Tag Archive: Sectarianism


the stench of prejudice.



1.




when rancid prejudice strikes,

in cocooned fungal minds, narrow, superficially deep,


an insidious venom begins to seep,


into our consciousness as we sleep.



2.



bigoted beliefs held so true, so deep,

stripped of feeling,


empty, hollow, feigned, designed, branded as compassion,


feeds the conceit in chests swollen and rotten with self-righteous passion.



3.



the insidious extremism once firmly entrenched,


envelopes all, not unlike a comforting shawl,


needing more and more bluster to fester, and to mutate,


into doctrines of superiority, bigotry, and new fashioned, ‘palatable’ hate.



4.



are we guilty of succumbing to this virulent plague?


sipping our cappuccinos, and shovelling more, always more onto our heaving plates,


falling, slipping into inebriated stasis, without care,


as the stench of hate, prejudice, gay-bashing, terrorism, racism, antisemitism, islamophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, casteism, tribalism,


continues to belch into the polluted air.

the physics of love 

made of starstuff*, you and i, the random crossed paths of our orbits, reaching deeper into the quarks and gluons that bind us together, tiny strings, weaving a tapestry of oneness.

made of starstuff, you and i, intertwined synapses flowing through neural networks, somehow, in the ways of the cosmos, fusing these two beating hearts together.

made of starstuff, you and i, the unfathomable meeting of mind and soul, beyond the knowable, yet forging the knots, linking us in an unending entanglement of distilled love.

made of starstuff, you and i, the touch of our lips, the feel of our heartbeats, the brushing of our fingertips, remaining so inexplicably unquantifiable,
and felt,

so deeply immeasurable.

         _______________
( * inspired by Dr. Carl Sagan and by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson )

awfully soppy 😊



together, we have journeyed, through thickets of pain, under thrashing icy rain.


together, we have held on, to each other, believing in one another.


together, we walk on, our love the glue, binding us to that which is true:


without each other,

there is no me,

there is no you.

Comrade Chris Hani

( 28 June 1942 – assassinated 10 April 1993 )

Mowed down

by hot lead,

your blood flowed

into our African soil.
Murdered you, yes, they did.
Silence you, they never will,

for your voice,

your spirit,

speaks to us still!
          ______________

http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/thembisile-chris-hani

Solomon Mahlangu: My Blood will Nourish the Tree that will Bear the Fruits of Freedom:

Solomon Mahlangu was trained as an MK soldier with a view to later rejoining the struggle in the country.
He left South Africa after the Soweto Uprising of 1976 when he was 19 years old, and was later chosen to be part of an elite force to return to South Africa to carry out a mission commemorating the June 16th 1976 Soweto student uprising.
After entering South Africa through Swaziland and meeting his fellow comrades in Duduza, on the East Rand (east of Johannesburg), they were accosted by the police in Goch Street in Johannesburg.
In the ensuing gun battle two civilians were killed and two were injured, and Mahlangu and Motloung were captured while acting as decoys so that the other comrade could go and report to the MK leadership.
Motloung was brutally assaulted by the police to a point that he suffered brain damage and was unfit to stand trial, resulting in Mahlangu facing trial alone.
He was charged with two counts of murder and several charges under the Terrorism Act, to which he pleaded not guilty.
Though the judge accepted that Motloung was responsible for the killings, common purpose was argued and Mahlangu was found guilty on two counts of murder and other charges under the Terrorism Act.
On 15 June 1978 Solomon Mahlangu was refused leave to appeal his sentence by the Rand Supreme Court, and on 24 July 1978 he was refused again in the Bloemfontein Appeal Court.
Although various governments, the United Nations, International Organizations, groups and prominent individuals attempted to intercede on his behalf, Mahlangu awaited his execution in Pretoria Central Prison, and was hanged on 6 April 1979.
His hanging provoked international protest and condemnation of South Africa and Apartheid.
In fear of crowd reaction at the funeral the police decided to bury Mahlangu in Atteridgeville in Pretoria.
On 6 April 1993 he was re-interred at the Mamelodi Cemetery, where a plaque states his last words:
‘My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom.
Tell my people that I love them.
They must continue the fight.’
Mahlangu died for a cause!
Salute!
The Struggle Continues…
(special thanks to a friend who shared this tribute to Solomon Mahlangu)
            _______________
http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/solomon-kalushi-mahlangu

when we kissed

​when you kissed me, our tongues waltzed in symphonic harmony, teasing the crescendos as we sipped ambrosia in our tango of passion.


when we made love, our bodies fused, in singular unison, the sweat mingled with the desire to soak in as much of the nectar of love.


when we walked, hand in hand, the powdery beach beneath our feet, we became one with nature, our love a testament to the unison of complete surrender.


when we spoke of times past, and tomorrows yet to dawn, we felt the tug of kindred spirits, so elusive until now.


when we gazed into each others eyes, we felt ourselves drowning in a maelstrom of unquenchable togetherness.


when we kissed again, and again, as we do now, we bask in the sunlight, of a love impossible to explain,


a love that weathered the seasons, the coming of autumn, through life’s pain, and through the slicing barrage of fate’s icy rain.


 

you stood tall.

shoulder to shoulder with your oppressed compatriots bludgeoned by the jackboot of Apartheid South Africa.

you stood tall.

shoulder to shoulder with your fellow interned comrades on that desolate rock, Robben Island.

you stood tall.

shoulder to shoulder with those who yearned for freedom, for the common decency of being treated as human beings.

you stood tall.

your principles of non-racialism steadfast as your commitment to the freedom and democracy you and your comrades dedicated your entire lives to achieve.

you stood tall.

in the face of the brutality of the Apartheid state, as they tried to break spirits that could not be shaken.

you stood tall.

for 27 long years, alongside your comrades Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Andrew Mlangeni, Denis Goldberg, and Elias Motsoaledi, Raymond Mhlaba.

you stood tall.

inspiring a generation to continue the struggle against Apartheid tyranny, your example burned bright in the hearts of those who yearned for, and fought for the freedom of South Africa.

you stood tall, comrade Ahmed Kathrada.
you stood tall, uncle Kathy.

you stood tall. and you shall stand tall.

you shall stand tall, for those of us you leave behind.

you shall always stand tall, for those yet to come.

you shall always stand tall.

Amandla!
The Struggle Continues!
Aluta Continua!

     _________

http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/ahmed-kathrada

repost: a child of war

​I am so pained to be reposting these poems. It seems like the so-called leaders and those who carry out wanton violence in the name of religion and caste, gender, land, wherever they may come from, are dragging our world further into the callous abyss of bloodletting. It cannot go on this way. It must not go on this way. It must not be allowed to go on this way. I am helplessly wishing for peace inspite of the orgy of violence and death that seems to have consumed this fragile planet we all call home.




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 father’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 father’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,

new york in ’01,

jenin in ‘02,

hanoi in ‘68,

beirut in ‘85,


raqqa, london,

basra, mosul,

yemen, paris,

now.


 


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 …

walking through the crowd …

alone
not lonely

traversing oceans
skipping mountains

tugged by beckoning smiles

absorbed along
endless miles

seeking strands of hope
loosely strung

untying the noose
where desolation once hung

while
scribbling verses unfathomably obtuse

discarding meter and rhyme

frantically
chasing ever-fleeing time

knowing
my moulting skin
is all that i have to lose

while still
walking through the crowd

alone
not lonely

an outsider

always
seeking peace
within

ever hopeful
of gentler days

when
healing may begin

soothing the soul

casting off leaden  weight

of so much that has in tne past,

past

The African Rains …

The African Rains …

Soaking,
the rains settle,
meandering over jagged faultlines of our memory.

Drenching,
the rains settle,
streaming through veins,

the thud-thudding of the heartbeat of Africa.

Absorbing,
the rains that settle,
within each of us,

herald rebirth.

And,
if you listen,

if you strain to hear,
while shedding the raucous noise of your inner turmoil.

If you listen,

the whispers of the ancestors,

speak to us all,
lending us warmth,
urging us to stand,

even though we may
stumble,

even though we may fall.

a shared mosaic

a shared mosaic.

threads
intertwined
bind

him
her
you

&

i

together.

earthy
shades
colours

hues
fuse

him
her
you

&

i

together.

one mosaic

one world
one race

human …

him
her
you

&

i

together …

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!

The Siege of Kobane …

(Saturday 11th October 2014)

The resistance stands,

Kobane stands,

it’s defenders armed with Kalashnikovs and the fierce will of a people refusing to be cowed,

the resistance against the perversions of ISIS stands,

today,

in the streets of Kobane.

The battles rage on,

as we type these words,

as you read these lines,

the resistance against ISIL barbarity holds firm.

Kobane stands!

Still!

Kobane has not fallen!

Viva the Resistance!

For Malala Yousafzai …

For Malala Yousafzai …

(for Malala Yousafzai, 14 years old, in a critical condition after being shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban, for her work as a young activist advocating the rights of girls to attend school)

When hot lead tears the flesh of a 14 year old girl,

ripping through her skull,
leaving her to bleed out and die,

does Allah not recoil in horror,

to see His child whimper,
to see His daughter cry.

Where is the indignation,

the anger that often boils over and manifests itself as flags and books and videos are burnt in mass orgies of hollow piety,

where are the voices that scream so loud,
that denounce all but their own creed,

where are the men, the impotent men who crave for nothing more than their fascist egos to feed,

where are the voices that so loudly proclaim,
enemies here and enemies there, always quick to condemn,

where are those voices when the enemy walks amongst them.

14 year old Malala Yousafzai was shot in cold blood,

her crime?

Advocating the rights of girls to an education.

Shame on you, men of bigotry and men of cowardice.

Shame on you, silent and mute accomplices in this carnage.

Shame on me,
for my inaction,

Shame on us all,
who proclaim lofty ideals,

yet are conspicuously silent,

when a 14 year old girl is shot in the head,

by fascist fundamentalist bigots who only worship bullets of hot lead.

Not in my name!

Not in my name,
shall the cowardly men rain down abuse,

Not in my name,
shall the bigoted men light the communalistic fuse,

Not in my name,
shall Malala Yousafzai be shot in the head,

left to bleed out,
while countless mothers’ tears are shed,

not in my name,
shall religious murderers,
be left to wander free,

not in my name,
for I dare all believers to open their eyes,
to see!

To see,
the innocence of a 14 year old girl,
wanting only an education,

as the men of the cloth,
prance around with their pathetic self-righteous indignation.

I write this today,
the anger raging in my veins,

yet I fear,

that I shall write more of this,

unless we stand up and say ‘no more’,

I fear that I shall be writing this again,

until we all,

reclaim the true principles of humaneness,

until we silence the voices of bigotry,
of rage,
of fanatical insanity,

I fear I shall be writing this again,

and,

until the muck-ridden bile,
is not excised,

I shall continue to say,

NOT IN MY NAME!

Or else I shall have nothing,

but my unending shame

The Battle for Kobane…

The Battle for Kobane…

The black flag of ISIS limply flutters on the eastern outskirts,

of Kobane.

The blood flows,
through narrow streets,

a ghost – town,

it’s people fleeing from the butchers’ knives,

refugees now,

in limbo,

while the parched desert sun sets on the battlefield.

If Kobane falls,

we shall all be on our knees,

naked and exposed,

to the void that is ISIS.

May the brave resistance soldier on,

under – equipped,

under – fed,

under constant siege,

yet they fight on,

against the backdrop of toothless air strikes,

as innocent blood flows,

and flows.

LONG LIVE THE RESISTANCE!

For Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892 – 1984)

when,

the hushed rage of prejudice rejoices in triumphant pomp and hateful ceremony,

and,

the silent dagger of complicit racism plunges deep into the soul of a world bereft of hope,

and,

the long knife of embraced apathy twists and turns,

then,

perhaps we’ll open our opaque eyes,

and perhaps then we’ll open our sewed-up mouths,

and perhaps only then will we whimper in mock shock and startled surprise,

for,

the festering hate that spirals around us,

in the fertile minds of quasi-religious bigotry,

is unafraid,

and speaks in the loudest baritone.

2.

Yet,

we accept,

we acquiesce,

we wish it all away,

but,

there will come that time when the lines are drawn,

when the purest hearts of silently smiling bigotry will hold the world in their sway,

with their cherubic, agreeable arguments sprinkled with pieces of fact that will kill, rape, pillage, and slay…

what then,

I ask,

will we do that day?

          _____________

” … First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me … ” – Pastor Martin Niemoller

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