Category Archives: solidarity

Witness to Hiroshima

The nuclear reactor crisis in Japan makes it more imperative than ever that we question the use of nuclear power as an alternative fuel source.

Witness to Hiroshima, a deeply moving and compassionate film, looks at the effects of radiation poisoning through the paintings of a Hiroshima Atom Bomb survivor. I urge you to order this 16 minute film to use in your classrooms, organizations, and places of worship.

watch John Wick: Chapter 2 movie now

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.


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

In solidarity with Abahlalibase Mjondolo (AbM) 1

Dear Friends, Foes and all those in between,

Before May 2008, we only knew of Abahlalibase Mjondolo. (AbM), then
in May 2008, we met members of Abahalalibase Mjondolo, at the Kennedy Road Settlement. Each one spoke, expressing in various ways the meaning of emancipatory politics; and then, the next day, we met again with S’bu Zikode, the President of AbM.

After he described the situation in which they were living, we asked what was the way out. “Healing” he responded.

Given the coordinated attacks against the Kennedy Road Settlement of the AbM, given the silence from the authorities, given what the AbM have gone through before. Questions arise. These are questions, not affirmations, not speculation, not insinuations.

The questions are posed for those who have been silenced, arrested, killed
All in the name of an agenda which has deep roots in African history, spelled out over and over, like mantras:

Do not stand up against might
You might suffer irreparable damage
Justice is meant to sustain might
Ignoring this can lead to carnage
The poorest of the poorest have no rights
Other than paying homage
To the richest of the richest


What is the point of having the best Constitution of the world if it is powerless against police abuse, against politically organized crime, against justice turned on its head?

What is the point of having heroes and heroines in the past who stood up against injustices if the same heroes and heroines, now, in power, now hand in hand with the richest of the richest (RoR), pretend not to have heard about the injustices because they have only listened to the media owned by the RoR.

Why is it so hard for the heroes and heroines of the past to listen to the voices of their conscience? Why is it so hard to admit that it is time to move from truth and reconciliation commissions to healing?

To the Foes:
Remember not so long ago, the powerful described those who fought for justice as terrorists, criminals. Some among you, it is certain, do hear a voice telling them that what they are doing against the AbM is criminal.

You have been told the AbM are criminals. Think a bit, is it a crime to say, as the AbM keep saying: “we are poor, we deserve respect, we deserve to be treated with justice and dignity, we deserve access to electricity and water”?

Or is their biggest crime to have refused to go along with politics as defined by the party in power. Why should someone go a long with politics of self-annihilation?

Is it a crime to disagree with politics which state that you (the AbM) do not count, unless you submit to the dictates of the party in power. Else, you shall be hunted down till you submit.

(To be continued until the poorest of the poorest are treated with justice, respect and dignity)

Jacques Depelchin