Return of the Daxk

Daxk is back with a belter of a comment that sums up many SA expat’s feelings perfectly. Perhaps.

Aaah yes,6K,I really dont understand what the fuss is about,its been going on for about a week and they’ve only killed about 25,going back to the famous Crime Blog post,and the normal 50 murdered per day on average,its hardly going to make a blip on the figures,is’nt it?
Besides, the police services have been saying for years that its the illegal Mocambican and Zimbabwean immigrants who are responsible for the Hi-Jackings and armed home invasions, not to mention the daily cash in transit robberies.
will be interesting to see wether there has been a decrease over this period.
Hate to say it,but its only been noticed because its all on Camera.
Ho Hum! Another day in Paradise.

When responding to something like this, I often find it difficult to know where to start. Then I remember Maria’s advice – “Start at the very beginning – a very good place to start”.
So maybe we should start with the fact that Daxk is right in the thick of the action, in Ireland. And no – that’s not the name of a township just outside Jo’burg, it’s the place 11,000kms away where they make Guinness and film the pisspoor Ballykissangel.

Moving on from that shock revelation, I’m assuming that the “famous Crime Blog post” Daxk refers to is the BSACP, which was voted as the second best post written on any South African blog in the whole of 2007. (Just behind one about buying condoms, but that’s not important right now.) Daxk doesn’t agree with the sentiment of that post, despite the fact that it quite clearly states:

South Africa has a big problem with crime… The stats show that South Africa remains one of the most violent societies on earth – the figures are shocking.

I don’t know. Maybe I should have made it a bit more melodramatic.

Daxk goes on to say that because the murder rate in South Africa is so high, we shouldn’t really be bothered about this minor problem – “they’ve only killed about 25”. Perhaps Daxk would call that attitude “desensitization”. Most others would choose “cold”, “unfeeling” or “callous”. 

And then, the pièce de résistance – the affirmation that illegal immigrants (those from Mozambique and Zimbabwe, anyway) are responsible for armed home invasions, hijackings and cash-in-transit robberies – and a suggestion that because of the xenophobic violence against foreign nationals, the numbers of these crimes may have decreased over the last week. This would be laughable, if it wasn’t quite so inaccurate, irrelevant and downright sick.
The mobs roaming informal settlements in Gauteng at the moment are targeting anyone suspected of being foreign – legal, illegal, men, women, children. Several deaths have been South African nationals who were mistaken for foreign nationals. The excellent Special Assignment on SABC3 devoted their whole show to the issue yesterday evening – including interviews with the families of the victims of the gangs’ “mistakes”, something you may have seen if you weren’t in Ireland. Instead you rely on iol, news24 and Tannie Brenda for your third hand information.

The figures suggest that there are somewhere between 3-5 million immigrants in SA. (Incidentally, I think that the breadth of those numbers quite clearly indicates the huge problem with border control in SA.) And yes, crime is high in South Africa, but the suggestion that around 1,000 of those immigrants being displaced, many of them women and children (60+ injured, 23 dead as of last night) would make a difference to the number of armed robberies is a bit of a stretch. A desperate one.

And yes. It’s all on camera. And, in some ways, thank goodness it is. This is not something that should be or can be brushed under the carpet. Just because the victims are immigrants, because some foreigners may be involved in crime, because “they’ve only killed 25” doesn’t make this situation any less of a crisis. 

Please note: anyone – Daxk included – is welcome to share their views by commenting on 6000 miles… provided they abide by the rules available here.

The Umshini Wam Plan

Further information is coming out of the townships where xenophobic violence has erupted – namely that those individuals perpetrating the attacks on foreign nationals and immigrants have allegedly been singing Jacob Zuma’s infamous Umshini wam “theme” song. Cue another ZumaRuma™.

Zuma is unimpressed:

He said he had heard that people attacked others while singing the song Umshini wam.
“That is a serious matter, for that song belongs to the ANC, it doesn’t belong to unknown people.
The question is, who are those people who are misleading the public by singing an ANC song when they’re doing the wrong thing?”

Who indeed? I’m certainly confused. I could give you the shortlist* I’ve made up if you wish. Just ask.
But it’s brought a heap of somewhat unjustified criticism onto Zuma’s shoulders and has played right into the hands of his detractors.

Let’s get this perfectly clear and right out in the open – seriously – JZ is not personally responsible for the xenophobic attacks in Alexandra or anywhere else for that matter, is he?
Just because the person with the big stick is singing his song, that doesn’t mean that it’s actually him. If that were the case, I’d have been going around for the last 10 years wearing a wig and battering people while singing Sicky Dion’s My Heart Will Go On in a perfectly reasonable attempt to get her put away in a (preferably soundproof) (actually, preferably airproof too) cell.

It’s all getting a bit silly now. Stop trying to score cheap political points and sort this mess out.

Said shortlist does not contain the name of any fmous Holly wood actors. Or does it?

South Africa’s Xenophobic Attacks

We, more than many other nations, should know better. We should know better because we have just emerged from more than three centuries of the horror of settler colonialism and apartheid… This madness has to stop. There is simply no justification for attacking people simply because they are not South African nationals.

Editorial, City Press

 

But xenophobic violence continued today, especially in the townships around Johannesburg. The police (SAPS) who had previously warned of a growing undercurrent of xenophobic unrest have accused criminal elements of hijacking the issues which have caused these attacks and worsening the situation. And while the police responded to the trouble with rubber bullets and tear gas, they have regularly come under fire from live ammunition. 

Burning man 
Immigrant alight (BBC)

 Section 201 of South Africa’s Constitution allows for the army to be called in by the President to assist the SAPS: 

Only the President, as head of the national executive, may authorise the employment of the defence force ­… in co-operation with the police service; 

 I would suggest that the time for that decision has already passed. With every news bulletin, we are hearing of more problems, more casualties, more deaths. However, whether Mbeki will (for once?) act decisively in this situation remains to be seen.

 Now there is the distinct possibility that the situation will spread to other cities across SA, including Cape Town

About 30 Somali shopkeepers trading and living in Du Noon have received warning letters telling them to leave the area, fuelling fears that xenophobic attacks occurring in Johannesburg could spread to Cape Town.

It seems likely that this situation will certainly get worse before it gets better. In fact, listening to the news on the radio, it’s getting worse even as I write this. Once again, huge negative publicity for South Africa and huge issues for the 3-5 million (depending whose figures you believe) immigrants in this country at the moment. And what choice for the Zimbabwean immigrants particularly – starvation in their own country or the threat of violence in this new home.

I’m sorry. I don’t have any answers. Even deploying the army in these hotspots will only see the trouble move elsewhere and does nothing to cure the underlying issues which have led to this situation.
“Send them back where they came from” suggests to these people that violence is the answer. It surely isn’t.
And me? An immigrant here myself – “taking their jobs”.  I’m just glad that I am where I am and not facing what those less fortunate than me are facing right now.

More on this issue will surely follow over the next few days on here as the situation develops. Don’t miss out.

Inspiring

I am writing this with tears in my eyes.

I have just finished watching the sixth part of a documentary series on Mnet called Rocky Balboa.
It is the story of an aging homosexual boxer who, together with his partner Adrian, overcomes all odds to win a boxing match – a true triumph of courage over adversity.

Real life can be so inspiring. Hollywood could never write a story like this. No-one would believe it.

The rise and rise of 6000

 Time for an admin post, I think.

On the up!
Going up!

I’m well aware that 6000 miles…is not a particularly big hitter in the blogging world, but obviously I’m doing something right. Check out my feedburner stats. Slow and steady, with a brief dip in December last year when I was left marooned by Fasthosts, but definitely on the up.
I’m not a big fan of those who go out of their way to crow about their achievements all the time – there’s a time and place for that sort of thing: job interviews, mainly. And when you see impressive feedburner graphs, I think you should be allowed a little bit of showing off too. So I am. A bit.

And who are you to buck the trend? Click the little orange button: Click me for updates! and then you too can tell your grandchildren that you were one of the first 1,000 to subscribe. You’d just better be quick about it.   

In other admin matters, Entropy.za has disappeared and has been replaced in my “what I read” section by An Ordinary Life, fresh from the village of PE down the coast. Well done, Pammie: the competition was tough – the waiting list is pretty long and I refuse to have more than 10 links in my blogroll – any more would surely devalue my favourite sites. I’m also going to review those 10 more often. Any suggestions for new additions are more than welcome – who is number 2 on your blogroll (after me)?

Finally, I have added the CommentLuv plugin so that commenters who blog using wordpress (and a few others that have a suitable RSS feed) will get an automatic link to their last post at the end of each comment they make here. Make a comment and try it out.

Admin posts, hey? Dull as dishwater. But you’ve got to slot one in every now and again. Anyway, check out your RSS reader for the next update on 6000 miles…, which will definitely be far more exciting*.

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