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Ed Herbst: Academic freedom be damned. Double standards of #RhodesMustFall

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By Ed Herbst*

“RMF ended with self-immolation. A whimper. The Cape Times has lost its cause celebre and will have to return to the parameters of acceptable human behaviour — perhaps even explain to its Chinese shareholders why it is so fond of grammatical errors.

RMF didn’t fail just because it was the most confusing, divisive and xenophobic campaign to have featured since 1994, but because it was executed by vile personalities.” Simon Lincoln Reader, Business Day 7/5/2016.

However justified the original motivation of the RMF movement, it became characterised by wanton destruction, race hate and misogyny.

The tipping point came in 9 – 11 November last year when Rhodes Must Fall ratcheted up the attacks on Dr Max Price and the campus vandalism across the country increased exponentially after that.

No longer content to verbally abuse Price or to restrict themselves to damaging property, RMF switched to assault, then moved on to arson.

On 9 November they triggered a fire extinguisher in the face of Price and pelted him with food and with full bottles of water. As is now a matter or record this new approach was escalated to burning vehicles, “whiteness” and then buildings causing damage estimated at more than R300m at 13 universities. This disrupted the exam preparations of tens of thousands of students throughout the country.

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