Following on from my previous posting… The murder of Eugene Terreblanche by two of his farm hands yesterday has become global news. Few will mourn the death of such a man. After all, Terreblanche was a hateful figure who fought for racial separation and white supremacy in South Africa. He engaged in racially motivated violence and unspeakable cruelty and led the racist Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging party (AWB). But he was still a human being.
The media saw Terreblanche as a curiosity, an extremist oddity, and treated him as such. Accordingly many people will feel that he has now got his comeuppance. But the murder of Terreblanche lifts the veil on a much bigger story that, until now, has been the preserve of South African bloggers and small publications, as it has failed to attract the attention of the mainstream media. That story is the carefully planned systematic murder of white South Africans since the end of apartheid – such as the man above.
To put the extent of this campaign of murder into context, around the same number of white South African farmers have been murdered in the last 15 years as the total number of people who died in nearly 40 years of violence in Northern Ireland – over 3,000. Despite the horrific death toll continuing to rise, the media has painted South Africa as a tolerant post-apartheid society and bought into the ANC government’s spin of the country being a Rainbow nation. Many in the media have turned a blind eye to this slaughter of white South Africans because of the history of apartheid. Journalists from around the world rightly kept the brutality of apartheid, and plight of the black South African majority living under white rule, in the public consciousness.
But having spent decades presenting the black majority as oppressed people stripped of basic rights, many journalists are refusing to bring to the public consciousness the brutality being waged against the white minority they spent years demonising for wrongs of apartheid. The BBC’s almost imperceptible nod towards the reality of life in South Africa for its white citizens tells us just how craven the media has become, as this line by Martin Plaut reveals:
It is a tragic fact that more than 3,000 white farmers have been murdered since the end of apartheid in 1994.
Tragic fact? In any other theatre of conflict the BBC would be describing this as a genocide and producing documentaries and investigative programmes to shout the fact to the world. But Plaut, like so many journalists, laments the exposure of the fraud of South Africa’s claim of being a racially tolerant post-apartheid society far more than the systematic murder of 3,000 human beings on the basis of their race.
Unsurprisingly the South African President, Jacob Zuma, has issued a call for calm, saying that South Africans must not allow anyone to take advantage of the “terrible deed” by inciting racial hatred. But where was Zuma’s call for an end to the mass murder of people whose families have been South African for generations and who have tried to get on with their lives, producing food for the population on land bought centuries ago?
Why is it that the life of one South African is worth more than another? Why is it that the media treats the murder of people from one racial group differently to that of another? Why is it the international community, usually so swift to pontificate on human rights issues, stays quiet as a slow burn ethnic cleansing of southern Africa takes place? When acts such as these were being perpetrated in Zimbabwe there was an international outcry. So why is South Africa being treated any differently? It is as if a large part of the international community is comfortable allowing this ethnic cleansing to be carried out because some of these people and their forebears are considered responsible for apartheid.
It is almost as if there is a tacit, unspoken sanctioning of retribution and collective punishment. Small wonder Canada granted asylum to a white South African last year. There was sufficient evidence to show his life would be at risk if he returned to South Africa, because of his race. Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and now Jacob Zuma have failed to deal with this low level genocide and the result is white South Africans being forced out of the only home they have ever known.
I have never liked the idea that something good could come from the murder of a human being, however nasty they may have been. But perhaps the murder of Eugene Terreblanche may result in a long overdue scrutiny of South Africa and the treatment of its white (and for that matter Asian) citizens, upon whom open season has been declared to drive them out of the country or wipe them out. Regardless of the fine oratory of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, South African is anything but a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.
Update: More here on the callousness displayed by members of the South African government.