With the focus on freedom of expression again globally, I'd like to express myself on the topic. Yes, I have a say. Why do I have a say? That's simple, in South Africa any one person has the right to express him or herself freely, without fear of persecution or that little bugger known as censorship pouncing on his or her parade. Hence, you have the right to express your feelings of disgust at my opinion, as you have the right to express your utter disinterest in my opinion.
That won't stop me from giving it.
I am slowly but surely forming an unhealthy addiction to the comments on News24. This is anything but a boring pastime, and the reactions to some of the dribble that appears at times can vary from extreme bouts of laughter, to sobbing over the state of the nation - especially when the dribble appears to be coming from a singular uniformed source (for we simply can't have that amount of idiots with unlimited wifi) and in this lovely country of ours we rarely get people with a singular uniformed opinion (insert: the latter half of that sentence is known as an ironic statement). Anyway, before the irony subsides and becomes the beloved timepass of many South Africans - sarcasm (another ironic statement), it was in this comments section that my theory of freedom of expression was yet again proved yesterday.
What generates a comment?
Although there are probably millions of little tidbits of Safa wisdom to be found on the site as a whole, they are mostly centered around two, I lie - 3 general themes: Religion, Racism & Politics; often interwoven in one as a brand new theme I'd like to coin RRP. I'm not the most original tonight, so excuse the blatantly obvious titleing. It was during one of the pseudo-religious racist romps in response to an article regarding a politically motivated attack that I yet again came across an old commenter of traditional title (if you're not South African you would simply say he's black) stirring among the conservative views of a right-winger (in this case, should you be foreign, they're referred to simply as average white male), as the former is allowed to do in newly-old democratic South Africa.
A furious debate between old school NP views, and blinged out Revolutionary views ensued to the delight of millions of readers across South Africa who stood on the sidelines - some eventually joining in to support their corner, and some opting to loudly add their 2cents in the safety of their bedrooms. Eventually they landed at one defining comment that shook the whole storm and (electronically) silenced both team OldBull & team NewBling: actually they had been argueing the exact same point! After a few minutes of awkward stillness, I was starting to worry that maybe they would disprove my theory and continue the battle in the name of good sportsmanship and other olympic dreams - but luckily not, they both finally admitted (on a public forum, I'll have you know) that they actually wanted the same for South Africa and, ultimately, for the outcome of said attacker's trial, although the latter had become a shadow of the former somewhere in the mudslinging.
What is the point of giving an un(der)valued opinion?
Dissatisfied at the fact that for once in my life South Africans had done exactly what I had hoped for, and still charged from the adrenaline rush of the heated mud-match that preceded this 'delightful' conclusion, I decided to break my rule and open each of their profiles, hoping that each would be linked to their respective Facebook pages (as this has become the way to judge a person's sanity in this ultra-sane world we live in). As luck would have it, they were both linked and so I trawled their pages trying to find some significance beyond the borders of their own home to their profiles. Nothing. Not a single link to anything outside of each of their communities. As far as my (Facebook-bound) research could find, neither had even travelled much further than a neighbouring province, much less as far as Cape Town for that matter. This got me thinking...
Is it not these same 'insignificant' brothers in arms who usually tend to lead the very significant masses into violent turmoil and uprising against 'the man' (this is a foreign phrase, in South Africa we simply add the name of who ever is in charge)? Hence the question, is said brother then not quite significant in the bigger scheme of things? I'll refrain from answering that question just yet, seeing as that would mean the departure of my own backside from the pedestal. But, it does beg the question, is his opinion then not supposed to be valued as much as the next?
Give as much as you get
Just by merely persisting somewhere in a room in his hometown of 300, each of the contributors expressed their views to the delight and disgust of the rest of internet-active News24-enthieusiasts around the country, and resolved a little teenie-tiny slice of the RRP pie. More than that, from the sudden lack of comments that followed after, it was clear that it had silenced both parties from different areas around SA and got them thinking. And there we go: freedom of expression, no matter how arb or supposedly insignificant the participant there-in may be, sets the wheels in motion to stop the masses - educated or not - from causing further damage and to rather think. My mother always used to say just bully them back, which is something (albeit a dangerous statement) I now suddenly understand. If two idiots offend each other face to face, at some point at least one half of this idiocracy should comprehend that they're both actually the same. This is not a trusted science, it is merely an opinion based on a recent encounter. South Africans have been known to disprove my theories in time...
And if nothing else, this will generate a few comments regarding the state of the nation and RRP, with the intent of this article completely lost somewhere in a mudslinging.
At least they'll be talking.
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