In solidarity with Abahlalibase Mjondolo (AbM) 2

Dearest Friends,

Warmest greetings to all.

In times like these you must be like the person on a not well traveled road who has had a serious breakdown and is wondering when help will appear. Changes in the wind sound like some car/hope in the distance.

Your road is not well traveled, at least not by those who should be traveling it all the time. Who wants to be with the poor? Yet, listen to those who have spoken and not just people like S’bu Zikode, it is difficult not to ask oneself why, in a post-Apartheid country such creative thinking on something as urgent as eradicating poverty is not being tapped.

Of course AbahlalibaseMjondolo is not the name of a mineral to be mined regardless of what the mineral itself thinks. You do know you are a gem, but for people who have decided that only they know how to eradicate poverty, your persistent pursuit of emancipatory politics, at the minimum, makes them uncomfortable. At worse, it will lead those who are convinced that only they know to resort to the methods they have used over the years: harassment of all kinds and, now, killing so as to terrorize you into silence.

How should those of us who are far, but in solidarity with you, act in times like these? I keep searching for answers. The currently predominant system is so predatory that it shall feed on anyone on its path. Just look at how the US, the richest country on the Planet, is finding it impossible to provide its citizens with a decent health care system.

Your situation in South Africa, that of those without medical care insurance in the US may sound to any observer as very far apart. It is easier to see how close you are to other poorest of the poorest (PoP) in Haiti, Gaza, the Niger Delta, favellas in Rio de Janeiro, the Dallits in India, etc., but while many PoPs are born into poverty, it is also the result of a process which is intimately part of the predatory system and mindset. When McNamara went to the World Bank, he promised that he would wipe poverty in 10 years. How did someone who had just participated in almost reducing an entire country –Vietnam– to ashes, how did such a person think he could wipe out poverty? Unless the poor could be wiped out altogether. Ten years later McNamara had, just as he did for Vietnam, to concede defeat.

Questions

Given the centuries of slavery, colonization, apartheid, is it not becoming more and more obvious that the system which claims to bring happiness to all, be examined more seriously and be considered as the principal source of poverty?

Could it be that the global PoPs have become the new enslaved, colonized, to be dispensed with by any means necessary? Could it be that a few heads, in South Africa, have decided that the best way to deal with recalcitrant poor is to physically get rid of them?

The pertinence of these questions should be obvious to anyone who has read about how the poor have been treated at every major socio-economic transition in the history of human kind, but, in particular, in the history of Africa.

From slavery to post-slavery in the US, for example, especially in the Southern part of the country, laws were passed to ensure that the slaves did not think that they were free to do whatever they wanted to do. One of the results? The emergence of the prison industrial complex which, preferentially, incarcerates the African American population.

You have stated who you are and how you want to be treated, no differently to any other citizen in South Africa. The Richest of the Richest (RoR) do not like to be crossed. Especially if and when they are caught wrong footed, as has been the case in relation to your treatment.

Sooner or later, even the RoRs will thank you for having sounded the alarm. Can we all join in making this alarm louder and louder till your voices are heard and not distorted.

(To be continued)

Jacques Depelchin