A huge victory for South Africa’s far-right

Steve Russell’s post linked to the SPLC’s The dangerous myth of ‘white genocide’ in South Africa. I’m more wary of the SPLC than I used to be, in the wake of their terrible mistake about Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but this stuff is in their wheelhouse.

On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted that he was instructing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to look into “the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers.”

This is a huge victory for South Africa’s far-right, which has been lobbying foreign governments intensively over the past year. So far, they have managed to find a few sympathetic legislators in Western countries, but Trump is the first head of state to make such overtures.

The president’s statement is troubling because it signifies the mainstreaming of white nationalist narratives about “white genocide,” of which South Africa’s farm murders are an essential component.

Collaborations between the racist “alt-right” and their South African counterparts have ramped up. In the last year, YouTuber Stefan Molyneux has done a series of videos warning of collapse and imminent civil war in which he interviewed some of the most prominent names on South Africa’s far-right, including Simon Roche of the rightwing prepper group Suidlanders. In June, Lauren Southern released a slick documentary called Farmlands starring Roche.

As it inches closer to the mainstream, the narrative about “white genocide” in South Africa grows more sophisticated. Through their partnership with mature Afrikaner organizations, America’s white nationalist groups gain a host of misleading factoids and talking points that can be dangerously persuasive in the “fake news” era.

They explain that some of the victims of farm murders are non-white, in fact mostly black farmhands.

But even if all the victims were white, that still comes out to 72 murders annually in a country that averages nearly 50 murders per day. Outside of farms, the overwhelming majority of South Africa’s murder victims are non-white. On a pie chart of total murders, the slice representing the killings of white farmers would look like the second hand of a clock.

Contrary to sensational reports of escalating violence against white farmers, the long-term trend shows decline. Farm murders peaked at 153 in 1998, one year after the government declared them to be a “priority crime” and convened a series of task forces to address the issue.

Any number of murders is too many, but focusing on one tiny fraction of murders is probably done for a reason, not always a benign one.

Read on.

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