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Rod Mackenzie

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Sour grapes: would ALL the Brandon Huntleys stand up?

Virtually every person I know who has left South Africa has done so because they could not find work in SA due to BEE and AA and/or they had been traumatised by violence and were extremely uncertain about their and their loved ones’ future in South Africa. Except for those above the age 60, every member of my extended family has left South Africa. “We”, if we can still use that sense of a collective noun and its sense of belonging and a household hearth, are dispersed throughout Canada, England, New Zealand, Australia and China. The hearth is cold ashes.

Those are the trite truisms above, the same stale tale which may have had some readers cringing over the clichés. But the reason why they are hackneyed is because they are so true, so prevalent. The cliché, “Such is life, c’est la vie” is a cliché because it is repeated over and over precisely because of its truthfulness. Brandon Huntley presented the first two items in the paragraph above as facts, they are not fictions, to the Canadian Immigrations Board in Ottawa, Canada and was granted asylum accordingly. (I am not saying I agree with their decision; I will discuss that later.)

I have family in Canada. I have a wonderful niece and nephew and I am now the proud great uncle of my niece’s two children. If I knew the Canadian authorities would be gracious enough to give asylum to me and my wife (who had her fair share of being a victim of crime in South Africa and also in Zimbabwe where she was born and is lucky not to be HIV positive from a gang rape attempt she narrowly escaped from in Randburg) I would seriously consider moving to Canada. But we intend living in New Zealand because Marion’s family is there and the love of my life’s wishes comes first. I fail to see the immorality or deceitfulness of Huntley’s decision at all. However, if it is true that he said he reported the crimes to the police and he is lying about the crimes commited against him, then that is a different matter. Canadian Immigrations should have asked for concrete evidence and confirmed this with Pretoria. But I know from personal experience and anecdotes from friends how dockets disappear. I simply learned not to trust many of the SA police when living in South Africa.

However, in one respect the Canadian decision was extremely short-sighted as they failed to see one simple pragmatic: they have set a precedent and who knows how many other saffers may follow Mr. Huntley into Canada using the same method. It stands to reason the Canadian authorities will try and tighten up on their asylum-granting procedures, just as New Zealand has had to do.

There is one glaring point that is often missing over this business of South Africans leaving SA forever. This globe-trotting phenomenon in going on throughout the world all the time. People are leaving one part of the globe for another for all sorts of reasons. Here in Shanghai, many British people swear never to return to the UK. They are bitter about the lack of employment in the UK and how ludicrously expensive the UK lifestyle is. They understandably moan about death tax (the estate being taxed after the deceased person has already paid a lifetime of tax) and padded utility bills (being expected in some parts of England to pay a set amount of money for gas, electricity etc. regardless of the fact the amount used being less, or so I am told by several Britons).

Yet as far as I have experienced, no British person, whinger or not, has a misplaced, patriotic fit about another Briton permanently leaving their home country. “So what”, is the prevalent attitude. The world is your oyster. And I also base this observation of this British sensibility on having lived in the UK for nearly a year.

Sigh… yet, and here’s my resigned yet, in SA, from the highest offices in the land to those on the ground, people have had a grand mal about Brandon Huntley making – to many people’s minds, including mine – a perfectly valid claim to ask for asylum in Canada. He sees Canada as the safer place and the better option for his future. Where is the amoral action? There is none. Who has he betrayed? Nobody. Why is he referred to as an idiot by journalists such as those in The Times? He seems quite sharp when it comes to wanting to survive. Of course it is all just a matter of perception.

Let us take the humble potato as an exercise in perception. A person can look at it and see:
I can survive for another day!
Oh, god, potato salad with the Sunday braai again. Can’t the wife think of something else?
Have we finalized our presentation to try secure the Simba Chips account?
I will never forget how the potato famine swept through my ancestral homeland, Ireland.

Completely different thought processes, none of them less valid than the other… unless, of course, you are a South African. Or should I say, a certain kind of South African. I invite readers to spell out the definition of this bitter, parochial, Jingoist fellow. I suppose I already have.The SA authorities are extremely upset about the reasons for Canada’s decision with regard to Mr. Huntley, especially the motivations for granting asylum: discrimination and crimes perpetuated against them. Why are they offended? Let’s look at the phenomenon of offence.

If you call me an idiot I will shrug my shoulders because I know I am not an idiot. The insult is not true. If a gay person comfortable with his sexual orientation is called a gay he is not offended because he knows he is a gay and is comfortable with that. If a fat person is offended because someone calls him a tub of lard it is because he is uncomfortable with that truth. The reason why many people in the SA government are having a hullabaloo about the reasons for granting Mr. Huntley asylum is because they are uncomfortable with the “spade is a spade” truth of the reasons for granting asylum. Finish and klaar.

He who works with a hammer thinks of everything as a nail, the saying goes. Mike Trapido is a lawyer so inevitably he tends to see everything as a lawyer would. In his latest blog he almost only looked at Brandon Huntley’s behaviour from a legal perspective, failing to see that the human being called Brandon Huntley was simply looking out for what was best for himself and is guilty of no crime unless he lied about the crimes against him. Then, sure, he is guilty of perjury.

Traps says, “Of course the fact that many thousands of South Africans of all races come under attack from criminals and as a matter of course are called names best not repeated here, seems to have been overlooked by the Canadian immigration and refugee board. So too the fact that the Constitution of the country makes it illegal to practise racism of the kind described by Mr. Huntley”. My blood went a little cold as I read this. Traps makes the crimes look all so ho hum. I infer, from his remarks quoted above and others, a number of chilling conclusions based on being about to reflect on South Africa from the more objective perspective provided by living for more than five years in faraway lands.

1) Crime (including serious crime like rape, stabbings and child abuse as Traps does not specify which crimes as it is all, perhaps, just another day’s work) is so routine, mundane. Get used to it, seems to be the unintentional attitude conveyed by Traps. And the way he talks about crime is clinical, indifferent, an attorney’s mind at work. “South Africa is not for sissies”, as the twee, John Wayne saying goes. So when your wife gets raped and your children are held at gunpoint, just suck it up like a man.

2) “So meneer. You got stabbed repeatedly by black men, your children were held at gunpoint by black men and…mmm… let’s see… your wife was raped maybe four times or five times in a row, hey? Also by black men you think you saw? Agh please, go read your SA Constitution. It is illegal to practice racism of any kind in this country. Get over it”. Ridiculous scenario, no? But so is Traps comment as, with his focus on legalese, he glosses over the real problems of the horrors of crime. Ask my wife. She still turns pale and troubled when she talks about the things that happened to her and her family. Traps is a lawyer concentrating almost only on the legal documents at hand (this noble Constitution he loves referring to).He – at least in this blog – shows no sympathy for what actually happens to real people, glorious Constitution or no bloody Constitution withstanding.

3) Traps then writes: “As things stand now they are suggesting that a white South African (from the 5 million) stands out like a sore thumb, is the only target for crime — when crime is prevalent among all races, and all countries — and is victimized by the country (for that is what the decision represents) when its laws demand the exact opposite.” Again there is something too chillingly matter of fact about Traps’s remarks. Who cares if “the laws demand the exact opposite” when I have friends of mine who have had their home cleaned out four or five times in six months, and one member of my family was left for dead on the home driveway, blood trickling from a slit throat? Malcolm MacKenzie was lucky to live and understandably left SA with his family. The frog in the pot of water: the pot is slowly warmed up and the frog does not realise he is gradually dying as the build up of heat is so slow. From the perspective of living five years outside SA in three much safer countries, Traps’s purely legalistic commentary comes across as an observation from that frog in the pot, who croaks, “who cares about the heat? Don’t worry about it. This heat is against the law. Cheer up”. Completely ludicrous, a script for a Monty Python show.

4) Traps then concludes with: “This is a get-out-of-jail card for the real perpetrators”. I agree wholeheartedly. But Traps does not seem to be aware – otherwise he would not have concluded with this sentence – that among the documents many countries like Canada and New Zealand require, is a police clearance certificate for each emigrant. We know; we have these certificates. All your fingerprints and palm prints have to be submitted to SA from a SA embassy if you are overseas. And SA will not issue the police clearance certificates if you have serious crimes, or will cite them on the certificate, including jails sentences, length of term served and when. Being a lawyer, Traps is surely aware of countries requiring these certificates. Which invalidates his final remark and makes of it a puerile, Jingoist spat. The inference – intended or not is irrelevant, it is still there – is that too many people of an unwholesome character are trying to leave South Africa. That in turn brings to light another inference. Many of those who leave SA must have an objectionable character. Traps, on the conscious level, probably does not mean that. But at a subconscious level, where many of the real motivators, drives and ways of seeing things lurk unexamined, his sensibility and his conscience, like many South Africans living in their home country needs to be carefully studied. Words need to be responsibly handled, Mr. Trapido, and this latest blog has not been carefully weighed.

I must admit the Mail & Guardian has come up with a mature, well-balanced article on Brandon Huntley’s actions in “Racism is alive and well in South Africa”.

I left South Africa because I wanted to live elsewhere. The crime never affected me personally, though it shocked and saddened me and still does. Because I am human. And I refuse to become calloused, especially as a teacher of children.

Sarah Britten in her latest blog on “the Bush” in South Africa had my heart squeezed with longing for my country. I could smell the fynbos at dawn, hear the frogs and crickets around the campfire at night, that bewitching frost of stars above… As Llewellyn Kriel quotes from David Kramer, “I love this country, but I can’t stand the scene”. Amen to that, brother.

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 7th, 2009 @10:06 #
     
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    In South Africa one should never call a spade a spade. That is known as toolism. One should instead call it a haft-advantaged digging instrument of soil repression.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 7th, 2009 @10:40 #
     
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    Subconscious textual analysis - that little known literary art.

    If I were to analyse this piece "subconsciously", I would say it had been written by a racist and a homophobe. But of course I could be wrong. This subconscious analysis business is hardly an exact science.

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  • <a href="http://www.jassymackenzie.com" rel="nofollow">Jassy</a>
    Jassy
    September 7th, 2009 @11:02 #
     
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    Hehe! Great comment, Fiona.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 7th, 2009 @11:12 #
     
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    Conscious textual analysis of this comment suggests that it is an ad hominem attack.

    From the wikipedia:


    Ad hominem abusive
    Ad hominem abusive (also called argumentum ad personam) usually and most notoriously involves insulting or belittling one's opponent, but can also involve pointing out factual but ostensible character flaws or actions which are irrelevant to the opponent's argument. This tactic is logically fallacious because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent's personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent's arguments or assertions.

    This tactic is frequently employed as a propaganda tool among politicians who are attempting to influence the voter base in their favor through an appeal to emotion rather than by logical means, especially when their own position is logically weaker than their opponent's.

    The comment also (and I know this is repetition from several months ago, but bear with me) shows the use of a rhetorical device known as a 'slide'. This means that someone's commentary is effectively shut down by employing an emotive stereotype. I find this process interesting from a neurological perspective, as it channels energy into the midbrain (strong, personal emotions including fear, anger) and away from the forebrain (rational, abstract, detached).

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 7th, 2009 @11:26 #
     
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    Here's the forebrain comment:

    The vast majority of crime in South Africa is not racially motivated. It is motivated by poverty and by the greed of organised crime (represented by car hijacking and housebreaking syndicates). It may appear to the irreflective observer to be racially motivated, but that is simply because the haves in this country are still all white and the have-nots are still all black.

    Huntley is welcome to leave the country - I'd show him the door myself - but he's not welcome to lie about seven incidents that he never even reported to the police, or to badmouth our country to Canadian officials by pretending to be racially persecuted in the mean streets of Mowbray.

    Furthermore, I find Mackenzie's blog to be saturated in racist and homophobic discourse ("a gay"), and his so-called "subconscious" analysis of Trapido's blog to be entirely self-serving. Anyone can analyse a piece of writing and claim that it is saying certain things "subconsciously" - as I was attempting to demonstrate in my first comment. That doesn't make it valid.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    September 7th, 2009 @12:13 #
     
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    Mr Mackenzie - there is a problem here.

    u are writing from the perspective of someone who has left, but unfortunately from the tone it seems that you did not actually leave like the Brits do, because you "wanted to live elsewhere", because u add in very emotive details of the way a family member died. there is a huge feeling of resentment, and i can only infer that you still feel persecuted and victimised. ur entitled to your feelings, but be honest about them. maybe re-read and consider that you may be writing from a poor-me perspective.

    BTW - i am just back from a wonderful walk thru Braamfontein to the German bakery. it's an incredibly beautiful day in Joburg, blue sky, people walking, laughing, chatting, bright green spring erupting from trees set in the city. how does that make u feel?

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 7th, 2009 @12:13 #
     
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    I agree that there's a tendency for whites to view crime against them as racially motivated for the reasons you point out whilst ignoring the fact that the majority of crime in this country affects the poorest people.

    But part of what fuels this is the extreme harshness of violent crime against whites in this country. The Sunday Times recently published a story about an unarmed, single white woman who was shot execution style in the back of her head during a break-in at her Kyalami smallholding by three men. They took a radio.

    Then there was the man who was hijacked in his driveway and had his car stolen, but not before his assailants poured petrol over him and set him alight.

    I am cherry picking incidents here, but these are not isolated, and the extreme hatred implied in them would seem to justify concern and probably provoke commentaries like the one above.

    I also don't think it fair to say Huntley is lying. I've been affected by crime several times without reporting it to the police, large numbers of rapes in the country are not reported to police. Many people have absolutely no faith in our criminal justice system and don't want to go through the trauma of exposing themselves to their assailants when all it may serve is watching them get off the hook.

    At the end of the day the Huntley case is probably overblown. Tens of thousands of white South Africans have effectively taken asylum by applying for residence in foreign countries.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    September 7th, 2009 @12:15 #
     
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    I haven't had the time or inclination to read this article, so I'm just making a general comment on the issue here. I'm trying to do some work, but my tongue is sore from the biting.

    If folks can find good opportunities overseas then they should go and expand their horizons. I know intimately just how trapped one can become in the job market here. But just don't say that you are leaving because all blacks want to kill you, or that all blacks are taking your jobs because they hate you. Perhaps there ismore future in employing Africans.

    This is one of the many irritating things about this whole debate. Nobody should feel guilty about going overseas and living their lives to their potential and being happy and fulfilled, and I'm sure many people can find that elsewhere rather than here. But when you are associated with racist idiots when you want to go, it adds a whole other layer of guilt and distaste to a decision that should be nothing but positive. Whenever an idiot like Huntley creeps out from under his rock into the limelight all white males are tarred with the same brush, and given our history and general performance, there is little we can legitimately say or do to defend ourselves.

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  • aquahelix
    aquahelix
    September 7th, 2009 @13:08 #
     
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    Fiona, the Canadian Immigration panel doesn't give a crap about the motivations. That is to deliberately distract from the result - that is what was their concern was in making the decision - which you have confirmed yourself with "...simply because the haves in this country are still all white and the have-nots are still all black".

    Even though your above quoted statement is a lie. And that's the problem. That last part of you sentence is not only a lie, it is also suggesting that even if it were true, the kind of torturous inhumane crimes we see against whites, would be somehow justified?

    http://www.news24.com/Content/SouthAfrica/Politics/1057/f52ccd47860142b4bad0016a4299b536/24-07-2008-03-38/Zuma_shocked_by_white_poverty

    I don't need to post links to prove the second part of your ludicrous statement false. Anyone who can get a ride to Sandton city can see it. If you want I'll send you pictures from the square next to Nelson. All the haves are not white.

    I agree with you that Huntley is not welcome to lie about incidents. Even if he did lie, that doesn't change the reality in the country.

    http://www.news24.com/Content/SouthAfrica/News/1059/36ebc00e3f1d4cee9184f4b87add3720//Were_going_to_kill_whites

    http://www.news24.com/Content/SouthAfrica/News/1059/8743eed84e2f400a9844e3b532295ac0//Well_kill_all_you_white_dogs_

    http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=nw20090112164301527C189017

    http://www.news24.com/Content/SouthAfrica/News/1059/c2ff626eca154e5f93c6fb6e9027882b/08-01-2009-08-42/White_dogs_will_be_killed

    The above, is the tip of a very large provable iceberg.

    The reality is that white people in the country are primary targets. I promise you someone lying in their own driveway with a slit throat doesn't give a toss about the motivation.

    The ANC has in it's own publication, the ANC Today, labeled "the white population as a whole" as the "enemies of their revolution". Not only that, look at the title : "The enemy manouevres but it remains the enemy"

    White people are the enemy. Two years ago the minister of safety and security said in parliament that people who complain about crime should leave the country. Now they cry "racist" instead of fixing the problem.

    http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/anctoday/2007/at33.htm

    Your claim that Mackenzie's blog is "...saturated in racist and homophobic discourse..." and then citing the use of the term "a gay", as your proof of this - is what I generally refer to as "utter garbage". We call our kid "a kid". Because, she is a kid. And that kid is still as much a person as any other person. Or are we now to start calling her our "kid person"?

    Not to mention the fact that if a racist tells you the sky is blue, the sky isn't any less blue because a racist person said it. Even if Rob Mackenzie is the biggest AWB horse riding, gay bashing closet racist, the truth remains the truth. (By the way Rob, Ahem... I don't think you are... just trying to make a point)

    Not everyone in the country is a moron yet Fiona.

    So, in your spare time, subvert much?

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    September 7th, 2009 @13:21 #
     
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    My five cents. I think Rod is muddling up the processes of immigration and seeking refugee status, and for all the hot air that's been expended on this matter, this is a necessary legal distinction with extremely serious implications. Many travel around the world seeking better opportunities: if you're educated and originally from a "first world" country, it's a lot easier.

    But some claim refugee status on the basis of a reasonable fear of persecution because of their race, religion, political orientation, etc. I have spent 15 years editing and writing on the laws of refoulement (returning someone to a country in which they will experience certain harm), and the primary reason for refugee laws is to prevent refoulement. Brandon and Rod can return home for a holiday, a wedding, a funeral, any time they like, and take their chances with crime along with the rest of SA's citizens, black and white. Their names are not on a data base at ORT. They will not be seized, their passports confiscated, thrown into jail and/or tortured (as happened to a colleague of mine returning home to Sudan, for instance). They will not be rounded up and packed off to Dachau or sent to indefinite detention without trial. They will not face a "show trial" for treason, for which the penalty might be death.

    A refugee is someone who can never ever return home until there has been a radical change in government. The laws governing the process of seeking asylum were drawn up in Geneva to prevent the recurrence of the phenomenon in which Jews were returned to Germany in the 1930s and early 40s to almost certain death. Many South Africans who have immigrated have done so feeling like refugees -- traumatised by violence, unable to find work -- but according to internationally recognised refugee laws, they are NOT refugees, other than metaphorically.

    It's clear from the literature that Brandon and his lawyers were trying option after option to stay in Canada: joining the army, marriage, and finally seeking refugee status as one more option. By accepting his claim, the Canadians have created an extremely dangerous legal precedent -- they have effectively blurred the categories of immigration and seeking asylum, two very separate processes that need to be held strictly apart.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    September 7th, 2009 @13:46 #
     
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    Just spotted Aquahelix's comment: I've survived attempted murder by an intruder in my own home. The 45 minutes in which I was first beaten, then trussed like a chicken, staring gang rape and violent death in the face, were possibly the most lonely and horrible of my life. So I really do get why victims of crime, in their effort to make sense of their trauma, seize a narrative that has to do with the colour of their skin. But it's a false logical leap. The colour of my skin was irrelevant the day I nearly died. I was a victim of crime just like my domestic worker was two weeks later, just like her mother was on pension day, just like the gardener in my complex, whose shack has been burgled five times this year.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 7th, 2009 @14:16 #
     
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    "Gay" is not a noun, it's an adjective. "Kid" is not an adjective, it's a noun. Feel free to google noun and adjective if they are unfamiliar to you, aquahelix. "Kid" is an adequate way to describe a child as it accurately encompasses their state of being. "Gay" is an aspect of behaviour that does not define the whole person. To talk about someone as "a gay" is to reduce their identity to their sexual choices. It says more about the speaker than it does about gay people.

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  • <a href="http://couchtrip.wordpress.com" rel="nofollow">PeteF</a>
    PeteF
    September 7th, 2009 @14:51 #
     
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    I agree with Helen (and countless others) on this. Huntley was taking a chance and the fact that the Canadian government is challenging its own IRB's decision suggests that the IRB slipped up here. I think it's only fair to have empathy for the victims of crime and to understand that Huntley would try to use that as grounds for asylum. But to claim that he is being persecuted for being white? That's completely unjustified.

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  • aquahelix
    aquahelix
    September 7th, 2009 @15:15 #
     
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    @ Fiona

    You are avoiding my point with an English lesson. What were you trying to do with your statement "I find Mackenzie's blog to be saturated in racist and homophobic discourse"?

    It's an attempt to, as sven put it - shut down commentary by employing an emotive stereotype. And I feel you've exaggerated greatly in order to achieve that.

    You've tried to discredit and dismiss what was said, by what the writer (allegedly) is. - According to you. You have probably never met Rod. Neither have I. And that's why I can't pass judgment on whether he is a racist or a homophobe. You're "evidence" in this regard is flimsy at best.

    And as I already stated, the sky is still blue. Even if a homophobe says it. That was my actual point.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 7th, 2009 @15:48 #
     
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    @ Aquahelix

    I was not avoiding anything. I was responding directly to a specific challenge you threw at me by calling my point about homophobia "utter garbage".

    As for the racist discourse ... I quote, "So meneer. You got stabbed repeatedly by black men, your children were held at gunpoint by black men and…mmm… let’s see… your wife was raped maybe four times or five times in a row, hey? Also by black men you think you saw?" This is a crystal clear attempt to paint black people as murderers and rapists, and to construct the crime situation in SA as primarily racially motivated. It is to ignore the incontrovertible fact that the people who suffer most at the hands of criminals in this country ARE BLACK.

    Furthermore, I don't care who says it - white nazi, homophobe, whatever - the fact remains that white people in South Africa do NOT meet the international standards for refugee status. See Helen's first comment above. Brandon Huntley can return here whenever he likes for a holiday or to live and no one will persecute him. I might give him a dirty look in passing, but that would be the full extent of his sufferings.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 7th, 2009 @15:52 #
     
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    Fiona, I've got to be honest, this gay thing seems a bit over the top to me. I know people who define themselves as gay. 'Gay' is hardly a pejorative term, though context, tone etc would relate to this of course.

    I mean, taking your pov into a account the people who organise gay pride parades are discriminating against themselves, as is basically every gay (oops) person I have ever met.

    It's this kind of thinking that's leading to situations like the one in Australia where kids can't refer to their parents as 'mom and dad' at school because this is perceived as being homophobic.

    This tendency to become precious about everything is helping to drive the implementation of 'hate speech' laws that are in turn being used to shut down freedom of speech in many Western countries.

    Any mature, centered person can handle having the odd pejorative or insulting term thrown at them and throw something back if they want - I actually think that's what Rod was trying to get at. People are far more likely to be offended by information when it causes cognitive dissonance due to the fact that it disengages one or more defense mechanisms in their psyche.

    Not to mention, these things cut both ways, calling someone a homophobe or racist is in itself a pejorative defamatory approach to discourse. You've aligned yourself with a particular perspective and in defence of it you're adopting the means that you're accusing the people you're censoring of using.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 7th, 2009 @17:07 #
     
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    I'm censoring people? Who died and made me president? I'm exercising my right to free speech by engaging in critical debate. I'm not trying to shut anyone down, or suggesting that there should be laws against hate speech.

    Nor, for that matter, am I suggesting that there's something wrong with calling a person gay. It's referring to someone as "a gay" that I object to. The one is neutrally descriptive, the other is reductionist. It's all in that little indefinite article "a". Imagine going up to a friend of yours and saying, "So how long have you been a gay? When did you know you were a gay?" You'd sound like a redneck.

    Take out the "a", and the problem goes away.

    What I was doing in my very first comment was illustrating by example the dangers of Mackenzie's so-called "subconscious" textual analysis. What I was trying to say, in my Juvenalian way (and please don't anyone confuse that with "juvenile"), was that analysing the "subconscious" meaning behind a text is a carte blanche to reach any self-serving conclusions you like about it. Like I could "subconsciously" analyse Mackenzie's blog and conclude that he was racist and homophobic. His discourse certainly is.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 7th, 2009 @17:26 #
     
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    Censor, as in somebody who takes it upon themselves to police the morality of others - a task that requires a not insignificant assumption on the part of the person providing the censorship. The normal interpretation also applies, as I have explained, using ad hominem attacks and slides is a form of censorship.

    You're quite right that a gay does sound more like an object. Fair comment. I also think most gays would be able to handle being called 'a gay'. Note that you employed this same indefinite article when you referred to Rod as 'a racist' and 'a homophobe', though I guess there'd be no way of putting lipstick on those two piggies anyway.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 7th, 2009 @17:39 #
     
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    Also fair comment, Sven. :)

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 7th, 2009 @17:44 #
     
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    I guess this means I actually have to do some work now.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 7th, 2009 @21:38 #
     
  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    September 7th, 2009 @22:10 #
     
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    Ai, Sven! I was just about to hit the hay....... *^&%$%$%#%#^(*&^&&^^$@#$% I am not 'recognised' and I have not preapproved this utterance.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    September 7th, 2009 @22:22 #
     
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    I pity the poor bugger who has to go round to Ben Trovato's house to preapprove his utterances.

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  • <a href="http://africasacountry.wordpress.com" rel="nofollow">dollabrand</a>
    dollabrand
    September 7th, 2009 @22:35 #
     
  • <a href="http://africasacountry.wordpress.com" rel="nofollow">dollabrand</a>
    dollabrand
    September 7th, 2009 @22:38 #
     
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    Oh, I live in New York City, the only one of my family to live outside South Africa. My relatives live all around townships on the Cape Flats, the Karoo, and outside Johannesburg.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    September 7th, 2009 @23:29 #
     
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    You're right, Sean/dollabrand, that Mr Mhlongo's appalling treatment by Home Affairs officials, which led to his death, is not only shameful beyond belief, but far more worthy of commentary than the whole Canadian thingie. I'd prefer to see far more fuss made over this ghastly incident -- remember when someone took a Home Affairs official hostage with a toy gun a while back, in a similar state of utter desperation? One day someone is going to walk into Home Affairs with an AK-47 and go postal.

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  • <a href="http://rodmackenzie.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rod Mackenzie</a>
    Rod Mackenzie
    September 8th, 2009 @00:23 #
     
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    The reason for many people's outrage about Brandon Huntley's is the shocking reality that he could claim refugee status. The collective denial of SA's violent reality is at the root of the problem. Comments like, "sure, we have got issues with crime, but..." and that kind of dismissive qualifying adverbial phrase. The following article in the Mail and Guardian is excellent: http://www.mg.co.za/article/2009-09-04-racism-alive-and-well-in-south-africa . Michael frances also put it well in his “re-racialisation” blog here on Thought Leader: “To deny that many whites feel persecuted in South Africa is a violent act. It affirms their fears that they do not belong in South Africa and are unwelcome here. According to Canadian law he was entitled to refugee status, a shocking thought to some South Africans.See Michael Frances article The Huntley story and re-racialisation of SA.

    Fiona - I am neither homophobic nor racist.Helen, I was shocked to hear of the violence inflicted on you and I am glad you are OK.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 8th, 2009 @07:44 #
     
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    Rod, I apologise for the unnecessary and untrue name-calling. I lost my temper over something that is a red-button topic for me. I withdraw my words.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    September 8th, 2009 @10:17 #
     
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    I'm sorry Brandon Huntley was stabbed. I'm sorry for all those who have suffered violent crime. Our society is fundamentally damaged, fundamentally fucked up by our history.

    Huntley's claims for asylum are still gross and still contemptuous. Middle class white South Africans do NOT have it bad. You can break out as many examples of traumatic crime, rape, violence, assault, cold murder, armed robbery as you like. They're devastating to hear. They shouldn't happen at all.

    The poor (who are overwhelmingly black) have it worse.

    It's the rare house in Nyanga that has ADT. In fact, it's the rare house in Nyanga that has electricity. Or a floor. Or enough food to feed the kids.

    The poor are worst hit by corruption and bureaucracy and bumbling idiots as in the tragic case of Mhlongo's suicide.

    The poor have the least recourse to medical care or justice or education or employment or even transport when the taxi drivers barricade the roads, stone passengers, shoot at buses.

    The poor have no voice in the media. I know of two horrific incidents that would have been front page news if they had happened to white people. A father who found a man with his pants around his ankles about to rape his 10 year old daughter, who beat him down to the ground and cut off his penis with a knife. The man later died from his injuries, the police accidentally lost the docket. The father paid for the funeral. The community absorbed the trauma back into itself and went on as normal. Or whatever passes for normal in communities stricken by violence, poverty and desperation.

    On Monday, my domestic's 22 year old daughter, Thomokazie, underwent surgery after her boyfriend poured boiling water over her and then held her hostage for three days in his shack. The neighbours called the police and kicked down the door because of the smell. To put this in perspective, this is a girl who was raped at 14 walking to school, who completed matric four years ago without enough English to get a real job, whose mother supports four daughters and has custody of her HIV+ grandson because her eldest is still in fury and denial about having AIDS and drinks herself numb, and goes back to the Ciskei once a month, sometimes twice, for another funeral of another 20-something dead of AIDS. This is not an exception.

    This is how people live.

    Let's not forget that as much as District 9 was a parable, it was filmed in a real place, where real people live in horrific conditions.

    This isn't a case of one-upmanship, of whose tragic stories are more profound, more devastating.

    But let's be very clear, as much horror as the white middle class have been through with crime, the suffering the poor have to endure daily, by sheer numbers, is exponentially worse.

    If anyone deserves asylum, it is NOT Brandon Huntley.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    September 8th, 2009 @10:28 #
     
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    I like this space, I really really do.
    @ Fifi: thank you for reminding me why.
    @ Rod: thank you for the human touch.
    @ Lauren: thank you for your searing writing.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 8th, 2009 @10:29 #
     
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    Abso-freaking-lutely!

    *applauds wildly*

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    September 8th, 2009 @10:35 #
     
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    Hear, f*cking, hear. I'm going to log out now before I become so utterly despondent that I spend the rest of the week moping around the house trying to convince myself that what I do isn't totally pointless.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    September 8th, 2009 @10:36 #
     
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    Viva Lauren! Brilliant. I love this space too. Makes me feel so much saner than anything else does.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    September 8th, 2009 @10:36 #
     
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    And sorry to hear about your domestic worker's plight.

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  • <a href="http://bentrovato.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ben Trovato</a>
    Ben Trovato
    September 8th, 2009 @10:44 #
     
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    Ah jes’ hope them darkies don’ get it into their heads to show us white boys what persakewshin really tastes like.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 8th, 2009 @11:20 #
     
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    Lauren I agree with everything you say with regards to the circumstances black South Africans live in compared to whites. I wrote about my feelings on this subject here: http://www.capeargus.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=3292663 (and please people, before you jump in please click through on this link and read it).

    I actually don't know all the details about Huntley's play for refugee status, and I don't personally feel that running away from South Africa is going to solve anything (apart from which Huntley will have to endure a lifetime of clouds, and endless rain). However, keep a couple of things in mind.

    A.Your whole post is essentially a case of one up-manship, and you conclude it by saying that its not a case of one up-manship:"Middle class white South Africans do NOT have it bad.""The poor (who are overwhelmingly black) have it worse.""The poor are worst hit." "The poor have no voice in the media.""But let's be very clear, as much horror as the white middle class have been through with crime, the suffering the poor have to endure daily, by sheer numbers, is exponentially worse."

    B. Black people in this country have it very bad and I felt the same thing when I watched District 9, the squalour is unbelievable and it's unthinkable that people try to live their lives in those circumstances. However, these same people have voted in their current ruling party several times over the years. White South Africans represent a political minority, and like many minorities functioning in democracies are therefore bound to end up feeling victimised as they are likely to feel powerless to change things politically (personally I think this is an illusion as the real change needs to happen at grassroots level with white South Africans giving up their desire to accumulate stuff and start paying attention to the suffering and despair around them before its too late). Nevertheless they feel this way and whether or not one agrees with them, it is not incomprehensible that they do.

    C. Huntley's two opening statements ring true. Probably 8 out of 10 people I went to school with are now overseas. Probably 1 in 10 tried to go overseas permanently but failed for one reason or another. These people are leaving for precisely the reasons Huntley mentioned, not just due to racism or some grandiose paranoid delusions. The job market imposes limits on their their employment opportunities and many have been directly or indirectly affected by violent crime and feel afraid. How they explain this sense of persecution or fear to themselves is immaterial, they don't like it and they're voting with their feet.

    D. You're so glib about violent crime, I know several people who have suffered PTSD due to exposure to violent crime. Have you suffered from PTSD, do you have the faintest clue what that is like? Does it need to happen en masse for them to qualify for asylum? Will you grant permission for whites to leave this country once it reaches a tipping point and erupts in civil war? Sure there's no Rwandan style genocide going on, but who are you to say whether or not people like Huntley deserve asylum or not? Huntley simply had the means to exploit loopholes in Canadian immigration law to position himself in a place where he feels safe.

    People who go through violent crime, deal with it and look to help tackle the problem at the root (like Amy Biehl's parents) are amazing examples to everyone, and a good template for how we could perhaps begin to heal this country but not everyone is capable of this sort of altruism and awareness.

    E. Go read the links in Auqahelix's thread comment. There are racially motivated attacks happening to white people in South Africa. Everybody has sort of greased over this fact for one reason or another. I have a friend who attended an ANC rally in Hoedspruit last year where the speaker was inciting the audience to go and kill whites. Watch some of the videos on youtube dealing with the lyrics of songs sung at rallies in South Africa. We have a president who sings about fetching his machine gun, our first president sang about killing the Ama-Bhulu after his release from prison. What are people supposed to feel when they see or hear these things?

    Furthermore some of these people don't have recourse to ancestral visas and passports to escape persecution (real or imagined), and this probably intensifies fear and paranoia. That they are financially well off doesn't mean anything. Jews living in Germany in the early stages of Hitler's rule constituted the upper middle class and were regarded by the masses as being a foreign entity that dominated the country's economy and press. Many were eventually trapped in Germany when their attempts to secure asylum were blocked by the United Kingdom and United States.

    If you want to stay in South Africa, stay. But don't heap scorn on people who simply want to feel safe.

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  • aquahelix
    aquahelix
    September 8th, 2009 @11:34 #
     
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    @ Lauren and all the euphoric applause:

    That is all very horrible. Why it's brought up I don't know. Since no one in the Huntley saga claimed that only white South Africans are victims of crime.

    What everyone still conveniently avoids though are these questions:

    In how many of the cases you mentioned, were the victims told by the perpetrators, that they were chosen as victims, because they were black/colored/indian whatever. How many of them were subjected to racist slogans indicating underlying racial motivation? How many of them were told "we're going to kill all Zulu dogs in SA"? I'm not saying that doesn't happen, I'm just asking.

    Because I can provide a lot of evidence that that is the case with many of the more gruesome pointless (in terms of what was stolen - ruling out theft/poverty as a motive) crimes against white people.

    Everyone is running circles around this question. That is the important part.

    At the moment, people seem to suggest that there will only be reason for concern, if ALL crimes against ALL white (insert any other race) people can be proven to be racially motivated. Apparently it doesn't matter if only 60% is. No no. That's of no consequence whatsoever.

    No one is saying crimes where this doesn't happen are any less traumatic. But the presence of this practice does indicate persecution based on race. All crimes against white people = racial persecution? No. Quite a bit? Most definitely.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 8th, 2009 @11:45 #
     
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    I remember a series of incidents about 18 months ago where people were told that they were "foreign dogs" and subjected to a cataclysm of persecution, the likes of which white South Africans have never seen.

    But that's not the point. The point is that the Huntley case does not remotely meet any standards for the granting of refugee status. The fact that the Canadian government is now taking the decision on review shows that they have some inkling of this. I have little doubt that the decision will be summarily overturned.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 8th, 2009 @11:50 #
     
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    Hmm ... aquahelix's last comment is gone. Did I dream it? Did he not get pre-approval from the Publications Board? Was he not an "approved journalist"?

    Anyway, now my last comment doesn't make much sense because it was in direct reply to his. Ah well ... c'est la vie.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    September 8th, 2009 @11:50 #
     
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    Hmm, we seem to have lost a user and his/her comments. Can anyone remember what the username was of the person who posted this -

    @ Lauren and all the euphoric applause:
    That is all very horrible. Why it's brought up I don't know. Since no one in the Huntley saga claimed that only white South Africans are victims of crime.

    - ? Will try to restore.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 8th, 2009 @11:54 #
     
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    I believe his username was NemesisofFiona, Ben. Or was it aquahelix?

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    September 8th, 2009 @11:56 #
     
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    Thanks, Fiona, I think you're right.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    September 8th, 2009 @12:09 #
     
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    aquahelix, the censorship wasn't intentional - am trying to figure out what happened to your ID. Will reassign the posts once that's solved.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    September 8th, 2009 @12:14 #
     
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    aquahelix, if you're still out there, we're working on it - please re-register.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    September 8th, 2009 @12:15 #
     
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    Not sure where you're reading "scorn on people who want to feel safe" or glibness about the horror of violent crime.

    I also have close white middle class friends (as well as poor black ones) who have been deeply, badly affected by violent crime.

    And that's what I'm talking about. It's not about one-upmanship on a case by case basis.

    Who am I to say that my mugging was more traumatic than your mugging? Is being raped and left for dead greater than or less than having boiling water poured over you and kept in agony for three days? That's not an equation you can begin to resolve and it would be grossly insensitive to try. ALL trauma is devastating.

    I'm talking about numbers, about groups, about who is really suffering. Huntley argues that he is part of a persecuted minority, equivalent to those fleeing the Interhawme or the Sudanese genocide or act-of-war-rape in the DRC or the hell of Mugabe's regime.

    I say if we put a hypothetical middle class white South Africa up vs a hypothetical poor black South Africa and had them both apply for asylum in Canada based on being the victims of violent crime, lack of job opportunities and suffering directly linked to the colour of their skin, poor black SA would win hands down.

    Of course that's not what happened in real life, there was no equivalent case being handled at the same time, but we're not talking about Huntley's specific case anymore, we're talking about the broader perspective in this national debate about racism and who, as a group, suffers.

    The answer is we all do.

    As I've said, you can't compare individual cases of suffering.

    But you can compare scale. The people who suffer daily under terrible, relentless circumstances are poor and black.

    (By the way, you really should look into the merits of Huntley's case. From what I've read it is incredibly suspect, with several previous attempts to acquire residency any way he could, including a short-lived marriage that his former wife now says she believes was purely for the visa.)

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    September 8th, 2009 @12:17 #
     
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    The real problem here is that great mystery: the human capacity for evil, and from whence it comes. I come up against this in my own research, esp when despairing people ask me why why why would anyone want to rape a tiny child. No matter how many layers of context you peel off, there is always this nub.

    When my kittens were tiny bundles of fluff, I introduced them to a friend's toddler, who had known love and comfort all her short life. After initial squeaks of what sounded like pleasure and glee, the little girl stooped, scooped an egg-size stone, and was about to lob it, from close range, at the nearest kitten before I sailed through the air and intercepted it.

    I often lie awake at night wondering what makes us humans so instinctively destructive, whether compassion is innate or taught, why harm towards other living things is an apparently pleasurable impulse.

    I explained to the toddler why she could never ever do that again, on the basis of "How would you like it if someone did that to you?" and wrote her parent a letter, and there was never a repeat. But this lesson had to be taught. Oh Goddess, this is always the point at which I have to go and lie down.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    September 8th, 2009 @12:28 #
     
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    While we restore aquahelix to the system, all his/her comments are readable here -

    http://rodmackenzie.book.co.za/bookchat/topic.php?id=6176

    Just look for the comments by "Anonymous" for now.

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  • aquahelix
    aquahelix
    September 8th, 2009 @12:33 #
     
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    Thanks Ben :-)

    Should I repost the last one?

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    September 8th, 2009 @12:41 #
     
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    No need to repost, aquahelix. But I think there's a problem with the username. Can you re-register with a slightly different one, such as aquahelix01 or similar?

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    September 8th, 2009 @12:43 #
     
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    Eish! Disregard that. Keep "aquahelix". Don't re-register unless you find that your login credentials aren't working/you can't get a new password. Thanks. Sorry for the trouble (and for hijacking the thread).

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  • aquahelix
    aquahelix
    September 8th, 2009 @12:52 #
     
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    :-) no worries Ben

    But eh... my last comment is still not showing?

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    September 8th, 2009 @13:01 #
     
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    Ja - it will soon, I hope. It's still in the database, just a matter of hooking it back up to the thread.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    September 8th, 2009 @15:12 #
     
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    aquahelix, all should be restored now, and you should be able to post further comments without issue. Will keep an eye on the thread.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 8th, 2009 @21:59 #
     
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    Oh dear. I've read your offer. R10,000 for a year in prison amongst people who you suggest hate whites doesn't sound like a fair trade. I take it you provide applicants with non-slip soap and morphine suppositories?

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 8th, 2009 @22:48 #
     
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    Gosh, that challenge is issued directly to our own dear Ben Trovato.

    Don't they know he's already racked up lots of prison time for offences including Assault With An Ironical Weapon and Intent To Do Grievous Bodily Pun? I don't know how much "orgiastic pleasure" he got to see on the inside, though. Or whether he remembered to take his non-slip soap.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    September 8th, 2009 @23:02 #
     
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    *giggling at Fifi & Sven* Ben-E, another outbreak of spam (see 21.39 post) -- from a rather odd site -- can't quite work out whether it's satiric or not. Hope so. Either way, please nuke.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    September 8th, 2009 @23:16 #
     
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    Not sure it's spam, actually. Stays for now.

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  • <a href="http://bentrovato.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ben Trovato</a>
    Ben Trovato
    September 9th, 2009 @10:12 #
     
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    These White Power freaks are starting to scare me. I'm going underground.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    September 9th, 2009 @10:28 #
     
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    It does sound like they need a leader.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 9th, 2009 @10:29 #
     
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    Damn, I was looking forward to your reply to that very tempting offer.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    September 9th, 2009 @10:43 #
     
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    R10k? For a year? Jeez, at least make it worth my while. I know journalism is notoriously underpaid but we don't have it THAT bad.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    September 9th, 2009 @10:54 #
     
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    Ben-T, tell the moles hello from me.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    September 9th, 2009 @10:56 #
     
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    Er, are people forgetting the xenophobic attacks?

    Also where did the White Rulers Unite comment go? I want to figure out how to win R10 000. Do i have to get racially slurred while being attacked? i can arrange that, some of my friends are black. obviously they're not really friends so they won't mind. I could really do with R10 000. I could share it with them, i am benevolent like that. But i am not a certified journalist, I only finished BJourn I. Do i have to apply to the Censorship Board first?

    Sincerely,
    Miss KL White.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    September 9th, 2009 @11:08 #
     
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    I vote in favour of pre-approving Ms. White's credentials and look forward (albeit with some trepidation) to a full report of her foray. Her name alone gives her a head start in this respect.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    September 9th, 2009 @11:36 #
     
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    You have to commit a crime that will ensure a year's jail time and stay undercover and eavesdrop on the other prisoners and their vile anti-white hate speak.

    Way too much work. I mean waaa-aaa-aaa-aaay too much work.

    Let's examine this challenge: first you have to commit a relatively serious crime (and how to decide which one that will get you sentenced to exactly one year? Add two weeks research time + lawyer consultation fees).

    Then you have to wait to be processed by the courts already drowning in their caseloads, which might take another 1-3 years, during which time you might have to wait it out in the upcoming-trial holding facilities, or pony up for bail, which is probably R10 000 on its own.

    And then, once you get into court, which might take a couple of weeks or months to resolve your case, if you can get all the witnesses in the same place at the same time and avoid postponement, you'll hopefully get a sentence that matches up to your research.

    And THEN only do you get to serve out your one year in prison.

    All just to pick up stompies of white-dissing?

    Talk about earning your money.

    Gah.

    Make up your minds, Right-Whiters Is this commonplace every-street-corner-under-your-innocent-sleeping-children's-beds kind of swart gevaar? Or can it only be found if you REALLY mission for it in Pollsmoor / Sun City?

    I like Kate's plan much more. Simpler, more efficient.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    September 9th, 2009 @11:43 #
     
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    Er, Sun City being the slang name for Diepkloof prison (is it?) in Johannesburg. Not the Kerzner Afro-cheese slots palace.

    Speaking of which, did anyone see the e-news strap the other night. South Africans blew 16 BILLION on gambling last year? Please tell me that's a typo.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 9th, 2009 @11:44 #
     
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    Kathryn, xenophobia is a form of racism. Are you suggesting that racist attacks by black South Africans on immigrants and refugees from other African countries in some way informs the view that no crimes against white South Africans are racially motivated?

    Please explain the logic of this to me, I'm intrigued.

    I don't think anyone on this particular thread apart from the Kruger Rand for Prison person is suggesting that all crime suffered by white South Africans is racially motivated, that white South Africans suffer more crime or are more deserving of asylum than black South Africans.

    This really isn't rocket science:i. There is considerable evidence to suggest that some of the most violent crime against whites is racially motivated. ii. White South Africans who have been exposed to violent crime, particularly those who were specifically told that they were being targeted for being white by their assailants, feel persecuted. Their friends and families are also likely to feel the effects of this. iii. They want to leave. They have the means to leave. This doesn't make them more deserving of leaving than black victims of crime, this also does not make them racists, liars, idiots or any other defamatory term you'd like to hurl at them on or off thread.

    Both you and Fiona brought up the xenophobic attacks. As I have said, this example actually reinforces the argument that violent crime in this country is sometimes racially motivated. 67 people were reported killed in the xenophobic attacks and this made international headlines. Fiona said "people were told that they were "foreign dogs" and subjected to a cataclysm of persecution, the likes of which white South Africans have never seen" - hold a seance and ask the 2500-3000 white farmers who have been murdered in farm attacks if they agree.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 9th, 2009 @11:54 #
     
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    Sven, my comment was not an attempt to show that because blacks have been racially targetting, therefore it's okay for whites to be racially targetted. It was in DIRECT RESPONSE to aquahelix who said -

    "In how many of the cases you mentioned, were the victims told by the perpetrators, that they were chosen as victims, because they were black/colored/indian whatever. How many of them were subjected to racist slogans indicating underlying racial motivation? How many of them were told "we're going to kill all Zulu dogs in SA"? I'm not saying that doesn't happen, I'm just asking."

    He asked. I answered.

    I really don't think anyone on this thread is condemning white South Africans who choose to leave the country for whatever reason. They are condemning one particular individual who pulled the wool over the eyes of the Canadian immigrant authorities by claiming that white South Africans meet the international standards for refugee status. They don't. Fini.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 9th, 2009 @12:14 #
     
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    United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees

    Article 1 of the Convention as amended by the 1967 Protocol provides the definition of a refugee:

    "A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.."

    See points i. and ii. of my previous comment.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    September 9th, 2009 @12:23 #
     
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    I think "well-founded" is the operative word there.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 9th, 2009 @12:24 #
     
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    Sven, tell me honestly, are you just playing devil's advocate here or do you sincerely believe that all 5 million white South Africans, most of whom live the life of Riley, qualify for refugee status? Seriaaasssly?

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    September 9th, 2009 @12:36 #
     
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    I am getting rather confused - Sven I'm not arguing whether violent crime in SA can be / is racially motivated but asking (rhetorically) whether racially motivated crime targets whites only. (in response to the R10K booty person). i think we are on the same page? except who deserves refugee status thing. not the same page, at all.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    September 9th, 2009 @12:37 #
     
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    btw - Good Luck with Jenny Fi!

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 9th, 2009 @12:40 #
     
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    Eek, how do you know about it Kate? I'm horribly nervous.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    September 9th, 2009 @12:46 #
     
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    It's been twittered by 702 - i'm putting u on audio streaming. what time are u on? (Now everyone who googles Huntely will know as well :) )

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 9th, 2009 @12:47 #
     
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    Hee hee. They're calling between 1pm and 1.15.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    September 9th, 2009 @12:52 #
     
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    Be demure, Ms. Fifi.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 9th, 2009 @12:53 #
     
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    Always, Richard!

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 9th, 2009 @13:33 #
     
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    Fiona, no I am not saying that all white South Africans deserve refugee status, it's not as if anyone suggested that they should apply en masse. I actually find that comment rather asinine.

    I think that should be quite apparent from my comments. I have very specifically pointed out that some white South Africans or their families are victims of violent crimes that can be demonstrated to be the product of racial hatred. This can be extraordinarily disturbing for the friends or families of those involved, even for the people living in a community where these crimes happen.

    When I was at school a house down the road from where I lived was broken into. The children in the house were tied down and forced to watch as their parents were murdered. This was not a love crime, I assure you. This sort of thing happened on a regular basis, and when there were two attempted break-ins on the house where I lived I couldn't sleep for months.

    The least noise in the night would wake me up, and I'd go to school having slept 1 or 2 hours. I'd walk around the house before going to sleep every night, making sure that the catches on the windows were lodged firmly behind the burglar bars - in fact I continued this until Matric. I would sometimes do this twice. I slept with a knife beneath my pillow because I was afraid my mother and sister would be murdered in their sleep. Are these reasonable conditions to bring up a child?

    If I saw that behaviour in my child I would attempt to put them in a place where they felt safe and could grow up with some sort of sense of normalcy, not an all-pervasive sense of fear.

    You people seem to be incapable of understanding what violent crime really is. Actually, manifestly. Not as a peg to hang vague political sentiments fomented in ivory towers off. You're playing with this subject in the abstract realm as if its a form of intellectual entertainment. Not that saying this will put a stop to it, of course.

    This is an extremely serious issue for millions of people in this country, people who are afraid for their lives absolutely have the right to seek refugee status, particularly if they feel they may be targeted for their skin colour.

    The underlying feeling I get is that taking asylum would only be okay if this was happening on larger scale and people had less recourse to self defensive measures. According to the UN, if you feel persecuted, you have the right to apply for asylum. I assume there are trained individuals who then look at the merits and validity of each case.

    Perhaps someone on this thread should write to the commission and inform them that the community of published writers in South Africa comprises people of broad and considered expertise who believe they can make a valuable contribution to the vetting procedures for refugees.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 9th, 2009 @14:00 #
     
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    You're right Sven, they should definitely come to us for advice first. :-)

    The problem, as I see it, is that white people who have already been victims of crime are no more or less likely to be victims of crime again than those who haven't. So we are all equally at risk. Either we all qualify for asylum or none of us does.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    September 9th, 2009 @14:32 #
     
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    Sven, no fair! You know that I've experienced more than my fair share (whatever that is) of violent crime, as has my family. See my comments. If anyone knows just how non-abstract crime is, it's me. And as I pointed out already, FEELING persecuted isn't accepted in international law (there are strict and narrow criteria) as grounds for asylum. I have ploughed through tons and tons of material on "well-founded fear", and it's a very carefully defined legal term, and most of what's been described on this thread, no matter how awful and heinous, doesn't apply. The fact that your fellow-citizens hate you and want to hurt you, for whatever reason (you're a foreigner, you're white, you're Shangaan, you're Indian, you're Zulu, you're a lesbian, you're rich) is Not. Ever. Grounds. For. Asylum (even though it's a very good motivation for immigration). This isn't my opinion; it's the legal definition. You have to be a potential victim of state-legislated or approved genocide or oppression. Apartheid SA was a refugee-producing country. So is Burma. So was Rwanda in 1994, Germany in the 1930s. Etc.

    And this brings me to a point that I've been resisting making, because it's so painful. The reason I found the Huntley brouhaha so offensive was because it threw into sharp focus for me that for most people in this world, there is no safe place. If you're poor, and/or if you're female, you are in danger almost everywhere on this planet. Like I said, I've experienced a lot of violence. Most of it was entirely gender-based, and at the hands of folk who in class, racial and cultural terms, resembled me exactly. The only difference? Biological sex. Was I singled out because of a biological criteria (like skin colour) I have zero control over? You bloody bet I was, and the beatings and the sexual assaults were specifically spelled out in these terms. I was being hurt because I was a woman (a fucking cunt, to be precise, and there's hate speech for you).

    I have nowhere to go (given that claiming asylum on Planet Venus is not yet an option) where I will ever be free of WELL-FOUNDED fear of persecution on the basis of my gender. I have lived with the kind of PTSD you describe much of my life. So do about 30% of my women friends, colleagues and employees. We all take it completely for granted.

    Gender has been repeatedly brought before asylum courts as grounds for claiming refugee status (by women facing forced marriages, certain honour killings, certain FGM etc) over and over. They are almost always turned down, not because they aren't valid claims, but because of the floodgate factor. If you accept certain experience of forced FGM as "well-founded fear of persecution", then what? The entire female population of Somalia (just for starters) would have legal grounds to claim asylum. At least a million Pakistani women would qualify on threat of honour killing/forced marriage grounds. And that would be the tippiest tip of the iceberg.

    So when a white male from a largely white and middle-class suburb claims and gets asylum on the basis of biological criteria leading to racial prejudice (which exists in every corner of the globe and is unfortunately part of the human condition), I see red. Every single human being risks being discriminated on the basis of the colour of their skin, in every part of the globe. In refugee law, the question is whether or not the state singles you out and legislates that you may lose your life because of the colour of the skin. Ghastly and vile as the xenophobic attacks were here, they were illegal. They were not sanctioned by the state (the fact that state negligence caused conditions ripe for xenophobia is lamentable, but this is a human phenomenon, given extra force in this country by our fucked-up history -- lots of my research is on precisely why we are so violent a nation). But our government did not hold huge rallies encouraging the murder of foreigners and forced marches in which SA citizens lined the streets, spitting and throwing things at the cursed amakweru. SA citizens who helped xenophobia survivors have not been thrown into jail. It's the latter conditions that international asylum law addresses, not the generally fucked-up and awful state of the planet and individual countries -- otherwise the notion of sovereignty goes out the window.

    Am now retiring from this thread. Not because of you, dear Cat-Uncle :), but because I had nightmares raised by these issues last night, and need to go and plant veggies in my garden until I feel better.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 9th, 2009 @15:04 #
     
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    Helen, my comments on crime were not targeted at you. I agree with virtually everything you said and I understand the implications of allowing more 'mild' (I think mild isn't really the best word for it) asylum cases to pass through. Thanks for fleshing out the way asylum laws work, from your explanation Huntley shouldn't have received asylum. Of course it's important to realise that a legal basis for this argument isn't the same as a moral or ethical one, but I get your point about the floodgate factor.

    However, your part of your second last paragraph isn't technically true and it opens up a rather large, dirty and very unsavoury can of worms. Unfortunately this is precisely what I will be eating next month if I don't get off this thread and do some work, so I look forward to discussing this off-site.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    September 9th, 2009 @15:19 #
     
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    Also: Zuma is really a giant lizard and part of the evil cabal, an inner circle of diabolical world leaders who zombify the population with mind-control fluoride in our water supply to make us buy more pointless crap, lead by none other than... Dan Brown.

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  • aquahelix
    aquahelix
    September 9th, 2009 @16:05 #
     
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    Firstly

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT34ymDKMhQ

    And the state do not single out white people?

    What is BEE?

    http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/anctoday/2007/at33.htm

    Go to the heading - A fundamental revolutionary lesson:
    The enemy manouevres but it remains the enemy / Part I

    And then - Our historical enemies

    You might also note a delightful little reference to the "Jacobin Option"

    Most people of course have no f^%king clue what that is, so let Mr. Trotsky tell you:

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1904/tasks/ch05.htm

    "...in practice, the guillotine" - In Africa of course we rather set people on fire, or hack them to death with a machete.

    Look again at the heading of this ANC Today article: The enemy manouevres but it REMAINS THE ENEMY.

    Also, "They ('xenophobic' attacks) were not sanctioned by the state...".

    Really?

    http://www.news24.com/Content/SouthAfrica/News/1059/5dce17656f1747d58dac1a050400cadd/11-03-2009-09-36/Local_leaders_incited_xenophobia

    I suppose the Wits University Forced Migration Studies Programme don't know what they're talking about.

    These "street committees" were part of a resolution adopted at the conference where Zuma was "elected" ANC president.

    They essentially are organs of state. And they started the attacks.

    They have some other quite extraordinary powers by the way.

    Zuma said, when talking about how these committees should operate:

    "Criminals have a lot of rights; One of them is the right to remain silent, so when they come to the station, don't ask too many questions, just put them in jail."

    http://www.news24.com/Content/SouthAfrica/Politics/1057/863ae3d9c0224d069155ce245402a056/10-08-2008-11-21/Zuma_launches_street_committees

    Wow Lauren, what a comeback. That will make all the facts disappear.

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  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    September 9th, 2009 @16:15 #
     
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    If having thought of applying for refugee status from Canada makes me one, then I'm a "Brandon Huntley". I'm reluctantly standing up.

    As a former SAPS officer working in Soweto, I have a deep appreciation of my ex-colleagues' incapacity to protect their own, and a clear sense of their antipathy to those to whom they owe no allegiance.

    I am ashamed to acknowledge that I tarried in excess of a year trying to get to Canada on a student visa, spending oodles of cash I didn't have and can't recover, languishing in excruciating litigation and driving for ghastly hours on death-defying roads to the embassy in Pretoria to endure its chilling bureaucratic contempt.

    I wanted to leave because of the crime I've experienced and the resultant PTSD with its relentless insomnia by night and terror by day.

    I wanted to leave because as an MA graduate I have acquired a deep sense that my skills are valueless because of my skin colour.

    I wanted to leave because I want to grow old and every day that I didn't succumb to the lawlessness and mayhem on the roads seemed like a miracle. The staggering statistics on road death and open corruption of traffic officials are just a differently dehumanising injury to South Africans of every pigmentation.

    When I heard about Huntley I was momentarily envious. I didn't apply for refugee status because taking my children out of the country without the requisite permissions would have constituted kidnapping.

    Does thinking about applying for refugee status make me a racist? Perhaps. I don't like who I've become in this country. I feel disloyal, ashamed and deeply divided by my desire to leave. I'm wary, mistrusting and paranoid. Last month, four people were set alight, including 18-month-old twins, two streets up from where I lived in Johannesburg. I don't imagine this can't happen in Cape Town where I now live.

    I understand that people who suffer from poverty and betrayal are driven to vent their rage and desperation in gruesome sordid acts. But such understanding and compassion aren't sturdy enough to protect me and ensure that I do, indeed, grow old. I'm tired beyond belief of feeling the way I do. I feel unfairly chastised when I am told that I am lucky to be white and to stop whinging.

    Sven's points have me nodding my head and saying, "Yes. Oh yes."

    Thanks for calling it like it is, Sven.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 9th, 2009 @16:20 #
     
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    My goodness, aquahelix, you HAVE been a busy bee. I thought only writers had that kind of time.

    Welcome to the site, by the way!

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  • aquahelix
    aquahelix
    September 9th, 2009 @16:36 #
     
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    @ Fiona

    Thanks, yes I have been a busy bee. I've been researching this government and their tactics for well over 2 years.

    :-) I try to squeeze the time out from somewhere...

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 9th, 2009 @17:15 #
     
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    Lauren, thank you for your comment.

    Your comment was: "Also: Zuma is really a giant lizard and part of the evil cabal, an inner circle of diabolical world leaders who zombify the population with mind-control fluoride in our water supply to make us buy more pointless crap, lead by none other than... Dan Brown."

    A brief lesson in rhetoric once again applies.

    What you wrote there is an example of what is known as the straw man argument. I'll use the wikipedia definition:

    1. Person A has position X.
    2. Person B disregards certain key points of X and instead presents position Y.
    3. Person B attacks position Y, concluding that X is false/incorrect/flawed.

    More simply put: A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar proposition, and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.

    You have effectively constructed a false world view and attributed it to me (if it wasn't me, I apologise and hope you enjoy the rest of this comment).

    Let's take it point by point:
    i. 'Zuma is really a giant lizard'
    Intriguing and brave hypothesis that may end up before the Film and Publications Board. While it has attractive elements, I don't believe I have ever insinuated that a politician of any colour or creed is a lizard. I am, however, quite interested in the notion that psychopaths are more adapted to modern society than normal people and that these people are governed by the R-Complex in their brain. The part that is ultimately self-seeking and grandiose, amongst other things. Polish psychologist Andrzej Łobaczewski wrote extensively on the subject of psychopathy in politics. The author of the Lucifer Effect appears to endorse his work, it's worth checking out.

    ii. 'evil cabal, an inner circle of diabolical world leaders'
    Conjures images of Dr Strangelove. Evil. Well, as Stalin said, one death is a tragedy a million is a statistic. I think this kind of thinking is evil, along with behaviour that consistently encourages deception and self profit at the cost of others. Do I think all world leaders are evil? No. Do I think there's a higher prevalence of psychopathy amongst people who have an urge to consolidate power and resources? Yes. Do I think these people might be loosely allied and watch each other's backs. Yes. I hope this clears that up.

    iii. 'zombify the population with mind-control fluoride'
    From what I can tell this step would be entirely superfluous. I don't believe I have ever mentioned flouride in my writing. The little I know about it comes from two pieces of research on water fluoridation in China: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=1852689&blobtype=pdf & http://fluoridealert.org/scher/lu-2000.pdf. I assume there's evidence to deny this, to be honest it's not really an issue for me.

    iv. 'buy more pointless crap'
    I'm not sure what you're getting at here, but yeah, I'd say we are generally being guided towards buying pointless crap. I'm more worried about people being sold large scale products like wars and ideologies than iphones and ashtrays to be honest.

    v. "Dan Brown"
    I do kind of admire a guy who can make a gazillion dollars purveying writing where someone can survive a fall from a helicopter (using a jacket? I can't quite remember). In Apetown one of my characters survive being hit over the head and buried, perhaps I should amp this up next time to boost my sales.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    September 9th, 2009 @20:42 #
     
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    What? Don't you dare try and take the credit for MY conspiracy theory!

    Refer definitions of "humour": "sending up," "defusing with"

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 9th, 2009 @20:59 #
     
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    Refer definitions of "gaslighting" :)

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    September 25th, 2009 @18:17 #
     
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    God, how I've missed BookSA ;-0

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