Speech Slavery and the Misery of Vicki Momberg

Recent congressional testimony regarding Facebook's politically driven exclusionary tactics delineated Silicon Valley's hard-left predilections, but the exposition was a mere foot-candle's worth of illumination in a constellation of threats to the realm of free thought, speech, and expression.

Examples make for a loaded itinerary, but why not start at the bottom – literally?  In this instance, the bottom is South Africa, where, in the week leading into Passover and Easter, a 48-year-old former real estate agent from Durban, Vicki Momberg, was singled out for a type of putative justice befitting any Soviet-era kangaroo court designed for condemnation of anyone whose words and thoughts are dissonant with the state's diktats.

Her ordeal is a siren's-wail warning of how the left's political correctness shaming strategy can be converted into a cudgel for clobbering any soul whose expressions contravene what national agents deem acceptable.

On Feb. 3, 2016, Momberg was stopped near a Johannesburg shopping center when unidentified black men robbed her of belongings in what's known as a "smash-and-grab": busting a car window and snatching whatever's in sight while the helpless motorist recoils in fear.  For female drivers, the terror is undoubtedly compounded by the realization that South Africa is the rape capital of the world.

In the ensuing half-hour, Momberg reportedly called the police several times to summon help.  When she finally flagged down a patrol car, the first constable she encountered was a black man.  She refused to speak with him, and when his white colleague stepped in, Momberg vented her spleen.

The encounter was captured on video.

The sine qua non of the curbside caterwauler, Momberg submits that she dislikes South African blacks, believes they're "arrogant" and incompetent, and wants nothing to do with them generally.  But her cardinal sin?  As the statist S.A. media ballyhooed, she used the word "kaffir" 48 times.  Kaffir, an Arabic term that means "disbeliever," was assimilated into the Afrikaans language to have a derogatory connotation comparable to the "N"-word in the United States.

The constable at whom Momberg leveled her criticism that night sued for racial abuse and was awarded nearly $10,000.  But that was just a warm-up pitch compared to the S.A. government's big swing for lex in terrorem.  She was prosecuted for violating a pop-up variety piece of lawfare that falls under the heading crimen injuria.  As Boer scholar Dan Roodt observed, the charge gives the communist African National Congress – S.A.'s ruling party – wide latitude to "persecute whites suspected of a 'racist' attitude."

Momberg received a bench verdict from a magistrate of Indian descent, who imposed a three-year prison sentence, castigating the defendant for treating the black officer indignantly.

Momberg is serving her term in Soweto's notorious "Sun City" prison, teeming with what Roodt described as appalling third-world conditions and violence.

AfriForum attorney Ernst Roets opined in a March 28 tweet that the "sentence imposed on Vicki Momberg confirms double standards in South Africa regarding race."  Boer citizen-journalist Willem Petzer was epigrammatic in a tweet on the same point: "That was the death of the last crumbles of free speech left in South Africa."

Momberg was undeniably out of line.  But turning a crime victim's histrionics – however racially tinged – into a penological excoriation to stress the need for sterilization of certain offensive language is malicious.

By comparison, in the U.S., Momberg might have faced charges of disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct – misdemeanors with fines.  But even those allegations could have been blunted, given the 1974 Supreme Court case Lewis v. City of New Orleans, in which "opprobrious language" used against police officers was generally recognized as protected speech.

The iron-fisted punishment meted out to Momberg epitomizes South Africa's deep dive into state-enforced political correctness.  She is a de facto political prisoner in the post-Apartheid "rainbow nation" that touts the benefits of "diversity" in its constitution, when in fact diversity counts only if you are not a member of S.A.'s second largest minority: whites, principally Boers, whose roots stretch to the very founding of the nation.  They've arguably been reserved unequal treatment because they are considered political undesirables.  Independent.  Religious.  Conservative.  The fact they're white is convenient to the churlish political heavyweights ever seeking easy targets (and diversions).

Examples of the "double standards" of which Roets spoke are innumerable.  Here are a few that have cemented many white South Africans' perception of existing in a state of hellish suzerainty, minus any benefit of self-determination:

Luvuyo Menziwa, a black University of Pretoria student, posted a Facebook message stating, "F--- white people.  Just get me a bazooka or AK-47 so I can do the right thing and kill these demon possessed people."  He was prosecuted on grounds similar to Momberg – and received a court admonition to apologize, as well as perform community service.
– In March, 80-year-old clergyman Braam Van Wyk of Randpark Ridge was set upon by several black home invasion robbers, who bound the senior's hands and severely pummeled him.  A South African National Defense Force major, M.V. Mohlala, posted to social media that Van Wyk's assailants "should actually have poked out his eyes and tongue so that the last people he ever see, were the killers, and he could go to his grave with the nightmare."  Mohlala was ordered by his superiors to apologize, with no other known repercussions.
– Julius Malema, leader of the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters, has led supporters in public chants and songs – complete with dancing and pistol-firing hand gestures – that urge, "Kill the Boer, kill the farmer."  He's also on record vilifying whites as "criminals [who] must be treated as such" and proclaiming the need for "cutting the throat of whiteness."  These acts have been committed with virtual impunity.

South Africa's brand of political correctness is a one-sided shackling mechanism, or what Ronald Reagan always saw in Marxism-Leninism – "primitive as tribal rule."

Arbitrarily policing speech is intrinsically linked to the institutionalization of anti-Boer, or anti-Afrikaner (in essence, anti-white), sentiment that has triggered indescribably wanton farm murders – considered to be an escalator to genocide – targeting the Boer population.

Speech is at the front end of the U.S. Bill of Rights for good reason.  But the bulwark is under siege and depends on upright judicial interpretation.  Without that, we will mirror Europe, which bears all the hallmarks of a graveyard spiral into statist speech suppression and thought control, mainly in the interest of bolstering Islamic stratification.  Britain's 2003 Communications Act is illustrative.  Germany's more recent Net Enforcement Law as well.  Other reality checks abound.

Diamond & Silk's lockout by Facebook was reflective of anti-conservative truncation in the U.S.  But it was a mere surface wrinkle in the wider scheme.

Speaking at Hillsdale College's 2016 commencement, Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas exhorted graduates to be ever vigilant in a "world gone mad with political correctness."

In America, as Dennis Prager recently posited, "people whisper that they are conservative," akin to dissidents fearful of being found out.

Where does it end?

To know the level of derangement that militant P.C. enforcement can effect, look to South Africa, and remember Vicki Momberg.

Image: Grey World via Flickr.

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