Defend Truth


Letter to Oscar

Oscar, you bought the gun. You chose the bullet that would cause maximum damage.

Dear Oscar,

Many years ago an Afrikaans man fell in love with me. It was a complicated situation. I was a journalist and he was a story.

Things became as messy as a cat’s sandbox. When he drove into the gates of the monument at Paardekraal he was taken to court. I was called as a witness. The man whom I thought was a leader and an inspiration to his people took to calling me obsessively and crying noisily on my answerphone.

Once he drove to my apartment in Sandown in the middle of the night. When I refused to let him in he fell into a drunken stupor outside the door. Another time, he and his wife turned up to beg me to testify favourably and to ‘stop the press’ from writing about us. His young daughter was with them. I implored his wife to make him realize that it was his court case and that he should desist from hounding me. At this, he theatrically fell on his knees and started bawling.

When his Darth Vader mask was removed I saw an unformed man, someone who had no innate integrity, no spirituality and one who certainly had not developed as an individual. What I saw was pitiful and strange and incongruent with whom he purported to be.

His name was Eugene Terre’blanche.

Of course the circumstances were dramatically different from yours, Oscar … He was only to murder a man long after I left the country. But since the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, I am sure he shed crocodile tears during his court case.

Terre’blanche was cut from the same cloth as you, Oscar. He was given to boasting, vain in all things, narcissistic in the extreme and flying into terrible rages when things didn’t go his way. I suspect this description fits you.

When I first became aware of your fierce competitiveness in the sporting arena, I was admiring of your steely determination. Then there were the eruptions of temper and your fury when you thought you weren’t fairly treated. I realized long ago that you might have been a fast runner, but you never have been sportsmanlike in your behavior. Not on the track or off it.

It is unnecessary to repeat all the stories about guns, cocaine, fast cars and pretty girls. When there is achievement of any kind, people cluster around such a man. But your success was purely physical. You came along, the one in your generation that inspired the imagination for the journey each of us takes.

People want so badly to be reminded of idealism, of triumph against all odds. They love a romance based on selflessness, not selfishness. They want the hero to have heart and humanity. They want him to possess psychological and physiological excellence. But the life you led was without spirit. It was a wasteland filled with expensive toys and recidivist acts. The sound of your delighted cackles as you shot at a watermelon – a zombie-stopper, I believe you called it – was so disparate from your whiny-girly mimsy court voice that it’s difficult not to burst out laughing while listening to you.

Oscar, you bought the gun. You chose the bullet that would cause maximum damage.

I have it from a reliable source that you are taking acting lessons for your days in court. Your coach has an impossible task.

Oscar, I look at you mewling and puking in the witness stand. You truly represent everything that the West loathes about white South Africans who live extravagant lives in their expensive laagers. Your constant and preposterously ridiculous statement that you thought it wasn’t Reeva trapped in the bathroom, but an intruder, opens yet another can of haricots. The implication of this is that it would have been more acceptable to shoot an intruder the way you did. Execution from behind a closed door.

Oscar, like so many who preceded you, you have betrayed your people and disappointed your fans. You are the latest in a long line of faux heroes. DM



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