If you received news that your most loathed enemy had just died, what would your reaction be? Would you rejoice or would guilt overcome you? What do you expect your foes to say about you when you die, the real truth or do you expect your death to bury the hatchet? (Excuse the pun!)
For many people, one of the unwritten laws of humanity demands that we do not speak ill of the dead. For the sake of our conscience and the family of the deceased, we reserve only good things to say, no matter what differences existed when the enemy was still alive.
It is because of this thinking that judgmental eyebrows have been raised in the last few days when news spread about the death of one of Johannesburg's most flamboyant and controversial millionaires; the Lamborghini-driving ladies’ man and strip club king, Lolly Jackson.
Lolly, also infamous for numerous brushes with the law, had as one of his many enemies, a business rival by the name of Andrew Phillips. As some mourners pour praises on Lolly and describe him as, “A legend, “ and “A big man with a big heart,” Phillips has been quoted by the Star newspaper as saying of Lolly:
"I detested the man. He was trash -- a bigot, racist, extortionist, megalomaniac. If there was a pie, he wanted the whole one. I won't pretend I'm shedding a tear. I think the world is better off. He was pollution, there was no other way to describe him. The air has been purified. He was a nasty guy."
These are hardly words of love or endearment but brutal and honest truth. Who then is the greater devil, Phillips for his harsh but candid opinion or that hypocrite who will deliver a glowing eulogy at Lolly’s graveside and shed crocodile tears, yet secretly echoing Phillips’ sentiments?
Asking around, I have been offered sound arguments for both sides. My personal feeling is that at least with Phillips, Lolly’s family and friends know where they stand with him, which cannot be said about the hypocrite who feigns sorrow. Any form of hatred between mankind is bad and cannot be condoned but unfortunately reality has it that such feuds will always exist. So whether we agree with Phillips’ stance or not, some people will harbour such thoughts and feelings. Making such a stance public however, requires a load of guts which not many can claim to have.