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A measuring competition?

09 July 2012, 10:22
Well, Zapiro's in trouble for a change. I saw that cartoon and thought, "Yoh, he's done it this time." Then I got to thinking…

Seems to me, amidst all the shrieks of racism against Zapiro (absurd, given the man's history) and other people doing the usual freedom of expression chanting, we might all be missing something here.

Let's take a look at our president's conduct, for it is not the first,nor the last, time I have heard someone call him a dick, and worse. I have no interest in going into his history, but if we take Polokwane and the ANCYWL saying the majority of South Africans voted for Zuma, I suspect that might be a bit erroneous. After Zuma was made el presidente, the ANC got fewer votes than ever before - denying the party a two thirds majority. I wonder if that was a result of Zuma - probably. I also think that the ANC's failure to win a two thirds will be sorely dented further in the next elections.

Nevertheless, let's take the past couple of months and what I can remember off the top of my head - Zuma has not spoken out adequately on text books for Limpopo. Tried to buy a R2billion jet (shortly after he spent a day with the people on public transport). Mdluli got axed (a Zuma appointee) - it's quite a list really. He has hired another non-cop to run the police, although the public opinion is so far indecisive on whether that was a good idea or not.  Zuma said the murders of farmers are not race related, despite the singing of songs that incite this violence. Let's look at the gross theft from the public that was planned around e-tolls. The ANC spent R40million on its policy conference. They are no longer allowed to eat cake in from of the public - only biltong. Some Marie Antoinette history seems to have stuck. Zuma and his cadres scream about apartheid and racism being the cause of all that is wrong with SA. I would love to know how - when the ANC has been in power for 18 years -  this is possible.

In any case, there was that matter of the Spear painting. It is the ANC's conduct around that which lead, I believe, to Zapiro's latest cartoon.

An artist painted a picture - not, I believe, the best thing about the exhibition. I was fortunate enough to be there two days before the work was defaced. Of course it was freedom of expression. The ANC knew that or they would have proceeded with a legal course of action against Mr Murray and the Goodman Gallery. Instead, the party resorted to threats and outright bullying. City Press was certainly bullied into taking the image off its website. Is the president a dick? So far, I'd be saying "yup."

And therein lies the rub. The media is tired of being trampled on. First it was Zuma's eleven law suits against the press for various things - to shut them up. Then the secrecy bill was dragged out and dusted off. The message is clear, don't you think? The free press continually serves as a source of annoyance to the ruling elite. It catches them with their hands in the cookie jar repeatedly, highlights stupidity and never forgets what has been said before - there are archives you know. Also, a lot of the editors have also been a part of the fight against apartheid (as was Zapiro) so it pains them to see what the ANC has become.

Here's what I think this cartoon is about. The M&G is run by a bunch of tremendously brave people - braver I hope than City Press. Is the cartoon crass? Yes, it is. Hardly subtle at all, but I don't think it was meant to be. I think, and Nic Dawes (M&G's editor) confirmed this when he said it was done to provoke a response.

The response was as expected, I suspect. The ANC screaming and shouting, with its acolytes yet again decrying the portrayal of Zuma's genitals (it's not his genitals you twits - nobody is that well hung). Calls to boycott the paper. Calls for the cartoon to be removed. Sounds familiar huh? Next will be death threats and other nonsense. It's too late, by the way, the image and the response have been reported all over the world.

The only question that remains is whose dick will turn out to be bigger - the M&G's or Zuma's? I sincerely hope it is the M&G. Whatever upset the cartoon has done, it is well deserved. We need to test this ANC muzzling of the media under threat. It's not constitutional and that is what we need to really get through now. Being offended by something is not relevant. I am offended by many things, but I don't go around threatening people. Instead I look at my feelings and try to get through them.

So, let's hope, for the sake of our democracy, that M&G does not buckle under pressure. I may not like the cartoon, but I do see that they have drawn a line in the sand, on behalf of all media in our wonderful country and on behalf of the people.

Viva freedom. Viva South Africa.

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