05 April 2010

Blood lust and resistance

Eugene Terre'Blanche lived a violent life, and his life ended violently. His life is complete but the futility of that life is not clear to those who regarded him as anything but pitiful and absurd.

Terre'Blanche fought for a white homeland for the Boers after forming the Afrikaans Resistance Movement in 1973 with six others to oppose what they believed were moves towards majority rule by the apartheid government.

That effort failed, everyone in South Africa and beyond is better off for that, and hopefully in a few days he will be seen for what he was: a man who bet it all on the wrong outcome, and lost.

AWB commandant Pieter Steyn ... [said] "We're not racists. We just believe that you should stick to your race,"

Too stupid for government, some people.

To imagine what an AWB-run country would look like (a kind of reverse Bantustan) look no further than Zimbabwe: where silence is the effective substitute for well-run government; where terror is currency, law and national discourse; and where a doddery dictator's ramblings replaces local culture to the point where the country repels the world.

Several AWB supporters had to leave their firearms with security at a press conference held by the minister of police on Sunday, with one elderly man kissing his reclaimed revolver as he exited the meeting.

The organisation, which uses a swastika-like emblem, believes Terre'Blanche's murder is linked to a controversial song urging people to "shoot the boer" sung by ruling African National Congress (ANC) party youth leader Julius Malema.

Two court rulings have banned the use of the slogan but the ANC has vowed to fight for its use, saying the song is part of South Africa's liberation struggle.

Firstly, clowns who kiss inanimate anti-personnel weapons need to have a good look at themselves, and not in an admiring way. Second, Julius old son: if you're going to make it as a politician, choose your music a bit more carefully. Leave the nostalgia trip for the oldies, the lesson of South Africa is that they got everything they wanted for your country - and your generation in your country - without having to kill the boers.

Emile Coetzee, a historian at the University of Johannesburg who specialises in white nationalism, travelled to the farm to assess the atmosphere and told AFP that Terre'Blanche's followers live in fear.

"AWB supporters are living a lifestyle of fear, not knowing when any perpetrator might break into their houses and do the same thing which these two murderers have done to Eugene Terre'Blanche, their leader," he said.

People like F W de Klerk got there first - they realised that a nation divided against itself has no future and that cranking up the fear with explosive rhetoric makes things worse, not better. If Terre'Blanche can be wiped out then clearly racial violence makes nobody safe. Bury him, and bury the AWB with him. Black people breaking into your house is the least of your worries: being bullied by the likes of Terre'Blanche and Steyn every day for the rest of your life is the real worry, and with the death of the former that threat has lessened.

At the centre of the AWB logo is a design that some have likened to a swastika, but which I think looks like a triple boomerang: Terre'Blanche tossed that triple boomerang out there and now it has smacked him in the head. Sometimes you can worry about something so much that it becomes more real for your worrying: get back to work and stop whingeing.

As for all these "calls for calm", such calm is the norm in a free society. It is only possible in an environment of depoliticisation, where benefits flow from hard work and reading the market astutely rather than various kind of toyi-toying (the AWB can't complain about bloodthirsty ANC songs because of their own bloodthirsty rhetoric). The most effective weerstand/resistance is one where people just get on with it, a situation not possible where extremists want to "organise" people - or destroy them - to lessen their unslakeable feelings of worthlessness. Feed some worms, Terre'Blanche, and create something positive in death that you never could in life.

1 comment:

  1. I was in South Africa apartheid ended. Visiting farmers, working with coloured people ( Indian decent). My over whelming impression; when you exclude 95% of your smart people from jobs that require smart people you end up with a lot of dumb whites doing things they are not capable of; but that is another story.

    My lasting impression of Terre'Blanche. He fell of his horse while doing a photo shoot.