F**k you, emigrant!


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This is a blog I wrote in 2008 and was approached by a publisher to include it in a book. The book is going to be called "Torn in the New SA" to be published soon
Fuck You, Emigrant
by Rob Dickens

All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.* I come across as a judgmental patriotic fundamentalist with an optimistic streak that would make both Gandhi and Mandela give me a slowclap. I come down on emigrants with great vengeance and furious anger. I judge them. It’s a very sensitive subject because you touch on a nerve. You know that they have that niggling guilt. That’s why they spring to their own defense like a tigress defending her young. They must justify their decisions, lest that niggling doubt become more than just a niggle. It’s tough to leave your home. Really tough. It’s a hard slog. A challenge and once met it can seem like a great decision.

A great personal decision that will benefit your life, perhaps your family’s life too. You feel safe and comfortable, and you believe your family to be safe and comfortable. And who the fuck is Dickens to fucking judge that decision? How the fuck can this asshole begrudge anyone the freedom to choose their own comfort level in life? What a plonker?

On an individual level you’d be right. I should not begrudge people a decision like that. They are free to do what they want. But I don’t think on such personal levels alone. To me, I always, always see a bigger picture. Much larger than you or I, or my family and yours. Perhaps I start looking at a picture that is the size of South Africa. My home, all of its people. Hell, it’s a microcosm of the developing world. It’s a microcosm of every single battle that humanity has ever had to face: economically, socially, philosophically, religiously, politically. We have it all. A daily battle to prove that the evils of this world can and will succumb to the power of good.

All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. Worse still is turn your back and leave. This is bigger than just you and me. This is bigger than your family and mine. This is bigger than South Africa. This is humanity. The war wages between what is considered good and what is considered evil. This country is the frontline of that battle. History and fate have determined that this is where we bunker down. The Rainbow Nation, a melting pot of cultures. The foremost African nation. The chance to prove ourselves. The opportunity to be a part of history. To write it. To stare down the seemingly insurmountable challenges and succeed. What a grand opportunity? Amazing. A gift really. An opportunity to literally be a part of history in the making. To write the lines in the history books, sentence by sentence, word by word. Or one could see this challenge and be overcome. One could see this challenge and decide that the effort and perhaps even the cost, is too much. You need to ask yourself what sort of cost you are looking at? You also need to ask yourself what sort of a life you are participating in?

You do a job, they give you money, you buy shit, you consume and you aggregate things, technological gadgets and a house. Every now and then they let you out of your cage to go on a holiday. Pre-packaged bullshit usually. Fast food leisure. You get back to your hamster wheel with vague memories and some good digital photos. Your little world is comfortable. Your little world feels safe. You feel happy. You will live out your years doing this repeatedly.

But what have you done? Nothing. You fled the country of your birth for the comfort of another culture. You turned your back on your home country and its entire people. You didn’t think of anybody else but yourself (and your family). Did you ever actually make an effort to change this place? Did you ever actually help your fellow South Africans? Do you honestly think, when the history books are written that they will applaud you?

I don’t do enough, but I try my goddamned hardest all the time to make a difference. I preach this gospel all the time. I fight a wave of pessimism that would dwarf the largest tsunami. I fight a surge of selfishness. I wish the world could become more comfortable with selflessness. With civic duty. With that feeling that your fellow man is greater than you. Humanity is greater than you and suffering must be eased. Not just your own suffering... all suffering.

All that it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. Emigration condemns us all. Stand and fight courageously or turn your back and leave. I am a part of this country. I am a part of its people. An injury to one is an injury to all. We need to rally together to fight the minority. The majority has overcome hardship before. Three centuries of hardship. We can do it again. I ask people to think beyond your little world. Beyond your job, your house, your car, your family. It takes a large amount of guts to do that. To think of your fellow man. Your fellow South African. Let’s improve our lot. All of us.

Two quotes resound in my memory: You have nothing to fear, but fear itself. Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. I’m astounded to hear that the country of your birth, that nurtured you until you were successful enough to be able to leave... You tell that country to fuck off and die. I harbour no beneficent feelings towards that attitude whatsoever. I think it is selfish. You could have done something. You could have lifted your ass off of that fucking couch in front of your plasma fucking television and fought for this place. You could have done something. But you didn’t.

All that it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. I’m staying and I’m going to do something about it.

*The original quote is by Edmund Burke, a 19 th century English political
philosopher: All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

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