Thursday, 14 June 2007

The death of tolerance...

Sorry been a bit quiet. I’ve had one of those weeks…..

The public servants strike has really tried and tested people, politics, patience and moral ethics generally. I am not getting into the strike in this post as that has had enough coverage, BUT I have to address the issue of moral ethics.

In JHB a headmaster was murdered during the strike and on the same day he openly questioned (on Radio 702) an incident of alleged police mistreatment of suspects (I am not sure if these suspects were strikers?). His death has been called ‘a suspected robbery’. Anyway the point of this post is not so much the incident (which was tragic of course), but to question the few people that called or smsed 702 and said things like, ‘I am happy he is dead, he was a troublemaker’. Who says something like that? The scary part is that it was not just one person, but a few with similar harsh comments. Luckily the minority, BUT one comment like that is bad enough in these circumstances! No matter who or what this man was, who would wish that on anyone for such a minor thing as ‘troublemaking’. I would expect that kind of response for something like child abuse BUT such vicious comments for a differing opinion? HUH?

What does this kind of reaction say about our society and how numb we are to the finality, tragedy and pain of death. Have we forgotten to care for others not to mention the feelings of the family and friends left behind? Have we forgotten to think and reason? Have we forgotten that we are supposed to be proud of our diverse country with differing opinions? Is this a S African thing or a global problem? How have some people become so openly ugly? I really hope that this kind of hatred is not a growing trend, but rather a sad bunch of individuals that may one day understand the impact of their words...


Graeme said...

I feel quite strongly on this. I believe that the mood in the country has deteriorated, not necessarily because our values have changed but rather that the "leaders" have taken the country down a road of moral decline. Where else would you have a man in a leadership position calling for his machine gun , another comparing the govt. to Nazi Germany. The examples of "leader's" vitiolic outbursts are many. How then is it surprising that that indivduals react as they do, all in the name of democratcy and the constitituion. I feel that we are approaching a significant "fork in the road" and we are "on a knife edge" as to the place we will eventually find ourselves.

Sanchia said...

I must agree that the state of the public persona at large has come to a stage where the collective morals can be questioned. But I believe that the media and the anonymity of its nature play a role in this.

It was not a while ago that on 5 FM Virgin Money ran a competition where you had to tell your secret and then you could win up to R10 000. I was appalled when a lady phoned in to say that she bought her drivers licence after she failed 9 times to get it the legitimate way. In my opinion such a person should not be on the road! Well, because she was lucky enough to phone in when she did she won R10 000.

Now she was rewarded for committing fraud and although the radio presenters sounded a bit uncomfortable, she still was rewarded. To make matters worse she made a big fuss about it and went on-and-on about how crime does pay. What kind of example does that set for all of the children that listen to that show? I believe the fact that she was able to stay mostly anonymous via the radio emboldened her in this regard.

Although I agree that the freedom of speech and the ability of getting your point across via radio, telephone and internet is a great step forward I feel that if it is not censored and controlled by the individual (or parent irt children) that the potentially negative elements will spill over into an area where fertile soil (the youth) could be corrupted.

Candice said...

Sanch, Interesting that you mentioned anonymity of media, because bloggers have been hit for this lately and members of gov. are attempting to regulate the blogosphere. Not exactly sure how they can ever do that but I agree people need to stand up and be counted.. I CANNOT believe the 5FM story... gee not nice.
I totally agree with Graeme's 'fork in the road' statement. I often wonder what I personally can do outside my sphere to make a difference BUT I aint famous and those in the public eye certainly need to be high on moral ethics to trigger change. Lead by example... something that seems to be really hard in this country at the moment for some. Things seem a little wishy washy at times.... taking a stand could pee some people off. I would rather take that chance.