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It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new year, and I’m feeling good (kind-of).



There’s always an element of hope that comes with new beginnings, and I’m additionally hopeful that this Rosh Hashanah won’t just herald incremental change for South Africa and beyond, but can be used more as a springboard to a much better space and place for humanity.

It’s a well-known fact that the British and other nations who followed managed to conquer and colonise the globe (much like the Romans did well before that) by applying a simple and brutally powerful strategy – divide and rule.

It’s accurately described as “the policy of maintaining control over one’s subordinates or opponents by encouraging dissent between them from uniting in opposition”. This is the great trick that has been played on planet earth, sadly, over millennia. However, with the level of connection and education in the world today, there is the possibility of an awakening. A new awareness can inspire everyday people, the eight billion of us, to actively reject the constructed strategies put in place to divide us – and for those who truly don’t wish the world well, to be vanquished.

The greatest dividers of “man” are race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. As my wise grandfather, Phillip Perl, would have said “a dislike of the unlike”. I have a close friend who won’t touch pork, he was circumcised as a baby, his uncle died the other day, and was buried within 24 hours in a shroud, and Abraham is the founding father of his religion. When he prays, he ends it with “Ameen”. He’s Muslim.

There is a fundamental human truth here. There is far more that unites us than that which divides, but the “divide and rule” strategy focuses exclusively on those tiny things that could be used to separate us. There’s always gain in it for someone, but never for broader society or humanity.

The Church decided, more than 100 years after the Romans crucified Jesus, that they would shift the blame to the Jews for his murder. Then, 1 500 years later, the Catholic Church attempted to repudiate that slur through the catechism produced by the Council of Trent, in which blame for this deicide was to pass back to all humanity, not just the Jews. But this “forgiveness” was rejected by most at the time, and even today, because it didn’t suit their heinous agenda.

To blame the Jews for murdering Christ is akin to the apartheid National Party blaming the African National Congress for the murder of Steve Biko. It’s utterly preposterous, and defies all logic. The Jews were ruled with an iron fist as second-class citizens by the Romans. The Romans punished and murdered those who threatened their absolute sovereignty through crucifixion. Jesus was crucified. And yet, when the New Testament was written 120 years after Jesus, someone had a good enough memory – 4 generations later – to peg the murder on the Jews, who allegedly, as slaves, instructed their masters, the Romans, to do their bidding. That’s why, in 1982, I had an apple thrown at my head at my Anglican school, “because I murdered Christ”.

It’s a curious, tragic, and accurate observation, as we explore the mind-crushing stupidity of “man” in falling for the “divide and rule” strategy, to think that although anyone who had a Jewish parent or grandparent was sent to the gas chambers of Auschwitz and five other large extermination camps for this religious lineage, it escaped the millions of murderers (and all those who conspired and supported this genocide) that the man on the cross in their very churches was a Jew himself, as most certainly was his mother, Mary, a Galilean Jewess and the wife of the equally Jewish Joseph. Yet, people were so blinded by a combination of hate and avarice (being the legal permission to steal everything their Jewish friends and neighbours owned) that they willingly went with this convenient lie amplified by a lunatic failed art student and his fellow psychopaths in the Nazi party.

It was no different in Rwanda in 1994 with the Hutus and Tutsis – where 800 000 Tutsis were murdered by their former friends and neighbours because they were brainwashed into suddenly believing they were “cockroaches”. Or the Bosnians murdering 8 000 of their Muslim men and boys in 1995.

You see, I raise these things because it’s not ancient history. It’s here and very much a current reality. Not that COVID-19 sees any real difference between any of us. Nor cancer, tobacco, addiction, or any other affliction. It’s all man-made, to drive a senseless wedge between us for power and money. There are more guns in America today than there are people, in arguably the world’s greatest democracy. Just think about that for a moment. There also happens to be a lot of money and power in guns, weapons, and warfare.

We are in an age where vice is often wrapped up as virtue. Where the United Nations Human Rights Council and even Human Rights Watch, under inveterate antisemite Ken Roth’s “leadership”, will pass tens of resolutions against a tiny speck of a land, Israel, (the only Jewish country in the world as it happens) with almost no evident concern for a single human-rights violation in that bastion of human rights, the Middle East.

The small matter that Israel is fighting an existential war against Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, which openly claim that they don’t want a two-state solution but rather the annihilation of the entire country and all her people, has somehow escaped them.

So, why am I hopeful?

Because I believe that there’s a profound opportunity today to unlearn the nonsensical and idiotic prejudices that have been programmed into us by shifting focus from those tiny differences, which are tragically used to divide us, to the overwhelming and beautiful things that unite us. Family, friendship, values, hopes, dreams, health, the environment, and everything else that builds the concept of humanity. What we believe about others is simply a reflection of who we are, not who they are. If COVID-19 has taught us one thing, it’s that we are one people. And that together, we will either triumph or fail.

I wish you all a shana tova, a happy new year. Let the apple we dip in honey be the apple that represents a whole and full year, not the apple that the snake gave to Eve. Let the sweet honey remind us of our common humanity. Let’s open our eyes to the obvious and put love, kindness, and humanity ahead of any hate and constructed separation. Let’s move from “divide and rule” to #UniteAndCool.

Copyright: Mike Abel

  • Mike Abel is a founder of M&C Saatchi Abel and M&C Saatchi Group South Africa. He has worked for three of the world’s great advertising agencies, and is one of the most prominent ad-men in South Africa.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Stanley Ginsburg

    Sep 2, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    beautiful, thoughtful and well-constructed message. thanx, mike!

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