J van Zyl, Gordon’s Bay

Reading P Fourie’s letter “Tertiary education” (Bolander March 16), I thought to myself that the tertiary education turbulence that he speaks of is so like the general turbulence occurring daily all over our country. I find I cannot separate the two.

It is inevitable that these general, ongoing disturbances are being watched by the world. I wonder if our government is intensely and acutely aware that the world is taking a very dim and unsympathetic view of these happenings, and that we are sending the message (and also confirming that message day by day) that it is not economically wise to invest in this country.

I would like to think that common sense must dictate to the government what it should do: they must see to it that a different message is sent to the world.

But in order to do that, they must first quell the turbulence.

And to quell the protests, the uprisings, the violence, the burnings, the looting, the vandalism and the corruption, the message that must be clearly and loudly proclaimed to the people, is simply: “Stop that.

“We recognise that you have legitimate concerns, but you are undermining your own country’s future in the eyes of the world, and your own, by constantly going on the rampage.

“You want short-term advantages now, but you don’t see the long-term hardships that lie in wait if you continue on this path.”

I don’t hear this admonishment being sent out by government. I don’t hear government saying that if you carry on striking, you are making it very hard for your employers to keep you all in their employ, and that they are having to consider laying off many workers.

I see on television that this is Human Rights month.

In an advertisement I see big words on banners: Rights, Freedom, Equality.

What are people made to understand by all this? I feel that to aggressively clamour “rights” all the time is to say “I have rights; I claim my rights; I want them all and I want them now.”

To claim “freedom” you should also have regard for the freedom of others. In respect of “equality” I feel it makes more sense that we should rather embrace harmony in diversity.

This is the more sensible message, but I don’t hear the government making a fuss about responsibility, respect and harmony.

I truly believe that the government can stop the downward moral and economic path our country is taking at the moment.

That is what is so tragic. The people are suffering unnecessarily. We are going down the drain now, but it can be turned around.

The government can do it by adopting the appropriate political will, and then to implement commonsense measures.

One of those measures is to educate the people, earnestly, loudly, insistingly. Proclaim the message of responsibility, tolerance and respect. And love, and honour, and dignity. To be law-abiding.

To put in an honest day’s work, every day. It is also imperative government show by example. This is the way.