Saying “Peace, peace” when there is no peace.

Alex Boraine Book What's gone wrong?Last night I sat a mere two metres from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He was in conversation with former colleague and friend Dr Alex Boraine about the latter’s new book and the state of South Africa.

In What’s gone wrong? On the brink of a failing state Dr Boraine takes a hard look at our country’s government and the prevailing exile mentality of the ruling party. He asserted that years of exile fostered suspicion and a commitment to seizure of power despite the ANC’s unlimited power at present. He also warned that the institutions of state established to guard democracy, like the Public Protector and Auditor-General, were in peril. They are hamstrung by good men who do nothing; good men who, when in Parliament, fight with their conscience and succumb in the end to party loyalty.

The ninety minutes spent in the company of these men were by no means an attempt at fairly debating the state of our nation. It did, however, provide me with food for thought and was, perhaps, a much needed wake up call to some. A young women stood up at one point confessing that she and her peers, having had no personal experience of apartheid, were at a loss for how to fix the country. The upcoming election seemed pointless to them since they couldn’t agree with any of the parties represented on the ballot. I realised the preciousness of voting again when Dr Boraine responded with the poignant picture of Archbishop Desmond Tutu who voted for the first time at the age of 63. The call to action was clear: vote you must even if it means voting for the least worst.

Dr Boraine’s defence of his many negative assertions, to “tell it like it is,” was grave and succeeded in driving the point home. He reached back to his seminary training and quoted Jeremiah 6:14 “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace” (NIV).

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