On Aug. 16, 36 striking miners were shot dead by South African Police Service officers at the site of the Lonmin Platinum Mine, at Marikana – northwest of this writer’s birthplace, Johannesburg. Seventy eight of the 3,000 rioting strikers were injured.
International response to the massacre at Marikana kept to variations on a theme: “They’re killing their own people” – although not quite so crudely put, as that would imply that the beleaguered white inhabitants of post-apartheid South Africa were not refracted through the Rainbow Nation’s national spectrum.
Nevertheless, as is to be expected of the pack animals that make up the press in the West, the incredulity over “black police firing at black mine workers” was unanimous.
Perhaps the journalistic herd intended to separate state-conducted violence from state-condoned violence. The latter is most certainly a black-on-black and black-on-white franchise. For in reality, most murders of Africans in Africa and, incidentally, of Africans in America are courtesy of other blacks.
Needless to say, the luminaries of Western café society are not exercised when Nelson Mandela’s party, the African National Congress, inadvertently socks it to honky by denying the holocaust of the nation’s rural whites.
“A labor dispute between the oppressors (whites) and the oppressed (blacks)”: That is the mantra invariably mouthed by media whenever an innocent farmer is slaughtered – a weekly occurrence, on aggregate – in the country considered by cretins such as Anderson Vanderbilt Cooper “a model of stability since racist white rule ended.”
But when the ANC, in control of the dominant-party state that is South Africa, engages in crowd control against what is deemed simplistically as “its own people,” that makes headlines. To wit, “The violent incidents on Aug. 16 were the single most lethal use of force by South African security forces against civilians since the end of the apartheid era.”
Allusions were made to the Sharpeville massacre.
Cut to March of 1960. A small band of panic-stricken policemen of the apartheid era – the media insists on appending the adjective “racist” in mentioning these men – shot dead 69 black demonstrators.
Prior to the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, nine white cops had been murdered in Durban.
Prior to the Marikana massacre, the strikers, all sweetness-and-light, had killed at least 10 individuals. There were police officers battered to death, mine security guards burned alive and a union shop steward hacked to smithereens.
Let me hazard a guess: Contra their sympathizers in the West, who don’t scare fast enough, the marauding mob at Marikana put the fear of God in the misguided folks who fired upon them. The same law-enforcement officers had first tried to disperse and stop the rioters with tear gas, water cannons, stun grenades and barbed wire.
You’d have had to experience the onrush of a riled-up African crowd to comprehend the terror among these frightened, likely incompetent cops entrusted with defending mine operators and other staff still at the site. The last would have endured hours, if not days, of menacing chanting, singing, stomping, all amplified through loudspeakers.
Likewise, the besieged police at Sharpeville would have been petrified, as the “unarmed” mob brandishing pangas, spears and sticks, advanced on their isolated outpost and breached the station’s fence, at the eponymous African township.
In both instances, the cops – white and black, then and now, right or wrong – fought to stay alive.
The media mob has already cut some slack to the black cops who were assailed at Marikana by 3,000 miners. The frightened, outnumbered fellows at Sharpeville, who confronted 5,000 to 7,000 frenzied protesters: They’ve been condemned for eternity.
Sharpeville’s “villains” had also attempted to control the crowds with tear gas and batons before that fateful shooting.
Why not ask 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis what a tribe armed with indigenous weapons is capable of doing to a despised, helpless “Other”?
Ask the same of some 4,000 white South African farmers, who once helped feed the continent.
Or, closer to home, let an all-American lass, Amy Elizabeth Biehl, tell you how furious her white skin and good intentions made an “unarmed” crowd, back in Cape Town of 1993.
Silly me. Question those Tutsis – whose blood turned the Kigara River red – all you like, but they will not reply. For they were torn asunder or macheteed by their longtime Hutu neighbors.
Ask the late Ms. Biehl about her ordeal, but she too has been silenced – stabbed and stoned, by an “unarmed” mob with murder on its mind.
As to the 4,000 (and counting) Boers – they’re dead and buried, too. Interred in the land they had farmed for centuries; culled like springbok on a hunting safari by the same, disarming, inadvertent enemies of peace and prosperity.
In a world awash in floating fiat currency, demand for platinum will remain consistent and predictably high, as production plummets in one of platinum’s prime producers, South Africa.
The miners of Marikana told Time magazine that they would not return to work until their wages were doubled (poor productivity be damned). Any scab who stepped in to do “their” jobs would be eliminated. Or so they promised.
And that’s one other thing you can take to the bank.