22 May 2008

Spreading (excerpt from www.joburg.org.za)
The xenophobic violence that began almost 12 days ago in Joburg's northern Alexandra township continues, and has spread to Diepsloot and the East Rand and, midway through its second week, to other parts of the country. It has gone beyond xenophobia, with ethnic battles taking place between South Africans.

The death toll now stands at 42, with 400 arrests, and an estimated 15 000 people displaced. President Thabo Mbeki last night gave his approval for the army to be called in to help the police bring control and calm.

He also decried the violence. "We dehumanise ourselves the moment we start thinking of another person as less human than we are simply because they come from another country. Humanity is indivisible."

The president called upon those guilty of violence to stop, saying the police would arrest anyone involved in attacks.

Homes, shacks and businesses have been ransacked and razed, and police stations and churches have set up tents where hundreds of foreigners have found refuge. Relief organisations, from the Red Cross to Unicef, have stepped in with collection points for blankets, food and medical assistance. And 702 Talk Radio reported this morning that busloads of immigrants are leaving for Mozambique and Malawi.

Students at the protest on 21 May were unanimous in their condemnation of the violence. "I can't face my foreign friends," said Mangaliso Muguni. "I tell them that not all South Africans behave like this. It's terrible."

Sinethemba Keleku concurred. "It's bad, it's very bad; it's absurd, mad."

1 comment:

  1. So - how come I didn't know this little journal existed?!? Rachael wants a Pen Pal....I volunteered Madi or Avery. Interested? Send me info through my email :) Miss you all.
    -Marie Doerr


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