I was well on the way to completing today's blog, with Radio 4 gently murmuring in the background. When the volume on the radio seems to increase involuntarily, and a name was shouted out at me. A name I quite honestly thought I would never hear again. It caused a bit of jolt in my chest. That name was Eugene De Kock. For those of you who don't know, Eugene De Kock was South Africa Apartheid's henchman. There Assassin. He confessed to litany of murders and tortures committed in the 80s and 90s, and was subsequently sentenced to 2 life terms in 1996. My girlfriend at the time and I raise a glass that evening in memory of all the poor souls who lost their lives at the hands of the man nicknamed "Prime Evil". Today Eugene de Kock was paroled, and I felt angry. I knew instantly that these feelings in me were wrong. More rationality was needed here. I decided to rewrite today's blog. My go to gemstone in situations like this is dalmatian Jasper, and I have a piece of my hand right now.
Dalmatian Jasper, also known as dalmatian stone, is found primarily in Mexico. It's name is derived for obvious reasons. It has a creamy coloured quartz base, with black and brown spots of tourmaline. This fact means that dalmatian Jasper isn't a Jasper at all, as Jasper is of the chalcedony mineral type.
Dalmatian Jasper is a gemstone that allows one to stay calm, rationalise and let go of old thought patterns. It has the ability to dispel feelings of extreme anger. It has an energy that encourages one to believe that it's OK to be happy, and to move forward with your life in a positive manner. Regardless of the situation that may be holding one back.
Today in South Africa many victims and families of victims are having to come to terms with Eugene De Kock's release from prison. I wish I had a dalmatian Jasper for each of them. In saying that there are many who wouldn't need the gemstone.
Sandra Mama, widow of Glenack Mama who was killed by De Kock in 1992, said she thought the minister was right in granting parole.
"I think it will actually close a chapter in our history because we've come a long way and I think his release will just once again help with the reconciliation process because there's still a lot of things that we need to do as a country," she told the BBC.
A true lesson in rational and forgiveness. If she can let go, then I certainly can.