|The cornerstone of many oppressive states is the subversion of independent thought and creativity.|
Apartheid was a system of racial segregation enforced through legislation by the National Party, the ruling party in South Africa in 1948. The rights of the majority black inhabitants of South Africa were curtailed and white supremacy and Afrikaner minority rule was maintained and systematically enforced. The black majority fought for their freedom and the right to express themselves and in 1994 the Apartheid system was abolished and the black majority took control via a democratic process. South Africa was declared a "FREE", "Rainbow Nation."
|The Spear, the now controversial depiction of Jacob Zuma's penis.|
VIDEO: THE DEFACING OF THE SPEAR (JACOB ZUMA'S PENIS).
During apartheid one of the mechanisms of oppression involved the suppression of the arts, which by nature embody the ideal's of free thinking. South African theatre during the Apartheid era yielded internationally proclaimed expressions of freedom, producing well renowned plays like: The Island, Egoli, The Hungry Earth, Woza Albert and Sizwe Bantsi is Dead, to name but a few. Hailed as Anti-Aparthied, the powers-that-be viewed such forms of art as a threat to their prejudicial establishment. As a result many of these plays were conceived of and performed in secluded areas, in secrecy for fear of violent censure.
"The Spear" is by no means a masterpiece, it doesn't carry any deeper meaning worth any grander philosophical examination. Some people clearly don't like it ~ in fact I don't like it, but despite that I choose to stand up for the idea of freedom. Just because I do not like it, nor do I see it's purpose, that doesn't mean I should eradicate it from being and thereby try to kill the expression, however insipid or mundane it may be in my opinion of the artist.
Freedom is a pill whose soothing power can heal the wounds of oppression and cause profound change. Freedom can also manifest itself in the expression of things individuals may not like or may not agree with. When that occurs it is not right to turn around and claim that one maintains their advocacy for freedom except in instances where it is disagreeable to them.
Pure freedom as a philosophical absolute cannot exist because if everyone did exactly as they desired, it is likely that those with power would subvert those without it as history has shown time and time again ~ #ThomasHobbes. That is why we have "The Law" which is designed to protect the liberties of individuals within a State so that they may practice and think as they please, within its confines. This is assuming that "The Law," in a so called free nation, is conceived of in a manner whose purpose is to preserve the civil liberties of its constituents.
|Sure, you can be free but only if I agree with you!!|
In conclusion, yes perhaps you don't like the painting, yes perhaps you don't think being gay is right or maybe you think women shouldn't be allowed to vote. The point of freedom is that you are well within your rights to think in such a manner, regardless of how fundamentally flawed it may be. You are also free to protest and express your opinion in so far as nobody's civil liberties are violated. You do not have the right to impose beliefs or oppress others just because you don't like what they are doing (or it will be the Spanish Inquisition all over again). The law is there to protect us from harm from any other person's behaviour that violates our ability to live in freedom and peace. If we are going to stop every expression of art or view we disagree with then let us not pretend that we stand for freedom. The vehicle or prejudice and oppression just has a different driver and the "Rainbow Nation" is painted only in the color black.