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Social media rally behind a woman standing up to hate speech.

old south african flag

When one woman stood up against what the old South African flag represented, she drew out the hateful people who stand right behind it too.

 

I hope that 6 blacks visit you in your room and rape you for 6 hours… thats just one of the thousands of messages that Shelley Finch, a friend and contributor to Good Things Guy, received after expressing her dismay at the display of the old South African flag during the #BlackMonday marches.

Shelley shared the opinion that the flag was hurtful to most South Africans. Her thoughts were logical, reasonable and clear and as emotional as the subject may be to some, she did not resort to hurtful or personal attacks.

“Let me state from the start that I absolutely care about the plight of victims of crime that live on or are farmers. I also care about the over 19 000 + other lives lost in South Africa this year. And all the years before that. I would never wish these crimes upon anyone and I am sickened so see how we treat each other.”

“The call to ban the Apartheid Flag is a call to request that displaying it should be confined to museums and learning institutions were it can tell it’s whole history and not just a one-sided one. We are not asking for the Apartheid flag to be erased from memory. It is absolutely a part of our history and that history systematic oppression and brutality – the memories of which are still fresh in our minds. The request to ban the Apartheid flag is a gesture of love, compassion and empathy.”

“It is a powerful way of saying “We will not let a symbol of your painful past be paraded and glorified any longer.”

“For some people, like me, it is a small gesture of atonement. It is a gesture our country needs if we all truly desire to move forward in unity.”

Shelley’s belief is that the old South African flag is associated with inherent violence and the messages she has received over the last week, prove just that.

People have called her a whore, have wished that she gets stabbed but lives to tell the tale so she’ll be scared of South Africa they live in, they have sent her messages calling her a failed abortion and even threatened to tar and feather her (tarring and feathering is a form of public torture and humiliation used to enforce unofficial justice or revenge).

Shelley has had to endure a week of torment and hate speech but has also realized that what she is doing, matters.

“As my friend Walter Pike pointed out to me, the fact that if this all got too much, I have the option to simply walk away is a privilege in itself. I choose not to exercise that privilege, and no matter how ugly these people get, I’m not walking away.”

“This is nothing in comparison to the indignities and violence that other South Africans experience every day. It’s the right thing to do and our people need it.”

At Good Things Guy, we believe in doing what is good and what is right, and keeping quiet when a friend and colleague is being threatened publicly is anything but good.

Silence perpetuates hate and rape culture.

If you don’t advocate for those human beings around you in this world that are affected by discrimination and hate, then you are a part of the problem. And we will not be part of this problem.

Hate is learned, and to react to hate with hate does nothing but discredit ourselves, then our community and finally our nation. Hate does nothing but perpetuate hate. And the only way to combat hate is to show those who perpetuate hate that it will not be tolerated.

shelley-finch-hate-speech

No matter what your stance is on the old South African, hate is never the answer and perpetuating hate stops with you.

We implore you to visit Shelley’s facebook page as she has posted screen grabs naming and shaming these South Africans, a full list of their names can be found there. She has also posted various articles on the flag topic and you can also find her petition there.

And while some social media users have sent Shelley disgusting messages, others are showing their support (by the thousands of messages):

Caroline Hirst posted: “And while it is an embarrassment that we share a country with the people making those comments, it is an honour and privilege to share the country with someone like Shelley Finch. The writing is so eloquent, thank you for voicing what many of us feel but perhaps cannot put to paper.”

Beverley Ann Beukes added: “Shelley I don’t know you (would love to) but please tell me you are reporting this to the human rights commission. We really have to stand against this kind of hatred and racism.”

Jacqui Pember commented: “Wow! I can’t believe the hatred out there. How sickening to read some of the comments. If I was the mother of some of these people, I would be so ashamed. Although, they learned this behaviour from their parents, and no doubt are teaching their kids the same. How sad. All the best Shelley, I am on the same page as you.”

Vickey-lee du Toit said: “Wow Shelley!! I have actual tears in my eyes reading these hateful comments to you, I am so sorry you have to go through this for being good, intelligent, well balanced, kind hearted human being! Stay Strong!!”

Rowan Esau added: “Shelley, never argue with idiots. They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

Zita Van Zyl commented: “The irony is, the flag symbolises hate and discrimination and this lady is being shown hate and discrimination for saying that the flag should not be waved around but put in a museum (a place for old outdated stuff that is no longer actively used but to remind us of how far we have come as a nation). The flag itself isn’t the issue. Just as these pages have always united us, we as South Africans need to collectively come up with solutions to the bigger problems that face our society. I believe that if it was my sister or my friend being called a whore or whatever, I’d also stand up for her. So now let’s take this and not just stand up for Shelley but stand up for all South African women being abused or killed, all South Africans being murdered, all children being abused, all people being discriminated against…. Start with one act of random kindness and volunteer”

**Update to article:

Since the GoodthingsGuy article went live, Shelley has started receiving hundreds of messages of support from our readers.

She took to Facebook to thank them:

“I’m sitting at my desk with a big lump in my throat reading the wonderful messages of support. Am I surprised to read them? Not at all. I have always known that my country is filled to the brim with kind, compassionate beautiful people.”

“I have a favourite quote that has really come alive for me in the past few days: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” I have seen so many incredible comments of support and love directed towards me and other people commenting on my posts. It has filled my heart to the brim.”

“I didn’t post those hateful screenshots for sympathy or to incite anger towards the posters. I shared them because I think it’s important that we all awaken to the fact that there are hate-filled people who live amoung us. I want them to know that their hate is NOT acceptable to us and we will bravely call it out. I ask all South Africans not to be complicit by keeping quiet and letting it slide. We are better than this.”

“So my call to everyone is to please take this opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation. Let’s use this opportunity to help people understand why that flag is such a painful symbol to the South African people. Let’s encourage them to question their own thinking and assumptions. Let’s drive out the hate with light.”


Sources: GTG
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A personal crusader on a mission to empower through the power of positive thinking. Activation Architect | CliffCentral Unradio Host | LeadSA Hero | Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South African | #RAK15 founder

2 Comments

  1. Greg Duncan-Traill

    November 5, 2017 at 11:04 am

    I said it on the day, I’ll say it again, as many times as I need to: I hated the flag back in the day and I hate now more than ever.. Respect Shelley, weve got your back.❤

  2. Johan

    November 5, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Make the list of all the people public, they should leave SA

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