Thursday, April 19, 2012

Driven to hunt


"Driven to hunt” is the motto posted on ESPN programs, broadcast to promote the “sport” of hunting.
Now the World has been treated to video footage of none other than King Juan Carlos of Spain, and his silly wife, posing next to a magnificent bull elephant that they had just killed. To satisfy their blood lust they had traveled to Botswana at a cost equating to twice the annual average earnings in their home country. The socio-economic situation in Spain is dire, with approx half the workforce unemployed. 
Let me make it clear, not all hunting is objectionable. Man has hunted in order to feed himself from time immemorial. Other species also hunt for the same reason. This accords with the natural order of things. Note that the so called "uncivilized" San bushman will always say a prayer, asking the animal he has just killed to forgive him for having to take its life so that he may live.
What is objectionable to the point of being vomitus, is the gratuitous killing of non edible animals and truly noble beasts like the lion, the elephant, the rhinoceros and the leopard.
I was moved to tears watching a program on Carte Blanche in which Asian prostitutes were flown into South Africa, on the pretence that they were hunters, so that the real culprits could have a bigger licensed “bag” of rhinoceros. They explained that they cried when made to engage in photo shoots of these magnificent, but now very dead, animals. No doubt they were mindful of the fact that the rhino they were now sitting on for the photo, had once been brought into this world by a mother in the miracle of birth; had then been suckled and nurtured  just as they had been; had suffered and endure to reach maturity … only to have its life taken in the name of “sport”.
 It sickened these ladies … because of their “humanness’. It should sicken all of us for the same reason.
Man is but one species on this planet. We are but a small minority if one is mindful of all other creatures; a very small minority. However, we are the only species that has this obscene, rotten mentality that it is enjoyable to kill other animals. We are like a pernicious virus ensuring the extinction all other species.
Part of the reason must be that we accord all other creatures no respect. They are to be taken for granted and held in a sort of blanket contempt. To us they are just animals, or mindless/stupid creatures, of no inherent worth or attributes. Because we have power, we see them as undeserving of respect, divested of any rights, least of all the right to life, the most precious of all rights. Because we have power we are imbued with consummate arrogance. In fact we don't think, because if we did, we would be overcome about the truly wondrous inherent nature of other creatures.
Take the lowly weaver bird. Tiny brain. One beak. No tuition. Despite this, this little creature can weave a nest of such complexity and utility that no man can emulate with all his brains, prehensile limbs and ten fingers. What is more the weaver bird will build its nest high if impending rains are going to be a deluge. How is it able to “predict” the rains?
Take the green turtle. It hatches out of an egg and scurries off into a vast ocean. There it fends for itself, unprotected by parental care and guidance.  Years later, after swimming more or less around the world, it returns to the exact place of its birth to lay it own eggs. How does it do this?
Think of man’s best friend, the dog. Our bull terrier would always subject my late son’s thigh to a sympathetic lick. How did it know that the thigh contained a steel pin, put in after my son had a skydiving accident? How are some dogs able to predict when a patient will experience an epileptic attack? Do we not marvel at how other dogs are able to detect cancer cells hidden deep within the human body?
There are innumerable examples of the truly wondrous attributes that so many non-human creatures have that we simply do not understand, let alone match. The incredible cooperation of ant and bee colonies; bird and animal migrations, cooperation of lions and dolphins in a hunt, are examples of a plethora.
So why do we hold other creatures in such contempt? What is the justification for the right, we accord ourselves, to take their lives as a matter of prerogative? In terms of what process, sapiential or otherwise, does this prerogative accrue? There are no sensible answers to these questions, other than a bully boy culture of arrogance and violence.
Consider this! We imagine that at some stage we will advance to the point as to engage in productive space exploration. When we arrive on other planets, and meet other species, will we be taking our hunting rifles so as to shoot them up? Oh NO, NO, you instinctively reply. But that is the culture on our own planet! Is this a mindset that is at all tolerable?
Conversely, if men from Mars arrived and started “hunting; us, we would resist and fight to the death. This is because, like all other species, we have a right to life, that is never trumped by might! Might is never right! The whole world now professes to subscribe to this basic tenet. However we do not extend this other creatures. Because we have power we assign ourselves the right to kill them. In this way the “might is right” culture is infused into the brain and internalized by our children. Then we wonder why they grow up to succumb to violent tendencies.
And the big question is; what is pleasurable about taking the life of another creature? It would appear that the more magnificent the creature is, as a species, like a bull elephant or bull rhino, in its prime, the more pleasurable it is to kill it?
What type of sickos are we? Really? How more psychologically perverted can one be?
So please understand that if you are one of those “Driven to Hunt” non edible animals, you are sick. You have a very deep seated psychological issue about your own sense of worth. You don’t feel that you are “big enough” in this world. You are acting out a sense of inferiority, insecurity, probably about your sexuality. If you give it up you will find that your erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety issues will be gone like the puff of smoke from a gunshot.
Gratuitous killing of another creature is an act of depravity. It is the antithesis of reason, consideration or compassion. Worst of all, it is due to a lack of understanding; understanding of who we are; understanding of the natural order of things; understanding of the difference between good and bad … of what is plainly evil!.
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Friday, April 6, 2012

The Profit & Loss Statement of Black Politics at Malema’s suspension

By Gauta Komane


I choose the metaphor of a financial statement to underline the fact that, a proper analysis of the leadership of suspended ANC Youth League president, Julius Malema, must of necessity conclude that this militant young man has been a good or bad expenditure for the ruling party and politics in general. To use balance sheet terminology, has he become an asset or a liability for the ANC? Of course the top brass of the ANC, that is, those in the party leadership whose careers he’s threatening, have determined that he is a liability and therefore needs to be expelled from the party.

Assuming that Malema has arrived at the end of his political career within the party, we need to discuss his contribution to the leadership process, and to politics,  and then make a determination as to whether the party is well or worse off for all that. Without doubt, Malema has had a profound impact on the organizational, intellectual, ideological and spiritual content of the ANC and Black politics in general.

Malema grew up during the ten-year period from 1994, the year the ANC took power. This is the period when SA was opening up to globalization and the influence of foreign capital, trade and cultural influence. These phenomena had a profound influence on political, socio-cultural and economic relations not only inter-racially, but also within the Black community itself.

As every South African institution had to embrace and undergo change, in one aspect or another, the ANC too had its own transformation. The responsibility of governance brought with it unprecedented privileges, including the power to hire and fire, to reward and punish, and to impose and spend taxes, among other things.  It is not necessary to argue whether it was under the presidency of Nelson Mandela or Thabo Mbeki,  that the ANC declined organizationally, intellectually and spiritually – because under Mandela, Mbeki was the real administrator.
"When Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela donned the Springbok jersey on that great day in 1995, over 45,000 of his hitherto opponents cried tears of joy. At a stroke Mandela had reconciled a whole nation. For just a moment the nation felt united for the first time in its bloody history; its heart beating as one. That moment did not last".      Chris N Greenland.
Put under tremendous pressure by the combined weight of international arms dealers, contractors in engineering and public works, pharmaceutical suppliers, consultants, bankers, policy lobby groups and soccer administrators, among others, the ruling party silently abandoned its socialist promises and, in a loud voice, embraced capitalism and its ugliest manifestations, including the creation of a rapacious, selfish comprador class in the Black community, which was and is still dependent on fiscal transfers from the government’s various institutions and the abovementioned business sectors for its existence.

In just ten years, the ANC changed from a liberation movement into a corrupt ruling party. As the governing class was ill equipped to improve industrial output, and employment creation, membership of the party for many Blacks was viewed as the surest path towards managerial jobs in government-controlled sectors, while to be a leader in the ruling party became the most potent power in the country.
Julius Malema was practically born into this paradigm. He learned it from the most ruthless mentors. He became adept at it because he learned well.

Many ANC’s leaders, at local level, began to concentrate their influence on the awarding of government tenders, and the employment of close friends. Young Malema, bright, daring and reckless, was identified and recruited from the ranks of the high school pupils’ organization, COSAS, into the lobby groups led by ANC and ANC Youth League leaders.

Since joining president Zuma’s faction in 2007, as one of the chief campaigners, he developed his own persona apart from Zuma and the party itself. He was able to identify a vacuum in the policy direction and mass communication in the party machinery and move into that space quickly and strategically.  With party branches in disarray and serving campaigns of individuals, the general membership was no longer the conduit in the government’s interaction with the poor and the working class.

Malema styled himself the voice of the voiceless, the champion of their interests, the defender of Black people against the selfishness and corruption of Whites and the restorer of their historical claim to all the land in SA. He positioned the youth league as the champion of social justice and categorized Zuma, COSATU and the communist party as weak and pliable instruments of White “monopoly capital”. Making White people the target of blame for all the problems of the poor, he sought to label DA leader, Helen Zille, as the Enemy-in-chief and architect of White privilege and Black deprivation.  Any and every black member of that party is her puppet and contemptible.

He generated a notion among sections of the youth that the economic struggle has nothing to do with class (the traditional position of the ANC) and economic structure, but everything to do with Whites, who are rich, selfish and unwilling to share with Blacks. He cast himself as the Great Thinker; The Supreme Commander of the struggle for Economic Emancipation.

What is the ANC net worth at this moment, as we metaphorically put a monetary value to his contribution? 

  1. I daresay the cost of the Malema era has been too high for what it is worth. 
  2. He is a liability, perhaps more so than each of the sorry bunch who pass themselves off as the Top Six. 
  3. The party is weaker, confused, obsessed with race, corrupt and impervious to criticism. 
  4. There is a clear signal that the party is regretting the constitutional checks and balances that limit its ability to run amok. bereft of (nearly) all leadership capacity to turn the party from its ruinous obsession with corrupted wealth accumulation.
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