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Our own worst enemy

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The enemy of your enemy is hardly ever your friend

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South Africa still carries the physical, emotional and social scars from “third force” tactics used during the apartheid era and they aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

Many of the wounds that were inflicted by clandestine hands of disruption and destruction have healed over time but many more have been left to fester.

Defined as “a political group or party acting as a check on conflict between two extreme or opposing groups,” a third force, at best, sounds like a noble moderator, promoting unity and maintaining order.

At worst, it sounds like a necessary evil, playing the part of scapegoat by giving sworn enemies something to agree upon, albeit shared contempt.

After all, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Right?

Well, wrong. In this instance, at least.

The enemy of your enemy is hardly ever your friend.

If you despise someone, it does not necessarily mean that your nemesis supports them. That unlikeable someone may very well just be universally despicable and with good reason.

That disgusting someone may be the type who likes to divide and conquer. The type who cashes in from chaos.

They could be the sort who know there is no profit in peace and know that if you are in the business of selling marshmallows, it is best to fuel as many fires from as many sides as possible.

The enemy of your enemy may very well be the type who exploits the vulnerable for selfish gain, disregarding the needs of others as long as it is in their best interest.

They could be the type who orchestrate atrocities, throwing the first stone from one end, then opening fire from the other, before disappearing, only to return, in an official capacity, to tally the bodies and investigate the cause of the tragedy.

In this scenario, if the enemy of your enemy is your friend, you are truly the universal enemy.

As human beings, we have more in common with each other than differences, but it is the distinguishing characteristics that tend to get the bulk of the attention.

The similarities are usually disregarded, considered boring, a foregone conclusion, and if you need to give them too much thought, or even question them too often, you might belong to a different species.

It is the little things that matter as, in a world where it is survival of the fittest, it is the little things that separate you from the pack and place you ahead of the curve.

To prosper, you need to be faster, bigger, stronger, smarter and if you can’t, then at least be first. Otherwise, the early bird is going to get the worm.

If you are going to set yourself apart then do it by being better and remember, different is not better. It’s just different.

Opinions differ and while opinions can be either less or more informed, one can never be better than another. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be an opinion but a fact.

Sadly, the line between opinion and fact has become blurred and irrelevant has become relevant.

Clandestine hands are able to be at their most disruptive and destructive when they are left to operate in the shadows.

When we allow gender, race and religion to determine good or bad and faith to overshadow facts, we have already become our own worst enemy.