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To debate or not to debate

To debate or not to debate

Today (22 July 2020) I have decided to start my own personal blog, in addition to the Three6Five recipe drive.

In the past week a friend of mine posted a speech given by person. It was a beautiful speech, however, the fact that this particular person delivered the speech made the words hollow because of his particular stance on heinous crimes being committed within in his organisation.

I commented to this effect on my friend’s post, and immediately the debate ensued. What I should have known from the start, which I did not, was that my friend had posted this speech because the words had touched him, and he did not knowingly post the speech thinking about the stance of the particular individual.

Anyway, soon thereafter another friend of mine joined the debate. During the argument, my friend tried to make a point by asking me that if I had done nothing during apartheid, then I was complicit in those ideologies.

Whilst I could not understand why he was bringing apartheid into this particular argument, as it had absolutely nothing to do with the topic, it did make me start thinking about my “complicity” in apartheid. And this has sat with me for a few days.

You see, I am a white, Afrikaner male, which makes me South African, obviously 🙂

I was born in 1973, which made me 21 years old when the 1994 election took place and the ANC won.

So for 21 years of my life I was a white person living in apartheid South Africa. And to say I was not privileged would be a lie!

But looking back, I do not think that I had any political ideology or at least idea of any political ideology until I was 17 or 18. When I was 18, the first time I was allowed to vote, I voted in a referendum in which (white) South Africa voted to move ahead with political transformation.

The YES vote was for and the NO vote was against. I voted YES, because I believed that South Africa required to go through transformation.

But, quite honestly, other than this, and other than (to my belief) treating all people the same as I would want to be treated, I did not do anything else to assist the downfall of apartheid.

Without making excuses by this time apartheid was basically doomed as we moved to the 1994 election, BUT, no, I did not march, or protest, or plot.

I am not sure that this makes me complicit.   But I guess that is a discussion for another day.

Anyway, the reason why I say raise that is that my friend’s statement made me think and I thank him for making me think about this.  Maybe I did not march or protest at the time, and maybe I did not do anything about apartheid, but now I certainly have a voice, and instead of keeping quiet on these issues, I felt that it is time to start voicing my opinion on topics that carry importance to me.

I must say that I have been mindful of that, because who gives me the right to comment on anything really.  But it all starts with commentary.  People who marched against apartheid did not stay at home saying “marching is not going to achieve anything, so why should I march!”

So please indulge me…and join the debate.

To say that I like having a good debate is an understatement. I think I have always been like this, but when I was younger I always let my emotions and “need” to win at all cost drive my argument.

As I have grown older I have learnt you need to follow a few rules in order to be a good debater. Those rules are:

  1. Make sure you research the facts – if you do not know the facts you cannot argue a point;
  2. Always respect the other person’s point of view;
  3. Never play the man – if the other person starts to get personal you have the upper hand;
  4. Do not get emotional – if you let your emotions take over, you will lose sight of the facts.
  5. Always be prepared to be proven wrong, and when you are, accept it gracefully by acknowledging the same to your opponent – no matter how difficult it may seem.
  6. Sometimes you just cannot “win” a debate. If your opponent is emotional about the topic, it is almost always going to be difficult to change their view, because they are seeing it from a point of belief and not fact. If this is the case, just shake hands and walk away, because you will be wasting your time.

There are many other rules and techniques, and I continue to learn, because as I said, I do love having a good debate.

But this is a path of growth, commentary and participation for me.  I, like many other people, am tired of being subjected to the mainstream media and the popular narrative.  And besides, who is fact checking the fact checkers?

The beauty of Social Media is that it does give a voice to many people who otherwise would not be able to engage in this kind of forum. Unfortunately it also creates a forum for people to anonymously abuse people’s viewpoint without fact.

So I am starting this blog to comment on issues that are important to me.  Some of my comments may be negative, others positive – but I will always try and ensure that they are backed with fact.

As stated, read it or don’t – participate or don’t, but please do not chastise me with emotional rhetoric.  I do not expect you to agree with me, but then debate with fact.  And I ask you not to play the man – but debate the topic.

I do have a thick skin!

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