In the pantheon of 20th century horrors, the Sharpeville Massacre is right up there with the Holocaust and the Armenian Massacre. In fact, according to the former Liberian President Charles Tubman it was even worse. In his considered judgment, Sharpeville was, quote "the vilest, most reckless and unconscionable action in history."
Which is a bit surprising (see my post on it here) in that the numbers shot dead by the South African police, in what was an unplanned but nonetheless reckless action, amounted to 69 (pardon the pornographic associations). The police wouldn’t do that sort of thing today in the Rainbow Nation of course.
Or would they?
In fact according to figures issued by Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) and quoted in the SA Sucks blog no fewer than 420 people were shot dead by police in the previous year. I kid you not!
Here’s what the report says: “At least 191 suspects were shot during an arrest, 83 shot while allegedly committing a crime, 43 during investigations, 34 while escaping, six due to negligence, while three victims were bystanders. The figure also included 60 people shot in domestic violence incidents or by off-duty policemen.”
But you’ve already heard about this, haven’t you? Seen all the mass demonstrations protesting the slaughter? No? Strangely enough, neither have I. Amazing, isn't it, when you consider that this is exactly six times the number killed at Sharpeville?
I wonder why? Now I'm making just a wild guess here, but could it be that the cops today are nearly all black?
Naw, couldn’t be – I'm just cynical.