I wrote previously about this story and my views on it but since returning to China this tragedy has disturbed and irritated me beyond expectation.
From stepping back into China the first question people ask me about my trip home is, firstly, if I survived and secondly ‘what is the story with this pitos, pistorus, pistris (and any other mispronunciation)’. I read various takes on the story and on my country in every major news publication from Time to fortune to the economist and had to endure the abuse from various angles such as crime against woman, crimes against people and the legacy of both apartheid and Nelson Mandela. Everyone is putting their two cents in and i cannot say unfairly so!!
Its been more like the death of Achilles when, after his death, every soldier of the Greek army stabbed his corpse repeatedly with spears. This is what it feels like the media is doing to South Africas dying reputation.
Oscar Pistorius’s catastrophic action of shooting his girlfriend through a door and claiming it was due to his paranoia about South African daily life has finally convinced even the most ardent of defenders that SA is a war zone. This incident has made every news channel possible around the world highlighting the fictitious way South Africans live every day – in gated communities with gun collections under their beds and opening fire on anything moving in the darkness of night.
The truth is quite the opposite in fact, not that there is no crime but rather that he is a pathetic example of the real crime struggle most SAns, in disadvantaged situations, face every night of their lives. Most SAns cannot afford the luxury of guarded gated communities and fancy alarms with high walls like our dear Oscar. Please don’t kid yourselves most South Africans live a frightened life of potential rape, murder, crime and theft but most don’t have the status to make even a page in the newspaper or the lawyers to protect them when they blatantly murder someone out of personal pathetic reasons.
I dare not comment on Oscars mental state nor the formation of his character through a life time of adversity, i cannot begin to understand what he has over come but what is certain is he had the world at his feet (blades at least). He had reached a level of inspiration for all SAns that transcended the issues people face every day, the racial legacy from our history and the frightening corrupt and inadequate state of our government and our country.
He gave hope to people, all people. This is something reserved for those SAns who achieve superstardom and perhaps there are only a handful who give the real SAns fighting their own personal wars every day, in one way or another, hope of a better existance.
His actions have not only shattered this dream for so many around the country but around the world while simultaneously completely destroying South Africas image, well what was left of it at least. Seldom before since the end of apartheid has someone managed to destroy so much goodwill so quickly.
The story of Oscar Pistorius is sad for every South African at home and abroad, every South African who tries desperately to hang on to hope of a better future, a brighter crime and corruption free future for our beleaguered nation. Oscar has, in the eyes of the world, set us back a decade in perception and will continue to do so, no doubt, through a trial that will blame South Africa and its condition for the end crime of Reeva’s tragic death.
The more I think about his reckless actions the angrier I get and the more I think they should hang the guy to send a message that our response to crime is as brutal as the crime itself. Then I think of the police officers who handcuffed a man to the back of a police car and drove him around until at some point he died or Oscars brother who has also been charged for killing someone while driving drunk or the head investigator who also drunk and opened fire on a mini bus full of people.
I start to wonder if Oscar is maybe just a product of the sick society we seem to be becoming. Either way what has happened and the events that have been told and those still to be spun are a tragedy for every South African and they will no doubt affect our view of ourselves as well as the perception of those around the world.