My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
Against the narrative of the police using force only as a last resort, however, a growing body of evidence suggests that rather than being an act of self-defence, the killings were part of a premeditated plan to stop the strike. Interviews with miners point to the police using barbed wire to ‘kettle’ the strikers, who were then hunted down and shot as they attempted to escape from police gunfire and teargas, while wounded survivors were run over by armoured vehicles. Additionally, allegations have emerged which suggest that the autopsies of the dead prove that most were killed while fleeing. There is also recent evidence, found by The Daily Maverick, that 14 of the miners may have been murdered by police 300 metres away from the main site of the clashes at close range and with little sign of struggle. Furthermore, evidence of systematic police torture against detained strikers in the last week hardly portrays the SAPS as an institution which only uses violence as a last resort. – Christopher McMichael at Think Africa PressBACK TO TOP