Cosas and the PIG

On first blush it looks like a success story. COSAS (Congress of South African Students), formed in 1979 as a student organization with its primary goal of dealing with the appalling educational conditions within the racially divided schooling system. It recognized the urgent and desperate need to address the fundamental issue of lack of equal and quality education within South Africa’s system.

The good news is their work here in South Africa must be done. Because on Friday they moved their focus further afield (about 11,000km) and placed a pig’s head in what they thought was the kosher section of Woolworths in Cape Town in order to protest the stores’ buying of 0.1% of its products from Israel. Given that that Woolworths has no kosher meat section, and they placed it in the Halaal section, might for some be beside the point, but considering that one has to have the ability to read the signs above the shelf, contradicts this concept. Aside from this somewhat embarrassing blunder, the message is clear. Their work here in South Africa is done (so it would seem), and it is incumbent on them to spread this success amongst the less fortunate in other parts of the globe. Add further the fact that very people they seek to represent would find this act repulsive, indicating that they have absolutely no understanding or respect for Islam, only adds to the bewilderment.

They say that beggars can’t be choosers but I suspect that any disenfranchised, anywhere in the world might well reject any offer of assistance that COSAS might have to offer – considering its track record and, well, uselessness.

The South African educational system is in crises. It is common cause. We have so many children studying in the most terrible conditions. We don’t have enough schools or teachers or books. So many of our countries youth go to school hungry. They live in conditions that make studying so very difficult and such a challenge depriving them of the opportunity to further their education.

But COSAS puts a pig in the Halaal section of Woolworths. How sad. How stupid. And how ignorant. How vile. How horribly embarrassing. And how racist.

Let’s understand this. They didn’t protest Israel’s actions. They didn’t protest the country. They insulted Jews. They attacked the religion. They tried to think of something that would most offend. It didn’t challenge the state but the people of the religion. And not even those living in Israel but those living in South Africa. Its like ripping out the pages of a New Testament in a book shop in Rosebank Johannesburg in order to protest America’s actions somewhere or other. It is really that illogical. And it is that discriminatory.

And it is so ironic. Because this very act of placing a pig’s head in the Halaal section of Woolworths, thinking that it was the kosher section proves what a failure they are. They are uneducated, they are racist and they are an embarrassment. I don’t know where their funding comes from. But it seems to me that they are a horrible investment.

The answer is simple. COSAS needs to go back to school. Understand why they were formed. Deal with the very issues they are meant to deal with and apologize to Jews and to Muslims and mostly to the school children that they have let down.

About the Author
Howard Feldman is a lawyer, a physical commodity trader by industry and a writer by obsession. He is very active in the Jewish community and passionate about our world.
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