14.10.2012 Feature Article

South Africa Massacre By Government Forces; What Is Change And Progress Anyway?

South Africa Massacre By Government Forces; What Is Change And Progress Anyway?
14.10.2012 LISTEN

It is reasonable to assert that so much have changed in South Africa and progress has been made there since the attainment of majority rule with the end of Apartheid minority rule.

But a South Africa in which protesting workers are mauled and mowed down by South Africa forces as if swathing mosquitoes or pests, is no one's idea of change and progress in both political and economic terms.

The horrors and murderous brutality meted upon protesting workers in the Lonmin-Marikana Mines massacre, is reminiscent of the heinous apartheid days in South Africa. No one thought it possible, to ever again see such senseless extra judicial murders by agents of South African government in post-apartheid South Africa!

Rivalry between unions, unruly and rancorous protesters is no excuse. Nothing could justify the wanton massacre of 34 South African citizens by government forces. It reeks of vengeance and vendetta stemming from the death of two police officers since the onset of the protests. It does look like revenge and payback by police for the strikers!

South African government forces, in full public glare, killed 34 and injured 78 citizens for exercising their constitutional and legitimate right to assemble and protest, this is clearly unacceptable! What were these government forces thinking or why were they not doing any thinking?

It is the case that bad things happen everywhere, but given the vivid horrors of apartheid era egregious behavior of South African government agents, and equally bearing in mind the very public attempt at cleansing South Africa's collective national memory.

And what was considered to be South Africa's bold attempt at national reconciliation and healing through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission etc, it is gulling, to see or be witness to the global shame and embarrassment of shooting.

South Africans fought gallantly to decimate and eliminate the injustices and oppression of apartheid. South African workers were at the forefronts of these struggles for freedoms and struggles to end segregation based on race.

South African miners were indeed the arrowhead and recipient of the most egregious labor practices by apartheid era government and corporate entities.

The senseless killing of protesting workers, who were in fact running away and their backs turned, in flight from armed policemen, gave the impression that so much have changed in South Africa for South Africa, and sadly, so much have remained the same.

It is quite unfathomable that a post 1994 South African security forces would aim live bullets at protesting workers and shoot them!

These shootings and with the impunity in which they were carried out, begs the question, what indeed has really changed? What is the value of majority rule and what is the meaning of democracy for South African and indeed all Africans?

It does looks as if, the business of government in South Africa and all over Africa, is the protection of corporate wrongdoers. Governments in African nations seem quite dedicated to humiliating, killing and taking every actions unedifying of African citizens, so long as corporate profits for conglomerates are protected.

What exactly is the value of majority rule, democracy and a new South Africa in which South African citizens are murdered most heinously by agents of own government? This is human depravity beyond descriptions.

What is the benefit of democracy or prosperity in Nigeria, when oil majors are permitted to engage in environmental pollution and degradation, and every protest by well meaning Nigerian citizens is meant with violent overreaction on the part of Nigerian government in order to protect the oil majors and their obscene profits without corporate social responsibility.

What does it profit South African citizens, Nigerian citizens and indeed all African citizens, to be shot indiscriminately, despite all pretensions to political independence, majority rule and democracy on the African continent?

It would seem there is no change, no progress and there is no difference in attitudes and practices from colonial and apartheid days on the African continent, as the devaluation of the humanity of Africans has continued despite the change of guards

It is almost irrelevant who is in-charge politically in South Africa and much of the African continent, the color of political leadership may have change, but the change is perfunctory and nearly meaningless.

The brutality of government agents remains and impunity may have, or seem to have worsened in some in certain instances.

The late Justice Thurgood Marshall it was, quoted as saying that a venomous snake is a snake regardless of its color! In whose service therefore, are African political leadership, in the service of the people, African citizens or in the service of multinationals in obeisance of "mother countries".

If it is argued that there is change and progress, might we ask, change and progress and for whose benefit?

The shift of leadership to the hands of some Black faces from their colonial and apartheid predecessors or progenitors, is merely cosmetic perfuming of pigs or brutality. Extreme and abject poverty, sufferings, hardships remain the lot of most Africans.

How can anyone argue otherwise? The unmitigated violence by government agents in defense of oil companies and conglomerates which plunders and pollute the environment in Nigeria is the same as the maiming and killings in defense of South African mining conglomerates.

These violence and killings for profits are not different from apartheid era killings and maltreatment of workers or the indiscriminate killings of political opposition such as the Mau Mau in Kenya by the British colonial government?

But of course, there are no Africans, and in fact there are no reasonable persons anywhere, with preference for apartheid, colonialism or occupation, even so, it is relevant to ask whether anything has really changed , with real benefits for Africans in political and real economic terms?

The end of apartheid is supposed to have ushered in political and economic emancipation, including legal, social, economic and land reforms, but the wait continues!

The multinationals still do what they want, almost without regard to laws and rules; the government still kills and maims innocent citizens to protect corporate profits!

Majority rule, political independence and democracy have not changed much of anything for African citizens in real terms. South Africans are still and much of African peoples are still palpably poor, despite diamonds, gold, petroleum and much more, which are mined from Africa; Cry My Beloved Continent!

So much has changed, so much have remained the same, what price change, progress and democracy in Africa?

There are a few months remaining in 2012 and economic and social justice still elude the majority of African citizens and peoples. It is quite sad. It is lamentably sad.

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