Rhino is not an unworthy winner
22 January 2013 | The Citizen
Critics say this is an insult to the 46 people who died in the violence at the Marikana platinum mines. It is nothing of the sort. This is not a comparison of the value of human and animal lives. Nor is it an insult to the 14 000 people who died in road accidents in 2012 or the 190 000 who died of Aids.
The Newsmaker of the Year is not an award for suffering or compassion. It is an award for making the news. Unfortunately human suffering continues year after year on a huge scale all around the world and seldom makes the news.
Few of the 190 000 Aids deaths in South Africa last year made the news. More people were killed in the violent strikes of security guards in 2006 than in Marikana in 2012, and they were not the Newsmaker of 2006.
The plight of the rhino certainly did make the news in a big way last year both in South Africa and around the world.
This rare, endangered, gentle and splendid animal was slaughtered in record numbers in South Africa last year under the most brutal and horrible circumstances because of human greed and stupidity. The plight of a baby rhino staring bewildered at the bloody, butchered body of her dying mother was world news.
The rhino is also a poignant symbol of endangered African wildlife in general. Last year there was a near record poaching of elephants. The African lion population is declining dangerously.
Africa has the world’s greatest abundance of large wild animals but it is shrinking fast, and many of these wonderful creatures are heading for
The rhino, peaceful, magnificent and in mortal peril, is a worthy Newsmaker of 2012.
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