CHRISTINA ENGELA. Danielle skipped classes. Instead, she spent the morning in bed, thinking deep thoughts. After a quick breakfast cereal, she sat alone in the lounge of the apartment she shared with two girlfriends, doing research online. She searched terms like ‘hate speech’, ‘prejudice’ and in particular the word ‘bigot’. She stumbled onto a site about genocide and put two and two together. ‘Ethnic cleansing’ was another keyword. ‘Persecution’ another. ‘Genocide’ was the last word. This is the 21st century for crying out loud! A quiet little voice inside her replied: ‘evil knows no time’.
Category: Christina Engela
CHRISTINA ENGELA. It’s odd how for years, articles by Melanie Nathan have been highly prized and circulated and promoted by local human rights advocates, and how for years we have welcomed her campaigning to assist our cause, and her application of public pressure from outside the country – and now we can turn around and say something like this: “A condescending American [Melanie] Nathan based in America, who has no jurisdiction whatsoever in dictating to South Africans what to do (as what so many Western countries are prone to do), even if she was born in South Africa, she left this country three decades ago and has no business interfering. We’re not listening – go write about the problems LGBTI face in the US. There’s lots.” – GaySpeak Ezine
CHRISTINA ENGELA. The question often arises in my mind, when dealing with biblical literalists and fundamentalists, exactly WHAT their fundamentals are? What is it that makes them stand at the head of a crowd and whip them into a frenzy, spitting hatred for others – and doing so in the name of a god they claim is a god of love, and who is the personification of this all too cheap, commercialized emotion?
CHRISTINA ENGELA. A few years back, before the 2009 elections, I engaged with a lot of ChristianISTS on local Facebook groups for political parties on matters such as their policies on human rights, separation of church and state etc. It was revealing and disturbing to say the least – but it was useful to show what we are facing when it comes to right wing extremist religion in South Africa, and I turned these debates into a book. It was sickening to see not just how little these people knew about other people – or how little they cared for the suffering of other people – but how much hatred they displayed proudly and openly towards others whom they did not consider equals at all – and in the name of their religion.
CHRISTINA ENGELA. Last week it became known that the Traditional Leaders Forum had submitted a suggestion to a government body which monitors and evaluates suggestions for modifications to be made to the SA Constitution, that gay rights be removed from the Constitution. Suggestions and requests of this nature which involve the removal of the civil rights of gay people from the Constitution are not a new thing. In fact, these efforts have been a regular feature of right-wing and religious extremist politicking since at least the very early 1980’s in South Africa, and have been made by numerous groups in various forms since the birth of our democracy, and since the drafting of the Constitution. The ANC governing party needs the support of the traditional leaders forum which represents tribal chiefs and clan leaders. The traditional leaders themselves are homophobic and patriarchal, like our President and his supporters.
CHRISTINA ENGELA. People need to stop thinking of themselves as “the good guy” just because they have a membership card to a specific religious organization – or because they are more fanatical or religious than their neighbor – and to start validating their consideration that they are “good people” through their actions. They should stop doing “good works” just because they expect something in return from the receiver, or from others who see them doing their good works – and instead do it to see the smile of those they help, to be satisfied that the person they help will live easier, or for another day because of them. And above all – take to heart that “I’m okay – so fuck you, Jack” is not the attitude of a “good person”. Anybody can say they are a “good person” – but only a good person will ACT like a good person. Christian scriptures say “by their fruits you shall know them”. Indeed.
CHRISTINA ENGELA. I am angered by the attitude of some people in this country. It seems that one can’t even enter into a rational debate with people of other races here without it descending into a war of words, where prejudices and stereotyping come to the fore. (You are correct in assuming that this is going to be a rant. If you disagree with me on this topic, it is your democratic right to do so. However, I then urge you to also exercise your other democratic right to not read it, while I exercise my right to express myself freely.) Why am I angry? Because it amazes me how many black people still live under the assumption that because I am white and have a car and a house that I am somehow “rich” and that I have “stolen” something from them in order to get it.
CHRISTINA ENGELA. I saw a post on Facebook, wherein the poster asked what a political party’s position was on legalizing the drug trade in South Africa. The poster was of the opinion that legalizing the trade would make things better and more controllable. In my opinion, the only thing that legalizing this trade in human dignity, suffering and lost lives will help is that the government would be able to claim its share in tax proceeds from the profit made by these obscene monsters masquerading in human form. Something which, in my opinion, could explain why law enforcement agencies struggle so to clamp down on this dangerous and illegal trade in the first place – corruption.