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Showing posts from September, 2012

reactions to a massacre

My last few blog posts have been discussing ‘what’s wrong with shooting a bunch of protesting miners’… and the bigger picture considerations when assessing what led to the massacre ata Lonmin mine in Marikana, South Africa a few weeks ago.
Previous posts in this mini series covered: 1. Democratic principles; 2. Human Rights; 3. Cultural violence; and 4. Structural violence.
In the final post in my short series, I will be exploring the reactions of South Africans a bit further – at least the aspects that have amazed and concerned me. I might be throwing the cat among the pigeons, but here goes...
5. ‘us’ and ‘them’- or ‘ubuntu’ vs ‘white guilt’ The term ‘Nation-building’ is frequently bandied about in political and intellectual circles in this country. I would prefer to speak of community-building, since national identity and patriotism are problematic, twentieth-century terms more likely to start wars than build a sunny shared future for us all. Disputed terminology aside, however, what we h…

Digging even deeper - Structural Violence

Continuing from my previous blog posts, this is the fourth installment in a short series discussing the massacre of a few weeks ago at a Lonmin mine in Marikana, South Africa. I have felt that the general discourse (if discussed at all) among average people has been ‘what’s wrong with shooting a bunch of protesting miners, when they had been violent and even apparently committed murder (two policemen were killed in the preceding week)?’ Well, a lot, actually.
In my previous posts I have discussed the most obvious levels first: 1. DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES; and 2. HUMAN RIGHTS. Then the previous post started digging a bit deeper into.... 3. A CULTURE OF VIOLENCE In this post, I will be digging even deeper… and this is where I start to really step on people’s toes…
4. Exploitation and ‘Structural Violence’: Taking another look at my admonishment in the preceding post to ‘build peace’ rather than ‘increase security’ (i.e. arm yourself/ protect your property/ militarise the police further…): peace…

The Lonmin massacre – digging deeper

Continuing from my previous blog posts, this is the third installment in a short series discussing the massacre of a few weeks ago at a Lonmin mine in Marikana, South Africa. I have felt that the general discourse (if discussed at all) among average people has been ‘what’s wrong with shooting a bunch of protesting miners, when they had been violent and even apparently committed murder (two policemen were killed in the preceding week)?’ Well, a lot, actually.
In my previous posts I have discussed the most obvious levels first: 1. DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES; and 2. HUMAN RIGHTS. In this post I will start to dig a bit deeper....
3. A culture of violence From the preceding post discussing ‘rights’, the ‘right to bear arms’ is an example of a controversial ‘right’ – it is seen by many as essential to ensuring your own protection, and is upheld in countries like the U.S. However others are vehemently against the idea because of its destabilising effect on a society (for more on this, refer to my earl…

Human Rights or Mining Rights?

Continuing from my previous blog post, ‘Today I am crying for Africa’, this is the second installment in a short series discussing the Lonmin massacre of a few weeks ago, and ‘what’s wrong with shooting a bunch of protesting miners, when they had been violent and even apparently committed murder (two policemen were killed in the preceding week)?’ So many levels of wrong... I discussed the most obvious level first: 1. DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES. In this post I will look at another rather obvious level…

2. Human Rights – incl. Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) Most people would agree that everyone is born equal and free – theoretically at least. This is what all our ‘human rights’ and international agreements are based on. Our modern world, for the most part, at least pays lip service to the concept of all human life being equally valued and human beings having certain ‘inalienable’ rights.
Exactly what ‘rights’ these are, is often hotly debated between cultures and even within count…