the demands of silence



Apophatic Theodicy


“Ten years ago a tsunami ripped through the Indian Ocean claiming more than a quarter of a million lives and displacing nearly two million more. In the face of such devastation, horrified silence is the only proper response I can think of; but many voices arose, claiming that God is clearly dead or that God was again cleansing the earth…

“What is a Christian to do in the face of overwhelming tragedy? In the Gospel of John, Jesus addresses human suffering and Christian hope:

Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. (Jn 16: 20-21)

We Christians can say nothing more than that we hope for some sort of transformative apocalypse, a revelation that will wipe away all tears, give meaning and value to the suffering endured during this life, and reconcile us all to one another and to nature. In other words, the Christian does not have anything to add. Silence and enduring with our brothers and sisters is the only gift we have to give.”

~ from GOD IS WITH US by Ladislaus Boro

many faces

“The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies… the LORD will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.”

“A bruised reed He will not break
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.”

Unsettling contradictions.

The God of Nahum:”jealous… avenging… wrathful … indignant… angry…“. How free could submission to such a deity ever really be? It would be neither a free act of conscience, nor a courageous act, but a submission born of fear.

in contrast to the words of Nahum, the prophet Isaiah reveals a divine mercy we usually equate with the Jesus of the Gospels, who commands his disciples to forgive “seventy times seven”,  to seek not revenge but to turn the other cheek. The Jesus who came not to condemn the world, but to save it. The friend of sinners, freely breaking with the religious taboos of his day and associating with tax-gatherers, prostitutes, adulterers, the unclean, demoniacs, heretics, the diseased. And yet Jesus also said,

 “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Christians explain these apparent contradictions in terms of the old and new covenants – but the paradox is in both Covenants and is not resolved by setting the old against the new. Scholars who know the bible to be an amalgam of redacted texts from diverse authors, ancient languages, from different times and social contexts explain the contradictions by this very disparity of authorship.

In “Christ, a crisis in the life of God” by the former Jesuit Jack Miles, the author proposes the Incarnation is the act of a God struggling with His own conflicted dealings with man. He becomes a man, not as a warrior king – but as a physician come to heal a broken world.

Of course Miles is not ‘doing theology’ here, but looking at the Bible as a work of literature with God as the protagonist.

But even as the dispensation of the Incarnation and the Paraclete have come, the apocalyptic visions of Saint John of Patmos seem once more a return of the wrathful God of the Old Testament. The Gospel carries with it this shadow that will not be erased. When Christians share God’s love, His Wrath is the counterpoint.

Adrenalin junkies


“Americans: the shallow, cultic, adrenalin junkies who have redefined evangelical Christianity as the suburban, chic, excessive, Type A religion of success and busy-ness…if it’s not ‘mega’ it’s not theirs.

Life has never been better for me. I’m more at peace with myself and the world around me than I’ve ever been. I’m more at ease with my calling and role in life than I would ever have thought possible. I’ve also never been more concerned with the state of evangelical Christianity in America!

What I have seen happening with the hybridization of fundamentalism with an air-head version of evangelicalism make me ill.

A danger of evangelicalism that I have decried for years is the almost universal lack of a written/stated theology. When you add to that the substitution of dogmas and doctrines for a historical theological perspective, you have a dangerous sect susceptible to cultic hero/celebrity status religious leaders and a Biblically indefensible philosophy of excess that isn’t globally applicable.

‘Mega’ has become the mode of the 21st century cloistered society. If it’s big, it has to be right. There’s an ego stroke and an identity ‘branding’ that occurs, pulling people who are in need of social and personal affirmation into an emotionally self-affirming cloistered society.

This new breed of evangelical Christian is opting out of community service and social activism with substituted feel-good fellowship groups and ‘neighborhood’ Bible studies. These evangelical Christian ‘communities’ are predominantly nationalistic in fervor and Zionist in eschatology. Their approach to “Thy Kingdom come…” is by taking power politically and controlling human behavior through legislation.

Modern evangelicalism tends to expend far more political capital condemning the sinner rather than in offering grace to the fallen. That tends to alienate, and unnecessarily creates adversaries.

They are typically far more oriented toward gaining adherents than they are to meeting the physical and emotional needs of the ‘unwashed’ masses.

While I admire the determination for a sense of community and the need for friendship, I’m saddened by the general lack of actual involvement in the needy world around them.

That involvement takes more than ‘walking’ for a nationwide charity, or attending a gala with a ‘silent auction.’

The fact is this: rarely is the ‘pastor’ of one of these aggressive evangelical churches involved in anything in the community-at-large unless he is invited to be the keynote speaker or the ‘invocator’ of an event where there will be celebrities and/or the news media.

The isolation of church congregations within their own walls is reinforced with nearly 24/7 programming, expanding facilities, and entertainment venues. In many communities these churches have nicer recreational and entertainment facilities than do their local public schools.

God has put us in the world to make the world a better place. Christianity isn’t to be a fortress in which we hide from the dirt and grime of the world. We are to take our Grace into the grime of the world around us to brighten, enlighten and heal the hurts of our society-at-large.

You will remember how Jesus spoke of this in Matthew chapter 5…salt and light. His prayer in John 17 was not for God to take His disciples out of the world, but to leave them in the world…and keep them safe.

Paul wrote to Philemon concerning the runaway slave, Onesimus, and said, “He once was worthless but is now profitable to you and to me.” G. Campbell Morgan spoke of the value of a man to God being determined by that man’s value to his fellow man; and that man’s value to his fellow man is determined by his relationship to God.

God hasn’t called us into a ‘feel-good’ role as His children; but rather a ‘do-good’ role as followers of Jesus, the Christ. If you want more specifics on that, read Paul’s letter to Titus.”


~ from GOD IS WITH US by Ladislaus Boros

The arithmetic of the damned

Evangelicalism i

“Born Again”. “Saved”. What do they mean? Do they have meaning? What do they connote for us today? What did Jesus mean by “gennao anothen“? Were these mysterious words spoken privately in Greek (or Aramaic) to Nicodemus meant for Nicodemus in particular or were they meant to be a formula for salvation for all of us? If the latter then why did Jesus – and the apostles- not use this formula on every occasion? Am I born again? Am I saved? How can I know? And what is expected of me if I am? What have I to fear if I am not? If a “terrifying judgement”, and condemnation and damnation are the wages of uncertainty, disbelief or doubt, then how is this “good news” good news? What did Jesus mean by being born of water and the Spirit? What does it mean to see the kingdom of God? Why the allusion to the wind?

The term born again is derived from a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, found in the third chapter of The Gospel of St. John:

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”…

These are strange words indeed and I should like, in time, to explore them further (The term “born again” in the Greek is “gennao anothen” which in English means “born from above.” It does not actually translate as “born again” but implies born of God.). The subject of Hell is also deserving of our serious attention (interestingly “Hell” is neither a Hebrew nor a Greek word, nor did it primarily indicate “a place of torment.” Biblical translators actually derived it from a secular German word – spelled hel – meaning nothing more than concealed or covered. The concept of a demon regulated horror-house was indeed derived from that word, but it originally evolved from Teutonic mythology). Thus a careful hermeneutics and exegesis is vital to an understanding of the Christian position. Suffice for now to say that I am not contesting the biblical passage at hand, but rather thinking through the implications of the assertions made by christians who see in the words of Jesus not only a narrow gate to ‘slip through’, but a broad gate to perdition for the majority of humanity.

I find it morally reprehensible and repugnant to write off humanity “without Christ” like so many animals in a slaughter house.

One born again Christian wrote the following callous words on his blog:

“I have no doubt whatsoever that 90% of the people in this world are going to Hell.”

He went on to justify this:

“Why? For one simple reason friend, they do not have the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. They have never believed the Gospel message. They have been deceived by Satan.”

You may accuse me of quoting this to make a straw man argument, but his statement is in fact common belief amongst evangelical Christians even if it is not expressed openly and with such crass smugness. In fact quite recently a fundamentalist Calvinist who – due to my having challenged his position on biblical inerrancy – simply assumed I was not a Christian – and assured me that I was going to Hell to be tormented forever by Satan and his demons – whether because of willful disobedience to God or a regrettable blindness. The belligerent Calvinist who insisted he had my best interests at heart had never even bothered to find out what I believed before he dumped his vicious little bit of doctrine on me.

If this claim – that one must be born again – as understood by born again christians in its most basic form as an essential formula of salvation – is true, then there is serious arithmetic to be done. The implications are devastating: of the world’s current population, 1.3 billion Muslims are going to hell. 900 million Hindus are going to hell. Somewhere in the region of 850 million Secular/Non-religious/Agnostic/Atheists will go to hell. 360 million Buddhists will spend eternity in hell. 225 million followers of Chinese traditional religion will go to hell. 150 million followers of indigenous religions will suffer eternal torment together with 95 million followers of African traditional religions. 23 million Sikhs will spend eternity in hell. 14 million Jews And 6 million Baha’i are eternally damned. 4 million Jains will suffer eternal torment, 4 million Shinto, 1 million Neo-Pagans And 700 thousand Rastafarians will be tormented forever, together with 150 thousand Zoroastrians. And these figures only address this generation of the damned: there have been 66 generations since the generation of Jesus Christ, Saviour. The arithmetic of the lost is impossible to comprehend in pure numbers, let alone in its deeper existential significance – in the incalculable depth of the tragedy.

Born again Christians will quickly remind you that “The way is narrow, and few are they who enter thereby”, as if this somehow justifies or mitigate the central horrific idea which has been posited not merely in the sort of horrid blog quoted above – but by the most famous and sincere evangelists. Let us not even contemplate the good men, women and children who will be cast into the place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth“.

But things get worse: many born again evangelicals cast half of christendom into hell too: Catholicism is seen as the whore of Babylon by many conservative evangelicals. So let’s commit 1.2 billion Roman Catholics to the satanic fires. And within the Protestant tradition there are somewhere between 20 000 and 30 000 denominations claiming the fulness of truth and casting doubt on the salvific efficacy of each others doctrines. I have attended fellowships where even in the same pew suspicion has been cast on fellow congregants’ legitimacy.

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out…

The cults and sects represent another source of the damned (although each one claims it has The Truth and it’s members are bound for paradise while the rest of us – including born again Christians incidentally – are going to hell. There are some 14.8 million Mormons worldwide who are going to hell. There are more than 8 million Jehovah’s witnesses, close on a million Moonies.

By even the most conservative estimate, in every generation there are simply billions of souls who – after a brief appearance on this world – an appearance which inevitably would be characterised by suffering of one kind or another – are then cast into hell, the place of eternal suffering. (If this is the case it remains a mystery to me why every Christian isn’t employed tirelessly in rescuing non-believers from this terrifying fate and one must respect the enthusiasm of those who are).

Perhaps the most balanced disavowal of Christianity is to be found in Bertrand Russell’s “Why I am not a Christian” and, although he is widely vilified in Christian academia, the writings of the once-christian, now-agnostic theologian, Bart Ehrman.

“Professing to be wise,  they have become fools…” is a too-easy dismissal by too-comfortable Christians of people of great value and integrity wrestling with very real issues of faith. I have little respect for passengers on a sinking ship who rush to the lifeboat and smugly occupy a seat rather than spending the last frantic hour on board helping to warn and free those trapped below.

Perhaps we think to little about Hell, discuss it too infrequently. We need to know what is implied by the Gospel and what Hell implies about the Gospel and those who preach a narrow version of it.  We need to contemplate what eternal suffering means – in the way that Heironymous Bosch in his nightmarish paintings or Dante in his Inferno did: the sadistic excesses of the torturer continuing unabated forever, with no hope of an angel’s intervention, no good samaritan to wipe our brow with cool water, no hope, no exit, no mercy.

There are alternative understandings of these ancient texts; the most profound, in my view, are to be found in the writings of the Russian Orthodox, existentialist religious philosopher, Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev.

But this is an area of fierce debate, even amongst believers.

A Catholic Perspective:

On the original Greek:

86. “Born Again” or “Born from Above”? John 3:3

Sound interpretation of the passage requires understanding that “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven” are not generic terms referring to “heaven, the destination of the saved,” but to the reign of God in the Messiah that arrives in Jesus’ ministry. (This is why Jesus speaks in Mt 11:11 of “the least in the kingdom” being greater than John the Baptizer, which would be nonsensical if “the kingdom” were supratemporal or ahistorical.)

This kingdom is something that can only be “seen” if (Jesus tells the teacher of Israel) one is “born again” or “born from above” (the Grk term means either or both, and John loves that sort of ambiguity).

Jesus says that this “rebirth” can only take place by “water and the Spirit.” Every Jew would have recognized the role of water, as it was used in all sorts of levitical baptisms; and while the Hebrew Scriptures repeatedly speak of various actions of the Spirit, preeminently, the Spirit is viewed with eschatological anticipation, reflected especially in such passages as Ezek 36–37 and Joel 2.

The former passage is particularly intriguing, as it depicts Israel as a valley of dry bones, who are brought to eschatological life when the “son of man” prophesies the “breath” (same word as Spirit) over them and they receive revivification. By taking the title of “Son of Man” to Himself (which Jesus frequently does in John including in 3:13, 14), one thing Jesus is doing is assigning to Himself the fulfillment of the role played by Ezekiel in his eschatological vision. Through His action, the eschatological Spirit will bring life to the dead people of God.

Along a similar vein to Ezek, Isa 32:15 foretells that in the time of the “king who will reign in righteousness” (32:1), the Spirit will be “poured upon us from on high,” bringing fruitfulness, righteousness, justice and peace.

The upshot of all of this is that Jesus appears to be using a birth metaphor in place of the resurrection metaphor of Ezek 37, but with a similar idea. He is claiming that the eschatological event long sought, the kingdom/reign of God in His Messiah, has now arrived—but that enjoyment of this kingdom is not something automatic; it requires (as foretold) the entrance into the kingdom by baptism, and correspondingly the life-giving gift of the eschatological Spirit. (The role of baptism in this text is further confirmed by the baptismal controversies in the passage immediately following, Jn 3:22ff; the baptismal theme continues through 4:2.)

Foolish things

“… God chose the foolish things – the lowly and despised things – of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”

Today a Christian friend of mine (“M”) shared this passage from Saint Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.

It is at very least a provocative statement – and I immediately burrowed into Bible commentaries and different translations to find out as much as I could. In the back of my mind I could hear the caustic Cioran and Nietzche attacking Saint Paul’s radical up-ending of conventional wisdom; but finally I decided just to set the words down, to let them speak for themselves. There is a passage in the Gospel of Saint Luke in which Jesus says, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” Again there is this paradox of the folly of wisdom. 

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary:

“God did not choose philosophers, nor orators, nor statesmen, nor men of wealth, and power, and interest in the world, to publish the gospel of grace and peace.”

Boetman is die bliksem in


What remains for me? I am too old to be totally innocent, I am too young to be completely involved, I am too innocent to make apologies, I am too guilty to wash my hands.
“… our children are being punished for the sins of their fathers and their fathers before them.”


Entire article from News24:

Translation of the letter from Chris Louw to Dr Willemstad De Klerk, elder brother of the former president.

*My emphasis in red

** Louw was known for his controversial open letter to the late Willem de Klerk entitled, “Boetman is die bliksem in [Boetman is angry]”.

This was followed by a book, Boetman en die swanesang van die verligtes [Boetman and the swansong of the liberals]”.

It became known as the “Boetman debate”.

The letter to De Klerk, a National Party opinion-maker and brother of former president FW de Klerk, accused the older generation of Afrikaner leaders of political cowardice and deceit by sending the younger generation to war to defend apartheid.

Louw was also part of a group of South Africans who held meetings with the then-banned African National Congress in Senegal in 1987. (Mail & Guardian)


“Back in 2009 when I blogged on Mweb, Chris Louw committed suicide and his letter Boetman is die bliksem in was read by many, I was reminded of this letter by Brollox and Bittergal, who I knew under a different alias back then, I am sure but not certain. Boerseun is that you?
I translated Chris Louw’s article back then because there were many that did not understand Afrikaans, I went looking for it on Saturday but my English translation is lost to mankind. I am posting a translation of Chris’s letter here. Chris said the words that many of us that survived grensdiens, the rooi gevaar and the swart gevaar wished we could. Sleep peacefully Boetman.
I have made a few notes and the words that I translated, as there is no real English translation that has the power of the Afrikaans word or phrase, in parenthesis.
Afrikaans is a beautifully expressive language and that is why the English in South Africa use words like lekker, gatvol and the curse words that have no equal. My translation loses some of it’s flavour because the vernacular is beautiful in it’s original language. I want to thank my beloved M for helping with the translation.
Dear Dr. De Klerk
At first I wondered why I read your book “Afrikaners: kroes kras and kordaat” with such resistance, not complete loathing, take note resistance.
My generation was brought up to keep our emotions in check, and not to give in to any longing, not love nor hate.
We were taught to be seen and not heard, to do as told without backchat, to show respect for our elders, To, at the drop of a hat, be prepared to sacrifice our lives for our country and the greater cause. I am talking about white Afrikaner men between 30 and 50, the guy’s who were branded by National Service.
(I am English and I was brought up with the same constraints, Chris thought he was talking for Afrikaner men, but he spoke for English men as well)
Let me phrase it diplomatically, your book smells of dishonesty, the dishonesty of excusing prior misdeeds.
Primarily your book was not written for children, those that must push out their new branches from their Afrikaner roots.
Your book was written for an aged man, somewhere in the seventies with wrinkles on the face and grey hair on the temples, a conservative pair of specs on the nose to create the impression of someone with status, someone with insight, whose judgement can be trusted, whose words carry weight.
I remember when you were the Editor of Die Transvaler. You most likely will not remember me, I was the lad that you greeted in the halls with “Dag Boetman”, Then I was Boetman, twenty years later I am a middle aged white Afrikaner man.
My generation was taught from the cradle to play with words, words that seldom had the meanings seen in the dictionary. Think about concepts like “democracy”, “nationalism”, “self government”, “independent states”, even the noun that my friends were sent to the border for, and some were never to return, “South Africa”.
The “South Africa” of your words, The “South Africa” that you promised loyalty to, was something totally different, something a lot whiter, than the South Africa that we together, black and white, praise in our painful new anthem.
We learned this from your generation, this ability with words, your generation thought up the concepts, my generation lived them. Because we were trained not to be openly rebellious, “yes dad, no dad, three bags full dad”
Your generation was the first and probably the last in Afrikaner history that never attended a war, too young for the second freedom war, too young for the first world war and too German Neutral for the second world war, too deep in thought and wonder about state orders and planning of other constellations and seeking justification for the border war.
(My dad was too young for the second world war but eagerly sent his sons off to war)
You were the first generation that conscripted your children and sent them to die for you.
Those that did not want to defend your crazy dreams with weapons that you issued were sent to jail or even worse declared insane. Those that even then called the system too crazy for words were declared schizophrenic and unfit for military duty.
And you? Where were you, You withdrew into your dusky office and minted resounding phrases and judgemental words like your famed new creations; enlightend (verligtes) and unenlightened. (verkramptes)
In reality there is another group of Afrikaners, The “addicted” (Die verknogtes), as in “addicted to power” or rather addicted to back stabbing (knoei). The dictionary definition of knoei is “untidy, unfinished work done, fraudulent and underhanded methods of doing things, using dishonest methods.

Enlightened, Unenlightened, Addicted (Verlig, verkramp, verknog.)
My Dad always said : Verwoerd, Confused, Arrogant (Verwoerd, verward, verwaand.)
Did you know when you “Dag Boetman”ed me in the Halls of Perskor, I was a married man, a father of two, just shy of thirty, with bond payments to make, Did you know that my peers, the shut-up-dad-has-spoken-generation were in Angola to shoot the k*k out of terrs? Do you know how the Terrs shot the k*k out of us?
But you were too busy thinking about new meanings for seperate development, too busy giving new meaning, moral and intellectual content to seperate development, You had to keep yourself busy with State Philosophical issues like the continual expansion of democracy that had to find favour in the stunning tricameral parliament.
Do you know that when I was the News editor of “Die Vaderland” I was called up for a military camp in Richards bay?

Do you know how this well known and important citizen served his country? I cleaned toilets (k*kpotte) in the army, That was my daily instruction.
I am not complaining, I am just one more generation of generations of Afrikaners that went to war for the survival of his people.
Cleaning Toilets in the camp at Richards Bay. When the captain heard he had a well known member of his community, he was ashamed and took pity on me.
So I was appointed to clean the office of his secretary, I was after all a senior journalist at a leading pro NP newspaper. I even decided what Afrikaners read, what was newsworthy and what was absolute k*k.
I was a trustworthy catalyst. I was after all a product of Christian National education, a succesful creation of groups like your “broederbond”
You, the product of a generation that let every war go by like the poisoned chalice (bitter beker). The generation that took the weight on their shoulders to mold their children by hand into tin soldiers that had to go to the border and fight, to kill and be killed for your ideals.
We got medals, yes Honoris Crux pinned on, post mortem in some cases with the strong and trusted hands of PW Botha.
We learned to live ironically, my generation, we couldn’t do otherwise, we had to, to survive.
Shut your trap, listen when you get spoken too, put your head in the effing scrum, It’s not an antheap, bend over, why is your hair so long, lets bow our heads and thank God for all our blessings, The K*ffirs are getting much too white, children must be seen and not heard, you are a effing sleg troep, do you understand? You will follow orders, we will solve the political problems ….
You never tasted that humiliation, not you or your generation, you merely created the stuation for it. You even phrase it better than I can – The herd instinct and tendency to bow down to authority make us followers of leaders in many areas.
How beautifully you play with the nouns “us: and “them” when you refer to the Afrikaner, everything to place distance between the subject and the verb, “I” nicely finds shelter behind the abstract “us” and “them” and “Afrikaners” as if the camoflaged “me” was never present, no need for self pity or to say I am bitterly (tot die dood toe) sorry.
Then your big opportunity arose, your hour of truth. To meet the ANC face to face on the battlefield of the conference table. For years the young ones held the enemy at bay, Now the childrens games were over, now you would take up arms, you were ready, Your words were honed by many years of practice.
All your biggest plans were unmasked in mere months at the multiparty negotiations in Kempton Park, Where were your seven point plans, your 5 point strategies, your guarantees for minorities, when you met representatives from the whole country? Where was your bravado, the threats, the rousing speeches, the promises? I was there, it was pathetic to see your arguments and your arrogance ripped from beneath you.
Now we sit with questions, Apartheid is dead, the time for grieving is over. There is reformation and transformation.
A new state is being ordered with snapping fingers. Come come “Boertjie” Move your arse, The servant has ordered his own state. Stand to attention, don’t talk back, your days are over. It’s your duty to help the new order to arise. You must hand over your skills to the new black elite, that’s how you justify your existence.
Who is the you that is being referred to? The addicted? No their nests are feathered, the addicted made a historic about-turn, without missing one goose step as Breyten Breytenbach put it.
The elite of the old order fell over their duck feet to make peace and alliances with the elite of the new order. They visit one another and discuss high, reconciliatory ideas like state affirmation strategies, a new patriotism, paying homage to the new order.
Phil Molefe, the SABC’s News boss, tells the human rights commission that transformation in the upper echelons of the management sector has successfully concluded, the problem lies in mid level management where white men are still kicking against transformation.
I am a white man. What is your definition of transformation Mr Molefe? Is it expected of me to transform out of my post? Must I willingly and courteously live out your African dream, because that is the way I was raised? What is it you expect of me? Oh, I may not have an opinion. Thank you Mr Molefe, that’s really easy Mr Molefe, because that is how I was raised Dr De Klerk.
Who is the “you” like in “Hey you effing soldiers, Move your arses, the “you” that must now bring the sacrifices to the new South Africa? Is it not those poor bastards that fought the Afrikaner elites doomed war on the border and in the townships that once again has to pay the piper?
A Psychiatrist wrote in a letter to Beeld that a large part of my generation suffers from spiritual weariness. In many cases it takes the symptoms of psychiatric maladies like depression, PTSD and other anxiety disorders. A general reaction of grief, loss and an existential crisis.
The syndrome has to do with a loss of respect for the previous patriarchy. It has to do with predicting one thing and doing another, with truth and lies, with honesty and holier than thou attitudes (skynheilig) amd with communication rather than language.
“Despite all the discussions, we are a nation with rights, fame, achievement and a brave history” This, Dr DeKlerk, is what you wrote on page 99.
It was either Nat Nakasa or Can Themba, I don’t remember, that once said, no matter how tightly he closes his eyes, he can’t imagine a South Africa without white people, how impossible that would be.
Do you know when I close my eyes and I wish your generation out of Afrikaner history, then I don’t see a nation of heroes, but only down to earth, real people with whom I can identify, people built by the conflict of the oppressed, from that old pedophile Jan Pieterzoon van Kaspel ter Mare that landed in the Cape in 1659 and battled lions and the Dutch Officials till he had a prize farm named Louwsvliet where the current Newlands is, to Louis Trichardt that rode to meet his death at Lourenco Marques, A stubborn and hard headed man without vanity, in his diary not one self righteous entry referring to the Bible or even the mysteriousness of God, The never say die General Christiaan de Wet, even Louis Botha and Jan Smuts that were prepared to fight and die for their beliefs.
Do you know how easy it is for me to close my eyes and imagine your whole generation of patriarchal, know it all, race obsessed thugs out of my history.
What is the greatest achievement of your generation, the generation that never smelt blood, never heard whistling bullets and felt the anxiety of battle, just the creators of big ideas and life philosophies? I admit my subjectivity, but didn’t you expend all your energies to lead the world and your children by the nose?
Wasn’t your greatest achievement the amount of dogmatic horse manure you successfully sold to us as moral fruits?
You have tough and bitter things to say in your tract, words you drop humbly, but why the abstract? Why “us” and “The Afrikaner”; Why not “I”; integrally part of the master race prophecies?
You write “It is absolutely true that the Afrikaner youth in large numbers are suspicious of being Afrikaans. Why? Why not a simple sentence that admits, I, I was personally, energetically and purposefully with the inhuman abberation called Apartheid?
The irony is that, intellectually, I agree with so much you wrote, but it does not dispel the rage. I am the “bliksem in” (totally beyond p*ssed off), raging at the arrogance, the self justification, the rationalisation, the denials and the lies.
If we follow your advice, we can survive, yes. But if we follow your advice now, we will be exactly where we would have been if your generation did not defraud us with apartheid, and what’s more we would not be saddled with your guilt.
Like always we are at the feet of the masters. We get slapped on the ears. Because the new generation of know it alls is a generation that has rejected us, along with the patriarchy that we portray. In a single lifetime we have been transformed from shut up, stand to attention and do what the uncle says to middle aged white Afrikaner men that suffer from power loss syndrome. The result is the same “Shut your trap, you have nothing to say!”
Excuse me Corporal, but f*ck you, Excuse me Dr De Klerk. Excuse me, Mr Molefe, Excuse me, Excuse me, my fellow citizens, I have sinned against you. Excuse me, Sonja Loots, your generation are the real children of apartheid, you are still young and innocent, the real victims, I am an old sinner, polluted with gun oil, the sweat of the parade ground, the blood of black children.
Excuse me, I have no moral right to open my trap, I have never had that right, How dare I do it now?
What remains for me? I am too old to be totally innocent, I am too young to be completely involved, I am too innocent to make apologies, I am too guilty to wash my hands.
I am gatvol, completely, to the brim, gatvol of taking orders. First the apartheid’s patriarchy, now from the reformed Pontius Pilate patriarchy and the new black elite.
Already the judgemental reigns are being taken over by young white feminists with a sharp eye for a power gap, the new class of oppressed, with the historically disadvantaged, black men, especially black women, the disabled, HIV infected …
Shut your gob middle aged white Afrikaner man, Attention! listen when I speak, You have f*ck all to say.
I am sorry, I am very sorry, but I have been cheated enough. Now I fight for what is important to me, inside democracy, sure.
But not neccesarily with the prescribed and outspoken and the politically correct and the idiotic masses.

Respectfully Yours
Chris Louw

I would have said some things differently, I probably would have used harsher language but Chris spoke for me at the time. Looking back we trusted our leaders to ensure that our children would not be victimised for something they had no part in, We went to the gallows willingly, we voted YES and we were discarded like old toilet paper and flushed. Even worse is that our children are being punished for the sins of their fathers and their fathers before them.”

Solitude and Society

Winchester Crypt & Gormley Statue


Excerpts from Solitude and Society by Nicholas Berdyaev


“The most extreme and distressing form of solitude is that experienced in society, in the objective world. The Ego’s contact with the Non-Ego, with the objective world, does not solve the problem of solitude. It is beyond dispute that no object can really alleviate man’s solitude. This latter can only be overcome by the confrontation of the Ego with another Ego, with the Thou. With the subject… human solitude postulates tragedy – an endeavor to surmount the inherent tragedy of a situation and the inability to achieve this end. Hence the even greater contradiction between the impossibility of resolving the inherent tragedy of antithesis,  on the one hand, and the necessity of resolving it on the other.

The Ego attempts to overcome its isolation in many ways: through knowledge,  sexual life, love, friendship, social life, moral acts, art, and various other ways.  It would be untrue to say that solitude is not to some extent alleviated in these ways; but it would be a gross exaggeration to maintain that it is thus definitely overcome; for all these ways involve objective processes, the Ego’s confrontation with the object and society instead of with another Ego,  with the Thou, in the depths of inner communion.

There are various forms and degrees of solitude: as an experience,  it is not restricted to any one form or quality. Dispute, conflict, and even hatred are all social manifestations which often serve to suppress or to allay the sense of solitude. Their ultimate effect however is to increase that sense.




I have been unable to find the origin of the image in this article, but hope the photographer will forgive my posting it without permission.