Thursday, January 23, 2003

Quiet few days of murder and mayhem! Particularly in Kwazulu Natal. I'm still trying to absorb the latest barrage of news. On top of the massage parlour slayings in Cape Town and the Zulu royal family murder earlier in the week.

In a midnight massacre possibly linked to rampant stocktheft in the Upper Tugela district seven women and children of the Xaba family of kwaMaye near Bergville were shot and burned to death on Wednesday

One may hope that one should get numbed and somehow used to the senseless murder and bloodletting. So far so I have not let the numbness develop - each death is still as horrific as the other. Some killings are admittedly more remote than the others and therefore a litlle less close to the heart and painful. They day that I accept that such death is an acceptable cost of living in this country and not an unquestionable act of barbarism is the day I cease to be human. It's difficult however when you love a country so much to have to deal so often with the dark aspects of living here. The temptation is certainly to ignore the horror as so long as it's not in your backyard.

Another horror item occurred in the backyard of my youth on Saturday. Chris Aldridge, a gentler soul I cannot think of, rest in peace. The fact that the suspects have been swiftly apprehended does not make the crimes any less horrific. The law (and the enforcement thereof) is still not providing a sufficient deterrent to criminals from these savages to those who drive recklessly on our roads. The temptation to admire Foucault's more barbaric forms of useful punishment in that such criminals should be drawn and quartered certainly arises. But that sits starkly in contradiction to the very reason that I find the bloodletting barabaric in the first place (Something on the lines of Donne's "no man is an island" type of thought). It is certainly difficult to balance the need for a strong deterring type of punishment with a sense of humanity and fairness. How does one stem the anarchy? Even our septuagenerian minister of home affairs is noting the resurgence of violence and this from a man who the TRC isolated as one of the key provocateurs of violence in Kwazulu in the 1980’s.

Nevers, you must understand, is the town in this world, and even the thing in this world that I dream most about during the night, at the same time that it is the thing I think least about during the day. “ Hiroshima, Mon Amour” by Marguerite Duras
Nightmares of War

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