Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Focusing on the good

There's no point dwelling on the sad state of affairs that is part and parcel of living in this country. There is no point in wondering when it will happen again (for it will). There is no point in living each and every single day in fear. Seize the moment, live life.

It's been almost 2 weeks since the hijacking. I have relived each and every single second over and over until some nights I wake up in a cold sweat thinking about all the what ifs. What if they had been in a bad mood or what if they had been out for more than just a car? What if all they wanted was to kill?

It's easy for me to rationalise that in this country at this particular time poverty has led to a culture of give me what you have and if you don't I will take it by force. It's also easy for me to rationalise that these 4 young men are living somewhere in a hovel and this is their only means of supporting themselves. But reality is that they are not living lives of utter despair. They were far too professional for that. They live off of their bad deeds. They don't steal because they are hungry, they steal because they can.

We have become so used to crime that it doesn't shock us anymore, we are used to reading news stories every day where people are killed for the 5 bucks in their pocket or the cell phone in their bag. We should be shocked every time it happens.

One sad legacy of this incident is that J&C now fear black people, not just black men but black people in general. This in turn adds to a racial tension that previously wasn't present in our lives. It's heartbreaking when your 7 year old daughter asks you why black people hurt white people or do they hurt anyone and you have to think for a second before answering. Because all you really want to say is that you hope those black bastards die a slow and horrible death for causing this fear in the first place, that they are animals not human beings.

Then you remember that every single day in black South Africa there are far more horrific crimes, crimes that go unnoticed or unmentioned. You also remember the two teenage black youths that live next door who came to your aid, took your children into their home and kept them safe while the street crawled with police, who offered you sanctuary and whose names you didn't know until that day.

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