Sunday, November 16, 2008

To write de Kock or to not write de Kock?

Another option for our blogs this week was to write a letter to Eugene de Kock.I struggled with this one.I felt that I should write to him.That it would be an experience that was likely not to be repeated.I mean when in our lives do we ever get the opportunity to confront our fears in the most basic sense. It’s like Pumla Gonbodo-Madolozela said in a Human Being died That Night. “It is this sense of a paper-thin line that is most frightening and most discomforting about those moments when our lives connect, however remotely, with the lives of people who have committed evil deeds.” (p. 50)

I wanted to write to him.But what could I say.Where does my morality lay?Am I one who would throw away the key and say that he is evil and will always be evil, or am I in the camp that allows for redemption.I truly do not know.How can I be this arrogant person, so far removed from all of the happenings in South Africa, as to think that I can make this decision even for my own opinion?I tried to ask myself how I would feel if de Kock had killed the people in my town, in my neighborhood, in my family.But I can not even imagine the pain.Would I want revenge or would I need to forgive?Could I even make a conscious decision either way?

After reading Pumla’s book, I can see the good side of de Kock.Or at least that is what is presented to us.The book is not necessarily pro de Kock, but most definitely pro forgiveness of him and his deeds.It shows us all how easily a government can turn its back on its most heinous actions and wash their hands of it.Lay all the blame on the “foot soldiers”.I hope to never be in the position that de Kock was in.I would like to think that I would pass the test of my humanity with flying colors, that I would rather die that abuse others, but in reality I pray to God that I am never tested.

I guess my real question is why the Truth and Reconciliation committee pardoned de Kock on all his many crimes except two murders.This really bothers me.Was this just a compromise?To show that they were all about reconciliation but also to make sure that de Kock went behind bars to satisfy those who could not forgive.Or where these two murders not politically motivated and de Kock stepped outside his role as the enforcer of his government’s secret war and became the evil that some people believe he is.What is it about these two murders that set them apart from the rest?

If I were to write de Kock I would ask him about those murders.Why does he feel that he was not pardoned for these particular crimes?I would ask him if he feels that he deserves to be pardoned for all his crimes or if part of him believes he deserves what he has been handed in life.And I finally would like to know if he was released from prison would he ever feel safe in South Africa knowing that there are people out there that probably wouldn’t want him released and could possibly harm him for revenge of the crimes he committed.

This indecision of mine is right out of Shakespeare. To write de Kock or to not write de Kock, plagues my mind. So I leave the letter writing to those of us who are braver and more eloquent than I to express themselves to de Kock, and thus is the reason for the above blog.

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