After eight whole months in Australia David Wolpert finds other SA expatriates to be “fiercely patriotic” (“From afar, SA looks silly and irrelevant”, November 14).
Though tempered by Siya Kolisi’s World Cup, Table Mountain and the game reserves, they are angry at SA’s contrary foreign policy. The country they find an embarrassment, a laughing stock and irrelevant on the world stage.
In my experience, expatriate South Africans do tend to follow SA news closely. Bad news helps reaffirm their wisdom in leaving, while good news reminds that they can return after sitting out the difficult times.
But given the timing and passion, I wonder if this is not just about international relations & co-operation minister Naledi Pandor’s stance towards Israel’s war with Hamas?
SA, a multicultured country, holds corresponding multiple and contrary views. To some, criticism of Israel, regardless of its behaviour, is simply veiled anti-Semitism. Others may empathise strongly with the Palestinian experience of colonial rule, so similar to their own in SA. Others, as Wolpert mentions, go so far as including SA in “the axis of evil”.
But I would suggest that the vast majority of people are simply horrified by the Israeli war. We see a vicious and brutal outpouring of hate and victimisation. Vastly excessive reprisals on a demonised and defenceless people, in principle no less degrading than Hamas’ attack on Israeli civilians but by a civilised and perceptive people, with historic experiences of their own.
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