Communities, Us vs Them … where do you draw the line?

We have all been part of this “phenomena”, and we continue to do so on a daily basis without realizing what our position is within the bigger organisim; and picture.

South Africa is a very diverse country, different folks and they all have their different strokes, and we can all recognise this regardless of our own position in life which forms part of a bigger picture.

I call it a phenomena because it just happens, with or without your concent when you as an individual or you as part of a family unit decide to take up habitation with other people in an established group or community.

This is also true for Valhalla

No, not the Nordic dwelling of the gods, but the Valhalla much closer to the heart of “Die Republiek van Suid Afrika”

The issue at hand is regarding the construction of a mosque in a very Afrikaans-Christian orientated neighborhood.

On the one side, you have 3000 residents of Valhalla saying that a mosque should not be errected because of various issues.  Some of the issues one might descibe as issues with a racist undertone.

Other issues are issues which clearly show the ignorance of people when it comes to other people, their culture and their believes.

On the other side you have 250 Muslim families who make up part of the Valhalla community as they are staying there who want a place for worship.

Clearly, if one works on the motto of Commander Spock which some of you might know is truly a logical approach, then one should accept the fact that “The needs of the many outweight the needs of the few, or the one

As much as I cherish the logic of Spock one has to make exceptions, and this has been true in many of the Star Trek episodes and movies where the Prime Directive was overlooked to ensure the well being of all, and for me, this is where we should meet each other as a group inside of a bigger group.

So, the question needs to be asked, when does it become an “Us vs Them” issue when both parties are staying within the same community?

As for me person opinion on the matter.

For me there is only an “us”, smaller communities which make up little bigger communities, which eventually falls under the community of mankind.

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Injustice put into perspective

There is nothing which grates my nerves more than seeing the injustice of the World around me, and not yet being in the position to actively do something about it, for example, being able to strip someone of his human rights when he performs an act of barbarism like violently assaulting, raping or murdering someone.

Earlier this week was one of those days which really tested my faith in humanity.

This is South Africa, and being a “First World Country” on a Third World continent has it’s challenges.  Especially when the minority subjugated the the majority and treated the majority as second class citizens in their own country.

The relevance of this statement comes into play in modern South Africa where most days, you won’t have to search through a paper to find an article about some sort of violent crime which has taken place.  Most of these cases involve the majority of South Africans, yes, the black South Africans, and it is not because they are sub-standard people, but because of the failure which was Apartheid, which only got amplified by the failure of our current ANC led Government to address these issues for various reasons.

The majority of the South African prison populace are black, and as I stated before, not because they are bad people by default, but because the system created an environment for them to fail.  The system has successfully created people who don’t value human life. The so called Justice System and our very own progressive Constitution has failed us!

The reason I say this is because a human life in South Africa is worth less than R10, and our so called progressive Constitution hampers our Justice System from actually being effective and deterring such negative and inefficient criminal social behavior.

These broken people of our society are shoved into our already crumbling correctional services facilities which are overpopulated, under staffed and rife with corruption, just to be victims themselves again of another sub-section of the system which put them there in the first place.

Well, these are the normal people of South Africa I am talking about.  The “have not’s”, because if you are part of the few in South Africa who are financially well endowed, politically connected or some sort of a celebrity it seems that the normal Status Quo spares your from these horrors.

In 2009 South Africa ranked ninth in the World in terms of prison population with an astounding 160 000 inmates in 237 active correctional centres which was build to only facilitate 114 822 people.

While we struggle with overcrowding like this for the “normal” man on street, it seems, that when you are Oscar Pistorius or Radovan Krejcir that life on the inside is all but cramped and boring.

Today an article was release along with a video of the odd jailbird couple playing soccer and having enough space on their own.  It seems, that young Oscar has special needs because of his condition and that he can’t really walk around on his prosthetic legs and needs a wheelchair, hence he was moved into a section of the prison where only he and Radovan are kept, or should I maybe rather say entertained.

Once again, the “Have’s” has given the middle finger salute to the “have not’s” by clearly making a distinction between the way they get punished, and the way the “have not’s” get punished in jail.

The fact of the matter remains that both these men are killers in their own right, and they are enjoying a “day a the spa” compared to those other killers who didn’t have the luxury of fancy high paying lawyers to fight their cases on their behalves.

Where is the justice in something like this?  How much does “justice” cost, and is the only requirement to “find” justice a big fat cheque book?

I really feel pity for the people of our country suffering under this injustice, because it creates the perception that if you are wealthy and powerful that you can literally get away with murder, like for example, the “water tight case” against Shrien Dewani which in the end saw South Africans end up in this overcrowded broken system and Shrien walking away a free man.

This also creates the perception by the political elite who are financially well set that they are immune to criminal prosecution, well, if you have enough money and power of course, just ask our President Zuma and his ex-financial advisory, the terminally ill  Shabir Sheik who is most likely enjoyed a round of golf today.

It really gutted me, seeing Oscar and Radovan so casually enjoying their game of soccer while there are so many other men stuck in over crowded community cells where there is no privacy and where rape and violent assault is common.

For me personally, there is no justice in such a system, and I hope that my fellow South Africans will come to see this, and how deeply something like this impacts the mindset of an already broken people.

Fight against injustice where ever you see it, never stay quiet

Being a Jewish Woman in Palestine- Answers to 3 FAQs

I like people like this, who are not scared to explore something which “should” be dangerous given the history and circumstances

"And you shall teach this to your children"

jews say no

(by Katya)

I’ve been back from Palestine for two weeks, and I’ve gotten a lot of questions and comments about my experiences there. I really appreciate people asking questions and wanting to learn about what reality looks like, but some of the questions conveyed a lot of persisting stereotypes, racism, Islamaphobia and misconceptions. For that reason, I’d like to answer those questions here. They are:

1. “What was it like being a woman in Palestine? Did you get a feel for the oppression of women in that society?”

  2. “Did you face a lot of anti-Semitism or hostility as a Jew in Palestine?”

and, not to be outdone:

3.  “What was it like being surrounded by Islamic extremism?”

On being a woman in Palestine:

-I was treated with respect- noticeably more respect than I experience as a woman in America. I didn’t get creeped on or leered at…

View original post 1,414 more words

Israeli officials Mock Kerry Ceasefire Proposal; Reject any Long-Term Truce

A good read on the situation on the ground in Israel

Aletho News

By Chris Carlson | International Middle East Media Center | July 28, 2014

On Friday, a draft of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s ceasefire proposal was shown to Israeli officials. The draft apparently called for the opening of border crossings between Gaza and Israel and included measure to ensure “the economic livelihood” of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

According to Haaretz, the document, which was titled “Framework for Humanitarian Ceasefire in Gaza,” also said that a lasting truce would make possible the “transfer of funds to Gaza for the payment of salaries for public employees.”

The proposed ceasefire would also “address all security concerns”, stipulating that Israel would not be allowed to continue destroying tunnels during the initial ceasefire and making no explicit mention of the demilitarizing Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli officials were apparently shocked after reading the draft, according to Ma’an, saying that…

View original post 543 more words

Israel Justifies Civilian Deaths as Troops March Into Gaza

By Jacob L Bane

The tenth day after Israel used a lie to justify retaliatory strikes against Palestine with utterly disproportionate, heavy handed, venomous attacks, the ground troops have marched into Gaza and the results are predicted to be “messier” than the aerial assaults (according to the senior Israeli military official).
In those ten days 220 people have been killed, 80% of them civilians. Among them were friends watching a World Cup game together, hospital patients, a police chief and his family and yesterday the Bakr boys playing football on a beach – none of them a terrorist threat.

The IDF claims that the civilian casualties are justified because they are culpable by association; protecting ‘Hamas terrorists’ and harbouring them in their homes – effectively human shields (as the Bakr children were dubbed).

The Palestinians have no real military presence yet they are trying to stand against an army backed, funded and trained by one of, if not the most powerful military force in the world – the USA. It’s tantamount to sticks and stones versus a hurricane.

IDF claim that Hamas weapons are being stored in civilian houses, enabling them to justify the destruction of civilian property and kill adults and children alike. Were Hamas to store their weapons in a centralised location it could easily be destroyed in one swift attack and render not only the resistance completely vulnerable, but every single Gazan citizen too.

While the rest of the caring world is pushing for trade sanctions against Israel and people are marching in capital cities to demonstrate their compassion, the politicians with the power to effect those sanctions are procrastinating, their silence and distance speaking volumes. Strange no, that we’ve not heard empowering speeches from Obama, Cameron, Rajoy, Valls, Merkel or any other prominent western leader, condemning the actions of Israel.
“Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks,” said Obama. “But over the past two weeks, we’ve all been heartbroken by the violence, especially the death and injury of so many innocent civilians in Gaza.”

Does Palestine not have a right to defend itself from Israeli oppression, fighter jets, tanks, missiles and bullets?

Meanwhile, some Israeli politicians have broadcast what can only be described as ‘hate’ messages and sent a clear picture of their intentions.

“Kill the mothers to stop other little snakes being born.” ~ Ayelet Shaked, Israeli MP.
Benjamin Netenyahu, without a trace of irony, has validated his ground assault by saying, “In light of the despicable and relentless aggression by Hamas and the dangerous infiltration into Israel, Israel is obliged to protect its citizens.”

It’s incredible that his bias has blinded him so much. With not a single regard for the lives he’s ended with his political decisions, for the destruction of property and life, he has the nerve to play the victim card. A country as privileged as Israel has no right to claim victimisation, not with their heavyweight backing and offensive capabilities. A death toll of 220:1 in their favour makes that fact very clear.
To pave the way for their attacks, Israel dropped leaflets giving clear instructions to the Gazan people and a stern message which said, “Whoever disregards these instructions and fails to evacuate immediately endangers their own lives, as well as those of their families.”

In response, Hamas asked people to stay calm, calling the leaflet drop “psychological warfare”.
Away from the lyrical exchanges, the reality of the situation inside Gaza is worsening. Last night many homes were left without electricity and at around 9pm the Alwafa hospital was coming under fire from the IDF, a worrying sign that Israel is choking Gazan utilities and facilities as part of a final solution. With the systematic destruction of infrastructure the people of Gaza will be faced with grave, even unthinkable choices.

Their hope rests on the shoulders of ordinary people around the world doing extraordinary things; petitions, protests, demonstrations, lobbying – all valid causes and vital to ending the persecution of native Palestinians, provided the politicians in question act upon our requests.

Together, we have all the power in the world.

Avaaz trade sanctions petiton

Change.org trade sanctions petiton

Email The White House

Email Benjamin Netenyahu

Civil Disobedience, the “Not my Dog” phenomenon

Firstly, I would like to thank the motorists who had the patience and understanding for slow-go on the N1 and N3, thanks for the hooting, the smiles, the nodding heads and the thumbs up signs.

I’ve been very vocal and critical about the thieving Government over the last couple of months.  I’ve posted here on News24 about it and I’ve also spread the word about what is going on in South Africa to my friends overseas in the attempt to expose the real South Africa to those who think the Rainbow Nation is a reality.

During this time the realization of the situation sank in, and I was faced with the brutal but hard reality of the fact which we all know in our hearts to be true.

“Talk is cheap, money buys the whiskey”

I’ve seen all the comments, I’ve read all the opinions, I’ve seen insults about race and political parties flying around, but I’ve not yet seen anyone go over to action … and that is exactly what COSATU’s protest was, going over to action against a system which has been rolled out by a Government who has squandered all the tax money available to them on inflated public sector salaries and who’s members have been dipping their hands down the cookie jar (some who were exposed) and stealing the state coffers dry.

We have already paid for these roads, the same way we have already paid for Eskom infrastructure, but Government always wants more and more … 

I am proud to say that I stopped bemoaning our plight yesterday, and started doing something positive about it.

Everyone with a bit of common sense understands the implications of the e-Toll system and the effect that it will have on their personal lifestyles and in the great scheme of things, and this is what has me worried.

I am worried that there is so little involvement from you … Yes, you, the reader of this opinion.

You are the the one who is going to be negatively affected by this system, you are the one who is already carrying the burden on your shoulders for Government’s failed policies, and yet you were missing.

I know my previous statement is a gross generalization, because a handful of your might have been there, but certainly not the bulk of the News24 reader base

You are the informed reader, the one with the education, you are the one with connections and ideas but you did not show up.

Don’t worry though, you were not the only ones, as we were driving down the N1 I failed to see any cars with OUTA signs or slogans, I didn’t see any of the opposition parties nor any other civil groups … and this is my mind is cause for great concern.

We are all, and I mean everyone, in the same boat, with a captain (read Zuma) and crew (read Government) which have no idea what they are doing, and it is up to us, the passengers of this boat to get more involved in our own futures and those around us, before the captain steers us into the rocks on the horizon.

Please, I ask of you, the reader, think on this, and the next time there is a call to arms, that you would seriously consider taking a day’s leave and standing up for your rights.

We can not expect of COSATU to fight these type of battles alone, we must, as a nation stand together without any regards for colour, race or creed.

With everything going down, the notorious Info Bill, the e-Toll system, the state of our Education system, the blatant corruption which gets exposed, we, as the bulk of the tax paying South African citizens have the chance to take hands and to fight this beast together.

Everyone is GATVOL of non-service delivery from the Government’s side, and we have the power to make a difference through civil disobedience …

You can make a difference!