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Monday, April 2, 2007

Why Did We Abandon Them After Apartheid? -- South Africa's Crime Crisis

"To live with the statistics is not easy. A serious crime is committed every 17 seconds in South Africa and Johannesburg is the epicentre of the crisis.

"The reality behind the statistics means that I live behind a high brick wall, topped with an electric fence.

"I cannot see the street outside: I cannot see the horizon. My house is alarmed day and night: so is my garage. I pull in and out of it fast: most armed carjackings take place in people's own driveways.

"They are often serious in the extreme: they are fatal. I've worked across this continent for years on the basis that I'm happy to call an aggressive man with a gun "Sir" and to give him what he wants.

So far I have survived the ill-disciplined rebel fighters, militiamen and soldiers. But in South Africa it is different - the armed men don't always give you the chance to hand the car over. They just shoot.

"Of course, sometimes they don't shoot. But it is the fear of what may happen which is paralysing, which restricts your life, which is a daily exhausting stress."

Are there any African Americans speaking out about South African crime like they did with South African apartheid?

Where is the solidarity that we used to have with that country?

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Booker T. Washington said:

"There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs....There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who do not want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."

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