A few months ago, author William Gumede described Zuma as someone with a narcissistic personality disorder — a set of traits defined by Austrian psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut as “including an exaggerated sense of superiority, a lack of self-awareness about the impact of their behaviour and having a disdain for others, who they devalue to validate their own grandiosity”. These people lack empathy, have a distorted sense of reality and are incapable of seeing anything from anyone else’s perspective. Narcissists like Zuma, Gumede argues, can’t accept responsibility and don’t care if they take down entire countries with them. The events at Nkandla, sadly for Zuma, only reinforced that perspective.
Government press conferences, mining executives, and newspaper articles have now spent several days wringing hands over the “senseless” and “regrettable” and “preventable” loss of life, counseling that we should await the cataloguing of facts before rushing to judgment. Witness the new politics of grief. In the aftermath of state violence, it has become routine for those in power to greet such events with somber invocation of “tragedy” and sympathy for the families of the dead—rather than, of course, solidarity with the assassinated. Counterfeit mourning serves to deflect the demands for justice and accountability, as if a miners strike and police repression were natural disasters or vengeful acts of some incomprehensible god. It attempts to rob these deaths of any political meaning. – Jon Soske on “Marikana and the New Politics of GriefBACK TO TOP