The untimely death of Terre’Blanche and the folly of racialism

Categories: | Author: SuperUser Account | Posted: 5/24/2011 | Views: 2055
In his intellectual autobiography, Unended Quest, acclaimed philosopher Karl Popper poignantly writes:

Admittedly it is understandable that people who were despised for their racial origin should react by saying that they were proud of it. But racial pride is not only stupid but wrong, even if provoked by racial hatred. All nationalism or racialism is evil, and Jewish nationalism is no exception.”

Not surprisingly, the untimely death of Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging leader Eugene Terre’Blanche has stirred the stench of evil nationalisms. Terre’Blanche being white, there are those who have decided to use his death as evidence that white people are facing an imminent danger of being murdered. A caller to Radio 702 even pleaded that when blacks come to kill him, they should please kill him properly, not with pangas. This caller sounded like someone who has spent time imagining the unbearable pain caused by the panga that pieced into Terre’Blanche’s vulnerable flesh. There are also those who spread rumours that random shooting of black people by angry whites was imminent.

On the other side, there are blacks who reacted by saying that since Terre’Blanche was an avowed racist, and since he abused many blacks, he finally got the taste of his own medicine. There is a notorious black youth leader who is proudly championing this kind of message. And there are blacks who quietly agree with this inhuman position. In their whispering, these blacks wonder why people are troubled by the death of an evil man, such as Eugene Terre’Blache.

Both the white people whose racial pride drives them into a sense of collective fear and the blacks whose nationalism celebrates the death of Terre’Blanche would be described by Karl Popper certainly as stupid and wrong. In 2010, one would think that, as human beings, we have reached the level of civilization that we would never justify wrong on the basis of race. Terre’Blanche’s racism was wrong, and his brutal killing is equally wrong! In other words, civilized people ought to use the same words to condemn both Terre’Blanche’s acts of brutality against his black workers and to reject the coldness of his killers.

It may be of interest for some readers to know that Karl Popper was a Jew, and yet he wrote: “All nationalism or racialism is evil, and Jewish nationalism is no exception.” At this hour of racial tension in our country, it is clear that we lack the wisdom of Karl Popper, who was able to condemn the nationalism and racism of his very own people, the Jews. Where are the voices of eminent Afrikaners, to dismiss the lunatics who are trying to detonate Afrikaner identity to stir a racial bloodbath? Where are the voices of respected black leaders, to tell the notorious black youth leader to shut up? Where are the voices of reason, to remind our nation that civilized people do not celebrate the death of a human being, even if such a person was evil?

Beyond the stupid nationalisms and racialisms that have polluted our atmosphere over the past few days, there are important lessons our society must learn from the unfortunate death of Terre’Blache. Painful as it is, we must scrutinize the circumstances of this terrible death to ask critical questions about our society.

While everything is still locked in the realm of allegations, the allegations themselves are enough to trigger worrying questions. If what Terre’Blanche’s killers have told us is correct – that he owed them about R600 – what kind of society would it be where workers murder their employers for not to pay them? How many of us would wish to see every employer who does not pay his workers killed? While some blacks may celebrate the way Terre’Blanche was killed, such blacks must be assisted to understand that his death also meant the death of the rule of law. In a situation where citizens do not approach the police when they think that someone has transgressed the law anything is possible. It might not be long before black workers kill their black bosses for not paying them. If such a thing were to happen, one wonders if there would be blacks who would celebrate the death of black employers.

We also need to ask another troubling question: what kind of human beings are employers who do not pay what is due to their workers? Are such people so cold that they think that workers are slaves who deserve to toil without reward? If there are such farmers who abuse workers, the hand of the state must catch them before they are murdered by their angry workers. It would be better for such abusive employers to rot in jail than for them to be killed with pangas. If our country were to be known as a place where abusive farmers are arrested – not as a society where workers kill their employers – one believes that such would be a better image.

Indeed, no other treatment should attach to Terre’Blanche’s killers than that accorded to criminals. They are coldblooded criminals that must face the wrath of the law, and our society must work hard to prevent the multiplication of such heinous human beings. The law must deal harshly with them in order for other farm workers to see the fate that would befall them should they murder their employers.

While it would be difficult to link Terre’Blanche’s murder and the song sung by the notorious black youth leader, we nonetheless must ask why this young man is allowed to polarize our nation. If there are leaders in the political party of the notorious youth black leader, such leaders must ask themselves the question: does the song “kill the boer, kill the farmer” serve to unite or divide the nation? Hopefully, the posing of such a question will make the leaders realize their responsibility to build, not to destroy our nation. The leaders might have to choose sides between nation-building and the defense of a notorious black youth leader. This inevitable choice itself raises a critical question: in the eyes of the political party in question, who comes first between our nation and the notorious black youth leader?

As we continue to search for answers to these troubling questions, we must never forget that racial pride is not only stupid but wrong, even if provoked by racial hatred. We should keep in mind that all nationalism or racialism is evil, and white or black nationalisms are no exception. Therefore, anyone who fans racial tension in our country must be dismissed as a stupid lunatic and as an evil monster.

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