By Colleen Figg
I usually do not involve myself in political matters; firstly because I know very little about the subject and secondly because the subject does not interest me. My field of interest lies chiefly in matters pertaining to the human condition, and in the ways people interact with each other.
So it is my attention has been caught by the ongoing war between South Africans who have remained in this country and those who have left it. The skirmishes are fought on many different fronts, sparked by various issues as they arise. Running battles are on the go on forums, in chat rooms, on blogs, and the temperatures have been rising!
Outright war has broken out now that the elections approach and the spark that ignited the keg was that many of the local Saffers are dead against displaced Saffers being allowed to vote. They feel that since these South Africans have left the country, they have also forfeited the right to comment upon, vote about, or discuss any issues pertaining to the country of their birth.
In view of the fact that the bitter history of our country and the pain that people suffered was caused by one group of people telling another group of people that they were not allowed to vote (amongst other things) I am very taken aback that any South African would ever consider going down that same road at all. I mean, who are you, who am I, to tell another person he or she has no right to vote?
The right to vote is supported by our Constitution; it was a hard-won victory that came at an extremely high cost for the majority - in many cases the cost was irreversible or irretrievable. To divide our country again along such lines is negative, destructive and, to put it bluntly, morally reprehensible.
There is no South African who has relocated (no matter what the reason) that does not suffer exile blues and homesickness; who does not feel a spark of pride when our teams win, does not get a tear in his eye when he hears the national anthem, does not miss the special character of this most beautiful land.
I haven't got any more to say on this subject, really. I just wish people would stop and think. We all feel the same way as Jackson Browne did when he wrote the song, I am a Patriot:
And I ain't no communist
And I ain't no capitalist
And I ain't no socialist
And I ain't no imperialist
And I ain't no democrat
So I ain't no republican
I only know one party
And it is freedom
I am, I am, I am
I am a patriot
And I love my country
Because my country is all I know
If love for a country is not enough to allow a people a say, then the Lord alone knows what is.