A truck driver in Cape Town was hospitalized, and later succumbed to a head wound. The circumstances and actual sequence of events need not be further detailed here. However the emotions evoked by this deed made me comment to someone: “Surely protesting in this manner is uncivilized?” (Actually it was much stronger and forcefully expressed and reference was made to the female anatomy –For which I do apologise to the company I was in then, as well as present female readers).
Comments posted on N24 about this and other matters, (emotionally charged -as some of my own were as well), led to me pondering, what does “civilized” mean in South Africa, and by whose definition? As civilized denoted to me the notion of living in a civilization, I first read around that concept, trying to understand what that might be.
In brief, Aristotle, Spengler, Toynbee, Huntington discussed the growth and expansion of groups or people, their values and economical and other growths. And looked at their decline in some instances.
Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris have argued that the "true clash of civilizations" between the Muslim world and the West is caused by the Muslim rejection of the West's more liberal sexual values, rather than a difference in political ideology, although they note that this lack of tolerance is likely to lead to an eventual rejection of (true) democracy. THAT gave me pause to think, especially in the context of the current ME situation and recent ‘Arab Spring’’, and it took some effort to come back to the South African theatre. It also gave an inkling of what was to come.
Thesaurus: civilised - having a high state of culture and development both social and technological; marked by refinement in taste and manners; possessing an education (especially having more than average knowledge).
Unsatisfied, I turned to the word “uncivilized”. -Not considered to be socially, culturally, or morally advanced. Impolite; bad-mannered. And then, Synonyms: -barbarous - uncivil - barbaric - savage – wild, followed by: crudeness or lack of restraint in taste, style, or manner. -primitive or unsophisticated; unrestrained; brutal.
Further reading led me to discover that the University of Leiden in its International conference 'Barbarism Revisited', 30 May-1 June 2012 pamphlet, published the following:
“Furthermore, attempts to recast the “barbarian” in positive terms, as a force of invigoration and renewal of a decaying civilization, can be found in the writings of philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Walter Benjamin, as well as in the works of Dadaists and surrealists. Finally, contemporary critical theorists (e.g. Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri) have reconceptualised barbarism as a discursive challenge to predominant modes of exercising political power”.
Now I am sure that, using the example of striking mine workers who cut a person’s lips off and set him alight; surely did not read Nietzsche or Benjamin. Neither did the persons who stole a child on “appro” to be used for muti, and then dumped him next to the road because his skin was too dark. Nor did the tik fuelled rapist and his gang, who set a young child alight after they were finished with her.
Foucault, Deleuze et al, have never visited South Africa (I think) but their points of view tell me that the exercising of political power does not reside in the killing of councillors. (On or of TV, neither in front of, or behind, the Police).
Before it is seen that focus is only on mayhem by black people, and before this turns into a racial debate, please also note that the barbaric/uncivilized ‘definitions’ include things like having sex with a dog, walking down a street and shooting people (Wit Wolf, Skierlik) and perhaps puking on a person when drunk.
Does it also include gender abuse? Yes and therefore it cannot condone “extra training” for our female population. Does it include calling a person an idiot? Yes I think so, (of which I am as guilty as the next one). Naked racism as practiced by many? Yes, and that means that both white and black people can be racists. Including racist laws and views. ’94 was supposed to be the Exodus, the TRC the Azazel, yet we still wish back for Egypt.
A sideswipe here at the Nancy type Christians who denigrate and condemn Buddhists to hell, (especially the Tibetan grouping). They do not kill, verbally attack or physically do harm to their oppressors. They do what most of us have not the courage to do, to express their view without harming any other. Which is in my book (and my personal opinion), at perhaps a higher level than turning the other cheek. They practice self immolation. As much as, (my opinion again), laying down his/her life for a fellow human being...
Now, even though at risk of argumentum ad consequantiam, I want to state that South Africa is a distilled, 100% pure, example of the barbaric meme. I further want to state that within this context South Africa is a failed state, without chance of redemption.
There is a dark and not often revealed monster lurking that rarely reveals its true character, and when it does we tend to brush it away or laugh at it. This is not Satan or any other demon. It is the belief in the consequences of killing a rabbit, the justification for blatant stealing from the poor, the chauvinistic comments made on N24 about Helen Zille’s need for sex and the denigration of her sex, the burning of people and property, the calling for “blood”, the rape of old woman and children, stigmatization of HIV/Aids. Perpetuating a pervasive fear, and acceptance of the status quo, amongst the “uneducated’ (for want of a better word).
It is an atrocity against the populace of South Africa in general, and the children in the specific, that a concerted and directed political program is in place to deny the youth education. Education to develop and sustain a moral compass, education to think wider than the manipulated history taught at school, education to let them see the nakedness and morally defectiveness of the current regime snuffling at the gravy trough, (alternating with the buffet), and education to break away from the savage and barbaric belief system developed by a culture with the purpose of manipulating the uneducated and keep the quasi-educated in power.
If ever this government will fall, it will be as a result of education. Not just formal, but also when (if ever?), the voters become aware of the see-through clothes worn by the emperor. Which upon closer inspection will reveal his nakedness.
If the hoary, oft blamed for all afflictions, apartheids regime could use their history and tales of heroic do, to cling to power for so long, is it unreasonable to believe that the current regime with a history of the Mfecane and violent subjugation, cannot do the same? Is it therefore unreasonable to abandon hope that adherents of both parties will honour ’94, honour the dead, acknowledge the dependence on each other and bury the past?
Can we really believe that a future government, (which looks as if it will be as bad as the current one), and those clamouring about the white economic dominants and those needing laws to advance themselves, wish to bring an end to the barbaric, uncivilised culture that is permeating our population? Otherwise they would have done something about it already, wouldn’t they? And not have spent R4.67bn on catering, entertainment and travel allowances, (that we know of), while others literally died of hunger?
I am beyond crying for the country. For me the allegory of a late Phalarope is more appropriate, with all South Africans fated to the destiny of Pieter van Vlaanderen. “Perhaps some-one could have saved us, with only a word, two words out of someone’s mouth. Perhaps we could have saved us all. But no one ever spoke them” –With apology to AP.
Are there solutions? Am I wrong? You tell me....