I went on my first protest march
yesterday – another item checked on the ‘things everyone should do
before they die’ list. I attended the Red October march. According to
the media reports on the march I must have turned into a right wing,
fascist, Nazi, apartheid supporting crazy since I moved here. That’s
not true. I was brought up in London, one of the most diverse cities on
the face of the planet and I marvel at the fantastic range of cultures
that this earth plays host to. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t
give a flying monkeys whether you are white, black or green with sky
blue polka dots – AND THAT HAS NOT CHANGED.
I also don’t
recognise the caricature of the protest that was presented by the media –
maybe I’m mistaken and I turned up at a different protest….
have to say, I was hesitant at turning up yesterday. I was worried
that this event would be hijacked by racist groups looking for a
publicity opportunity. I was worried that the message of Red October
would be kidnapped.
I was pleasantly surprised by what I
experienced; the protesters in Pretoria were respectful but wanted to
get their point heard. I, personally, heard no bigoted racism, no
derogatory name calling or incitement to violence. I saw people who
were sick and tired of the fear that crime causes in this country –
people who were saying enough is enough. I identified with the Red
October cause after reading the content of the letter sent to the
Presidency setting out the reasons for the protest:
1 Urgent attention to the lack of security on South African farms and the lack of attention to farm murders in general
2 Urgent attention to the continuing violence against women
Urgent attention to police action regarding murder and crimes committed
against the people of South Africa by foreigners streaming across our
4 Urgent attention to the lack of quality
education for all our children, respecting their culture, language,
religion and heritage
5 Urgent attention to the lack of
service delivery, the preservation of our natural water resources and
the lack of control over the theft of electricity
Urgent attention to the legal processes and lack of justice with regard
to the detaining of prisoners without proper due course
7 Urgent attention to expedient trials and harsher sentences of criminals found guilty of violent crime, i.e. murder and rape
racist in that lot – no calls for return to apartheid, no we’re better
than you, no bigoted name calling, no incitement to violence, no mention
that this should be limited to white people in any way, shape or form!
when the protest was reported in the media it was characterised as a
bunch of Afrikaners demanding special treatment over anyone else, making
outlandish, untrue statements and generally being a bit racist. It was
an eye opening experience of selective reporting and has taught me the
lesson that the ‘news’ is actually about 99% opinion and spin and the
remaining space left to fact is
filled by cherry picked information to back up the preconceptions of the person and/or agency presenting the story.
So, let’s answer the criticisms leveled at Red October.
In 2009 white people represented 1.8% of murder victims, but make up 8% of the population.
this statement E news is trying to indicate that white people,
especially Afrikaners, are not victimized and are, in fact, nice and
safe and complaining about nothing. Anyone fearing ‘white genocide’ is
clearly a delusional fantasist.
Up until this point, any
figures quoted by groups worried about the degree of violence focused on
white populations were discredited as the South African Police Service
does not routinely collect data on the ethnicity of victims and
perpetrators of murder. Obviously that doesn’t make nice convincing TV
news, so E has gone through the archives until they found a 4 year old
statistic gathering dust in a corner. Want to disprove groups who spend
an awful lot of effort trying to document murder rates through the
devotion of their time to collating anecdotal reporting? Then where is
your carefully researched analysis of murder over the past 19 years?
Where is your statistical analysis of last year’s crime statistics that
were released last month? Where is your evidence of the reliability of
your single snapshot statistic from 2009?
So, let’s leave
statistics aside – as Benjamin Disraeli reportedly said: "There are
three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
is verifiable is the horrific brutality and savagery of farm murders in
South Africa; if you have a strong stomach, Google it. Torture, rape,
murder and mutilation are a legitimate and reasonable part of robbery or
a wage dispute? I didn’t think so.
This march is ridiculous as it only focusses on crime against white people
refer you back to the motivation for the protest above. This was
against all crime, all murder, all rape, all violent attacks. No one in
this country should have to live in fear. Yes, the focus shifted
towards white victims of brutal farm attacks, but these were the people
who could be bothered to get off their backsides and make a stand.
all those who criticised the march on that basis stood up and arranged a
protest against the complete lack of control that the ANC government
has over crime in this country, then we’d attend that one too. But you
haven’t, so we can’t.
The additional demand to scrap
racial quotas such as Affirmative Action, Black Economic Empowerment,
etc, etc, proves that Red October is a front for racists who wish to
return to apartheid.
It has escaped reporting, but
organisers and speakers took great pains to point out that this is by no
means a call to return to apartheid and that the system was
All forms of discrimination are
fundamentally wrong. None of them are positive. The ANC, however,
insist on applying racial quotas and conditions on all areas of commerce
and employment. How will it ever be fair that someone has to hand over
large percentages of the business that they have worked hard to
establish and make successful, just due to their skin colour?
motivation for this protest also highlights the issue of education,
asking for quality education for ALL children in this country. The ANC
has had 19 years to focus on education, ensuring that every person can
compete for jobs based on their abilities and qualifications rather than
the melanin content of their skin. They have failed spectacularly –
the government can’t even get textbooks into schools for the start of
the school year! In order to cover for their incompetence and lack of
motivation in this area, they impose employment quotas to give a thin
veneer of success.
In the face of a difficult and hostile
job market, many white families have had to rely on their
entrepreneurial abilities to make a living. If you can’t get a job, you
have to work for yourself in order to survive. The new focus of the
government has now been to attack white ownership of business, to demand
that anyone who has worked hard to establish a successful, profitable
company now hands over a percentage of what they built up to black
There is one group determined to keep race a
flashpoint in South Africa and that is the ANC. The ANC are just as
obsessed with race as apartheid was, possibly more so.
As the title of this piece indicated, this experience has been a real
eye opener. Caricatures mindlessly spouted by the media are being used
unfairly to silence people’s concerns. I guess there are none so blind
as those that refuse to see, and deaf as those that refuse to hear.
From a Brit living in South Africa – Claire Smith
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