THE unseemly row between South African President Nelson Mandela and his deputy Frederick de Klerk will do nothing to reconcile the divided racial communities. The two have launched personal attacks on each other over Mr Mandela's decision to arrest former defence minister Magnus Malan and 10 senior apartheid-era military officers in connection with the 1987 massacre of 13 African National Congress (ANC) supporters and Mr de Klerk's demand that senior ANC leaders also be investigated for terrorism and atrocities. Mr Mandela wants General Malan to confess to his crimes and apply for amnesty. Mr de Klerk wants similar treatment for the other side. It is easy, from this distance, to demand both sides show the maturity to forget the past and get on with building the new South Africa. Few who experienced the apartheid era at first hand will be able so readily to forgive, let alone forget. Both sides have wounds that will not heal easily. And while it is arguable that the crimes of the old regime, which had institutionalised violent oppression, were worse than the crimes of those who fought to destroy it, neither side has a monopoly on virtuous pasts. General Malan and the rest should be expected to confess their crimes in return for amnesty. But some similar mechanism should also be applied to those who killed for the resistance. The ANC may not regard this as even-handedness, given the brutality of the old regime. Nor would it be a popular move with the majority communities. But it may be impossible to build a multi-racial, tolerant nation if political energy is spent settling old scores, instead of coming to grips with the past.