Friday, August 17, 2012

The South African massacre of striking miners

It’s been well over 24 hours since the police massacre of South African miners & the media still can’t get the story straight. Probably because the South African police haven’t figured out what their alibi is for this treachery which killed 48 miners & injured 78 others. They can’t even identify the ten people killed during the strike prior to the massacre: some accounts say it was two cops, two scabs, six strikers; some accounts say two cops & 8 strikers; some accounts report two mining employees were burned to death & others report two cops were hacked to death. All accounts manage to throw in the word “machete” to suggest barbarism & to distract from police use of live ammunition on people armed with rocks, sticks, & knives. Perhaps the most shameful reporting was done by CNN’s Nkepile Mabuse, a South African reporter who tried to pull an end run around the damning evidence of videos & eye witnesses by saying we can’t make a judgement until the South African cops have told their side of the story. She  had the temerity to add that resistance to apartheid created a culture of violence in South Africa & this was the issue--not police & state violence that resonates with apartheid. Someone needs to remind Mabuse that summary execution for alleged crimes is not the way things are done in democracy. Under South African law, police may legally open fire if they believe their lives are in danger. In the top photo (published today) we see strikers just before the assault by a phalanx of heavily armed riot cops. Threatening? The bottom photo shows the assault which media says began after miners “carrying machetes” defied an ultimatum to disarm. Even if the miners were wielding weapons, at such a distance did they pose a threat? (Top photo by Jon Gambrell/AP; bottom photo by Reuters)

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