Thursday, 2 February 2012

Secrecy Bull...

We often forget how fortunate we are to be living in a democratic society like South Africa. For years, our forefathers fought long and hard for our basic human rights such as equality, the freedom of speech and the rule of the people. So when our constitutional rights came under fire on Black Tuesday last year and were threatened by new legislation destined to be passed by the very same powers meant to serve and protect our best interests, a legislation that limits the very essence of democracy, one surely has to question the moral integrity of our nation's leaders?

The Secrecy Bill got me thinking about relationships and the secrets we keep from each other. A few years ago I found myself in a very awkward position when my best friend's boyfriend...let's call him David...asked me about a particular indiscretion he had suspected his girlfriend of having. Iman was notorious for her indiscretions at the time and while the information was considered "classified", the people who knew about the affair had chosen to turn a blind eye. I on the other hand felt compelled to tell David the truth about Iman having been in his shoes oh too many times before. To me it felt like "the right thing to do" and that it was his human right to know the truth. The good news is that David and Iman are still together after several acts of reconciliation. The bad news is that Iman and I were never the same again and nearly lost 15 years of friendship. I was sentenced to 365 days without friendship privileges and still find myself paying for my mistake. I did not understand. Did blowing the whistle on something as morally repugnant as infidelity give them the right to prosecute me the way they did? Since when did telling the truth become a crime? Were there limitations to freedom of speech or are there instances where we just need to look the other way and shut the fuck up?

If this is the direction that democracy is headed then I need to stock up on more black outfits. The truth is that we are all guilty of keeping secrets and no matter how big or how small, the art of secrecy involves a certain degree of lying which affects our moral conduct. Fallout is inevitable so unless you are able to come clean and accept responsibility for your actions, your relationship is doomed. Sadly, most of us find it easier to live a lie and will go to great lengths to protect our own skin. It is, after all, only illegal if you get caught.

In a society where majority rules, I couldn't help but wonder, was there a Secrecy Bill for relationships on the way?

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