Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Edward Abbey

21 May 2008

Hatred of the other

The violence flaring up all around us in Gauteng over the last couple of days is a stark reminder of how governed people hate the other.

The "other" may be people of other races, people of other language groups, women (ever listened to jokes being told by men around a braai), homosexual people, Shangaan people, Jewish people, kulaks, nature, animals (non-human people), bushmen or the wilderness.

While horrifying and saddening, the xenophobic violence currently raging in South Africa is not surprising. The widening gap between the haves and have-nots across the globe is fast becoming a chasm. Expect more and more of this kind of violence the world over in coming years, especially in cities with large populations of urban poor.

The urban poor are growing in number and they are exposed to the luxurious lives of the elite as they drive past in their BMWs and splash mud onto the pavement where the homeless are living, sleeping and dying.

An interview with Paul Verryn on the radio yesterday, struck me like a bolt of lightning. He was describing how he and his team at the central methodist church in Joburg are trying to house some 2000 people fleeing from the violence. A lot of these people are being forced to sleep on the pavement. And yet just two doors away is a world class hotel, most likely half empty, with clean water, food, beds and warmth. Just two doors away are all the things that are basic human rights. The things that these people need right now.

That's why we're in shit. This whole world is run by power hungry psychopaths who want more and more for themselves and are willing to give less and less to the "other".

As long as civilisation exists ... we are all endangered species.

16 May 2008

The San, the Khoi and anarchists

While visiting the web forum of some or other translators' organisation in South Africa, I stumbled upon a discussion about the origin of the word "Aitsa". These Afrikaans speakers had an idea of the meaning of the word, but if the had known the actual origin of the word, they would have a much deeper understanding.

Heitsi Eibab is an ancestral spirit of the KhoiKhoi people. He has magical powers and when witnessed by people, they would exclaim "Heitsi Eibab!" or "Heitsi Eibib!". Over time this exclamation has been shortened to "eitsa" or "aitsa". Once you know the origin, the meaning is apparent.

This reminded me of some excerpts I had read from the diaries of early travellers along South Africa's coastline. These so-called civilised, racists bliksems wrote of the Khoi and San people:

Thomas Herbert, 1627: "Their language is rather apishly than articulately sounded, with whom 'tis thought they have unnatural mixtures...During the time I stayed amongst them, I saw no signs of any knowledge of God, the law of Nature being scarce observed: No spark of Devotion, no symptom of Heaven or Hell, no place set apart for Worship, no Sabbath for rest..."

MY comment: You saw no place set apart for Worship because everything around them was worshipped, the animals, the rocks, the sky, the ground upon which they walked and the water they drank. EVERYTHING is sacred to the bushmen, you fuckwit. Everything was worshipped, unlike you who only worships that which is man-made!

John Milford, 1614: "These people are the most miserable, destitute of Religion in any kind, as farre as we can perceive and of all civility: their speech a chattering rather than language; naked save a short cloake of skinnes on their shoulders, ...eate that which dogges would hardly digest.

MY comment: The less said the better, except to add that those who follow organised, misogynist, civilised religions are the ones currently devastating the planet, practicing genocide, ecocide and war, while systematically causing the extinction of every living being. Talk about miserable and destitute!!

Pyrard de Laval, 1610: "the people who live along this coast ... are very brutish and savage ... They eat human flesh and entirely raw animals, with the intestines and guts without washing them, as do dogs... Further, they live without law or religion, like animals.

MY comment: When civilisation collapses, De Laval's descendants, those living in the cluttered cities of modern Europe, are going to resort to natural survival techniques in a crisis. Like the San people he observed, his descendants will scavenge to survive and yes, they too will eat the innards of animal (the most nutritious part) and yes, when things get really desperate they may even eat their fellow human animals!!

When the oil becomes scarce and trucks and power generators can no longer operate, people in London and Paris, where 80% of food is imported, will get very very hungry, very very quickly.

As a matter of interest, here's what the language experts on the translation website had to say about the meaning of aitsa:

I wonder what the Afrikaans term " aitsa " means?
Thank you!

See explanation below

Aitsa does not really mean anything in itself, it is more of a word of exclamation, eg: "Aitsa, look at that" or "Aitsa, he's about to get a hiding!"

It is also used as an exclamation to indicate something nice, e.g. Aitsa, what a nice girl/car/house, etc.

I am not sure of the origins of the word itself, though I guess it comes from one of the other local languages. The original meaning is lost on most Afrikaans speakers, however, and it is used in the sense as given above, whether this is correct in terms of the original meaning or not.

05 May 2008

Multinationals make billions in profit out of growing global food crisis

  • 100 million people face severe hunger
  • Monsanto's net income for the three months up to the end of February this year had more than doubled over the same period in 2007, from $543m (£275m) to $1.12bn.
  • Monsanto's profits increased from $1.44bn to $2.22bn.
  • Cargill's net earnings soared by 86 per cent from $553m to $1.030bn over the same three months.
  • And Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world's largest agricultural processors of soy, corn and wheat, increased its net earnings by 42 per cent in the first three months of this year from $363m to $517m.
  • The Mosaic Company, one of the world's largest fertiliser companies, saw its income for the three months ending 29 February rise more than 12-fold, from $42.2m to $520.8m, on the back of a shortage of fertiliser.