Read and introspect – you could find it enlightening

Alex Tabisher has been a long time Cape Argus subscriber and used to use the paper as learning material when he was a teacher. Picture: David Ritchie

Alex Tabisher has been a long time Cape Argus subscriber and used to use the paper as learning material when he was a teacher. Picture: David Ritchie

Published Jun 13, 2024


The political situation in our country at this moment can be described in many ways, few of which are salutary. We are directionless, we have no government, we are leaderless, we have no national unity and we lack national cohesion.

The situation is pathetic, ridiculous, monumentally gross, galactically pathetic, cosmically satirical, universally dumb, unimaginably stupid, horribly satirical and so forth.

And I accept as much blame as anyone wishes to attach, because we have all, without exception, contributed to this political folly.

Not one individual can stand back and say anything without first admitting to the unsaid accusations of collusion, lethargy, manipulation, obfuscation, misdirection, connivance, double talk, double dealing, horse-trading and generally contributing in one way or another to where we are now.

Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin is an Aramaic phrase from the Bible, (Daniel 5:27) which translates into: “You have been weighed in the scales and found wanting.”

And while the verse refers directly to the fate of King Belshazzar, who would be punished by losing his kingdom, I find a parallel with our situation.

My all-time mantra holds. Read.

You will find similar bits of wisdom and divine guidance in the holy writ of your own religion.

We must abandon the naming and blaming. We must stop ranting for retribution. We must accept a silly aphorism that I sometimes use in the copious debates that make up my life – “it is what it is”. That is not holy writ or sacred writing. It is common sense. We voted or we did not vote.

There is a strong case to be made for the perception that in truth, more people did not vote. This is ominous.

Those who did make the effort (like we did on that fateful day on April 27, 1994), should know better than to demand their peanuts now that they have paid their five cents. That is childish and impracticable.

This election was different in serious ways. Some disturbing tendencies were posited gently or vociferously. These included a Government of National Unity, an Alliance.

I don’t know if a federal model was suggested. I do know that secession from the republic was one ominous choice.

Given the hurly burly of the hysterical notions, we might end up the way Frantz Mohamed Fanon suggested in The Wretched of the Earth. Read the book.

Visit other works that attempted to suggest a model for harmonious and peaceful existence, co-existence, co-habitation or orchestrated silos that include strict observations of civility and amity.

Synonyms for amity include friendship, peaceful harmony, mutual understanding and a peaceful relationship, especially between nations and peoples. We don’t need laws. It can come from a mutual desire for an end to folly, ignorance, intransigence, rectitude, plain pig-headedness.

I haven’t even touched on selfishness, greed, hegemony, social mania, self-righteousness, an abandonment of religious, licentious and all the other deliciously wicked strategies that we indulge in with varying degree of savoir faire and style, or plain naked violence and bloodlust.

That is the scenario, dear readers. Everybody screams injustice, unfairness, racism, gender abuse and geriatric atrocities. Nowhere do we shout for the shouting to stop.

Find a mutually agreed period of silence and use it for real self-examination.

What you will find is what I studied during a Master’s degree on colonialism at US in 1995: the commissions will always fail because they provide safe platforms only for heinous admissions under various exoneration by-laws.

No sane person would admit to deeds foul and putrid for the sake of achieving a modicum of peace.

The atrocities that were perpetrated under banners of “King and country”, patriotism, the lewd seduction of historical, political or material gain will prevent the truth from ever coming out.

My studies left me reeling for a long time.

I read for the degree on post-colonialism as presented by the novels of Chinua Achebe, supplemented by copious ancillary reading of any English text written by a non-white. I found a measure of peace because I was educated as a European, and, late in my life, I was allowed to read the banned books that exploded their long-held versions of white superiority.

For the past 30 years, I have steeped myself in the writing of African, Cuban, Hawaiian, Japanese, Chilian, Malaysian – let me stop before I explode. A treasure of reading that tells another tale.

Now is the time to open our hearts and minds to the monumental lies that constitute our misery. As I say ad nauseum: Read.

You might find some pleasant revelations and surprises. Or not. I will not say.

* Alex Tabisher.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media

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