Tag Archive: hate


We The People 


we the people.



as the forces of reaction grow louder, as the fascism of right-wing politics seem to be burgeoning, as the misogyny and racism and attacks on the rights of those who love differently echoes through the corridors of power, as all of this and so much more fills the air we breathe with a noxious stench, may we the people resist! may we the people erect the barricades, may we the people look back to all those brave and courageous souls who stood upright and fought the battles of yesterday – and not give in to despondency, may we the people resist and in resisting may we send a clear and resounding message to the forces that choose to divide, not unite, engender narrow nationalism not fraternal internationalism, may our message to them be clear, concise and loud – no pasaran! you shall not pass, for though you may wield the whip of power, we the people shall not give in to your tunnel vision of the politics of hate and divisiveness, for We The People always have been, and shall remain many, many more. Take heed of history for you stand rickety on the losing side and lose you shall, despite your gains here and there, lose you shall and lose you will, for We The People have been and always shall be many, many more. many more than the 1%, many more than the vultures of capital and greed, many more than you are, and ever shall be. 


We The People are many, many more.


Amandla!

Venceremos!

Aluta Continua!

I am Man







Us men,

almost always,

men,


myopic, impotent men,


our manliness oozing, seeping,

dripping,

soaking,


in swathes of red,

scarlet blood on infant skin,


hardened,

caked,

dried on cold, dead flesh.





Who am i,

a man,


myopic, impotent,


my swagger puffed on conceit,


my country right or wrong,

my god not yours,

my culture your caste,

tribe, sect, ideology … … …




Who am i ?


a man ?

knitted into,

shared humanity ?




Perhaps ’tis time,

to let this rotten, festering,

glossy, botoxed, tucked, trimmed, diseased skin,


moult,


laying stark this sham,

this theatre,


these lies, the maggots burrowing deep,


into man,


chiselling, smashing,

beheading, hanging,

shooting, bombing, drone-ing, killing, raping, torturing, killing, killing, killing,


excising man,

ripping man out of humanity.




Yes,

i am man.

International Womens Day

She Walks Alone …

she walks alone,
barefoot in the paddies of rice,

breaking her back for some precious grains.

she walks alone,

in jo’burg town, with a black eye,

smacked around by him the previous painful night.

she walks alone,

in the streets of neon hazed manila,

along the pristine hedges of rotten london,

on the crowded pavements of lonesome new delhi,

across the rolling plains of the vast bounteous pampas,

over the winding back-ways of the sloping and grimy favelas,

on the glittering pavements of rich and sweetly-scented jeddah,

through the blindingly false boulevards of that sad los angeles town.

she walks alone,

bearing the burden of mother and daughter
of cook and sweeper and wife and mistress and punching-bag,

she walks alone,

through your streets and mine,

standing up as she is beaten more down,

loving a little as the bruises on her face turn purple,

feeding the little ones with morsels of hastily cooked beans.

she walks alone,

in factories and in mills and in buses,

in schools and in brothels and in places in-between.

she walks alone,

staying alive on the alms of the ‘charitable’,

violated by those who from the pulpit preach.

she walks alone,

my sister and yours,

my mother and yours too,

my lover and your beloved as well.

she walks alone,

caged by society in its invisible prison,

a slave of norms and culture and religion and caste,

she walks alone,

but she is the conscience of me and you,

screaming at us silently in hunger and despair,

she walks alone,

and though fearful of you men she may seem,

be warned that she may not forever be this alone,

for she too dreams and thinks and believes,

for she too needs and wants and loves and weeps,

in the silent night of complacency while impotent mankind sleeps,

and she too will rise and in rising slay,

the beasts that in your callous hearts prowl and lay,

and she too will demand her rightful place,

for every mother and sister and lover and daughter has a real, human face …

i d e n t i t y ?

rootless,
scattered beings,

unlike trees,
tentacled roots,
firmly entrenched,
in this earth,

we walk alongside trees,

embroiled in turmoil,
we hate, waging wars,
we discriminate:

tradition,
race,
culture,
patriarchy,
religion,
ideology,

rootless, we flounder,

racing through lives,
rootless, unencumbered,

seeking a home,
eternal exiles, uprooted,

complacent,
skidding, smiling,
killing, proselytising,

inured by dogma,
anaesthetised with learned prejudice,

basking in the illusion, that we, us, i am surefooted,

yet remaining exiles,
all, together,
bound together by gravity, unable to soar into boundless skies,

tearing each other apart,
unafraid, surefooted,

my country right or wrong,
my religion the only one,
my culture the best,
my tradition superior to all the rest,

my book the word of god,

smugly uprooted,

unlike trees,
deeply rooted,
fanning out like banyans, free,

not us,
paying dues, settling scores, doling out fees,

rootless,
floundering,
meandering through bylanes of isolation,

smug, arrogant,
assuredly surefooted,

in the only truth of my culture, my tradition, my race, my people, my religion,

my god,

have we forgotten the trees,

chopped down,
without sorrow,
desecrated,

once firmly rooted,
now flotsam, jetsam,

like i, you, him, her, us and them,

uprooted, snuffed out,

dragging along dead wood,

pompously preaching the rootedness,

of culture,
of tradition,
of race and of religion,

while we remain,

exiles all, blasé and smugly surefooted,

sowing division,
waving flags,
sermonising,

my country right or wrong,

ignoring the lesson of the trees,

of what it really means to be firmly rooted,

posturing instead, ideological fantasies, religious fancies:

i am right,

and thusly so,

you are all very wrong …
… …

Buchenwald – 1979

walking towards horror,
my seven year old eyes,

were sewn open on that day at Buchenwald.

the reeking stench of death
was by now,
lost to the winds,

and ahead,

stood Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

Never Again!

we have said,
over and over,

and over and over,
but, but,

as Erich Fried* wrote,

it happened,

it is happening now,

and it will go on happening if nothing is done to stop it from ever happening again** …

    ____________________

* Erich Fried 1921 – 1988.

http://allpoetry.com/Erich-Fried

** taken from and inspired by Erich Fried’s poem “What Happens”

http://poetrypill.blogspot.com/2009/04/what-happens.html?m=1

afzaljhb@gmail.com

“first they came for the _____” ( Mr. Trump, fill in the blanks )

_______________

then they came for the. ______________

( fill in the blanks, Mr. Trump )

be careful,
the extremists appear to be on the ascendancy,

the brutal murderers of daesh and the neonazi drivel of trump,

so be careful: guard your mind,

never forget,
remember,

always,
always remember:

“first they came for the Communists …”*

* – Pastor Martin Niemoller

image

Pete's Banjo

image

Woody

a child of war

image

a child of war.

as she lies bleeding,
the girl who skipped, hopped to school,
all of nine and a half years old,
with ribbons in her hair and a laugh that was her parent’s pride.

as she lies bleeding,
shrapnel lodged in her torn stomach,
she stares at her skipping rope,
as her blood soaks it the colour of cherries her mummy buys.

as she lies bleeding,
she sees people all around thick black smoke,
blurred visions of scattering feet, shoes left behind,
hearing nothing but the pinging in her smashed eardrums.

as she lies bleeding,
she slips away and then she is dead,
a mangled heap of a nine and a half year old girl,
whose laugh was her mother’s pride.

as she lies bleeding,
for even in death she bleeds some more,
shrapnel wedged in her torn stomach,
stealing the light from her bright little eyes.

as she lies bleeding …

in jallianwala bagh in ‘19,
leningrad in ‘42,
freetown in ‘98,
soweto in ‘76,
jenin in ‘02,
hanoi in ‘68,
beirut in ‘85,

raqqa now,
basra still,
gaza too.

as she lies bleeding,
a little nine and a half year old girl,
whose laugh was her parent’s pride,
we know she’ll bleed more,

tomorrow and in many tomorrows yet unborn,

with shrapnel in her stomach,
ripped open and torn.

as she lies bleeding.

N O T
          I N
                M Y
                       N A M E …

A Poem for Jawaharlal Nehru

image

Pandit-Ji*

1.

The moon cast an enveloping shadow over the teeming multitudes,

as they made their tryst with destiny**,

with you as the bearer of the light,

and at the stroke of the midnight hour,

you emerged an icon, from the long and desolate night.

Long years had passed,
since those humid evenings spent,
languishing in jail,

yet your mind remained unshackled,
putting words on paper in the dim candlelight,

as the gaudy glare of empire began to pale.

2.

Today,
you live,

within us,
though not amongst us,

and,

your discovery,
your glimpses,

smoulder within me,

your immortal words,
my compass.

I am now,
the soul of nations,
once suppressed,

that have,
found utterance.

I am now,
me.

I am now,
finally,

free.

       _________________

* – ‘Pandit-Ji’ was the name that Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, was respectfully called.

** – excerpts from Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech on 15th August 1947

image

in the belly of xenophobia …

when you see them
passing by your pretty green avenues

grab your garden rake
stone the encroaching horde

they take our jobs
they marry our women

put them all
to the sword

bloody foreigners

leeching off our taxes
stinking up the neighborhood

send them all home

seek them out in every street

in every bar

and finish them off
one by one

finish and klaar

losing my innocence

i lost some of my innocence that day

an odd day all those years ago

when papa asked me to take some tourists to a few sights around town

so i did

we went there
and here
and back

and then something inexplicable occurred

inexplicable to me at least

( naive teenager that i was )

when finally reaching the lotus temple

the four men refused to join me as i led them to this scintillating jewel of architecture right in the middle of my beloved delhi

i couldn’t understand why you see

till we dropped the tourists off at their swanky hotel

and later i told papa what had happened at the lotus temple

and

he said

‘they must have been the religious kind’

which in itself meant nothing to me

and he elaborated

and another petal of innocence fell to the winter floor

Charleston, South Carolina, June 17th 2015

21st Century Lynching

Gone are the white masks and sheets,

today the KKK struts in plain sight,

on nameless blood-soaked streets.

The past still lives,
breathes,

spewing hate,

stereotyping and profiling and generalising,

‘the Nigger deserved it’,

they still say,

as they continue to hate,

and to slay.

Justice is blind,
we are so often told,

but it’s deaf,
and mute,

and can be,
and is,
bought and sold,

just as they once,

traded,
bought,
sold,
flogged,
whipped,
lynched,

and raped human-beings,

and just as each of those human-beings of colour was called a slave,

today, in the 21st century,

a person of colour,

still better ‘know’ his or her ‘place’,

or face the racist murderers’ hate,

and be shot down,
and be clubbed
and be beaten,

to an early, shallow grave

_____________________

peace | love | uBuntu

wrote this a while ago.

Sadly true today.

It ain’t Xenophobia? Really?

it’s not xenophobia,
the refrain is the same,

it’s the criminals to blame,

we still won’t be calling the attacks by their stinking name,

‘xenophobia’

yes,

that’s what it is,

but,

let us not be simplistic,

we have to face the ugliness of our collective shame,

because when mostly ‘foreigners’ get put to the flame,

how can we ignorance feign?

it’s xenophobia,
simple & plain,

with poverty & unemployment barrelling on a runaway train,

and it won’t just ‘go away’,

for as long as ignorant complicity continues to reign …

       _____________________

‘Xenophobia’ is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as:

” noun:

intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries  “

The synonyms for xenophobia are:

chauvinism, racial intolerance, racism, dislike of foreigners, nationalism, prejudice.

     _____________

As a citizen of South Africa, I am acutely aware of the many challenges that our young country faces.

The iniquities of our tortured past, the legacy of Apartheid, socio-economic issues etc. are just a few of the many problems that South Africa is grappling with.

What is extremely disturbing for me is something that I have personally encountered, in conversations with friends, family, and fellow citizens from all walks of life.

That something is how rife ‘anti-foreigner’ sentiment is within our various, and still divided communities.

I have heard the most atrocious, insensitive, hate-filled utterances regarding the ‘foreigners’ who ‘take our jobs’, and ‘take our women’, and ‘are the cause of all the crime’, and ‘they must go back to their countries’, and most chillingly ‘we will kill these foreigners’.

I am also aware that many intellectuals, think-tanks, NGO’s, and sociologists etc. have written and spoken volumes about how the failure of proper service delivery by the government and local municipalities, and the myriad other shortcomings that plague our country have played a part in the emergence of this abhorrent xenophobic sentiments that are being spouted almost as if one was talking about culling animals in the Kruger National Park.

We have already witnessed the scourge of xenophobia, and not long ago, when organised bands of people marked, attacked and killed ‘foreigners’ in a frenzy of blood-letting and looting.

This was in 2008.

And today, as the father of the nation, Nelson Mandela lies ill in a hospital bed in Pretoria, I hear similar disturbing and blood-curdling hate-speech directed against ‘the foreigners’.

What is going on?

Where and how have we, as a country, failed, or more worryingly, chose to ignore the signs of this cancer that has to be dealt with, and dealt with as a matter of national priority.

The synonyms for xenophobia include racism, racial intolerance, and prejudice.

The neo-Nazis in Europe and elsewhere are xenophobes.

No one disputes that.

The neo-Nazis in Europe and elsewhere talk in almost exactly the same terms when they spout their rhetoric, when they go on ‘Paki-bashing’ sprees in England, when they deface Synagogues and Mosques and Temples, or when they beat up and kill ‘foreigners’ who ‘take our jobs’, and ‘take our women’, and ‘are the cause of all the crime’, and ‘they must go back to their countries’.

What is particularly disturbing about the rise of xenophobia, especially in the South African context is the complicity of silence, and by extension, a shocking acceptance of these racist and murderously dangerous views, by ‘normal’ citizens.

We are Africans.

And above all, we are all human.

This may seem like an obvious and unnecessary fact to point out, but when certain friends, family members, and people one interacts with daily, spew such xenophobic drivel, it needs to be taken seriously.

Pogroms, xenophobic attacks, racism, intolerance, prejudice, casteism, religious bigotry, sexism, and homophobia, do not simply arise out of nothing.

There are societal, religious, traditional, cultural and other factors that do indeed create fertile ground for some of these noxious sentiments to germinate.

It is incumbent on us all, people, just people, to engage with people, however close they may be to us, and challenge and make our voices heard that we will not stand mutely by, as such hate-filled venom is flung around nonchalantly.

We cannot be conspicuous by our silence and inaction when a large segment of our society, those who have chosen our country to be their home, often fleeing economic hardship, political and social violence, and numberless other factors that force, and this is important, people are forced into leaving their countries, often making hazardous and painful journeys in order to find safe-haven amongst fellow human-beings.

As South Africans, we know just how friendly countries welcomed us during the darkest days of Apartheid repression and tyranny.

Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, and the other ‘front-line’ states paid dearly for offering South Africans fleeing Apartheid a place of refuge as well as a base of operations against the oppressive Apartheid system.

Apartheid agents and security forces attacked, fomented insurrections against the governments in the front-line states, and still South Africans of all races, creeds etc. found a welcome home in these comradely countries.

We should never forget this.

Ever.

Our government needs to be more vocal about its stance on xenophobia, and by doing so it will send a message that it will not stand by idly while people from other parts of the continent are constantly under the threat of being attacked.

That said, we as citizens have a voice, and it is morally incumbent on all of us to do our bit so that the scourge of xenophobia is excised from this land.

There is a simmering undercurrent of the possibility of attacks on foreigners as I type these words.

If this is not taken seriously and dealt with, sadly we may see scenes similar to those we witnessed in 2008.

Mayibuye-i-Afrika!

The Struggles Continue!

it’s not xenophobia?

the refrain is the same,

it’s the criminals to blame,

we still won’t be calling the attacks by their stinking name,

‘xenophobia’

yes,

that’s what it is,

but,

let us not be simplistic,

we have to face the ugliness of our collective shame,

because when mostly ‘foreigners’ get put to the flame,

how can we ignorance feign?

it’s xenophobia,
simple & plain,

with poverty & unemployment barrelling on a runaway train,

and it won’t just ‘go away’,

for as long as ignorant complicity continues to reign …

       _____________________

‘Xenophobia’ is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as:

” noun:

intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries  “

The synonyms for xenophobia are:

chauvinism, racial intolerance, racism, dislike of foreigners, nationalism, prejudice.

     _____________

As a citizen of South Africa, I am acutely aware of the many challenges that our young country faces.

The iniquities of our tortured past, the legacy of Apartheid, socio-economic issues etc. are just a few of the many problems that South Africa is grappling with.

What is extremely disturbing for me is something that I have personally encountered, in conversations with friends, family, and fellow citizens from all walks of life.

That something is how rife ‘anti-foreigner’ sentiment is within our various, and still divided communities.

I have heard the most atrocious, insensitive, hate-filled utterances regarding the ‘foreigners’ who ‘take our jobs’, and ‘take our women’, and ‘are the cause of all the crime’, and ‘they must go back to their countries’, and most chillingly ‘we will kill these foreigners’.

I am also aware that many intellectuals, think-tanks, NGO’s, and sociologists etc. have written and spoken volumes about how the failure of proper service delivery by the government and local municipalities, and the myriad other shortcomings that plague our country have played a part in the emergence of this abhorrent xenophobic sentiments that are being spouted almost as if one was talking about culling animals in the Kruger National Park.

We have already witnessed the scourge of xenophobia, and not long ago, when organised bands of people marked, attacked and killed ‘foreigners’ in a frenzy of blood-letting and looting.

This was in 2008.

And today, as the father of the nation, Nelson Mandela lies ill in a hospital bed in Pretoria, I hear similar disturbing and blood-curdling hate-speech directed against ‘the foreigners’.

What is going on?

Where and how have we, as a country, failed, or more worryingly, chose to ignore the signs of this cancer that has to be dealt with, and dealt with as a matter of national priority.

The synonyms for xenophobia include racism, racial intolerance, and prejudice.

The neo-Nazis in Europe and elsewhere are xenophobes.

No one disputes that.

The neo-Nazis in Europe and elsewhere talk in almost exactly the same terms when they spout their rhetoric, when they go on ‘Paki-bashing’ sprees in England, when they deface Synagogues and Mosques and Temples, or when they beat up and kill ‘foreigners’ who ‘take our jobs’, and ‘take our women’, and ‘are the cause of all the crime’, and ‘they must go back to their countries’.

What is particularly disturbing about the rise of xenophobia, especially in the South African context is the complicity of silence, and by extension, a shocking acceptance of these racist and murderously dangerous views, by ‘normal’ citizens.

We are Africans.

And above all, we are all human.

This may seem like an obvious and unnecessary fact to point out, but when certain friends, family members, and people one interacts with daily, spew such xenophobic drivel, it needs to be taken seriously.

Pogroms, xenophobic attacks, racism, intolerance, prejudice, casteism, religious bigotry, sexism, and homophobia, do not simply arise out of nothing.

There are societal, religious, traditional, cultural and other factors that do indeed create fertile ground for some of these noxious sentiments to germinate.

It is incumbent on us all, people, just people, to engage with people, however close they may be to us, and challenge and make our voices heard that we will not stand mutely by, as such hate-filled venom is chucked around nonchalantly.

We cannot be conspicuous by our silence and inaction when a large segment of our society, those who have chosen our country to be their home, often fleeing economic hardship, political and social violence, and numberless other factors that force, and this is important, people are forced into leaving their countries, often making hazardous and painful journeys in order to find safe-haven amongst fellow human-beings.

As South Africans, we know just how friendly countries welcomed us during the darkest days of Apartheid repression and tyranny.

Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and the other ‘front-line’ states paid dearly for offering South Africans fleeing Apartheid a place of refuge as well as a base of operations against the oppressive Apartheid system.

Apartheid agents and security forces attacked, fomented insurrections against the governments in the front-line states, and still South Africans of all races, creeds etc. found a welcome home in these comradely countries.

We should never forget this.

Ever.

Our government needs to be more vocal about its stance on xenophobia, and by doing so it will send a message that it will not stand by idly while people from other parts of the continent are constantly under the threat of being attacked.

That said, we as citizens have a voice, and it is morally incumbent on all of us to do our bit so that the scourge of xenophobia is excised from this land.

There is a simmering undercurrent of the possibility of attacks on foreigners as I type these words.

If this is not taken seriously and dealt with, sadly we may see scenes similar to those we witnessed in 2008.

Mayibuye-i-Afrika!

peace | love | uBuntu

Racism is Binary

racism stalks streets,
flowing with blood,

red blood.

not black, white, saffron, green, yellow,

but,

red blood,

like the colourless tears that stream,

down faces of all hues,

&

of every shade,

human beings all,

just humans,

who into dust or ashes do fade.

racism on the prowl,

deafening,
virulent ignorance,

embraced by those who hate,

seeping out of diseased tongues that bray & howl,

while,

humanitys’ corpse,
lies in state.

racism is binary,
soul-less,

with just a single choice to make,

so think carefully now, o’ patient reader,

cos’ racism is binary,
soul-less,

& there is only one choice that is right …

… the dazzling fusion of a rainbow,

or dull,
bland,

empty white.

peace | love | uBuntu

on Xenophobia – a Rant

On Xenophobia…

‘Xenophobia’ is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as:

” noun:

intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries  “

The synonyms for xenophobia are:

chauvinism, racial intolerance, racism, dislike of foreigners, nationalism, prejudice.

     _____________

As a citizen of South Africa, I am acutely aware of the many challenges that our young country faces.

The iniquities of our tortured past, the legacy of Apartheid, socio-economic issues etc. are just a few of the many problems that South Africa is grappling with.

What is extremely disturbing for me is something that I have personally encountered, in conversations with friends, family, and fellow citizens from all walks of life.

That something is how rife ‘anti-foreigner’ sentiment is within our various, and still divided communities.

I have heard the most atrocious, insensitive, hate-filled utterances regarding the ‘foreigners’ who ‘take our jobs’, and ‘take our women’, and ‘are the cause of all the crime’, and ‘they must go back to their countries’, and most chillingly ‘we will kill these foreigners’.

I am also aware that many intellectuals, think-tanks, NGO’s, and sociologists etc. have written and spoken volumes about how the failure of proper service delivery by the government and local municipalities, and the myriad other shortcomings that plague our country have played a part in the emergence of this abhorrent xenophobic sentiments that are being spouted almost as if one was talking about culling animals in the Kruger National Park.

We have already witnessed the scourge of xenophobia, and not long ago, when organised bands of people marked, attacked and killed ‘foreigners’ in a frenzy of blood-letting and looting.

This was in 2008.

And today, as the father of the nation, Nelson Mandela lies ill in a hospital bed in Pretoria, I hear similar disturbing and blood-curdling hate-speech directed against ‘the foreigners’.

What is going on?

Where and how have we, as a country, failed, or more worryingly, chose to ignore the signs of this cancer that has to be dealt with, and dealt with as a matter of national priority.

The synonyms for xenophobia include racism, racial intolerance, and prejudice.

The neo-Nazis in Europe and elsewhere are xenophobes.

No one disputes that.

The neo-Nazis in Europe and elsewhere talk in almost exactly the same terms when they spout their rhetoric, when they go on ‘Paki-bashing’ sprees in England, when they deface Synagogues and Mosques and Temples, or when they beat up and kill ‘foreigners’ who ‘take our jobs’, and ‘take our women’, and ‘are the cause of all the crime’, and ‘they must go back to their countries’.

What is particularly disturbing about the rise of xenophobia, especially in the South African context is the complicity of silence, and by extension, a shocking acceptance of these racist and murderously dangerous views, by ‘normal’ citizens.

We are Africans.

And above all, we are all human.

This may seem like an obvious and unnecessary fact to point out, but when certain friends, family members, and people one interacts with daily, spew such xenophobic drivel, it needs to be taken seriously.

Pogroms, xenophobic attacks, racism, intolerance, prejudice, casteism, religious bigotry, sexism, and homophobia, do not simply arise out of nothing.

There are societal, religious, traditional, cultural and other factors that do indeed create fertile ground for some of these noxious sentiments to germinate.

It is incumbent on us all, people, just people, to engage with people, however close they may be to us, and challenge and make our voices heard that we will not stand mutely by, as such hate-filled venom is chucked around nonchalantly.

We cannot be conspicuous by our silence and inaction when a large segment of our society, those who have chosen our country to be their home, often fleeing economic hardship, political and social violence, and numberless other factors that force, and this is important, people are forced into leaving their countries, often making hazardous and painful journeys in order to find safe-haven amongst fellow human-beings.

As South Africans, we know just how friendly countries welcomed us during the darkest days of Apartheid repression and tyranny.

Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and the other ‘front-line’ states paid dearly for offering South Africans fleeing Apartheid a place of refuge as well as a base of operations against the oppressive Apartheid system.

Apartheid agents and security forces attacked, fomented insurrections against the governments in the front-line states, and still South Africans of all races, creeds etc. found a welcome home in these comradely countries.

We should never forget this.

Ever.

Our government needs to be more vocal about its stance on xenophobia, and by doing so it will send a message that it will not stand by idly while people from other parts of the continent are constantly under the threat of being attacked.

That said, we as citizens have a voice, and it is morally incumbent on all of us to do our bit so that the scourge of xenophobia is excised from this land.

There is a simmering undercurrent of the possibility of attacks on foreigners as I type these words.

If this is not taken seriously and dealt with, sadly we may see scenes similar to those we witnessed in 2008.

Mayibuye-i-Afrika!

On Xenophobia …

On Xenophobia…

‘Xenophobia’ is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as:

” noun:

intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries  “

The synonyms for xenophobia are:

chauvinism, racial intolerance, racism, dislike of foreigners, nationalism, prejudice.

     _____________

As a citizen of South Africa, I am acutely aware of the many challenges that our young country faces.

The iniquities of our tortured past, the legacy of Apartheid, socio-economic issues etc. are just a few of the many problems that South Africa is grappling with.

What is extremely disturbing for me is something that I have personally encountered, in conversations with friends, family, and fellow citizens from all walks of life.

That something is how rife ‘anti-foreigner’ sentiment is within our various, and still divided communities.

I have heard the most atrocious, insensitive, hate-filled utterances regarding the ‘foreigners’ who ‘take our jobs’, and ‘take our women’, and ‘are the cause of all the crime’, and ‘they must go back to their countries’, and most chillingly ‘we will kill these foreigners’.

I am also aware that many intellectuals, think-tanks, NGO’s, and sociologists etc. have written and spoken volumes about how the failure of proper service delivery by the government and local municipalities, and the myriad other shortcomings that plague our country have played a part in the emergence of this abhorrent xenophobic sentiments that are being spouted almost as if one was talking about culling animals in the Kruger National Park.

We have already witnessed the scourge of xenophobia, and not long ago, when organised bands of people marked, attacked and killed ‘foreigners’ in a frenzy of blood-letting and looting.

This was in 2008.

And today, as the father of the nation, Nelson Mandela lies ill in a hospital bed in Pretoria, I hear similar disturbing and blood-curdling hate-speech directed against ‘the foreigners’.

What is going on?

Where and how have we, as a country, failed, or more worryingly, chose to ignore the signs of this cancer that has to be dealt with, and dealt with as a matter of national priority.

The synonyms for xenophobia include racism, racial intolerance, and prejudice.

The neo-Nazis in Europe and elsewhere are xenophobes.

No one disputes that.

The neo-Nazis in Europe and elsewhere talk in almost exactly the same terms when they spout their rhetoric, when they go on ‘Paki-bashing’ sprees in England, when they deface Synagogues and Mosques and Temples, or when they beat up and kill ‘foreigners’ who ‘take our jobs’, and ‘take our women’, and ‘are the cause of all the crime’, and ‘they must go back to their countries’.

What is particularly disturbing about the rise of xenophobia, especially in the South African context is the complicity of silence, and by extension, a shocking acceptance of these racist and murderously dangerous views, by ‘normal’ citizens.

We are Africans.

And above all, we are all human.

This may seem like an obvious and unnecessary fact to point out, but when certain friends, family members, and people one interacts with daily, spew such xenophobic drivel, it needs to be taken seriously.

Pogroms, xenophobic attacks, racism, intolerance, prejudice, casteism, religious bigotry, sexism, and homophobia, do not simply arise out of nothing.

There are societal, religious, traditional, cultural and other factors that do indeed create fertile ground for some of these noxious sentiments to germinate.

It is incumbent on us all, people, just people, to engage with people, however close they may be to us, and challenge and make our voices heard that we will not stand mutely by, as such hate-filled venom is chucked around nonchalantly.

We cannot be conspicuous by our silence and inaction when a large segment of our society, those who have chosen our country to be their home, often fleeing economic hardship, political and social violence, and numberless other factors that force, and this is important, people are forced into leaving their countries, often making hazardous and painful journeys in order to find safe-haven amongst fellow human-beings.

As South Africans, we know just how friendly countries welcomed us during the darkest days of Apartheid repression and tyranny.

Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and the other ‘front-line’ states paid dearly for offering South Africans fleeing Apartheid a place of refuge as well as a base of operations against the oppressive Apartheid system.

Apartheid agents and security forces attacked, fomented insurrections against the governments in the front-line states, and still South Africans of all races, creeds etc. found a welcome home in these comradely countries.

We should never forget this.

Ever.

Our government needs to be more vocal about its stance on xenophobia, and by doing so it will send a message that it will not stand by idly while people from other parts of the continent are constantly under the threat of being attacked.

That said, we as citizens have a voice, and it is morally incumbent on all of us to do our bit so that the scourge of xenophobia is excised from this land.

There is a simmering undercurrent of the possibility of attacks on foreigners as I type these words.

If this is not taken seriously and dealt with, sadly we may see scenes similar to those we witnessed in 2008.

Mayibuye-i-Afrika!

The Immigrant …

Seeking solace.
Seeking a home.

The immigrant finds,

rotten prejudice.
Fungal anger.

The immigrant,

alone, hoping for,

A solitary chance.

To belong.

The immigrant,
alone, always,

an outside entity.
Eternal outcast.

A viral threat.
A reeking odour.

The immigrant,

ever alone,
and alone knowing,
that no place exists,
but that lost home.

The Naked Face of Racism …

I met some folks the other day,

and they spewed bile and hate,

to put it bluntly,

they had nothing but shit to say,

talkin’ about ‘Kaffirs’* with self-righteous hate,

vomiting forth on the imminent doom of the South African state,

Oh but I did try some old fashioned reason,

only to be barked down,

it must have been my socks, cos’ my socks you see,

they don’t fit in with the haute-couture of this springs’ season,

and so these pleasant, well-fed, well-clothed business folk kept on blabbering,

about how stupid and corrupt all ‘blacks’ are,

and all this and more said in tones sickly-sweet,

as they guzzled their Blue Label whisky neat,

still I tried to reason,

though in truth I do confess,

I was tempted to terminate the fascist shindig,

and say,

fuck you, you racist pig,

but alas I tried and tried in vain,

but I was left cold, empty, shaking with anger, and filled with a deep pain,

that after all we have been through as a still-healing nation,

we barely haven’t even left the train station,

and I thought of my heroes,

Walter Sisulu,
Oliver Tambo,
Nelson Mandela,
Bram Fischer,
Govan Mbeki,
Ahmed Kathrada,
Chris Hani,
Moses Kotane,
Chief Albert Luthuli,
Lillian Ngoyi,
Helen Joseph,
J.B Marks,

a few amongst so many, many more,

giants of our collective struggle for equality and freedom and justice for all,

just like Dr. King who dreamed a dream while standing proud, dignified, and tall.

And so I left at long last,

stunned, broken, and aghast,

at the raw face of naked racism that I came to see,

in truth I was shaken to my very core,

but,

but,

but let the racist fascists know this,

and they better know this well,

that we shall always be many, many more,

and we shall consign them to the trashcan of history where they belong,

because their hate and their racism,

can never, ever,

and will never, ever,

silence our unfinished song,

a song nourished by the blood of those who died for the internationalist ideal,

and that,

that is something even those hate-filled businessmen can never, ever steal!

*’Kaffir’ – a racially derogatory term used to refer to black Africans in Apartheid South Africa

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” – Nelson Mandela

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela

A Meditation on Racism …

“…All we need is a voluntary, free-spirited, open-ended program of procreative racial deconstruction. Everybody just gotta keep fuckin’ everybody ’til they’re all the same color…” – Warren Beatty in the motion picture “Bulworth”

war …

war …

long after the guns fall silent,

when all the debris is swept away,

and blood-stained streets get hosed down,

will we once more say,

‘never again’ …

again,

&

again

&

again …

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