THE language at Addis Ababa was strong, but Pan-Africa remains a nebulous dream. There are divisions between Black and Brown, Monrovia and Casablanca, the tribe and the nation. There are the rivalries of Ben Bella, Nasser and Nkrumah.
The attempt to unite Ghana, Guinea and Mali failed. The Arabs have not even been united by their joint hatred of Israel. Nigeria is in disarray. The best hope is for a confederation of regional groupings on a basis of economic, rather than political unity.
There is, however, a concerted will throughout independent Africa to drive African nationalism to the southern tip of the continent, though threats of military aid to freedom fighters are less realistic than they sound.
It may be a long time before the independent states will be able to constitute more than a nuisance value for the white overlords of Portuguese Africa, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia, and the presence of the United Nations in the Congo is a stabilising factor. But the day of an almighty flare-up in the south is within sight.
It is possible that Mr. Winston Field. a more reasonable man than might appear, will lead Southern Rhodesia to a sane solution, particularly in view of the right attitudes manifested by Whitehall. The Portuguese must speed up the proposed change in the Organic Law to give their Africans the fullest participation in government and opportunity, with substantial autonomy for Angola and Mozambique. This is a race against time.
As regards the Republic of South Africa, it stands in a plainly immoral position, and it would be hard to deny the justice of an African uprising or invasion to right its ills. If the worst horrors are to be avoided, Britain and the United States must bring massive diplomatic and economic pressure to bear at once, to force the Smith Africans into sonic sense of reality.
Let there be no illusions of a joint stand between the Republic. the Portuguese and S. Rhodesia. Verwoerd is bound to be afraid of an intervention policy which might boomerang on himself. Nor would he want to involve himself too closely with white populations with a far fairer view of African rights than he has. The plaits fact is that, if there is a big flare-up he will be the author and the villain of the piece.
As we go to press, the news
about Pope John is slightly more optimistic than it was earlier in the week. But there is little ground for hoping that the recovery can be more than, a temporary one and it would seem that, in the normal course, he cannot hold out much longer against a painful disease from which he has been suffering for over a year.
In their distress at the sufferings of a Pope whom they have grown to love, Catholics will he sustained by the obvious sympathy of the whole non-Catholic world. No Pope before him since the Reformation split Christianity has won such respect and affection among all Christians than Pope John.
This was not solely the result of his championship of the ecumenical movement and his great friendliness to non-Catholics themselves. What endeared him to all men was the warmth of the man himself and his burning sincerity, his obvious concern for everyone but himself and his overwhelming charity.
Catholics cannot but he impressed. too, by the handling of the reports about the Pope's illness on press, radio and television. The importance given to the story and the respectful way in which it is being handled, are, in their own way, a tribute to the Pope's popularity and the general realisation that his illness is a personal tragedy for Catholics.