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Culture, Reality

Red Balloons

by Xoliswa Ben-Mazwi / 14.10.2013

Dear “Reds”

Lovely apartheid free day we’re having, huh? Small talk aside, I’m certainly not penning this to hold hands and sing khumbaya over our less than perfect two decades of democracy. While going through my timeline on twitter, I stumbled upon a link to your “Red October” page and that is what I would like to address.

First and foremost, I would just like to make sure that you folks aren’t kidding about this Red October business. I mean, it’s nothing short of being a great hoax. No? Ok, let’s get to it then.

You opened your Red October page with a quote that reads “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” I certainly admire your fighting spirit and your use of sensationalism is something I one day hope to immitate. However, I urge you to pick your battles. While I don’t dispute that the rhinos and the hole in the o-zone layer (which certainly won’t be aided by your red balloons that, by now, are floating in the sky) need your attention, but so to do the black people perishing in our ‘filthy government hospitals’ and the youth who’s lives begin to end once their thrown into our ‘pathetic education system’ while you sit comfortably in your private schools and hospitals.

While I too am tired of ‘Corrupt Governance’, I think I’ll gladly take it coupled with ‘Racist Black Economic Empowerment and Affirmative Action policies’ over an apartheid regime that crippled many people of colour socio-economically. If our country’s alarming Gini coefficient isn’t enough to convince you that the vast gap between the rich and the poor, and essentially between blacks and whites, won’t mend itself, just take a look around your melanin-free boardrooms and neighbourhoods. Trust me, you know not of oppression and inequality.

“We can no longer be silent about the brutal torture of the elderly and defenceless people of our Ethnic Minority” you say. Can I be frank? The first elderly person of your ethnic minority that came to mind after reading this was Eugene Terre’blanche. Once that thought sunk in, my mind then drifted to a story reported on ‘3rd Degree’ about the countless black defenceless elderly woman who are raped and often killed in their own homes. By your account, this is a struggle we seem to share. Our ethnicity has little to do with it. We just live in a twisted society so go easy on the ‘woe is us’ approach.

It saddens me to think that on the eve of learning of Red October I was confidently telling friends that I’m ready to be led by our most prominent opposition party. But now, now I do not believe that the people of this country are ready for power to change hands again. Until such a time that our nation is fit for this change, I call upon you to take the log out of your own eye. I call upon you to not lock your car doors in fear when a black man walks by. I call upon you to go easy on the News24 comments section. Lastly, I call upon you to turn down the air conditioning in office buildings and lecture halls.

Now would be as good a time as any to drop the “one of my best friends is white” line to stop you from thinking I’m racist but I won’t. Instead I will out rightly inform you that your Red October campaign reeks of bigotry. Stop this! Oh and by the way, October belongs to Breast Cancer awareness; December is currently shared by Jesus and Santa Clause… We will think about giving you November if you keep the rest of the world out of this.

P.S. Thanks for ruining the colour red for the rest of us.

Yours truly

A dissenting member of the ethnic majority

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