Pop quiz: what’s the quickest way to fill your monitor with pictures of raped, mutilated and murdered women and children?
Easy. Just type “farm murders” into Google image search. Not that I’m suggesting you do that – unless you’re desperately short of things to talk about with your psychotherapist.
This almost pornographic obsession with grotesquery is a shared characteristic of the disproportionally huge number of websites specialising in telling us everything we wanted to know about farm murders in South Africa, but were afraid to ask. No, wait.
They’re telling us about some of the farm murders. Please excuse me as I throw all caution to the wind and recklessly assume (without an iota of fact-checking) that not every single farm murder victim since the fall of Apartheid was a white person.
Nope. Almost none of the murder websites I stumbled across even mentions black victims.
There’s an understandable reason for this omission: nothing ruins a good right wing conspiracy theory about the white genocide like a whole bunch of murdered blacks. Yikes. Did I just go there? Yes I did.
But now that I’ve totally pulled the race card, maybe I should clarify a few points. Firstly, murder is a Bad Thing, and we have way too much of it here in South Africa. We may not be the murder capital of the world (that title goes to Honduras), but like the Proteas, we always make it to the quarter finals. Secondly, you’re more likely to get murdered in a rural area than in the city, according to this news report which seems determined to put a dampener on my next weekend away; and thirdly, way too much violent crime in this country is particularly brutal. We need solutions.
Unfortunately, the answer according to the farm murder websites seems to be “more racism”.
Let’s do a few examples. The front page of Save Your Heritage calls one expert a “Jewish bastard” for arguing that it’s not a genocide. The front page of The Truth About South Africa opines: “according to them, we stole their land, which is complete rubbish, but who's going to argue with a machete wielding savage?” Stop Boer Genocide is full of gems, but the one quote I found particularly hilarious was “whites must not subordinate themselves to blacks any more”.
And there’s plenty more. Many sites are distinctly white supremacist in tone, proudly display the old South African flag, and of course, almost all of them use gruesome pictures of victims (children and raped women is a speciality) as a propaganda tool to hammer home their message.
And the collective message is summed up succinctly by the Farm Murders site: “This blog attempts to chronicle the extreme violence and secret genocide being committed against the European minority of South Africa.”
And yes, that’s pretty much all they’re doing. Venting anger, spewing conspiracy theories and basically alienating everyone, except maybe a few stupid white racists who probably couldn’t afford to shop at Woolworths anyway, before they started their ridiculous boycott.
The sad fact is that these online farm murder activists have shot themselves in the foot. They have a very real and valid concern to share, but then they spoil it all by pretending a human issue is all about race and their victimhood.
It's no surprise that their message is supported mostly by lunatic white supremacists (like Storm Front and Majority Rights), and largely ignored by the people who could do something about if they weren't so repelled by the inherent white propaganda of these sites?
Because, and thank fuck, few people like to align themselves with tinfoil-hatted, hate-vomiting racists.
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