The coming together of Europe, and indeed the world, as a result of the Paris Charlie Hebdo and Jewish supermarket shootings, has shown that we can unite in the face of an adversity that threatens each and every one of us. The barbaric attack on the magazine offices highlights our right to freedom of speech: “You may not like what I write or say but I must never be stopped from expressing myself” otherwise our Western democracy will be threatened as we know it. There are few red lines left. In an age where almost anyone can have his/her writings published online, blocking or censoring anyone has become all but impossible. The shooting of artists, satirists, journalists, heck, the shooting of any human being, is an atrocity that stands as its own condemnation.
In the context of freedom of speech there is a local website ‘Roadhogs – Report Bad Drivers!’, (www.roadhogs.co.za), which is a must for you to visit just in case you feature. I looked at it and it is amazing how many transgressors there are. Johannesburg comes up as the ‘Worst city to drive in’, but it is a Cape Town registration that has been reported with the most offences. It could be a very subjective way of incriminating someone, but in general there is good value to websites such as this one and other consumer-type sites. The internet and the tools at our disposal allow Joe Public to express his/her concerns. Social media has allowed this to be so, to the detriment of some.
How many times do we see a blatant disregard to the rules of the road while out on a single trip? It is the norm rather than the exception and I am only talking about one aspect of our daily lives. The transgressors must be accountable for their actions and so be it if they are exposed in a way where they take offence to it. If we are all passive about incidents that we know are breaking the law, as we do not want to become involved, then we can look forward to our society breaking down even more, and we must not complain. The decline in South Africa since democracy is, I believe, a classic example. Nobody must tell me “But what about all the good that has been done?” This counts for nothing if there are so many other aspects that have deteriorated to such an extent that it affects all of us. It has become the norm rather than the exception to break the law in our country, led admirably by our politicians.
I believe this is not a perception, it is a reality. There were too many examples highlighted in 2014 by the mainstream media for us not to think so. Our society is losing its moral values and the future is unthinkable. Therefore let us then begin the year by avoiding being apathetic, and becoming more proactive. But please do not break the law in your endeavours, and think carefully before exposing yourself. Facebook, Twitter and the many others are very unforgiving!