Open letter to the Department of Justice | Hate Crimes Bill
To: The Department of Justice | Hate Speech Bill
The Bill in its entirety is completely unnecessary and I propose that it is rejected and scrapped and never revived.
I would also propose that the authors read the book by George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, to gain an understanding of the meaning of thoughtcrime, which seems to be where this type of bill is heading.
Many brave leaders in the ANC, like Steve Biko and Chris Hani, lost their lives in fighting a system that tried to control what people where allowed to say and do, where they were allowed to go and when and with whom they were allowed to associate or live. Others, like Breyten Breytenbach, fought against all odds to be allowed to say what they wanted, how and when. Others still, like Helen Zille and other media reporters, resisted the National Party government and their agenda by fearlessly reposting on the atrocities in the media.
Since 1994 we have had a country where freedom of speech had been attained and now you want to destroy that again, step by step. This is a travesty of legislation and a crime against the people of our country and cannot be allowed.
There exists the notion among some, especially social liberals, that words lead to thought and finally to actions, therefore hateful words lead to hateful thought, which lead to hateful actions. This is patently incorrect and has been clearly shown to be false. Words are merely a method of conveying a thought. Words don’t have meanings, meanings have words. The words a person uses don’t determine his thoughts, on the contrary, the though a person has is expressed, however effective of ineffective by his words. However, a person that does not harbour malice towards his fellow man in his heart, will not be swayed by hateful words, but rather, will reject the words of hateful speaker and probably his person. Thoughts originate from a person’s perception and experience, things that have already happened and no amount of legislation can change that. Hate speech laws only serve oppressive regimes and serve no purpose in bringing people together or encouraging dialogue, understanding or reconciliation.
Any attempt to control what people may say, is in effect an attempt to control what people are allowed to think. By pursuing such legislation, you are setting a straight path back to the dark ages, where people were burned at the stake for what they said if the ruler of the day didn’t agree with them.
I sincerely hope that this ill-conceived bill will not be given one minute’s further consideration and is relegated to the rubbish-bin where it belongs.