The other day I stopped at a stop sign and the driver behind me hooted and hooted (blew on his horn) at me. You see, in South Africa stopping at a stop sign is no longer the thing to do. Someone was telling me how they risk using the postal service because anything with the slightest value just doesn’t get to its destination. The attitude was, “That’s just the way things are and if you use the service expect your stuff to be taken.” Just two tiny examples among many, many more, of how we in our country are slipping in to a dangerous ethical lethargy, where right slowly becomes wrong and wrong slowly becomes right.
Does this all sound rather trivial. I suppose to some it does. But let me add something more to the pot in the form of a revealing article entitled, “The SACP’s love affair with North Korea.”
The SA Communist Party, (who are bedfellows of our ruling party – my words) recently held a meeting addressed by North Korean Ambassador Jo Yong Man. According to the SACP press statement, he shared ‘the history of the Korean revolution, its current contradictions in the fight against US Imperialism and the South Korean puppet regime.’
“He invited the SACP to jointly celebrate North Korea’s 50th anniversary of independence on 27 July 2013. It’s mind-boggling that a political party in democratic South Africa finds affinity with the ghastly repression and backwardness of North Korea.
“It epitomises George Orwell’s fear about Stalinism: “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” North Korea is a vast prison camp for 24 million people that tramples on every single human right.”
Let it be said, this all happening while the great Nelson Mandela, with all his marvellous and magnanimous history, lies dying in a hospital and whose presence and enormously spacious spirit certainly would not have been tolerated in any way by that frightening regime.
But what’s all this got to do with so called insignificant little unprincipled acts? Well, when you no longer stop at stop signs; when you persist in stealing people’s post; when you allow a myriad of other ethical discrepancies to become the order of the day, you slowly allow yourself to be grasped by an ethical blindness and darkness the scale of which eventually becomes sheer dread. I must confess that at times I despair over the land I love.