because it is an area where the Boer-Afrikaners have a strong link and is an area where there main tribe, the Sesotho have already a country of their one. Of course we think that this will be easier with the total separation of South Africa in different states each one ruled by each people, Xhosa, Zulu, Boer-Afrikaners, Bruinmense, Venda etc. We know that some Zulu have a self determination goal and also some coloureds.

    We think that South Africa would be better with the country divided in States each one to a certain people. That is a difficult task because the legacy of Mandela have still a great influence but the truth is that South Africa is a failure since it’s beginning, in 1902, and today is a violent land dominated by crime and corrupt politicians that maybe if the situation deteriorate could make conditions to a separation of the country in several states each one for each people. Also the Volkstaat for us will be a place for Afrikaners, people united by the same language and culture, and not a place for all whites because the English speaking South Africans and Portuguese speaking South Africans among others are not Afrikaners and so the Volkstaat is not made for them despite we think that all the people that identifies with the Afrikaner culture and speak Afrikaans should be allowed to live there because we think that Boer-Afrikaner culture and people is not close and it should be open to new people.

    We agree with you that to form a Volkstaat it is necessary to union of all Boer-Afrikaners being them Cape Afrikaners or Boers. However this is not an easy task because some people in the Western and Northern Cape region doesn’t feel in the same way the crime problems comparing with the rest of the country and some Boer nationalists still think that Boers and Afrikaners are two separate people that have no connexion and should have two separate states to each of the people, Afrikaner Volkstaat and Boerstaat. Still the main goal and one of the objectives of our blog is to give to all Boer-Afrikaners a sense of union to a Volkstaat be easier to achieve.

    Best regards
    Afrikaner Way

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