Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Strike it unlucky
We in South Africa are being crippled by a national strike. Today in Pietermaritzurg the headlines read “ Total City shutdown, 30 000 to march on CBD; fears municipal workers might join strike.” There are no children at school, there is barely a nurse left in the hospitals, the police and defense force are threatening sympathy strikes. This is a complete meltdown of an orderly society. I don’t want to chew too much on opinions already clichéd by editors of newspapers and social gossip columns. Who’s to blame is not an easy answer to give. There is a new elite in South Africa who if one can generalize have lined their pockets with tax payers money. Corruption and exploitations of government funds is rife. The few have again taken from the many. This is what the strike is all about for me. The forces that are in battle in South Africa are between the powers of opportunistic wealth and the powers of the disempowered working masses. It is an unprecedented voice against the greed of some. But, like all good stories the villains are not easily discernable. Power, in what ever clothes it likes to dress itself, can become as ugly as the powers it detests and tries to mitigate against. The worker who decides to go to work is threatened with her very life. The teacher’s who we entrust our children to are foaming rabid at the mouth. Hospital workers are dancing restlessly outside hospitals with jovial glances whilst bodies who’s hearts once beat are being wheeled down empty corridors into the morgues. The villain is also on the other foot by the looks of it. So where is the redemption is such a stalemate? Does justice have to be so cruel and to what ends will justice fight until it realizes it has turned face and become the one infringing on others rights?
These solutions do not lie in the answers constructed by well-heeled politicians and neither are they answered by those obsessed with equal footing. Justice in itself is not enough to heal a country. The religious will tell you that you are seeking for peace in the wrong quarters. Justice without love is not worthy of the glory it seeks. It might gain the world through all the protests its embarks upon, but without Love it is nothing. It is a Paul may say, a mere clashing gong, but it will lack the treasure it really seeks. The other lesson the religious would argue is that the desire for possessions above love is the cardinal mistake of the human soul. The soul that seeks for fulfillment in the values, hopes and dreams of the physical world will often find themselves in places of dire disappointment and disillusionment. This worldly dream is stilted and always has a end. The hope of a new world order needs to transcend the confines of this world, it needs to reach up into the beyond and declare a world that is not dependent on the human ego, but rather transformed and bent by a greater Justice system that calls on its adherents to lift the ‘rights of others’ above our own.
"Do justice ... love kindness ... walk humbly with your God" ... Micah 6:8