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How very – what’s the right word? – “interesting”, the take on my paper’s decision to give the Russian press attaché’s drivel some editorial space. Enabling? Validating? No. Try free speech. Nothing cute about it; it’s what this paper has always strived for: both sides of the story.
I know this not because I’m fiercely loyal to a salaried job (I am), but because I’ve lived it here for the past six years. And before you, my dearest reader, accuse me of indulging too much in the red as some of you do: I’m talking about a certain column in this very paper on Monday that got my hackles up.
It’s the anger that got me, hidden in those hurtful words. Surely it can’t be only about free speech? We know Mr Alexander Arefiev talks … crap. And we – and the royal we must include most of our letter writers – love to call him out. So, when he drooled yet again, he became a Man of Opinion.
The Kremlin boy’s propaganda was sent to his Ukrainian counterpart for a rebuttal, but who could’ve foreseen she was away while her country was going up in flames? But that’s by the by. You, my darling colleague, are welcome to your opinion; it’s valued and certainly deserves centimetres in an equally valued paper.
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But it’s the hatchet job on our reputation that gives me an inkling how President Cyril Ramaphosa must feel as the onslaught from within unfolds around him. Because accusing your colleagues of even considering giving rapists and paedophiles a voice is just a low blow. As is digging up the nearly half-a-century-old history of this paper – “the bastard child of apartheid”, as you called it.
Another low blow for even implying those ideologies and mindsets have a place in these pages nowadays. So, like a Zondo seeing red when Lindiwe Sisulu overstepped the line about the job he loves, I take up the battle cry too.
There’s a fine line between free speech and hurtful words. You overstepped that line. Apartheid and this beloved paper do not breathe the same space. Dumped papers, Eschel Rhoodie and Louis Luyt were resting long before we got our new owner. We, as a paper, have moved on. You should, too.