Beware of swine flu – it seems to be a contagious disease!
Several weeks ago, members of COSAS, the Council of South African Students placed a pig’s head in what they thought was the Kosher meat section of Woolworth’s Sea Point store. Turn out in their infinite stupidity, they had placed it in the Halaal section but then again, this bunch have never been famous for their cerebral prowess.
Hate speech, much like swine flu, seems to be a contagious disease. This is a disease that is spreading like wildfire throughout the world. South Africa is not immune. Over the last few months social media sites on Facebook and Twitter have been infested with the kind of comments that would not have been out of place in Germany circa 1938 and many of the perpetrators are linked to government departments and political parties. We have had the illustrious Rene Smit, social media manager of the ANC Western Cape branch posting “Hitler was right” and now DIRCO (Department of International Relations) employee, Rudi van Vuuren, who has enjoyed diplomatic postings to Helsinki and Damascus is the latest little piggy who is going to market.
Cartoon courtesy of RAFO
Van Vuuren was caught tweeting this gem yesterday that appeared on the South African Friends of Palestine page:
I know the very definition of diplomacy is telling someone to go to hell and making sure they enjoy the ride but this is beyond reprehensible. Hiding behind the excuse “well he was tweeting/commenting in his private capacity” is just not going to cut the mustard. Anti-Semitism is rising to alarming levels around the world and has arrived in South Africa. South Africa boasts a Constitution that protects the rights of minority communities and since the fall of Apartheid has been an example of conflict resolution but the lack of sanction on officials that feel like they have free reign on social media to spout their hate invective has transported the Rainbow nation back in time. It is a flagrant abuse of office to use social media platforms to bring their latent anti-Semitic tendencies to the fore.
It seems as if it is open season to say whatever you want to against the Jewish community with very few repercussions. It is time for ordinary South Africans who are sick and tired of the Middle East taking preference over pressing issues in their country to say enough is enough. It is time for ordinary South Africans who fought long and hard to triumph over the dark past of the country to say enough is enough. Enough of the hatred. Enough of the abuse of office. Enough.
It is time for ordinary South Africans to say that the Jewish community are just as much a stripe in the Rainbow Nation as any other and any hate invective against them will not be tolerated.
This particular strain of swine flu has to be stopped from spreading at all costs before the epidemic gets out of hand and starts to manifest violent symptoms.
“We received information from an online organisation called ‘SpotlightingSA’ which combats Antisemitism and false narratives concerning Israel. Spotlighting primarily focuses on South Africa but deals with the same issues in the UK and Australia. Spotlighting is a grassroots initiative which also monitors Antisemitism and holds individuals accountable for racism, bias, bigotry and above all Antisemitism. Spotlighting is an independent organisation unaffiliated to any organisation or political agenda”.