Post-truths at what price?

CityPress - - Voices & Careers - Mondli Makhanya voices@city­press.co.za

Afive-year-old boy who had ter­ror­ist po­ten­tial was briefly stopped from en­ter­ing the US last week­end. Were it not for highly alert bor­der of­fi­cials, this po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous child could have put the lives of many Amer­i­cans in jeop­ardy. This is be­cause he was trav­el­ling from a Mus­lim coun­try, and ev­ery­one knows that this is a tell­tale sign of some­one with ter­ror­ist in­tent, not so?

That same week­end, a 77-year old grand­mother was also de­tained upon en­try to the US in an­other ma­jor coup in the war against ter­ror. She had the same tell­tale sign of a heart­less ter­ror­ist.

But there was lit­tle grat­i­tude for these swift ac­tions by the forces of good.

In­stead, there was wide­spread anger, aimed at the bor­der po­lice and at the man who or­dered the op­er­a­tion: Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, the Com­man­der-in-Briefs of the US Armed Horses.

It was left to the White House’s spin-doctoring team to ed­u­cate Amer­i­cans and the world that these ac­tions were in their in­ter­est. White House spokesper­son Sean Spicer poured scorn on those who crit­i­cised the ex­e­cu­tion of the Trump edict.

“To as­sume that just be­cause of some­one’s age or gen­der or what­ever they don’t pose a threat would be mis­guided and wrong,” said Spicer, to much de­ri­sion and dis­may from the pinko-lib­eral softie peanut gallery.

Why any­body would ques­tion Spicer’s logic bog­gles this lowly news­pa­per­man. Any­one who has been around a hu­man be­ing aged five or younger knows the havoc they can wreak.

The fact that Spicer was just pre­sent­ing “al­ter­na­tive facts” should not dis­credit him. These are his facts, and those who don’t like them can just go jump off Ni­a­gara Falls.

The same ap­plies to those who do not like the al­ter­na­tive re­al­ity be­ing pre­sented by the de­fend­ers of Gupta state cap­ture.

It has been a re­lief (al­beit a de­press­ing re­lief ) for South Africans to be able to take their eyes off the dra­mas at home and marvel at the crazy evo­lu­tion of the Trump regime.

But with the US show set to play on for the next four years, we should not al­low it to be too much of a dis­trac­tion.

While the Trump noise was play­ing out, the de­fend­ers of state cap­ture were con­tin­u­ing to paint their own re­al­ity. The Gup­tas went to court, de­pict­ing them­selves as vic­tims of a hor­ri­ble plot, hatched by an evil man, Pravin Gord­han, who, they said, had con­nived with cap­tains of cor­po­rate South Africa to de­stroy these black busi­ness pi­o­neers.

This nar­ra­tive is con­sis­tent with the story the Gup­tas have spun in re­cent years, claim­ing they are the cus­to­di­ans of job-cre­at­ing en­ti­ties who con­duct busi­ness in an above-board man­ner.

In sketch­ing them­selves as a saintly band of broth­ers, the Gup­tas have sought to por­tray those who op­pose them as en­e­mies of transformation and black ad­vance­ment. The op­po­site is true.

The Gupta en­ti­ties are par­a­sites that have added lit­tle value to our econ­omy, but in­stead have fed off the fiscus. Those who op­pose them have been try­ing to stop this feed­ing frenzy.

There is an­other al­ter­na­tive re­al­ity that has been ped­dled by op­po­nents of the Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Cen­tre Amend­ment (Fica) Bill.

They have por­trayed this bill, whose in­ten­tion is to pro­tect South Africa from crim­i­nal syn­di­cates and cor­rupt el­e­ments, as un­con­sti­tu­tional and un­law­ful. They know the op­po­site is true, but have re­peated this “post-truth” so many times that they be­lieve it to be true.

There is also the al­ter­na­tive world in­hab­ited by Ed­ward Zuma, son of our dearly beloved leader. It is a bizarre world in which he is an in­flu­en­tial opin­ion maker and must be heard by the world. From time to time, Ed takes to his key­board and bangs out a dec­la­ra­tion on the state of Planet Earth, and its flora and fauna.

This week, he lashed out at “greedy lead­ers” and “thieves” who are “suck­ing the wealth of this coun­try”.

“These lead­ers are in govern­ment‚ the pri­vate sec­tor‚ re­li­gious lead­ers‚ civil so­ci­eties and many other struc­tures of the coun­try. These greedy peo­ple don’t give a damn about the liveli­hoods of the peo­ple of this coun­try what­so­ever,” said the son of South Africa’s most up­stand­ing cit­i­zen.

Gord­han and his deputy, Mce­bisi Jonas, came in for some harsh words from Ed. Gord­han, for hav­ing “shares ev­ery­where” and for ap­par­ently try­ing to sell SAA to a rel­a­tive; and Jonas, for us­ing the Pub­lic In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (PIC) to favour Jews and other “white in­ter­ests”.

“This in­sti­tu­tion [the PIC] is their base and play­ground for to­tal con­trol and cap­ture of the coun­try‚” wrote Ed the Or­a­cle.

While it would be prefer­able to ig­nore this as the rant of some­one who may have im­bibed Mamelodi’s most fa­mous ex­port, we can­not do so. He is the 43rd child of the head of state. His ut­ter­ances should be based on some kind of re­al­ity, not fan­ci­ful pro­pos­als.

But maybe I am be­ing too gen­er­ous. His par­ent’s re­la­tion­ship with re­al­ity is also ten­u­ous. We will see just how ten­u­ous on Thurs­day night, when he de­liv­ers the state of the na­tion ad­dress, a speech which will leave us won­der­ing which na­tion he is talking about.

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