let the moderate voices be heard
April 5, 2010
On Saturday morning Eugene Terre’Blanche was part of South Africa’s history, a reminder of a time when far-right opinions still had power, a time gone by. Today some are portraying him as a martyr, and his death as the cry for a call to arms. Saturday he was the leader for a small, an extremely small, minority, yes a minority who were allowed an opinion, but nonetheless not seriously considered to have a major impact on the future of South African politics. Today some consider him to be a symbol of a South Africa that are still ruled by racial hatred.
On Saturday we were fighting racism. We were debating the fine intricacies of a multi-racial South Africa. We knew that sometimes there were racial tension. We knew that there were a thousand points on which we disagreed. We had intense political debates, argued about the future of the South African economy, the adequacy of the Zuma government, how to build a more healthy democracy. Next week we will continue our rigorous debate for this beloved country, but today, today the moderate voices need to be heard.
Terre’Blanche’s death on it’s own wouldn’t have caused the reaction it did. Newspapers yesterday was supposed to report another farm murder, something to get mad about, but not to start a war about. It should have had a short autobiography about a man who was a leader of a small extremist group, not debates about the future AET (After Eugene Terre’Blanche). But a number of circumstances has led to the current situation. Let’s be honest, most notably Julius Malema. No, he shouldn’t be held responsible for what happened in this particular instance, but he has been causing a rise in emotions among white South Africans, and definitely isn’t the favorite politician of all black South Africans either. The “Kill the Boer” argument currently running also contributed to the heated reaction, and I guess a better political analyst would be able to add many more factors that contributed to cause this event to be of sudden international interest.
Suddenly extremist views abound even more than usual. So today we need the moderates. Today we need everyone, from COSATU, the ANC, IFP, COPE, DA and FF+, black colored, white, indian, to condemn murder, to call for calm and reasoned reaction. Today we need to forget our differences and focus on the fact that we have a common enemy. Our common enemy is not white, not black. Our common enemy is violence, violence against all South Africans, in spite of race. Next week we will continue our work on the day to day racial tensions, but today we have a common enemy in extreme racial hatred. Today the majority of moderate South Africans need to be silent about their detailed differences, and unite to be a voice calling for peace. Allowing friends and family of Terre’Blanche of grief, together condemning voices that posthumously sentence Terre’Blanche to death and so belittle murder, and also condemning voices that call to arms and revenge.