While we were away the Lonmin massacre occurred … I had no idea. It was only on returning to ‘the world’ yesterday that I heard the tragic news. The country is outraged. People are hurling blame, either at the police or at the mine workers or at the government …
It’s a tragedy, of that I am convinced. But …
I spent the last four days in a rural area where poverty, unemployment, illnesses such as drug and alcohol abuse, HIV are rife. I spent time with a woman who cried, CRIED when the church, ‘God’, came into her room and offered her communion and prayer, her prayer: ‘please, a home, somewhere to live.’
She has no home.
She is one face among many, many faces who are homeless, jobless, without much hope apart from their faith. When you encounter even one human face which represents the social ills of our time, the magnitude of the problem hits home and it is heartbreaking.
When I tried to offer a word of comfort, the only thing I could come up with is that the world is greedy. God does not want anyone to be homeless, hopeless, but people are greedy, institutions are rich and selfish and neglectful of the inherent humanity of all.
We need to get angry, for sure (although violence is not the answer) but getting angry at people who are tired – sick and tired of being poor, hungry and exploited is not helpful or rightfully directed.
We need to get angry at greed, at exploitation, at injustice.
My heart breaks that the only time people stop and listen is when major tragedies occur – when lives are lost. 34 miners lost their lives, 2 policemen (these numbers are approximate) but in our country poverty and hunger and disease claim far more lives than violent protests, but no one listens to the quietly dying, we are desensitized to forgotten people and it makes me sick to my stomach. It’s only when we see violent outbursts like we did this past week that anyone sits up and takes notice and then, even then, we blame those who say. ‘No more. No more exploitation. No more inequality. No more injustice.’
Let’s not blame individuals fighting for a better life, rather let’s direct our anger at exploitation and poverty, injustice and greed!
Let’s remember the faceless, homeless, jobless women stuck in rural areas without husbands, fathers, sons, brothers because of lack of job opportunities and the greed of multinationals.
Let’s get angry at those things.