Great man, bad man, dead man

2:40 PM / Posted by Daniel C /

Denis Beckett’s piece on Eugene Terre Blanche has expanded on the life of the late AWB leader, who was murdered on April 3 2010. His legacy as a Nazi-style oppressor of the black people is well documented and rumors of his cruelty and inhumanity run rife. It is in this context that the article comes across as unique and insightful. Like the author I am by no means condoning any of Terre Blanche’s actions and beliefs, but I feel that the opportunity to get a first-hand account of how he justifies himself is valuable and interesting. Beckett presents us with an outline of the Terre Blanche mind, and it is a pity that we cannot pull from the article a more in-depth analysis of how Terre Blanche viewed his ideologies. We can however gain a distinct sense of the power Terre Blanche exerted through his words. He comes across as a well-versed and articulate man; able to persuade many people into thinking his views are justified and morally viable.

In light of his death, Beckett’s article brings an element of understanding as to how Terre Blanche came to be such a powerful man. I feel he can indeed be likened to historical tyrants such as Hitler. His morals and common sense are unique in that what he believes cannot in any sane world be justified, yet he has the ability to use words as his weapon.

The article questions much when looking at Terre Blanche in a more objective manner. What if he was not so obsessed with his delusional ideas of segregation and white superiority? He could have brought something of true value to this world. He obviously had a powerful mind, but like Lord Acton says, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

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Comment by Terri on April 21, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Nice review. I also wish the article revealed a little more about Terre Blanche as a person. It seems that he was genuinely convinced that he was doing the country a favour. This level of delusion, wether genuine or not, makes it difficult for me to condemn the man absolutely. But, as Beckett outlines, Terre Blanche was an excellent orator, and could easily have led anyone to believe that his policies came from a place of genuine warmth and the will to help others.

Comment by michal on April 21, 2010 at 3:44 PM

This is a very good review. I really liked your concluding quote - I think it is a very valuable lesson that we need to all take note of. I also agree that we needed to know more about the man himself, although the articel left me with the impression that my suspicions and impressions of the man were indeed warranted.

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