Sunday, March 2, 2008


Sometimes I think this is a God-forsaken country. Then after remembering who I am, I pick my faith back up from the floor and keep walking. As I walk I see a dualistic country, the only developing country I know that has strong campaigns to fight drunk driving, diabetes, obesity, cancer, rape at the same time as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB (actually I haven’t even seen any malaria campaigns). So people are still dying here, but it’s just under the guise of civility. You don’t know it or realize it. It’s almost nicer in more blatantly violent places because at least you know there are issues. Here it seems hidden under peace and only illuminated through the black light of statistics.

There are still race issues here. Though we had a group of white people who left around ’94 with all the changes that were happening, we still have white people here now who have turned somewhat racist or don’t like the non-whites or blacks. They say they are lazy and are not good workers. The problem is that even after 14 years, this huge majority of the population is still undertrained and undereducated. So it’s hard to criticize someone for doing a bad job if they were never taught to do it. And so there is a growing disgruntlement in certain white circles with the situation in the country. They don’t like what’s happening with Selebi (Police commissioner accused of corruption) and Zuma (ANC head and probably next president brought up on corruption charges). And they think the country is not going to heaven in a picnic basket.

Here in South Africa, though, it’s sometimes hard for me to decide what to tell you because honestly there is so much going on in this country. There’s so much that sometimes I miss much because I’ve gotten used to the level of craze here in politics and society.

I came back to the US, and lo and behold, the pledge that I told you about was being hotly contested in parliament. It seemed strange with all the other issues facing the country, but there it was. Some members accused the pledge as being useless indoctrination without actually changing the students. Because the pledge mentions that we will not forget about our past (and past wrongs of society) that it is meant to make the whites feel guilty. The problem with that is that everyone must say it. And so the debate rages.

And thinking back, another point facing the country that was not addressed in the State of the Nation address was the scorpions (our FBI). They have been highly effective in fighting crime (I’ve heard an 80% success rate, but I have no idea what that means), but they are not liked by the ANC (the ruling party and the liberating party). This is partly because the ANC is very corrupt. At least half of its leaders are being investigated or have been indicted (I saw a newspaper article where they listed 30 different guys with pictures and crimes). And because they are targeted or the Scorpions have gone after them I think (from what I understand) they are being targeted by the ANC who wants them disbanded (let me say by SOME members of the ANC). Half of the group formed to urge and encourage the disbanding of the Scorpions consists of people who have been brought up on charges by them. So it’s a bit of a mess right now. Another argument against them is that they use “unconventional” means. I believe this might be true, though back when they were formed no one had problems with it.

We still have race issues here, like I’ve said before. Here’s an article about white students at a school that convinced black female workers to participate in a fear factor where they unknowingly drank urine. In the video of this event, the Afrikaans students said this is what they think of integration!

It’s a bit shocking. Over in the US Bush is trying to get the Supreme Court to drop charges against companies that were being charged with doing business with apartheid companies.

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