Terence Corrigan recently wrote a good article pointing out the flaws in the white genocide narrative as well as the position often taken by politicians and the media in opposition to this narrative. I think he covered all aspects of this adequately, but I thought it would be useful to examine the position of Genocide Watch (GW), the organisation most often referred to by people pushing the idea of a white genocide, in detail.
First, a word about the founder of GW: Dr Gregory Stanton is currently Professor of Genocide Studies at George Mason University and has worked at the US State Department where he helped draft the UN Security Council resolutions that created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He was also a Fullbright Scholar at the University of Swaziland during which period he also met prominent members of the United Democratic Front (UDF) such as Frederick van Zyl Slabbert. He is also acquainted with South Africa, having visited here numerous times since the 1990s.
In a document explaining that SA is not currently undergoing a genocide, Dr Stanton explains what the the ten stages of genocide are and are not. He makes it clear that a country at any of the stages preceding extermination does not inevitably proceed towards the extermination stage. The ten stages are meant to be a warning sign to the government of a country as well as the international community to institute preventative measures before matters proceed to the extermination stage, and on the GW website (which I encourage you to peruse for yourself) are listed cases of successful preventative measures instituted before matters deteriorated.
It is clear that GW and Dr Stanton are not right-wing radicals or racists.
South Africa was actually moved from the sixth (planning) to the fifth stage (polarization) between 2011 and 2012 after the hate speech ruling against Malema for singing “Kill the Boer” and his removal as ANC Youth League President.
It is also worth noting that the scale has been flagging the Chinese treatment of its Uighur ethnic minority at least as early as 2012 as well as the treatment of Burma’s Rohingya minority, both at a more advanced level (stage 7: extermination) than South Africa’s Afrikaans farmers. This was even before both cases received widespread international attention. It can therefore be argued that the GW scale is a useful tool for countries who care about protecting minorities, even if no genocide ends up taking place.
It is also clear that GW’s work has been misused by SA’s fringe groups to put forward misleading claims, claims that Dr Stanton has taken care to correct.
It would be tragic if this misuse results in South Africans dismissing the work GW does without considering the validity of the observations made coupled with the historical evidence of how genocide unfolds. This is a history that Dr Stanton is very familiar with. We have to ignore the noise and focus on what the GW scale is telling us: our socio-economic problems, affecting mostly the black youth, as well as the tendency of politicians to blame these problems on minorities, is a recipe for tragedy.
The GW scale, as of 2014, has been updated to flag the risk to African immigrants in South Africa. This has taken too long in my view, since this particular group is more vulnerable than any other minority given the xenophobic attacks which we have become accustomed to since 2008, as well as incitement by the likes of Johannesburg’s mayor and the Zulu King. I would also like to see more focus on South Africa’s Indian population which has come under attack from the likes of Julius Malema and Andile Mngxitama, though not as serious as attacks on white farmers and foreign nationals. Coming from KwaZulu-Natal, I know how easy it would be to incite a group of thugs to attack the Indian community.
South Africa’s government should take GW’s reports seriously. They provide an important early warning system to a problem that would devastate this country both morally and economically were it allowed to unfold. We cannot afford to have a government that is so easily offended as to ignore risks to citizens — people it should be protecting. Regardless of whether racists are crying wolf on genocide, the risks are real and it would be unacceptable to blame these racists for inaction if we eventually get to the extermination stage. The fact is that government is being warned and it should be taking proactive steps. This goes for the international community as well.
I would suggest government immediately act to diffuse the situation against white farmers and foreign nationals by first condemning the rhetoric consistently, on an ongoing basis. It should also be made a matter of government policy that anyone who incites violence against minorities should lose their job and all political parties should pursue the same policy within their own structures and where they govern. The next step should be the removal of all racially discriminatory policies like BBBEE, affirmative action/employment equity, and policies like expropriation without compensation (EWC), which have been motivated on the basis of race by, among others, the President, when he ominously referred to “our people” during the State of the Nation Address.
The government should not use the risk of genocide as an excuse to clamp down on free speech, but it should reject out of hand any hate speech as well as treating the serious problem of farm murders with the urgency it deserves. This should be a precursor to forming SAPS rural safety units. The SANDF should possibly patrol rural areas (in the same way that SANDF assists police in the gang-ridden Cape Flats), even if this requires pulling members of the force from peacekeeping missions.
I am not a security expert, but farm murders have reached crisis proportions and we are losing valuable human capital daily and getting more polarized the longer it is left unattended.
It is the duty of government to protect the private property and lives of citizens. It is not for them to decide if they like the motives of people raising concerns about the safety of other citizens. Their only job is to act to deal with the threat.