THERE is no compelling reason we should continue wasting time on proposals from those among us who seek to liberate white people from the oppression of our constitutional democracy. A case in point is the waste of parliamentary time with the preposterous idea from the Freedom Front Plus that a ministry of minorities should be set up.
The suckers from the Minority Front were duped into supporting the proposal because they still don’t get it. They do not realise, or pretend not to realise, that when the Freedom Front Plus talks about "minorities", it is talking about white people or a small fraction of the white population.
What these moegoes, in turn, do not realise is that most white people do not support this kind of buffoonery.
As I have already wasted too much space on this nonsense, allow me to turn my attention to something worth discussing.
The time has come for us to treat the Marikana tragedy as the South African tragedy that it is. In this regard, all South Africans must own the Marikana tragedy, as the tragedy is about the quality of our democratic experience and the nature of truth.
Starting with the nature of truth, the challenge is to abandon the idea that solutions to our social, political and economic problems will come from picking only those aspects of a complex truth that suit our argument, promote our narrow interests or, as Marikana has shown, prop up a misguided or false sense of righteousness.
For instance, we tend to idealise and patronise the victims of a tragedy in the most paternalistic of ways.
In order to avoid "victimising the victim", there are inconvenient truths about Marikana we do not want to tell.
It is for this reason that the killing of 10 people by miners and the massacre of 34 miners by the police are being conflated. We do not want to talk about how perpetrators can become victims and victims can become perpetrators, and how those who fought against the state violence of apartheid can themselves be guilty of state violence. In short, we do not want to talk about how that which is evil and ignoble is an integral part of the human condition from which none among us is immune. Our failure to confront this truth means that we are exposing ourselves to the possibility of more tragedy because this is a failure that emboldens the ignoble and evil within us.
While there is no shortage of short-term and long-term solutions, it seems to me that we must focus also on Marikana as a tragedy that tells us a lot about deficits in human solidarity. While the manner in which the labour-relations dimensions of the tragedy have evolved are about the social distance that has developed between miners and union leaders, we must pay more attention to the distance that has developed between us as human beings.
In fact, the Twitter and Facebook phenomena are, in part, about how we have become disconnected from one another. Despite some of the obvious benefits of social networking, the phenomenon is just one among many examples of what ails the human spirit.
Partly, our social and political reality of inequality, poverty and unemployment and how we respond to it constitutes an assault on the human spirit.
That the other has become something to maim or slaughter is an indication of how disconnected one is from the other.
That a Lonmin spokesman thinks that an allowance of R1,800 is the basis of good living conditions for the employees of his company is an indication of the work we must still do in this regard.
One of the solutions, therefore, is to focus on what we have gained and avoid following the example of those such as the Freedom Front Plus, who seek to remind us of what they lost in 1994.
We must defend the gains of our democracy because they are worth defending, but we must never forget that some survive on the scraps of democracy.
• Matshiqi is a research fellow at the Helen Suzman Foundation.