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Erney B
 
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Attacking expats

29 November 2010, 15:05  - Erney B
I am reading the comments on the stories of Gerhard, Stephanie and others with absolute astonishment and sometimes with a little chuckle.

By the way, I really enjoy the expat stories of how they experience living and working abroad. My astonishment and bewilderment stems from the comments (attacks) that are slurred at one another.

On the other hand I chuckle at some of the humoristic, so South African comments some post. Then there are the “peace-keeper” comments, but quickly they get drawn into one of the opposing camps.

For me, reading the expat stories and subsequent comments, is like putting a bone outside the house. The dogs come to chew on the meat and soon the dogs start attacking one another. Now, before I get accused of calling some of the commentators “dogs” I am making use of an analogy here and let it be clear that am calling nobody a “dog”. (Inviting comments)

Canada

I worked in Canada in the apartheid years and always showed respect and curtsey for the anti-apartheid activists who protested every Friday outside our building. Rain, sunshine, wind, snow (of which Canada gets lots), these demonstrators peacefully expressed their beliefs. I was invited to address schools on issues relating to apartheid South Africa.

Although, I was rightfully, torn to pieces - figuratively - there was always the odd expat or two would try and defend South Africa’s position.  My point is that I was never assaulted or objects thrown at me, but teachers and children were allowed to speak their minds about the system in South Africa; as were the expats allowed to speak their minds in trying to explain the political situation in South Africa.

For me this was what freedom of speech and expression was about.  The anti-apartheid individuals, groups and campaigners attack the SA government through me, but never attack me personally. After all, as an individual, I could not change the system.  (Inviting comments)

South Africa

Back in South Africa, I went through Codesa, the 1994 elections and the establishment of the new democratic South Africa. When FW de Klerk handed political power over to President Mandela on the steps of the Union Buildings, I was filled with hope for myself, my family, friends and all South Africans. With the Truth and Reconciliation Committee starts its workings, I realise how deep the hurt, injustice and extreme hatred on the fringes of South African society is. Reading some of the comments in the media I do not believe this kind of hate speech will ever dissipate.  (Inviting comments)

Norway

Under a new democratic government I worked for four years in the city where FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize. Again, this is an incredible, tolerant society where each individual, group or faction can speak its mind and promote their respective agenda’s but without racism or hate speech. Back in South Africa, I experience so much goodwill, co-operation and inclusion, but again on the fringes of society was the hate speech, racism and intolerance brewing.  (Inviting comments)

Ireland

In 2001, I came to join my same sex Irish partner in Ireland. Firstly, I wanted to share my life with him and secondly neither of us would have found a job in South Africa. I love Ireland as much as I love South Africa, warts and all, as the Irish say. I now have dual citizenship, have property in both countries, got married to my husband in South Africa, pay tax and can vote in both countries. I have investments in South Africa, because I believe in the future of the country and come spend our Euros every year in sunny South Africa. (Inviting comments)

What’s my point?

I’m looking forward to read your comments and see how the “infighting” will develop.

- Are you a South African living abroad interested in sharing your views? What is it like for a South African living in a foreign country or how do you view South Africa from a distance? Send us your columns to feedback@news24.com and you might get published in our new Beyond Borders section.

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Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

 

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