Helen Zille's "Tweets" - The Need To Understand The English Language!

2017-03-20 20:55

I now have no doubt that many of my compatriots, even many educated ones, don't understand the English language!

Time and time again I've come to realise that they read/hear what they think/want to believe has been written/said, and not what has actually been written/said!

The latest example of this has been the huge furore that followed the "Tweets" that Helen Zille is alleged to have made last Thursday (16 March)

For the record, let me repeat what Zille is alleged to have "Tweeted":

"For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc."

"Would we have had a transition into specialised health care and medication without colonial influence? Just be honest, please."

"Getting onto an aeroplane now and won't get onto the wi-fi so that I can cut off those who think EVERY aspect of colonial legacy was bad."

Controversial these comments of Zille's may be ... and no doubt very "touchy" for many ... but worthy of widespread public outrage and disciplinary sanction?

Most certainly not!

Zille clearly understood the sensitivity of the "colonialism issue" and to ensure that she wasn't misinterpreted even went as far as putting the word "ONLY" in capitals!!

That's when she said "For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative ...".

She was therefore clearly implying that colonialism whilst NEGATIVE in many aspects, did come with some positive aspects - aspects which she spelt out!!!

Consider her actual Tweet" had she not used the word "ONLY" i.e.

"For those claiming legacy of colonialism was negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc."

Yes, by omitting the word "ONLY" one gets an entirely different contention!!

Zille again reinforced her view when she said "... so that I can cut off those who think EVERY aspect of colonial legacy was bad."

She also put the word "EVERY" in capitals, implying that whilst some aspects of colonialism were bad, some were not.

I believe that it's hard to dispute that some aspects of colonialism were, in fact, good eg the provision of capital and expertise to build infrastructure and factories, the provision of world-class medicines/health care etc.

But there were certainly many aspects of colonialism, like the enslavement of people, the confiscation of land etc that were downright evil/wrong!!!

This attack on Zille reminded me very much of the the uproar that was directed at the late Allister Sparks, a highly respected local journalist and the editor of the newspaper that exposed the "Muldergate scandal" (how the Apartheid Government was secretly funding its information projects), back in 1977.

Sparks, whilst addressing a DA conference, praised Hendrik Verwoerd (amongst naming a number of other past political figures) as being one of the "smart" politicians that he had encountered during his career.

Wow, did he get condemned for that!! Such outrage!!

But he DIDN'T say that he agreed with what Verwoerd said or stood for!!!!

He simply said that Verwoerd was a "smart" politician!

Verwoerd may well have been a "smart" politician - I'm too young to pass judgement on that!

But it's quite clear to me that Sparks' comment didn't mean that he regarded Verwoerd, or what he stood for, as a being good!

As an another example one could say that Adolf Hitler was a great orator.

I don't believe that anyone can honestly deny that Hitler was a great orator!

His long, emotion-charged speeches/rants mobilized the highly intelligent and sophisticated German nation (and others!) into a massive war aimed at conquering the whole of Europe (including the USSR), and to embark on the industrialized killing of what he and his fellow-Nazis classified as the "untermensch" (the inferior races)!

But in acknowledging that Hitler was a great orator, one certainly isn't contending/implying that Hitler and/or what he stood for was good!

People must learn to read and understand the English language, and to not read into it WHAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO READ INTO IT!!!

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