Sunday, November 20, 2011

In South Africa, News is not always 'The News.'

So Demi and Kutcher have split, gone their separate ways, tweeting and texting as they go. Will everyone who saw this ‘cat’ marriage going the distance please put up your hands!? Willis must be laughing under his breath.

Mr. Malema, he of African ANC Youth league and of implied ‘revolutionary’ beret fame, was heard saying that “I want the people of South Africa to treat me the same way they treat Nelson Mandela”!? Is this arrogance personified or is it all a case of short-man syndrome? The ‘less’ said, the better.

The Secrecy of Information Bill is again making headlines across all of the South African media channels. Those headlines are also being shouted from rooftops by self-serving social-minded groups and certain gregarious individuals. All punting the ‘public interest’ whipping horse as the ordination of all that is good-and-bad, as the saving-grace of democracy, and the bread-and-wine of a civilised society!?

The concept of whistle-blowing also forms part of that ‘public interest’ whipping horse rosary. The concept is being hailed as the alma-mater of civility, the cassock of all thinking persons, and the pulpit of the plebiscites. This concept is indeed a powerful tool, so powerful that it is the weapon of choice by all autocratic regimes and dictatorial rulers. And therein lays the danger of ‘whistle-blowing.’ Given the human propensity to self-interest, the dangers that the concept will be abused are enormous. Something that history well attests off.

I cannot help it but be sceptical of all this overwhelming having-our-best-interests-at-heart and noble-verbiage being dished out by these civil-minded personae and media moguls. I am all for the eradication of censure where freedom-of-expression is concerned but the lack-of-responsibility that mostly follows the freedom-of-expression culture around (humans being human,) makes me very anxious. Yes, history is a hard task master.

The murder of Chanelle Henning of Pretoria is another one of those stories that is very much on the forefront of all media reports. It is being classed as a travesty and tragedy that robbed a child of his mother. These sentiment are all good but not consistent with other if not stranger killings that have happened over the past months in South Africa. Why is this one so prevalent? Why is the media milking this senseless murder? Is there more to the story that we are not aware off? One’s motor vehicle can be high-jacked never to be found or heard off again, yet a small motorbike is found as in quickly? The ex-husband’s friend is locked up but not the husband?

On the other hand, we have Jub Jub who, together with a fellow motorist, raced their cars into a group of kids killing them; all this in full view of onlookers. Yet, till today, no conviction has been forthcoming. Maybe his well-off parental money is the cause of this inadequacy?

Then there is the case of Satan being blamed for the torching of two girls in the Westrand. I must admit that I was surprised that heavy metal music was not blamed for the atrocious act. Throw away the keys I say.

And finally, banks have introduced biometrics to curtail identity theft and other dark aberrations. The concept will use fingerprint readers to communicate with ‘Home Affairs’ to check and verify that the person is whom it claims to be. All good; or is it?

What happens when the two way communications between a specific bank branch and home affairs goes down: sorry, computers are down. Came back later (Ok, this already takes place, so this will become another one of those acceptable irritations)? What happens to people that have faint or illegible fingerprints (this is more frightening given the level of client service prevalent in SA)? Who is going to pay for all this technology installations (Wait, given the entire for-your-own-protection bumph being pushed down our throats, I surmise that we the public are going to pay for it)?

I cannot help it but be weary of concepts riddled in for-your-protection rhetoric and combating-crime euphemisms.

And Bahrain is introducing Human-Rights into their schooling curriculum. Maybe, just maybe, miracles do happen!?

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