Rewriting history

WE WHOLEHEARTEDLY support The Citizen newspaper's decision to take to the Supreme Court of Appeal the ruling that the newspaper may not refer to former uMkhonto we Sizwe cadre Robert McBride as a murderer because he had subsequently been granted amnesty.

WE WHOLEHEARTEDLY support The Citizen newspaper's decision to take to the Supreme Court of Appeal the ruling that the newspaper may not refer to former uMkhonto we Sizwe cadre Robert McBride as a murderer because he had subsequently been granted amnesty.

The Citizen's editor, Martin Williams, makes a valid point that many might feel that having to choose between a paper started as an apartheid propaganda agency and a one-time struggle icon is a no contest.

But that is not the point. To be indifferent to this case because it affects a newspaper we might have good reason to despise will send us down a slippery slope.

Media, even those we do not like, must have the freedom to comment fairly on matters that affect the citizenry. This is promised by no less an authority than the Constitution.

To take this right away because it is relied on by a newspaper whose past or present we do not like is to subvert the Constitution.

Furthermore, we cannot allow anyone, including judges, to rewrite history and obliterate our collective memory. Fact is McBride was convicted of murder and no court has changed this finding. The merits of McBride's cause are also beside the point.

There is already a growing tendency among the ruling elite of pencilling individuals and events in and out of history.

To give this revisionism a jurisprudential cloak would be to set us on a course where history and, even worse, facts and truth are meaningless.

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