Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fear is not freedom

By Sipho Mazibuko

As a recent victim of crime, though indirectly, I initially denied the statistics.

Some appeared as mere concoctions by those hell-bent on demoralising our society and undermining our hard-fought democracy. As with almost everything, we don’t believe … until it happens to you.

Hoodlums, criminals, thugs, rapists — all brings feelings of hatred, anger, and resentment for most of us, partly towards the criminals and partly towards those said to protect society, the police and the government.

Vigilantism is reminiscent of the old Wild West days, when communities did whatever it took to protect their loved ones and their property. This type of action luckily does not exist, neither in the West nor here in the South or anywhere else for that matter. This role has been relinquished to the government, as it should, as per the laws and Constitution of our country.

The state has rightfully proclaimed the role of safety and security as the situation deteriorates by the day. One of the government’s prime responsibilities should be the safety, security and health of its people. If this fundamental right is not upheld, then surely we as citizens should have the constitutional right to protect ourselves.

What is our prerogative as citizens when taking the law into your own hands is frowned upon as vigilantism? Is this the end of our world as we know it? A world where people drown in pools of their own of blood, where women are raped and killed, where you cannot walk down the street without fearing for your life. Black or white.

The fundamental right to life, freedom and security, as enshrined in the Bill of Rights, is disregarded by those masquerading as victims of poverty and whatever excuse they can think of.

Do we harbour criminals in the form of our brothers, uncles and fathers? If so then we are not only perpetuating crime but are the criminals themselves. Yet we sit back while voices play out in our heads that this is not how life was meant to be. How is this freedom when we are not free? When we constantly drive, walk, sleep and live in fear.

Thugs, criminals, rapists, murderers are not born of poverty stricken backgrounds, they are born of a society of ills, a society of callousness.

Indeed one can encourage or condone an exodus into a new form of exile, but when we run we take the fear with us.

Sipho Mazibuko is a financial officer and president of the Young Intellectuals Society

1 Opinion(s):

Dachshund said...

Blame crime directly on the ANC who are just political rent seekers with no interest in developing a country or alleviating poverty. That's why nothing has been said or done about Mugabe. The ANC think along exactly the same lines of self enrichment by virtue of their struggle credentials.

Expect NOTHING from the fossilised ANC and remember that a dinosaur has looong staying power despite its pea sized brain.