As with nearly all murders, the cold facts reported in newspapers and on websites, and the clever comments deliberated on in opinion pieces and blogs, do not reveal the gut-wrenching pain of loss, especially when it is a violent and unexpected loss.
And, while most of us vehemently disagree with his opinions and lifestyle, before all else, Eugene Terre’Blanche was a man, a human being, with family and friends. And it is their loss that is the tragedy.
So far most observers have ignored is another tragedy. A fifteen year old boy was part of the attack, and according to his mother responsible for some of the injuries that lead to Eugene Terre’Blanche’s death. Fifteen years old!
What is it about our society that allows, enables, leads to, a fifteen year old boy getting himself into a position where he is part of a murder? And, more telling, what does it say about our society that commentators and media are so preoccupied with the race issue that the idea of a fifteen year old committing murder barely raises an eyebrow? Barely a sentence written about it anywhere. Fifteen years old!
And therein lies the third tragedy. We allow race and race relations to over-shadow all other issues (a strange concept since race cannot have a relationship; people have relationships).
We have allowed ourselves, and our media, to temper all our thoughts and actions with the colour of our skin. And although the colour of our skins, to a large extent, defined our history, it is absurd that we continue to define our future in the same terms. There has to come a time and place when we look at people and see them for their humanity before we see them being black, white, straight, gay, Zulu, Croatian, Christian, Muslim, left, right, or whatever other tribe we care to define.
Because if we don’t, we slip very easily into Eugene Terre’Blanche mode: there is only black and white; there are no people, only black people and white people; there are no good ideas, only my ideas which are superior to your ideas; there is no common good, only my good at the expense of yours.
And we don’t want that, do we?