The thief left it behind: the moon at my window - Ryokan

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I dont even have a TV


I do not have a TV. I rarely listen to the news on the radio and when I do I feel I'm reminded why. I have always felt that the important news will reach me because people speak about it in the streets.

I'm not completely switched off, I have been assisting as editor on the Burmese News website and felt it was important to do this because I have friends from there and see the blood curdling stuff going on in Burma - much of which is so terrible it almost feels hurtful to be telling the world about it.

I come from a country where our recent history of Apartheid politicized me from an early age and I guess I have been happy recently to be able to take a 'relative break' with a picture of a 'Rainbow Nation' growing slowly but hopefully surely. Now for the past 3 days I'm behaving like a scavenger collecting and spreading information like wild fire... why?

We've been aware of the tragedy of Tibet since 1959 and the more recent tragedy of Burma and other countries. As with the outbreak of AIDS we had the sense, "terribly sad but it will never happen to me". Not so...

The South African government has banned the Dalai Lama from South Africa. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is my spiritual leader, so this hits me hard personally. But even when I look at the mysterious banning of this international icon of Peace and Compassion from a non personal perspective I see a chilling picture unfolding...

Remember back to April 2008, a Chinese ship full of weapons for Robert Mugabe found off the coast of South Africa? It hit the news for a few days - here in South Africa anyway...

Now I think about it - Mbeki, the South African president at the time, for some reason which baffled the minds of many South Africans never took a stand about the shocking way Mugabe was ruining his own country, Zimbabwe.

The puzzle is piecing together bit by bit...
Let's look further:

Here is a BBC report dated 2008:
China 'is fuelling war in Darfur'

Why didn't I see this earlier??? I've been hearing what sounded like jokes re China and Africa for some time - the latest was this very morning in a FaceBook post:
ANC: Another Nation for China
I guess it sounded like amusing conspiracy theory stuff.
So we just carried on...

Look at this, January 2008:
Special Report: China Storms Africa. With its resource-hungry push into the sub-Sahara, Beijing puts the planet to the test.

A FaceBooker, Donald Dean, in a Group, We Want The Dalai Lama to come to South Africa, writes:
"The Great Chinese Takeout
The sub-Sahara is now the scene of one of the most bare-knuckled resource grabs the world has ever seen:

Mozambique (a key source of timber for China)
Zambia (copper)
Congo (a wide range of minerals)
Equatorial Guinea (oil)

World Bank survey of 68 countries last year found that the sub-Sahara leads in the "percentage of firms expected to give gifts" to secure government contracts (43%).

"People are not worried about saving the environment; they are worried about getting some before it all runs out. That's the mentality: 'China is just going to consume everything -- let's get it now!' "

This morning I google news and find:
South Africa's Sad Descent and the Implications for Democracy Promotion

Demise of hard fought for liberation

I wrote this poem a few days ago in a blog:

When we turn away

(dedicated to Tibet, Burma and countries preyed upon by China... to all countries)

The enemy was a shadow
Now we see a mountain

The seed of our hearts
reaches places we do not even know

Do not turn from those in need
Their strife will be ours

Is it too late? How far has this disease spread? If aware South Africans put their shoulder to the grindstone can we still stop this wheel from turning? Will the world support us now - it is simply a matter of time before we are the New Tibet....
this disease spreads

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