Unfortunately, it is human nature for people to hate and despise what they don't understand, and to torture and kill those whom they don't want to understand. When such groups of people are presented to larger groups as a threat, or a scapegoat, they often seize the opportunity to point out that "there are more of us, so you must be wrong, unnatural and evil". It also needs to be said that such people, when placed in control of a government - certainly don't need to understand. They just need someone to blame.
"It is their fault for the bad rains, the earthquakes, the floods, the tsunami's - all because we tolerate their existence" these people claim. Some can see reason and sense in the likelihood that nature and tectonic crust movements could be governed by noble morals and the ritual sacrifice of minorities made guilty of manufactured crimes by prejudice and bigotry. People in the hot-seat point fingers in order to shift blame and to cling to power. Give the mob someone to blame, anyone to keep them busy and focused on someone else, anyone else but me. Ah, the ancient art of misdirection. It is an old, old story, as old as the pyramids, if not even older.
Pedophilia? Naturally, it is the gay's fault for choosing a sinful un-Christian lifestyle. They do this to defy God, nature - and us, of course. Muti murders? It is witchcraft, and anyone who does not attend church every Sunday is a witch and should be killed for it, according to traditional biblical values. HIV/AIDS? Why, that's a gay disease, of course, despite the facts that show how HIV strikes anyone, anywhere, regardless of sex, gender, orientation, race, religion or class. And my personal favorite - speaking out against gross human rights abuses is "giving in to the homosexual lobby" and "furthering the gay agenda" - never mind the contradiction in finding any good in furthering legislation that institutes bigotry, violence, hatred and genocide - and the fact that continued silence gives consent.
"Moral decay" and "moral regeneration" is the new watchword of the government in South Africa. Obviously this is taken from a religious perspective, as "morality" is a very Christian concern indeed. Despite this, the leaders of this "God Squad" wanting to rid the country of human rights and legal protections for some groups, while entrenching them for others - are also the same people who endorse by their own behavior, prejudice, bigotry, hypocrisy, polygamy, infidelity, and divorce. It strikes me as ironic that a move to institute "moral regeneration" could ever be built upon foundations of immorality and hypocrisy. And we all know how much fun irony can be.
Something I have been hearing for some time now is the "It's only a matter of time before SA becomes Zimbabwe." story. I know many people who have already left the country for what they feel are greener pastures, regularly writing back to say how much better it is for them over there, and how clean and how safe. How honest the people are there, how accountable the public service and the politicians. Do I have blinkers on, that I resist the urge to join them? Don't I see what they mean when they compare SA to it's corrupt and broken down neighbor? Yes, I have noticed the similarities myself. I notice it every single day.
That being said, it all depends on us. Are we going to sit by and watch this country that has so much promise, decay and deteriorate through corruption and mismanagement? Or are we going to get off our butts and get involved in processes which will re-build and continue to bolster the South African dream founded in 1994 instead?
I know what my choice is. This is my home. I love this county. I love democracy, liberty and equality. Even if the political process looks like it will roll over us, we must try. And even if we fail, we fail trying - and not failing to try.
I'm not going to just give up and not try because it looks like SA is in trouble and the window for my escape to foreign lands may be closed off.
Even if one day I must leave these shores, I will not stand by and let radicals pick away at the laws which grant equality to us all, unchallenged. I will not remain silent in the face of hatred and intolerance and hypocrisy, for silence gives consent - and I do not. All I ask is that you do the same. Speak out in the face of injustice, speak out in the face of bigotry. Look prejudice in the eye and stare it down, back into the dark cave it comes from. Speak out to protect the South African Constitution - which is the one law in this country we all need to protect at all and any cost.
I await the day when certain groups in this country challenge the Constitution in court because they feel that certain other groups having the same legal rights as themselves somehow infringe on their rights to believe whatever they choose to. I anticipate the day people who have been campaigning and lobbying to change the Constitution, will attempt to rip to shreds those laws which grant human rights to people they happen to dislike or blame for their own ills.
Over-zealous puritans and hypocritical radical charlatans - these are the things we must guard against in this country. Our future depends on it.
Let's make the biggest hill we can for them to try to roll over! Let's make it a battle they will dread winning because it will cost them far too much in terms of resources and international condemnation! Let's give those who seek to take away our rights and humanity and destroy us, a fight that will ruin them as well as us.
Let's make their war to strip us of our equality and our humanity - a fight that they will dread winning.
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