Anti-Apartheid Does Not Mean Pro-Democracy

Democracy,Ethics,Etiquette,Individual Rights,Morality,South-Africa

Miguel write:

Mrs Mercer:

I purchased your book Into the Cannibal’s Pot and have just started reading it.

From your book and other sources on your website, I understand that you and your family (particularly your father) held an anti-apartheid stance.

Your book however, describes the current situation in SA, particularly after the multi-racial, democratic elections of 1994, as having resulted in a borderline lawless state.

My question to you is: Did you believe, prior to 1994, that the an end to the apartheid regime would bring a more beneficial political and quality of life process to SA.

Thanking you advance

It goes without saying that I make a point of replying to almost all letters I get, provide they’re polite. Thousands, since I began writing. As George Will once wrote, “manners are the practice of a virtue. The virtue is called civility, a word related—as a foundation is related to a house—to the word civilization.”

I’ll address in a future post the issue of what failing to answer your mail says about you. For now, here’s my reply to Miguel:

Hello Miguel,

Thank you for reading Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa.

I believe that nowhere in my book do I state the belief below. Moreover, from the fact that I oppose state-enforced apartheid—it does not follow that I support what I call in The Cannibal, a “raw, ripe democracy.”

By the end of the book, you will better understand this perspective. My involvement in SA as a young woman was humanitarian, not political.

You are correct in your assessment of my father’s thinking.

ILANA Mercer


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