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*.

terms and conditions apply. Additional fees may be charged outside the Republic of South Africa. Danger, Will Robinson!
 

Musical matters

Thanks to the wife Skypeing friends in the UK, when I came to use Harold this evening, I found the chunky Skype headset still plugged in. Bonus.
Whilst I look pretty daft beneath said headset (but there’s no-one here to see me anyway), it provides surprisingly good sound quality and since I don’t get as much chance to listen to decent music as loudly as I would like to, I’m taking the opportunity to get reacquainted with Koosh’s favourite man, Jared Leto, and his 30 Seconds to Mars cronies.

This in turn brings back memories of My Cokefest and that in turn reminded me of Koosh’s heartfelt plea to her readers to not join the Facebook group concerned with objecting to those local residents who complained about the noise of this years event. Still with me?
I was going to show you that post, but she’s deleted it. Shame.

My wife, 5 months pregnant and a self-confessed hater of “shouty music” spent 12 hours in the burning African sun that day, listening solely to “shouty music” and humouring me as Matt Bellamy dissolved me into a quivering jelly of raw emotion.  Such is love. Unconditional love. (Me and the wife, not me and Matt.)

Or so I thought.

It turns out that there was (at least) one condition. A biggie. And yes, in exactly a fortnight’s time I will be at Grand West Arena watching (and – sadly – listening to) James Blunt. Through gritted teeth, I admit that it could be worse. But not even my wife, despite her bizarre musical tastes, would stoop so low as Sicky Dion or we wouldn’t be married.
“Are you a Sicky Dion fan?” was usually my second question to any eligible young lady, right after “So, do you come here often?”. Best to get those awkward and embarrassing things out of the way as soon as possible.
So there you have it. James Blunt. I wonder if I can sneak my iPod in?

Meanwhile, I’m sat here waiting for my download of MGMT’s brilliant Oracular Spactacular to complete. Specifically the Flaming Lips/Polyphonic Spree-esque Time to Pretend with its übercatchy keyboard riff. Here, in a Fleet of Worlds stylee, is the video for your perusal. Enjoy.  
youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVnRzEjpUmE

P.S. If you have 102MB of bandwidth to spare (i.e you’re not in South Africa), a hi-res copy of this video is available here (right click/save target as). Awesome.

Sensationalist reporting is back!

Today’s Cape Times runs a front page story on the a problem which put the Table Mountain Cableway out of action for a whole 35 (thirty-five) minutes yesterday afternoon. Woo. [link]
Yet, despite the fact that there were a total of no injuries, no snapped cables, no plunging tourists, merely a blown fuse, we get 1000 words and an overflow onto page 3 about upset people waiting to use the cable car and how Eskom cut the power to it in January (an incident objectively described by the reporter as the passengers’ “worst nightmare”).

Nerish Rempul of Durban, who was looking forward to his third cable car ride, said the situation was “terrible”.
“I’m here with two friends but we’re leaving now. We probably won’t get another chance to use the cable car because we’re going home tomorrow. It’s truly terrible.”

No, no, no. Honestly, are all Durbanites quite so dramatic?
“Truly terrible” is when the local bottle store runs out of Castle Milk Stout.
A half-hour delay on the cable car is “mildly irritating”. In fact, if you happen to have some Castle Milk Stout with you when you get delayed, then a half hour delay can even be “quite alright” as it means “extra drinking time”.

All in all, reporter Caryn Dolley has done her best to make a story out of nothing, and she must have been amazed when it ended up on the front page, pushing murder, rape, earthquakes, fishcake recipes and rugby deep into the bowels of the paper.

I hate it when the press do that – not least because I don’t have time to get to page 18 on my tea break (although I often don’t have breadcrumbs to hand anyway) – but the South African press is worse than most when trying to drum up a story that isn’t. I might have hinted at that here.
My annoyance primarily stems from their cherry-picking and publicising the worst and most violent crime stories in order to get readers: a process which has the unfortunate side-effect of making the world think that we all get hijacked at gunpoint on a daily basis here in SA, which in turn keeps the tourists away in their droves (which then reduces income, increases poverty and… er… fuels crime).
This is counterproductive.

Some would argue that this tactic only works because people want to read about the worst and most violent crime and they’d be right. Without such tales, dinner parties in the better-off areas of SA would be strangely quiet, save for briefly mentioning how badly the Bulls are doing, questioning whether Julie is going to report her gynaecologist to the HPCSA and passing on the latest ZumaRuma™*. But that doesn’t excuse it.

To the editors of the South African press, not least Tyrone August of the Cape Times. Up your game please. This is rubbish.

* ZumaRuma – a piece of information (which may or may not be true) about our country’s president-in-waiting. 
   e.g. “Jacob Zuma ate my hamster”. (This may or may not be true.)