WHAT massacre? Newspapers have a tendency to sensationalise stories to detract from shallow journalism. If there was a story that exposed the sorry state of journalism, it is the Marikana violence.
I consume news expecting to be enlightened and educated about certain issues. Week after week I am losing confidence in media houses. How can they get it so wrong? The events at the Lonmin mine was no massacre. Get it into your heads.
One daily even wrote an editorial decrying the cheapness of black lives. What utter rubbish? If you can’t do a proper and sober analysis on a story, don’t hide behind race or culture.
Don’t even start blaming the police. Our men and women in blue did their best under very trying circumstances.
We are made to believe that police officers are not humans but aliens out to destroy black people. Black police officers understand the pain of being black in this country. I will be the first to admit our police force is far from perfect. But I am going to defend the action of the police in Marikana.
Let’s start from the beginning. A massacre is when defenceless and harmless people are mowed down like flies. Remember the Boipatong and Langa massacres. Lonmin — it is a big no, no. Those workers were not on a picnic. They were on the war path. Those who died are nothing but casualties of that war. Don’t call it a massacre. It was either the police or the workers who had to die. Someone had to die. People go into a war prepared to pay with their lives. Marikana is a symptom of a dysfunctional society.
Violence is the only language South Africans understand better than reason. It does not shock when blood is shed for better wages. Violence also attracts multitude of readers and viewers. Violence makes the general public pay attention and the government stand up and do something.
There is hypocrisy in the Lonmin tragedy. When the same mineworkers went on a rampage last year and killed black foreign immigrants in the nearby township, there was a loud silence from everyone. The parliamentarians were nowhere to be seen. No one donated money for the funerals of those black foreigners.
Those immigrants were just innocent bystanders in the war they didn’t create. In South African townships we kill black foreigners to vent out our frustrations. No one cares.
Let us stop repeating the lies that Marikana was about better working conditions. Nothing of that sort. The killed mineworkers were pawns in a turf war of their union bosses. When stupid and greedy leaders are in charge people die. They always do. The union leaders must face the law.
You have buffoons like Julius Malema dancing on people’s graveyards to seek political relevance. Who the hell do you think you are, Mr Malema? Don’t use others’ pain for your glory.
Marikana pains me. It should not have happened.
Dr Lucas Ntyintyane