For years now we’ve heard rumours from across the Atlantic of black men being profiled and targeted by the police with the latest footage of George Floyd almost unbearable to watch. For just as long we’ve seen activists mobilizing and trying their best to put the issue of police brutality against the black minority on the national agenda. This has been met with almost stereotypical predictability. Celebrities will tweet their solidarity with a trendy Martin Luther King Jr quote. The far left will join the protest and add a few rainbow flags to the crowd as a reminder that there are other systemic issues as well.
Meanwhile the right wing is of course asking questions about the legitimacy of this new BLM movement. Surely, they’ll argue, it is not just black lives that matter, but all lives? Hell, what about the police killings – surely blue lives matter as well?
The left now sigh deeply and with a roll of the eyes responds by saying that just because BLM wants to shine a light on a particular issue does not mean they are against other lives. The argument goes something like this – ‘just because we are advocating for breast cancer awareness does not mean that we are against awareness of other cancers or diseases.’
That sounds like a fair point so the right wing needs to change its line of attack. So they respond by saying that many of the black lives that are lost are not as innocent as is claimed. They will quickly point to a bad culture pervasive in many African American communities glorifying criminality, thereby suggesting that police profiling is not completely unfair.
All of this sounds awfully familiar.
In South Africa there is a movement driven by many Afrikaners that we may call, ‘Farmer Lives Matter’.
There are all kinds of stats circulated by these Farmer Lives Matter campaigns suggesting that you are 4 times more likely to die as a farmer than as a police officer in this country. They also point to the brutality of the murders and demand that something be done about the situation. Farmer Lives Matter activists are also accusing the country of a prejudice against the white minority in general and farmers in particular, making the farmers more vulnerable to such brutal killings. Their calls for justice, quite predictably, found sympathetic ears on Fox news in the US and even a few Australian politicians extended an invitation to persecuted white famers to come and farm Down Under.
Meanwhile the legitimacy of this #FLM campaign is being called into question. Surely, the left argues, it is not just farmer lives that matter, but all lives? What about all the senseless murders in our townships? Why are you not equally concerned about those lives?
A little annoyed by their lived experience being invalidated the FLM activists point out that just because they are for something doesn’t mean that they are against something else. Just because they want farm murders to be put on the agenda does not mean that they are against township violence being highlighted. To use an analogy that has never been used before –‘just because I am creating breast cancer awareness does not mean I am against awareness of other forms of cancer.’
The line of attack then shifts, by those who find farm murder activism offensive. They will now point out that these farmers are perhaps not so innocent. There is, after all, a history of racism in this country and we know that many of these farm murders are revenge killings. Perhaps the reason why these farm murders are happening, the argument goes, is because Afrikaner farmers have a bad culture of deeply entrenched racism and violence.
All of this sounds awfully familiar.
Which begs the question, why isn’t AfriForum on the streets (2 meters apart of course) in Solidarity with another minority group fighting an aggressive state that refuses to acknowledge that their cause is just?