Don’t project your prejudice onto AfriForum

2011-10-01 09:03

Dear Adriaan,

Your open letter to me (City Press, September 25) reveals that your criticism against AfriForum is not really based on what the civil rights organisation does or says, but rather on what AfriForum is.

The facts that AfriForum draws wide support from Afrikaners and that its membership trebled over the past 18 months present a problem when you and pro-Julius Malema commentators judge AfriForum based on your embedded negative stereotypes about many Afrikaners.

You and a number of commentators apparently find it difficult to accept that right-wing organisations receive little support from Afrikaners these days and that most Afrikaners want to promote peaceful coexistence.

It is this group of Afrikaners who increasingly support AfriForum’s justified ideals.You will naturally deny that you apply double standards to organisations like AfriForum.

Therefore, I would like to draw your attention to a few examples of yours and other critics’ double standards.

After the Equality Court had convicted Malema of hate speech against women in the Sonke Gender Justice Network case most people, including AfriForum, reacted positively to the court’s protection of women’s dignity.

I assume that you also reacted positively to the ruling, as I have not seen an open letter from you to the justice network in which you accuse them of misleading women and polarising the community.

When Jon Qwelane was found guilty of hate speech against homosexuals, the response was also positive.

In this instance you didn’t write an open letter to the Human Rights Commission – who took the matter to court – accusing them of polarising people.

Yet, when AfriForum approached the court for similar hate speech against Afrikaners and won the case, you found it necessary to accuse the organisation of misleading Afrikaners and polarising people.

Failing to recognise that it ought to be just as unacceptable for Julius Malema to call Afrikaners dogs that should be shot, as it is to degrade women, homosexuals and black people, testifies to your double standards.

It seems you have been taken in tow by anti-AfriForum propaganda to the extent that you follow a selective approach to reality.

You acknowledge that AfriForum took action against Malema and Judge Nkola Motata’s racist tirades, but ignore AfriForum’s public criticism of incidents in which black people were degraded by the use of the offensive k-word.

In your attempt to discredit AfriForum, you used statistics selectively and incorrectly.

For example, you ask why AfriForum didn’t issue a positive media statement after what you call a decrease of “100%” in farm murders.If your assumptions are correct, it means that farm murders are not happening any longer.

If it was so, I can assure you that AfriForum would have been the first to congratulate government on this achievement (The published figure of 100% is wrong.

The correct figure is 50%. This was also corrected on the City Press website – editor).

Your assumption that AfriForum does not have legitimacy among black people owing to, among others, its choice of campaigns like the Malema case, distorts reality.

Do you really believe that the majority of black people liked to hear Malema’s polarising statements and to see an intimidating Malema surrounded by armed guards at the court?

Despite your criticism, AfriForum will continue to step in when Afrikaners are treated unfairly, without being ashamed of who and what we are.

I invite you and other people who still harbour prejudices against people with whom you disagree to help build a society based on mutual recognition and respect.

Naturally, this does not mean that we may not disagree with each other.

However, stereotyping the participants in a public debate is not conducive to constructive dialogue.

Instead of trying to discredit AfriForum through baseless stereotyping, you should first consider the organisation’s morally justified arguments.

Best wishes,
Kallie Kriel,
Chief executive: AfriForum

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