No, this is not a story about a “Jacuzzi,” whirlpool bathtubs, or hot tub spas with massaging jets. It is about the “open letters” to Zuma, which are so frequently published on these pages – such as the excellent open letter by *Stephen Price to old Showerhead.
People write open letters for some of the following reasons:
· To ask readers to judge the letter’s recipient.
· To state the author’s position on a particular issue.
· As an attempt to start or end a discussion around an issue.
· To criticise someone’s actions.
· For absurdity - such as this one.
In 1863, William Banting, an English undertaker, wrote an open letter on corpulence (obesity) – which he addressed to the public. The letter contained a weight loss diet based on limiting the intake of refined and easily digestible carbohydrates.
Now, anyone who has ever had to carry the coffin of a seriously obese, lately departed person will understand the reason behind William’s open letter to the public.
It would seem as if pulling the coffin bearers’ arms out of their sockets is the final revenge of the overweight deceased on the skinny ones left behind. It is small wonder that the English undertaker wanted his customers to be a more manageable weight.
I remember once – while hauling the blubberised remains of an extremely portly old fellow to a hole in the ground – the grunts, groans, and curses, coming from my fellow pallbearers. The bugger was FAT. He had no respect for William Banting or his open letter.
But getting back to J’accuse.
“J’accuse,” from the French: “I accuse you,” was an open letter published in 1898 in the newspaper, L’Aurore, by the writer Émile Zola. In the letter Zola accused Zuma of rampant corruption, fraud, self enrichment, misuse of public funds, the appointment of family and supporters regardless of ability, Nkandla, the manipulation of the justice system by convicted criminals - Shaik, Selebi. In the letter, Price accused the President of France, Felix Faure, and the government of anti-Semitism and judicial errors.
What the Hell just happened???
Aaah, sorry. I found the problem: A cramp in my copy-and-paste click-finger caused a mixed-up between Stephen Price’s article and Wikipedia. But that’s not important right now.
What is important is that, unlike Zuma, President Faure actually read the open letter and responded: Zola was prosecuted and found guilty of libel.
Now, what is clear from all the open letters addressed to Zuma is this:
· Zuma never reads open letters.
· Zuma never responds to open letters.
· Zuma never prosecutes the writers of open letters – because the accusations are true.
So, now we come back to my open letter:
**Zuma, je vous accuse! Vous et vos camarades sont corrompus. Read this open letter and prosecute me. I challenge you!
PS If I am found dead in my bed for no apparent reason, it will be because of this open letter. If I’m found dead out of my bed, it will be for another apparent reason. I bid you a fond farewell! So long, and thanks for all the fish.
*Stephen Price: Open Letter to President Zuma, 13 October 2012, News24
**Zuma, I accuse you! You and your comrades are corrupt.