Compassion is Colourless

By Jacob L Bane

I’ve spent the better part of this and last week trawling through masses of messages, emails, websites, news articles, historical videos and petitions about Palestine and Israel. I’ve been aware of the crisis for many years but what’s happening now seems frighteningly final.

You’d have to be living under a rock on the dark side of the moon not to be aware of it, even if the facts or details escape you; from the initial ‘retaliation’ on Tuesday 8th July after falsified assassinations of three Israeli youths, supposedly carried out by Hamas ‘terrorists’, to the horror of the four Bakr boys killed indiscriminately on a beach on July 16th and cast as ‘human shields’ by the IDF.

We’ve probably all seen the images of those twisted, lifeless bodies in the summer sand, seen videos of the bombing raids by IDF jets as well as the pictures of some Israelis pulling up deckchairs and cheering as explosions rocked Gaza, because one thing the internet does extremely efficiently is bring the atrocities to our eyeballs – even if we don’t want it to.

Now, compared to a lot of people on Facebook I have a modest number of friends, somewhere around 150. I can be quite a demanding FB friend too, I’m always posting something which needs attention and I generally push lots of people to respond. Often the response is good but with the Palestine situation I’ve noticed an increasing number of people turning a blind eye.

Yes, okay, you’ve had a bad day and you just want a laugh, I get that, but here’s my problem: While innocent people in Palestine are dying because our so-called political leaders are either too involved with Israel or are too busy procrastinating, I can’t rest. I can’t sit by and do nothing, I cannot turn a blind eye like so many people seem to be doing.

I’m becoming angry about this.

I log on at the moment and immediately ask, “Why the fuck is my wall not glowing red hot with Palestine/Israel posts?”

And this got me thinking.

I don’t want to turn this into a racial or religious argument, but I have to ask this solitary question: If it wasn’t Muslims being killed by the IDF and the UN/USA’s inaction, would the world be more sympathetic?

Since 9/11 the world’s view of Muslims has been tainted by a media steered by an elitist group with a political agenda as nefarious as Hitler’s (and Benjamin Netenyahu’s). The average man in the street will tell you he has no time for them or thinks they are dangerous and can’t be trusted. I hear this all the time, especially from the western hemisphere. Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, both vituperated in the media, are forever cast in stone as demons and figureheads of Muslim nations that bred terrorist organisations – all highly questionable, yet widely accepted.

This vilification has damaged, even destroyed the reputation of Muslims all over the world and mistrust is often the first response from many people.

I wonder, if we were seeing blonde haired, pale skinned children dying on a beach, how would the western world respond? Would we see trade sanctions in place already? Would we see UN jets flying in and dropping nukes?

The UN/USA is playing a double standards game because Israel has contravened more UN laws than Iraq, yet America hasn’t charged in there to stomp all over them. We know the USA has been bankrolling Israel, we know it has sold them weapons and if we think about it, we can see that Gaza (and what little remains of the true Palestine) presents a wonderful opportunity to move oil easily from the Middle East to the Mediterranean and out into the Atlantic.

Perhaps what we’re witnessing here is a two-fold endgame: Israel’s final solution for Palestine and America’s continuing quest to control all the oil and the ensuing economy with it.

Compassion doesn’t come in any particular colour – one size fits all and I urge you to ignore the prejudice being spread in the media and listen to your heart, see in the faces of those broken children the faces of your own brothers, sisters or children. Loss, pain, grief and tragedy are indiscriminate too.

What we need to do is hit Israel where it hurts and force them into submission by denying them trade and privileges, so, if you feel so compelled you can take action by signing the following petitions or even email Benjamin Netenyahu and the White House directly with your thoughts.

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

It has been sitting heavy on my chest for the last two weeks or so, and I haven’t been really in the mood to sit down and mull all my ideas into a single cohesive strand, although I am confronted by it every single day for the last two weeks.

I’ve been following the international news as normal, and I was plagued by the barbarism of humankind all over the globe. Saddened that things can go so far, and that we, the normal average person who go about our daily lives can allow things like this to happen.

Now, looking back on the last two week I feel that I have to do my part, or else, I will be just as guilty as those who perform these savage acts of violence against their fellow human beings.  As Albert Einstein said

“The World will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything”

The catalyst for the piece is without a doubt the conflict which escalated so drastically in Israel between the Zionist Israeli Government and Hamas, but, this piece is not only about that conflict, but about the injustice happening all over the globe, and we sit by without decrying it because of man made ideological differences between us.

In Nigeria Boko Haram is running amok, killing civilians indiscriminately and all under the guise of religion.  Seleka, who are predominately Muslim rebels in CAR are waging a terror campaign on civilians and in turn, the Anti-Balaka, who are predominately Christians, have sprung up to defend themselves, in turn, also indiscriminately killing civilians on the Muslim side.

In Iraq and Syria the ISIS which is aspiring to create a caliphate in the region has suddenly appeared on the map and are brutally slaying everyone who does not side with them, including fellow Muslims.

But, this is not much different from the Spanish Inquisition, or the Crusades to the Holy Land in which the Church was the main culprit of all these atrocities.  The only difference is that this is happening now, during our lifetime on Earth, and, we can either choose to stop it, or allow it to go on.

Many people would think that this is about religion, but, religion is only the guise for the these atrocities.  It is a means to an end, and it works.

Following comments posted on News24, and actively engaging with people who commented on the forums I realized something.

“Divide and Conquer” Sun-Tzu, Art of War

We are allowing ourselves to be divided because of pity differences in our believes, our outlook on life, our political parties and by our perceptions on what we get fed by the mainstream media.

In an article on News24 which was about a woman who had a post up on her Facebook page, where Hitler says ” I could have killed all of the Jews, but I left a few so that you will see then for what they really are” one could see the divide growing bigger and bigger, pro-Palestinian pitted against pro-Isreali, with a good mix of racism thrown into the mix and dash of hate speech to get things boiling over.

This, is where our humanity starts fading, where we as a people start disappointing ourselves and severely diminish our chances to survive the onslaught of our Governments and the powers behind those Governments. Where we as humanity are failing the generations to come after us.

I’ve seen Muslim people wishing for all Jews to be wiped from the Earth, not only in Isreal.

I’ve seen Jewish people wishing the same fate upon their Muslim counterparts, celebrating each bomb strike into the open air concentration camp from atop a hill overlooking the Gaza strip.

I’ve seen Christian people getting into the fray who are supporting a Jewish led Government bombing of innocent Palestinian civilians, who seemingly forget the words of the Jesus of Nazareth, who was by blood a Jew, but by birth a Palestinian.

This man, this Jesus of Nazareth, who was a good example for people of any faith of how a decent human being can be like said the following:

“30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31

That is what sets us apart from the beasts who live besides us on the Earth.  Our humanity.  The quality of state of being kind to other people and/or animals.

How can we still call ourselves human if we have lost what it means to be human, that which sets us apart from the animals which roam the Earth with us?  Surely, when we condone acts of violence from one group upon another group of our same kind, then we are no better than the animals who live beside us?

The same stands true when we say nothing about crimes against humanity in general, against us.  The normal man on the street.

We all must try and remember, that fanatics are everywhere, fanatics who are being fueled by hidden agendas from World powers to keep us as a race, as a people from achieving unity at all costs, because, there is no money to be made from peace.

So, decided for yourself today, are you going to give up your humanity or are you part of the solution who are willing to look past the differences in color, culture, language and religion to catapult the human race into the future.

Disarming the Law Abiding Citizen in South Africa

For some time now gun control has been in the background, every so often moving into the public stage again when something terribly goes wrong, for example the Columbine High School massacre, and then it gets obscured again by various other issues which arise.

Sadly, the call for stricter gun control is back in light of the Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp tragedy, and now the African Nation Congress Women League and various other parties are calling for it.

I think this, is a very very very bad idea, particularly in South Africa

It would be nothing else than a collective suicide if South African law abiding citizens give up their right to defend themselves given the current state of affairs in South Africa, and the utter inhumane violent crimes which are purported against the citizens of South Africa by murderers and rapists.

In March of 2011 when Lidiwe Sisulu was still Minister of Defense it was reported that 82 000 weapons were missing from the South African National Defense Force.

In the same year it was reported that South African Police Services has lost 20 428 weapons since 2004.

Now the question begs to be asked … “Where are these weapons?”

Certainly, these weapons won’t be with the average, run of the mill Law Abiding Citizen since he would not have a need for it.  He would have his own licensed weapons I would think, since he is a model citizen of South Africa.

No, it makes more sense to assume that some of the weapons were sold and left for neighboring countries while others have been found in the hands of local thugs and criminals,  many of them used in violent attacks on our fellow citizens.

Of course one could argue that the weapons which were not already found in the system simply just got lost, but given the track record which the SAPS has and the corruption allegations which surface regularly against members of the Police, I’m going to go with to go with the first scenario.

It would then stand to reason that if you disarm the average citizen, that you would make him and easy target, effectively painting a bulls-eye on his back,  for those who would have the need for unlicensed weapons, like criminals.

If a criminal already has very little or no moral values, with nothing to lose or fear, then what would deter him from coming into your home while you sleep to liberate some of your earthly possessions?  Heaven forbid he enters your home with a darker, more sinister plan in mind.

Are you simply going to ask him nicely to leave you and your family in peace?

No, you can’t … as Dr Marthin Luther King once said,  “It is criminal to not teach a man how to defend himself”.  You have to protect those who you love, those dear to you, the innocent.

Now, what if this criminal was armed with a firearm?

It would basically mean mean that we will be settings the wolves upon the flock, and this cannot be allowed to happen.

We must not forfeit our rights to defend ourselves because the Government can’t assure us that our lives will be safe in their hands.  They blame all sorts of failed policies, their favorite of course, blaming the violent nature of South Africa on Apartheid, but never looking inwards, to what their corruption and greedy grabs for high paying jobs, flashy cars and fortress mansions projects down onto the still suffering, still marginalized, still uneducated, economically and socially devastated, masses.

Masses who need to eat, who need to feed their children. Masses who get pitiful handouts in the form of social grants, like the famous “Baby Grant” without permanent solutions to their grievances from Government.  Instead they get empty promises, some lip service and a whole lot of dancing while singing “struggle” songs which could incite violence, like Zuma’s favorite struggle song “Umshini wami” and others like “Dubula Ibhunu” …

Remember, criminals didn’t start out as criminals, society and Government allowed this to happen …

The normal citizens then become the easy targets, those of the diminishing middle income group living in Suburbia and the poor who are still stuck in informal settlements.  Never would these criminals try to steal from very well fortified mansions of political leaders who are guarded by guards with automatic machine guns purely because it is just not that easy when someone is shooting back at you, and you might actually lose the only thing you have left, your life.

Government has failed us, and now they want us to give up one of the tools we us in order to protect ourselves because they cant?  Certainly, they must be mad!

Fight the Government with everything you have on this …  think about it this way, had there been no violent crime, or a reason to own a weapon, then Oscar Pistorius might not have been in the situation he is in because he would not have had a gun.

The gun and Reeva are the only true innocent objects in this sad scenario.  The gun didn’t fire itself, it was fired by Oscar, Oscar pulled the trigger … the gun didn’t fire itself.  The fact of the matter is that this slogan rings very true.

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”

So people, keep your guns, fight for self preservation, in fact, if possible, arm yourself, go for training.  Protect yourselves and those you love.

Heaven forbid that we would need to protect ourselves from the Government or our fellow countrymen someday when our country slides down into total anarchy …

Violent Strikes in the South African Agricultural Sector, why and what will be the outcome?

South Africa is a country with great potential and with a unique and diverse culture.  It is the only country in the World where the minority ruled over the majority with an Iron Fist until 1994, and although this was not something which was born in South Africa self, it was a policy which was thought out and implemented by the then colonizers of Africa, the British under Lord Milner, it did leave us with a unique situation.

A unique symbiotic relationship developed between the two major ethical groups in South Africa, to the point where neither group can function properly without the other group, and this is not to say that one group should preside in the Master role and the other in the Slave role, because we are all equal, despite what most right wing commentators would say.  The only difference between the “Masters” and the “Slaves” was, and is still the level of education.  This is not a matter of opinion, but rather a simple fact which everyone who is honest with himself would agree upon.

Lately though, South Africa has been plagued by violent protests throughout all the major sectors of the economy.

The transport, mining, agriculture industry and service delivery strikes were the most prominent and made it onto the headlines of News24 every single day, even while the top brass in the ANC were spending millions of taxpayer money on their party celebrations over December.

Because there are just too many strings to follow and to discuss, and because I want to keep this short and sweet I will only give my thoughts on the violent strikes and protests we observed within the agricultural sector, and I am not going to pussy foot around the subject.

The ANC led Government has had “control” over South Africa for the last 18 years and yet the majority of our countrymen are still living in absolute poverty.  The reason Malema was such a threat to the ANC “regime” was because he was speaking the truth when he said that Freedom doesn’t mean anything without economic emancipation, albeit it that he had a very poorly thought out plan of Nationalization to deal with the issue at hand.

He was a threat to the political scavenger elite who are currently running the country, and though everyone knows that nearly everyone in a Government position has his hand down the cookie jar in some form or another he was allowed this “benefit” until he turned on his Master whom he was willing to protect and give his life for, Jacob Zuma.  After this his political career was crushed and now SARS is picking clean the bones of his sorry carcass.

But let’s leave that for there now and focus on the violent strikes in the agricultural sector.

So the farm workers were complaining about earning R65 a day … to put that into perspective … 2L of milk costs R20, a bread costs R5, taxi fare, depending on how far you are from your place of work is R15 if you are within a 30km radius, and then somewhere in between you must still put a little away for a rainy day?

Of course these workers have reason to be pissed off, the cost of living is rising, they mostly have no running water nor electricity, no formal schooling, and yet everyone around them are pocketing it big time, from their perspective while they are struggling to put clothes on the backs of their children, while they suffer to make enough money to feed their children.

R65 a day is nothing in the bigger scheme of things, especially when your “Baas” quickly jumps in his luxury 4 x 4 Toyota bakkie and drives off to the Pick & Pay, grabs some braaivleis and 12 ice cold Black Labels for the rugby.

This is not only true for the Agricultural sector, but everywhere.  The reason I know this is because I take the time to speak to those less fortunate than myself, those who were, and are still part of the “previously disadvantaged” of South Africa, the poorest of the poor.

Though, this might not always be fact, it remains the perception out there, and we have to work together to change the perception.

I know a couple of farmers personally, of whom I can only say good things, they provide for their workers, they build houses for them, they make sure they have running water, electricity, they give them food, and they even share their ice cold Black Labels with their workers, but this is certainly not what is happening as a rule of thumb, and this is where our problem really arises.

White South Africans  are too LAZY and they consider it beneath them to do manual labor  because that is a “kaffir’s” job.

Because of this, the South African system has always relied on cheap, unschooled laborers for these types of jobs, and although we share a unique symbiosis it does not mean that we have to enrich ourselves at the cost of our countrymen.

These laborers are trapped in a never ending struggle for survival where they work to survive, and survive to work, a never ending cycle with no hope of getting out of this closed loop system.

In no World is this fair towards anyone … I challenge those of you who are privileged enough to be reading this, not because I think this is a great opinion, but because you are privileged enough to be sitting down on your ass behind a computer, most likely in a air-conditioned office, with your fingertips on a keyboard, from where you can access any information you want to imagine yourself in the shoes of those laborers.

You would too do anything to provide for your families, to provide the very basics, which the South African Constitution “claims” your are entitled to as the very basic of human rights, the right to education, the right to a decent standard of living, the right to running water.  You would also burn the country if your perception is that you are suffering in the sun while the “Baas” can do what he wants, because he not only has freedom, but he is free from the financial constraints which is hampering you to better your existence, and to start designing a life.

The ANC led Government refuses to acknowledge the fact that Farm Murders, which are some of the most horrific murders in the history of South Africa are hate crimes, because if they do, then they will acknowledge their failure as a governing party. It is part and parcel of this perception which is out there and because of the deliberate “racial” divide which they keep on promoting from within governmental rallies and speeches, and this only compounds the dilemma we are sitting with, and this puts the whole country at risk of being destabilized.

They (the Government) are not forthcoming with ideas on how to address the problem, and I guess they are hoping that the flimsy stitches of this “Rainbow Nation” will stay in place for a bit longer while they loot the State coffers.  Not once have Government offered the farmers some sort of tax break if they up the daily wages of these laborers  because let’s face it, the farmers, are not all the filthy rich bastard “Boere” who do not care for the fellow countrymen, no, a lot of them are suffering under the economic pressures of our time with the operational costs of running the farm skyrocketing because of failed policies implemented by Government which causes havoc in our local economy.

In my heart I want to believe that, if they could, they would pay their laborers a decent daily wage, but I know that is idealistic, and there should be measures put in place to ensure those types of wages if it is possible from the farmer’s side.

There are so many factors which can change the ebb and flow of this situation, and I am just a spectator on the side, but one thing I know for certain is this.

If we don’t all try and work together and start looking out for Government, then we will all be chewed up and swallowed by the Monster which is governing our country, because if all the farmers leave, what will be left but barren earth … how will we feed our loved ones?

Coincidentally I saw a poster which read “If there is no more food the poor will be forced to eat the rich” … scary thought?  Well, just ask the Pygmies in the Congo is this is so far fetched or not.

If this continues we will be facing a real civil war, and although I know there are those of us who believe that this is the only solution to our problem, I put this to you, it’s easier to destroy then to build, and with the destruction we only put ourselves back 18 years at the very least … and we will be spitting on the graves of those who have died in the last 18 years, we will be robbing future generations of hope, we will leave behind a legacy which I would rather not be part of.

I implore you, the reader, to get actively involved, to put aside your personal feelings of hate and mistrust and to try and work together, if not for you, but for your children, and their children.

The whole World is waiting like vultures, for the spoils of war, so let’s not give them the satisfaction of failing, let’s work together and fix this.

Religion … why would pick a fight about it?

I am surprised to see the whole Online debate regarding religion and faith here on News24 between die-hard fanatics on both sides of the religious divide.

Everyday each and every one of us experience countless challenges and obstacles!

We see our fellow countrymen suffer in the cold, we give them a cold look or a rude gesture and just wish they would disappear and not ask us anything.

We hear and see the neighbor behind us, violently shouting at his wife after a night out  and threating her with physical violence, yet we keep quiet.

We see the injustice that is brought upon the children of South Africa and the world because of a pathetic educational systems, full of people who are there only because it is a job and not a passion, yet we do nothing.

We contend with reckless drivers on the roads just to get from point A to B.

We ourselves face the possibility of falling victim to some heinous act of crime,  so why ….

“Why?”

Why would anyone even care if there is a God, god, gods, Gods … with our immediate environment being the way it is.

What is the point spending time fighting a pointless fight which is actually more of a personal choice than anything else?

Could this time spent on fighting each other not be used more productively?

Could this time not be used to pool our collective resources and come up with solutions to our common problems like inequity, violent crime, corruption; to halt the rate of the social decay around us and to turn it around so that we can work towards our survival as a species?

Why would the non believers care if someone believe in a spiritual deity?

Why would the believers care that the non believers just don’t have any faith?

How does this have a direct influence on our lives?

We are in the here and now, we have to fix it now to have a future.

Personally, I believe in God, but I don’t care if you care of not, because it gives me purpose in life to better my immediate environment for everyone around me.

Get your acts together and start being productive, not only the people here in South Africa, but anyone who might stumble onto this blog by sheer coincidence.

Can’t wait for the new Wave, even though it scares me

On a bit of an anarchistic note;

I can’t wait for a Civil Society in South Africa, but it scares me to think what we will most likely go through to achieve that goal.

Che Guevara said the following

The feeling of revolt will grow stronger every day among the peoples subjected to various degrees of exploitation, and they will take up arms to gain by force the rights which reason alone has not won them.

This is what scares me, and I hope we could find a way around it, but can a Revolution truly be without bloodshed?

Or have we paid enough through the years, the years under the Apartheid system, and now under the Rainbow Nation? Paid with the blood of our loved ones because of a decedent ANC led Government who can’t clamp down on violent crime?

I believe that we have paid enough for the mistakes, driven by human greed of those who came before us.

Now it is time that we make our voices heard and stand up against a Government that is only in play as to satisfy their goals for self enrichment.

We should take this stance to every Government around the world who make the people their slaves.

The Role of Government in Modern Society

One should ask, what is the role of Government in today’s modern society?  In my eyes the role of the Government must be limited, and there should be no room for self enrichment, since we must assume that these people are in Government because of their love for the people and their country and not due to their own desires for financial and political gain.

1. They should ensure a secure and stable environment to enable free trade, innovation, development and production through securing our national borders and protect against internal threats such as racketeering, intimidation, violence and corruption, and defend the country from any external threat to our way of life.

2. They should enable the citizens of the country to better themselves in every possible way though quality education by the means of creating quality infrastructure such as housing and roads; delivering basic services like running water and electricity to each home and telecommunication for further development in regards with education.

3. They should not be allowed to have parastatals like Eskom or Telkom. Any funding which the Government give to public enterprise ventures should be seen as loans after an in depth due diligence report was drawn up, and their must be little or no interest.

4. Financial institutions should be regulated in regards with the amount of personal loans they give out to an individual, and the interest charged on these loans, as well as keep an eye on bank administrative charges.

5. Lastly, the salaries of serving political figures and leading figures in the public sector like the police and defence force should be voted on by the public themselves.

Governing the Government falls in the hands of the citizens of the country, and we should not be lax in our attitudes or our resolve towards the Government, because this creates the perfect opportunity for the human condition called Greed to raise it’s ugly head.  We voted them into power, and it is our common responsibility to make sure that they stay on the straight and narrow, long past are the days of Monarchs and Feudal Lords who believed that the peasants where there to serve their every whim, the Government is the Public’s servant.

In essence I believe that people don’t need a Government, a body or entity that will herd them like sheep or cattle into specific areas where they think it is best for livestock, and of course, from which they as the Government would stand to gain the most out of.

Sadly there is no room in today’s society for such a view, since we as human beings are not responsible enough to govern ourselves and our inherent need for greed and hoarding.

Maybe through education we will be able to move past these factors which are holding us back sometime in the future.