Our Death Camps in South Africa

W. T. Stead, (The Review of Reviews, vol XXV, January, 1902) p.8

In South Africa itself the work of slaughtering the fighting men goes on steadily but slowly, while the massacre of the children proceeds with unabated rapidity. The death-rate of these slaughter-camps has scared even Mr. Chamberlain, who evidently feels uneasy at having to answer before the House of Commons for having done to death 11,000 children as a result of his humanitarian effort to minimize the inevitable consequences of our policy of devastation. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's absolutely exact phrase concerning the "methods of barbarism" employed in South Africa has been violently resented by the men responsible for their adoption, but could there be a better justification of the phrase than the fact that our methods were so savage that the employment of the humanitarian resources of the Empire for the purpose of averting the worst consequences of these methods resulted in the wholesale destruction of the lives of non-combatant women and children? Those who complain that "C.-B." condemned our soldiers forget that one of the chief points of our complaints against the policy of devastation is that it was barbarous and brutal in the extreme to compel our soldiers to undertake such devil's work. The unfortunate Tommy Atkins was himself the first victim of the "methods of barbarism" against which "C.-B." protested.


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Owen Mulpetre, BA (Hons) MPhil