There are None so Blind.

2015-09-20 07:35

Shame, Ronnie Kasrils is upset. He is sad because Mosiuoa Lekota didn’t listen to his unsolicited advice to stay home. And he is irritable because Mosiuoa Lekota decided to go to Israel, along with other leading South African politicians, in order to see for himself what the facts really are. And apparently the ex Minister of Intelligence would have none of that. Instead, he seems to suggest, they should stay home and repeat after me, after me, after me.

Ronnie Kasrils’ emotional outburst in the Saturday Star newspaper should not shock anyone. The comfortable policy of simplifying a complex situation and the demonising of one party only in this conflict is entrenched in his approach. He hides behind stale rhetoric and unhelpful language, which serves only to alienate and to create a larger divide. His mantra is seemingly directly out of the BDS Book of Hate and includes phrases like ”Racist and apartheid style government” and a “Savagely repressed” people. All of which adds to the emotive nature of his zeal and evokes Pavlovian responses from all those who repeat after me, after me.

The fact that Lakota consulted with the Palestinian Ambassador in South Africa prior to his visit, and the fact he supported the trip bothers our esteemed ex Intelligence Minister not one bit. With the swoop of a pen he discredits the entire PA (Palestinian Authority) and the Ambassador himself by comparing them with the old Bantustan collaborators. Pretty insulting if you ask me.

His suggestion that Lakota should have consulted with the “civil Palestinian society” before boarding his flight is perplexing at best. Surely a trip to the place where the Palestinian people actually live would be doing just that? Or would a visit perhaps provide too much complexity and maybe require too much contemplation and might prevent the use of vile hate-filled language that trips off the tongue so effortlessly. One does also wonder who this civil society is that Kasrils suggest should have been consulted with - the answer I imagine lies in the aisles of Woolworths. And Kasrils simply repeats after me, after me, after. Shame.

Lekota did not travel alone. Along with Mangosuthu Buthelezi of the IFP, Bantu Holomisa of the UDM, Pieter Mulder of the Freedom Front Plus and Kenneth Meshoe of the African Christian Democratic Party the group represented a diverse cross-section of South African society. The group undoubtedly understood that there would be a reaction to their visit and yet made the decision nevertheless to go to Israel and to see for themselves.

A South African student delegation in July of this year received a similar hysterical response. “It’s an attempt to embarrass the ANC!” screamed Obed Bapela (not realising that he was doing a pretty good job of it himself). And if that wasn’t enough he drove the point home by courting the country to the edge of international ridicule with his dual citizenship brain wave. A masterpiece if ever there was one.

The situation in Israel is not a simple one. It is complex and deep and there are imperfections on both sides. Not everyone is privileged enough to be able to travel to Israel, but I am pretty sure that we shouldn’t be afraid to allow people to see for themselves and to think for themselves. Telling people not to go but to rather accept your narrative as the truth, screams of deception. For indeed there are none so blind ….

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