Saul talks about how he feels a bit like a German “living in a town near a concentration camp“. I’m not sure this is the best analogy because this isn’t exactly xenophobia supported by the State (at least not actively) but I understand the sentiment. As I pointed out in my previous post, this is more like the recent violence in Kenya or the horrors of Rwanda as a result of widespread genocide. Ever the optimist, Nic took issue with Saul’s general statement that he is ashamed to be South African and instead talked about how uplifting it is to see the show of support for our new refugees and how he sees himself as part of a solution, not the problem:
I am not going to say that due to one single event (the xenophobic attacks) that is happening now that I am ashamed of my heritage, my culture and my fellow South Africans. I am not. I am uplifted. I am uplifted by the number of people talking, disagreeing and loudly rebelling against this sort of action. A small faction of savages are destroying people’s lives and we must all feel as if we are part of it? Rubbish. I am not a part of that, I never was and never will be. I am a part of the solution to it. I am a part of the growth in people’s consciousness that allows them to step back and say no to this sort of human rights violation.
Great sentiment and I am really glad we have people like Nic to make these statements. As good as it is to hear that, it also glosses over a growing phenomenon we are perhaps not seeing. We are like lobsters being boiled. I am not sure if this is how lobsters are actually cooked but I was once told that you don’t toss live lobsters into boiling water (customers apparently don’t like to hear their food screaming as it dies), you place them in cool water and slowly heat it. Before they realise something is up their goose is cooked, so to speak.
A big challenge South Africa faces is being slowly brought to a boil at which point things fall apart. We have idiot ministers who can’t accept that we have an HIV/AIDS pandemic in this country that needs serious attention, not gardening tips alone. Our infrastructure is under severe pressure because of short-sighted and wholly inadequate planning. Service delivery is lousy. Our government seems incapable of tackling tyrants and instead offers its support of these vile regimes and now we are forced to watch as these mobs roam the streets with weapons, attacking and even killing anyone who might be a foreigner. Justin makes a very passionate point that reflects many people’s views, my own included:
Last week my domestic worker fell victim to these attackers as she and her two daughters, all South African, were kicked out of their house, electricity cut and left in the streets until 2am in the morning. She said that two blocks up from her two people had allegedly been killed for being suspected foreigners living in the area. She also made it very clear that the attackers don’t care what nationality you are, all they care about is creating anarchy.
It is clear that what has started as an attack on foreigners is now just an attack on our freedom because these savages just want to inflict pain and fear into the hearts of all the residents of this country.
I have a very real problem with victims standing up for their rights and in turn becoming the oppressor, all the while doing as much damage as your oppressor has inflicted on you. What good is it setting a man on fire, raping women, or beating someone within an inch of his/her life? Does this actually solve anything, are you really addressing the problem?
I’m about fed up with the state of this nation as are a lot of other people. White, Black, Indian, Coloured, whatever – we all want to see a change and feel safe and secure in our country.
I’ve also had enough of this disrespect for the value of life. Senseless killing is an everyday occurrence in this country and it has to stop. As a parent I am responsible for safe-guarding my wife and two children yet how is this possible when a large chunk of our nation lacks the basic moral fibre for life?
We don’t just have one issue to contend with in this country. It isn’t just a ” small faction of savages … destroying people’s lives”. The water is getting hotter and we’re sniping from the sidelines about the inequity of it all. Where is the real force for change? Sure a couple bloggers and a few hundred people spreading word of a march is a powerful start but where is the follow through? Will the masses mobilise against this violence, our corrupt and inept government and bring about real change in next year’s elections? Sure, the newly constituted ANC leadership is making noises about being less tolerant about that dictator up north and even profiteering in the name of BEE but will we actually see real change in a year when we go to the polls again or will we see an even more racially divided country with less tolerance for little things like freedom of expression, socio-economic rights (you know, to stuff like clean water and perhaps even electricity) that is a long way away from the miracle we all hoped would come to pass when we listened to then President Nelson Mandela give his historic speech in 1994? What ever happened to that spirit of Ubuntu anyway? Anyone remember where they put it?