Attacks and Insults on President Zuma
The SACP is outraged at the insulting, disrespectful, and frankly, disgusting, and sadistic so-called portrait of President Zuma by Brett Murray. This constitutes a grave insult not only to the person and dignity of the President, but an insult to all black South Africans and all other decent South Africans. This portrait is deeply offensive and an extreme act of provocation to the overwhelming majority of our people. To us Brett Murray has simply crossed the line.
The SACP equally condemns all those who defend this offensive portrait as part of freedom of expression. Freedom of expression has never meant freedom to insult and harm the dignity of another person. This kind of defense is a further insult to the millions of South Africans who fought for this freedom, with some sacrificing their own lives.
This kind of portrait shows the extent to which a section of South Africans do not respect the office of the President, the person of President Zuma, and the millions of black and other South Africans who take offence at this.
The SACP wishes to state it categorically that we did not fight for our freedom so that it can be abused by closet racists and all other reactionaries in the name of freedom of expression. Our principled commitment to building a united, non-racial society must never be taken for a sign of weakness. It seems as if the generosity of millions of our people is being taken for granted by elements that do not care a bit about the future of our country.
As a country we have come a long way to build social cohesion, peace and stability in our country. Such reckless and careless works of so-called 'art' are simply divisive and run the danger of undoing a lot of what we have done.
The SACP is deeply incensed by these developments. We defend the freedom of speech and free artistic expression but this portrait is simply not part of such. Artistic freedom and expression has to safeguard the dignity of individuals and nothing is more sacrosanct than dignity of individuals. The use of the ANC logo in the portrait is even more disgusting.
The SACP joins the call by the ANC, COSATU and all other decent South Africans that this portrait be immediately withdrawn and for Brett Murray to apologize for the offense this has caused to millions of South Africans.
Statement issued by the SACP, May 20 2012
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