Sunday, February 19, 2006

Musings on Other Cultures VII: Necklacing

It has been twenty years since I renamed one of my cats from “Chibbles” to “Winnie Mandela”. Ms. Mandela’s cause was the abolishment of apartheid in South Africa, and my best way of paying tribute was to rename Chibbles.

Before Winnie (the liberator, not the cat) was unfairly convicted on 43 counts of fraud and 25 of theft, she declared that necklacing was an appropriate way of ending apartheid.

"Necklacing" is the liberating practice of tossing a tire over an oppressor, dousing it with gasoline, igniting it, and watching the enemy burn to death. Although rather mild when compared with American atrocities such as detaining prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, permitting nonunion labor at Wal-Mart, and having a cold-blooded murderer for a Vice-President, some people might object that necklacings contributed to global warming.

Realistically, there is truth to this. We must do whatever we can to prevent the horrors of warmer weather, and necklacings clearly violated that principle. But then, who are we, as depraved Westerners, to say that strangulation or drownings would have been a more eco-friendly way of ending apartheid? The fact is that there is really no such thing as “truth” anyway – especially when it comes to morality.

But let’s make an exception here. To condemn necklacing is to disrespect the “Mandella” name.

And besides, although necklacing is not as popular as it once was, it still serves a useful function now and then:

At Least 15 Die in Nigeria Cartoon Protest

Associated Press Writer

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) -- Nigerian Muslims protesting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad attacked Christians and burned churches on Saturday, killing at least 15 people in the deadliest confrontation yet in the whirlwind of Muslim anger over the drawings.

It was the first major protest to erupt over the issue in Africa's most populous nation. An Associated Press reporter saw mobs of Muslim protesters swarm through the city center with machetes, sticks and iron rods. One group threw a tire around a man, poured gas on him and set him ablaze.

No comments:

Palestine Blogs - The Gazette Subscribe in Bloglines