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Fear For Survival and Surviving in Fear

Controversial Content
Added: Sunday, April 22nd 2012 at 6:49pm by jcampbell27
Related Tags: violence, fear, apartheid, books

                I swear, I didn't know anything strange was going on, I had no clue that there was a drug dealer next door! Besides, what am I supposed to do about it? So goes the tale of the bystanders dilemma where atrocities are committed under the noses of the "unsuspecting" people. To what extent should people be held responsible or feel guilt for grappling with the "what could I do" question. A human being died that night brings this question to the forefront. When looking for Vlakplass (the farmhouse where Eugene De Kock did apartheid's dirty work,) Pumla stopped to ask for directions and most people said, "what are you talking about?" Off course the location of Apartheid's covert operations was well hidden, but one woman whom Pumla spoke to knew where it was. However, she knew it only as a barracks.(p.104)

                There is a tendency among people not to question governing authorities or to assume that such authorities have our best interests at heart. I have stressed again and again in my blogs that while reading this book, the important lesson learned has been to question and struggle with the powers that be, the issues we face in life, and the important questions of morality, redemption, forgiveness, and the problem of evil. When Pumla asked De Kock questions about what his home life was like, for him, his family, fear and angst   just seemed to fall off the pages. De Kock described on p. 109 carrying three firearms at a time, not trusting anyone and fearing for his family's life, even fearing the government that he worked for. This brought to my mind the couples whom Pumla had asked for directions who claimed never to have heard of Vlakplass thoughthey lived right next to it.

                To what extent can people be blamed who in many ways are placed into a situation resembling the fear experienced by a child in a dark room? I mean, feeling uncertain about everything, fearing every noise every interaction,  having an almost a schizophrenic experience. To what extent is sanity graspable in a time and place where big brother is always watching and always armed. By no means am I excusing the evils that were done, but there really is a paralyzing feeling that comes over someone when reading about an experience like that, much less living it. The truth is, we as people know that atrocities happen all over the world and we either can't or refuse to grapple with these issues. Often it may be due to our own sense of survival, and I sincerely hope that is the reason, but at times only a few extraordinary individuals step up.

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