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.

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