Friday, July 25, 2003

South Africa...the next Zimbabwe?

Frozen in Montreal notes that local officials in Johannesburg have ordered the removal of security barriers and fences on local streets that were designed, by the homeowners who put them up, as anti-crime measure. He then asks: this move actually to create a (thief-?) friendly atmosphere, or is this the first phase of a South African attempt to "pull a Mugabe", as it were, and get rid of Whitey?

Well, I don't think that the government in South Africa is that dumb. Encouraging the continued mass exodus of the middle and upper classes (read:whites) is not that smart. Nobody likes to see crime.

That said, however, "crime" may be defined uniquely amongst some activists in South Africa. I recently saw a documentary film on the songs that blacks used to fight apartheid. You couldn't fault them for being upset back then, but there seems to be an occasional lapse in what they sung. I was quite surprised to see a group of blacks singing a 30 year old song about killing whites with "machine guns." This was a large group gathering to sing the good old songs of the anti-apartheid days well *after* apartheid had been overthrown. The film's audience didn't seem to blanch at what was sung, which I was surprised by.

Such rhetoric does not compare to the real injustices that non-whites suffered, but one would think that blacks, more than anyone else in South Africa, would not want to embrace violence as a way of getting even.

Fortunately most South Africans seem committed to embracing peace, but one has to wonder if there remains a constituency for violenent solutions. Let's hope not.