Friday, October 27, 2006

Violent Month

The violence is relentless -- another 1500 people gunned down in the streets this month, just like the month before, and the month before, and the month before.

And the month before.

For years now.

It just doesn't let up!

The senseless killing just keeps spiralling out of control! And the police are ineffective and corrupt.


No, South Africa!
South Africa was ranked second for assault and murder (by all means) per capita. Total crime per capita is 10th out of the 60 countries in the dataset. Other data rank South Africa second in the world for murders per capita and first for assaults and rapes.
The place has been bloodbath of thuggish street murder in broad daylight for years. Some of it is simple crime, other aspects of it are tribal or militia-like gang-war, among such things as taxi organizations -- which would be ludicrous if it weren't so deadly serious.

And yet, I'm sure you, dear reader, probably have little sense of "crisis" over South Africa.

Even though the worst months of killings in Iraq are only twice as bad as South Africa, but South Africa's been chugging along like that for nearly 4 times as long!

Yet there's little sense of anxiety.

That's simply because of the toxic effects of non-stop propaganda by the media, making sure you hear about every single atrocity in Iraq, every day, for the last 3 years, but remaining silent on events in South Africa, even when they are noteworthy.

The effect produced is an error in judgement of relative risk. The purpose is to influence you to do anything, even vote in the Democrats, just to get it off your TV screen. Because that's the real implicit bargain: nobody would vote Democrat just to have their taxes raised and the economy trashed and the troops forced to cut and run again, if not for the prospect of simple RELIEF from the manufactured drumbeat of daily bad news.

There's just no political hay to be made, for example, in pointing out that Mandela's African National Congress has been a huge disaster and has failed to create a civil society after a decade -- without external interference from Iran and Syria and assorted religious fanatics!

In fact, even with all the goodwill the kumbaya crowd could muster, it still has deep problems -- imagine if most of the world were eagerly wishing its demise just for the sake of scoring political points against George Bush!

This speech from last month got mostly ignored by the media, for example:
CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- Archbishop Desmond Tutu says South Africa has failed to sustain the idealism that ended apartheid and its people seem to have lost their sense of right and wrong.

Delivering the Steve Biko Memorial Lecture at the University of Cape Town on Tuesday night, the Nobel Peace laureate asked why respect for the law, the environment and life itself were missing in the new South Africa.

"What has happened to us? It seems as if we have perverted our freedom, our rights into license, into being irresponsible. Rights go hand in hand with responsibility, with dignity, with respect for oneself and the other," Tutu said.

Tutu decried the rape of children, some as young as 9 months, and South Africa's staggering murder rate, the second only to Colombia. He said it appeared the African reverence for life had been lost.

"Is it not horrendous ... for an adult man to rape a 9-month-old baby?" he said. "We are not appalled that some of us can chuck people out of moving trains because they did not join" a strike.
His reference to the rape of a child refers to a belief by some that having sex with a child can cure AIDS.

Maybe we would do well to realize that much of the world still operates in a pre-Enlightenment mindset, and therefore that just because someone puts on a Western-style 3-piece suit doesn't automatically make them the Second Coming of George Washington or Thomas Jefferson.

Sure, the colonized people of the Third World, from Cuba to Vietnam to South Africa to the Middle East had an issue with being colonized.

But we're finding the real beef with many of these "national liberators" isn't that they wanted a Magna Carta for their people, but rather that they were simply angry that their particular tribe or faction or cronies didn't wield absolute power.

And perhaps we would also do well to realize that the apparent "crisis" of violence in Iraq -- now, really, nearly, almost, on the verge, of total civil war, any day now, we're telling you, say the media, lips smacking! -- should have about as much day-to-day significance to our daily sense of well-being as the situation in South Africa has.


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