To quote Rodriguez: “I opened the windows to listen to the news, but all I heard was the establishment’s blues…”
Let’s see: the petrol price has gone up again this week. Corruption is still making the news, as does gang and taxi violence that kill innocent people.
New-born babies are still being dumped in rubbish bins…toddlers being raped and murdered and/or set alight…people whining and complaining around every corner. Money is tight but the malls are full and the tills at supermarkets still have long queues…yes, I am definitely in Cape Town, South Africa. Calls for immediate discussion, again? I think not!
Intellectuals want to talk about it. I hear it on the radio all the time. The very people who are safely behind “anti-hijacking” tinted windows in their cars, and in their electric fenced houses are the ones who believe the state of the nation calls for immediate discussion (yet again). If I were the family of the deceased, murdered, raped “ordinary” folk living in a god-forsaken place somewhere on the Cape Flats then “talking about the situation” is the last thing I would like to do (yet again). Talking has been the modus operandi for too long, I would think, had I been that person.
In fact, I would probably become violent with the next person who wants to “talk” about it, and with good reason. And I am not advocating an eye for an eye or that we fight fire with fire; and I am certainly not professing to know what the answers are, but where in heaven’s name, and how, is it all going to end?
But, we live in what is known as “civil society”, and, as “civil society” we do not lash out at people when they hurt and kill us. And, as “civil society” we should turn the proverbial other cheek. What does that mean?
Let them rape and murder my last remaining child as well? And I guess nobody is saying “curl up and die”, but civil society will tell you that you need to talk about it and find ways to help these young boys by offering them alternatives to joining gangs and becoming involved with drugs. Thing is: the rate at which gangs and drug merchants recruit is infinitely disproportionate to the rate at which one can “save” the lives of the youngster.
The problem, I think, runs considerably deeper than the simplistic solution of offering alternatives. And, to begin to list the range of what influences them to become part of gangs and to do or sell drugs in these gang-and-drug-infested areas is a thesis on its own. Then one can truly “discuss” it yet again…and these words, these promises don’t amount to much as Simon & Garfunkel so consistently reminds us: “A pocketful of mumbles such are promises…”
I have been accused of being a fascist before.
Actually I have been accused of many things in my past, but the reason for the fascist indictment was because I had some very radical thoughts on what to do with offenders – people who rape and murder and who, after being given a chance to rehabilitate, go out to rape and murder again.
I shall not share my thoughts on this in this paper for fear of death threats (or worse – to be called by some strange –ism and/or four-letter names again).
A neighbour and I had a discussion about weapons the other day. He carries a knife on him wherever he goes. His explanation: he was mugged while travelling by train, and left for near-dead. And he is not going to brave the (beautiful) Cape Town landscape again, unarmed. He is of the opinion they should bring back the death penalty – that that would certainly scare the living daylights out of murderers and rapists. I wonder? Will it?
Are we not a nation so dikvel (“stupidly arrogant” are the only two words that I can think of as a translation) and so polarised economically that we can justify just about any behaviour, however destructive?
I wonder…perhaps we should take heed of what the wise Bob Marley postulated many moons ago: “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds…”