Rolbos has never aimed at being controversial. It’s a blog about goodness, kindness and love. It’s about forgiving and getting on with Life.
That’s why the response to The Bullet Series was a bit surprising. It was read across a broad spectrum of society, which (I believe) included most races, religions and cultures. The comments on the blog are there for everyone to see, but on Facebook, and in my inbox and e-mail I received other comments worth noting.
- Generally, most readers had sympathy for Ben while some thought he was the architect of his own demise.
- Some found his locked up state hard to understand
- Some expats wrote to tell me I’m a liberal sh*t, and I must stop living in cloud cuckoo land
- Others found the idea of a honourable Himba far-fetched.
- Most favourable comment came from guys who were conscripted in the war. These ex-troops remember the hardship and the danger. They also remember the difficulty of re-entering ‘normal’ society.
- One lady said she never knew men had such feelings (Ben, the Himba, Sakkie)
- Several readers queried the authenticity of the story – thinking it to be a factual account of real people and events.
The comments with overt racial and political overtones upset me, as it always does. Are we living in a world where ego is more important than getting on with the people we share Life with? Will we forever emphasise differences, ignoring the simple fact that we’ll only survive when we reach out to each other?
That we are a diverse society, is a fact. We don’t all think the same. We have cultural, religious, social differences…and that’s okay. But to become so self-centered that we absolutely refuse the sun to shine on others, is the beginning of xenophobia and even genocide.
That’s why Rolbos won’t buckle under the criticism of being tagged as ‘liberal’. These stories will continue to attempt to build bridges. Gertruida and company live in these fictional stories to remind us all how important communication is – in Life as well as in Love. The feeling in Boggel’s Place is that the world will only change once we insist on bringing kindness back in our words and actions.
So, to all those who felt uncomfortable with Ben &Co, I raise my hat. It means that you thought about the story – and not only browsed through it. As for the rest of the regular readers, those who ‘get’ what Rolbos is all about: come on in, Boggel is serving a round on the House as a big thank you for following the antics of his patrons. He just loves a good debate and actually said the critics are welcome to join, provided they do so with an open mind.
After all – without readers, Rolbos has no meaning, no message. Let’s keep the flag flying…