Other Wars

I have stopped turning on the television news and started reading more press outside of the mainstream. Escaping incessant coverage of one war and its aftermath only leads to a gruesome kind of variety: the world is full of sideshow conflicts. Many of them rage in Africa, under the radar of international coverage or even humanitarian aid. It becomes difficult when living, as Rian Malan has written, in “a doomed city on a damned continent”, not to see the rhetoric of the Iraq war from all sides as somehow hypocritical by omission.

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Truth and Denial

It was the tangible textures and smells of the night, combined with the joyful children of the day that woke me up inside. My inner revolutionary had been sleeping in the urban comfort of Melville and Pretoria. Few whites see Kliptown in the dark; they would say it’s far too dangerous, and they may be right. Spend the day and take sunny images of smiling kids home to a hot meal. Spend the night and share your humanity in the bitter cold. It becomes dangerously impossible not to challenge the status quo.

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The 8am Attack

They are street cleaners, hairdressers, domestic workers. They drink beer at 10 in the morning in dimly lit venues as throngs of people flow by. They sell cigarettes, matches, chili peppers, cabbage, turnips, chargrilled beef flavored potato chips, baby bonnets, towels, sunglasses, cell phone chargers. They buy bananas, sodas, blankets, pants, unidentifiable animal parts, live chickens, hair extensions, and stuff themselves with their carefully budgeted purchases onto dangerously decaying minivans to get home.

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