About Me

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I saw active service in conventional, clandestine and covert units of the South African Defence Force. I was the founder of the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes in 1989 and its chairman until I left in 1997. Until its closure in 1998, EO operated primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West and were facing threats from insurgencies, terrorism and organised crime. EO also operated in South America and the Far East. I believe that only Africans (Black and White) can truly solve Africa’s problems. I was appointed Chairman of STTEP International in 2009 and also lecture at military colleges and universities in Africa on defence, intelligence and security issues. Prior to the STTEP International appointment, I served as an independent politico-military advisor to several African governments. Until recently, I was a contributing editor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. All comments in line with the topics on this blog are welcome. As I consider this to be a serious look at military and security matters, foul language and political or religious debates will not be entertained on this blog.

Monday, April 23, 2018

FANNING THE FLAMES OF CONFLICT


It is very evident that there are people—and civil leaders—from across the political spectrum that are intent on ensuring that divisive politics, crime, militancy, and racial and religious tensions are fuelled, and anger and dissent encouraged. Social media platforms and some mainstream media outlets are increasingly being abused, used, and exploited, to convey disinformation, lies, and hate speech.
Social media abounds with official looking documents, along with dated photographs and video clips (often ‘posed’), sometimes accompanied by voice notes, and is being used by opposites across the political spectrum to further the aims, agendas, intentions, and false narratives of those who are sowing the seeds of panic and calling for an armed uprising in South Africa.
Perhaps they believe that our country would be better off if it ended up looking like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, or Yemen?  Perhaps they ought to read the story of agent ‘Curveball’ and how his disinformation, lies, and fake intelligence resulted mass damage, death, and destruction in Iraq? Elsewhere, the story is much the same…Is this the ends they are working for?
Many of those who continue to call for confrontation, conflict, and war, probably have very little to no clue what an armed uprising and civil war truly involves. ‘Opinion makers’ should desist from hoping and wishing for conflict and civil war—they might just discover too late that their hopes and wishes have become reality as every action has an (often unequal) opposite reaction: this calls for thinking before speaking or writing.
People should be wary who they accept their ‘news’ from. Blind acceptance of what we hear or read makes us mere sheep in the eyes of those driving the destructive agendas and narratives.
Even more surprisingly is that some people believe that some ‘foreign ally’ will rush in to save the country when it is burning. It is time to seriously readjust that thinking as it is both foolish and delusionary—especially as some of these ‘foreign allies’ are aiding and abetting the growth of conflict in our country.
It is perfectly understandable that not all of us share the same political, racial, or religious ideals, or view life through the same prism. We all have our own unique views regarding ethnicity, language, race, religion, politics, and so forth—after all, that is what makes us who we are.
To merely watch and wring one’s hands, and allow the problems to take their (usually) criminal and destructive course is to transform evil and hooliganism into a ‘legitimate’ worse. It is equally irresponsible and criminal to fuel the flames of these lies, and feed the destructive narrative.
Taking up arms may be one way of resolving the many problems we face but it is the most devastating option of all—and many of us have witnessed first-hand the devastation this brings. But, there are other options available—if only we are willing to look for them.
Many mainstream and armchair journalists seldom disseminate ‘real news’. Instead, they create lies or ‘fake news’ to create negativism, demoralise people, fuel anger and hatred, and impart (or rather try to force) their warped opinions, views, and beliefs on others. After all, they need to protect the narrative they propagate.
Many others swallow these deceptions and lies, and pass it on to anyone who is willing to read or listen to them—after adding their own spin, opinions and views to increase the fakeness under the guise of ‘truth’.
Fanning the flames of conflict and war by blaming everyone else for our woes, and blaming the past for our present failures, is nothing short of refusing to take responsibility for our current position.
It is said that when lies become the truth, there can be no turning back.
We only have one country and we all have a responsibility to ensure that we do not go down the path of conflict and war.
I would rather be part of an imperfect solution than part of the massive and destructive problem—where there will be no winner.

7 comments:

Herbert said...

Eeben,

You have my respect for your view and outlook. I do not disagree with anything you say in your post. Fake news and disinformation play inflated roles; the horrors of conflict don't receive their due until it is too late. I had personal experience with "Curveball" and his product--you are on target.

Your country is your native domain, not mine. You know it best. My sole responsive point to your post is that, regarding conflict, often one is not offered the right of refusal.

Best regards,
Herbert

African Military Blog said...

According to the UN Secretary General, Africa is heading in the direction of 'peace.' How true is that?
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All this gives us hope that the African continent will be moving more and more in the right direction in peace and security...

https://www.africanmilitaryblog.com/2018/07/africa-heading-in-the-direction-of-peace-un-secretary-general

African Military Blog said...

Sir, how do we contact you? I have a preposition which i believe you'll be very interested in.

Here's my email sir, Africanmilitaryblog@gmail.com

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks, I will mail you.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I am not as optimistic as the UN Sec Gen.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I agree Herbert. Sometimes, governments that do not accept their fate and replaced with ones that will.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your message Dave.
I am pleased that you got your place sorted! Be well.
Rgds,
Eeben