I thought it was a joke when the City of Johannesburg debated changing the name of one of its main streets, Sandton Drive, to Leila Khaled something or other.
Leila Khaled is a well-known Palestinian plane hijacker who actively supports the murder of Jews. A proposal to name a city road after her is a very clear choice to take sides in a conflict and to send a message to South Africans where it stands in the conflict.
Aside from the absurdity of naming a non-descript, unoffensive street name after a divisive and dangerous figure, one would think that if there is time for this discussion, that the city must have little else to worry about. Everything in Johannesburg must be perfect.
Only it is not. It is far from it.
Johannesburg, sadly, does not get to tell anyone anywhere what is right, is what is wrong. It doesn’t get to express moral indignation. Not when more than 30% of its residents are unemployed and desperately seek dignity and a way to look after their families. It doesn’t get to judge another when its public healthcare system has collapsed and has deprived the poor of the most basic access to medical care. Not when it shamefully abandoned the mentally compromised to hopeless institutions that saw them starve to death. South African politicians don’t get to talk about another country’s domestic policies when so many have stolen from their own people and when they have fed like gluttons at the trough of corruption. Fed until there was nothing left for the citizens of the country.
Fed until they could eat no more.
South African politicians don’t get to even discuss Israel while our South African children are still using pit toilets at schools and while our girls are not safe in their homes. They need to solve that before they bestow their hollow wisdom on another nation.
They don’t even get to talk about a conflict in another region when each minute spent debating changing a street name is a minute that should be spent on helping the people who pay them to serve.
The ANC has become the laughing stock of the world. It has voted alongside the dictators at the United Nations, befriended tyrants and bullies and lacks the moral courage that it once had. The movement is no longer even a shadow or reflection of the party that penned the Freedom Charter. It has allowed itself to be led by those who hate. And it has done so in the name of “justice”. It needs, for once, to look at its own people. They deserve better.
Let me tell you this ANC; The Palestinian and Israel issue needs to be taken off the table. You don’t understand it. You are uninformed. And you are making fools of yourselves. If you had an inkling as to what you are talking about, you would demand that Hamas hold an election. You would hold them to account. You would call on Hamas to guarantee freedom of expression and freedom for women and freedom toward sexual orientation. You would insist that they stop firing rockets at Israeli civilians and that they use the hundreds of millions of USD towards upliftment and not towards an enemy that has no interest in war.
If you understood anything about the region, you would never have embarrassingly demanded that Israel withdraw from Gaza when it did so years and years before. And you would understand that Hamas is like Isis and Hezbolla and Boko Haram.
My message to the ANC is that if you want to divert attention away from the horror of your own backyard, then at least let the African continent benefit from that approach. Focus on the tragedy to the North of us. Stop the enslavement of Africans, stop female genital mutilation and stop Islamists from trying to take over the continent.
You are fooling no one. But you make fools of us all.
It is unlikely that the name change will succeed. But don’t assume that damage isn’t done just by talking about it.