2 December 2005

Some Great News, Some Not So Good.

It’s been a while from my last writing. Time here has been hectic. I have been running to the banks and police station to make all sorts of statements, had a slight return of stomach bug and my finger is still sore. Latter merely means that I needed to learn a one new finger for my four finger typing system and my mouse finger needed to change. But I have promised myself not to dwell on the negativity but to hold my head up high – sounds cool when you say it out loud, doesn’t it.

Some happy news that came across my way. I learned that the Al-Jazeera International television news channel has opened up bunch of offices in Africa and might be the first one to actually to talk about the continent also when it is not only about corruption, war or famine. Well that is what they promise at least. This obviously is the same Arabic TV station that George Bush allegedly wanted to bomb because their news coverage was not quite like the one of the Fox news. Maybe this channel could be the first step towards balanced news from all of the continents and the end for media suppression of… well everyone who is not white male.

Also on the South African side the grand township of Soweto in Johannesburg is getting its own community TV station to accompany Jozie FM which is a local community radio. Jozie FM has been quite good at what it has been doing and possibly the best known for their infamous radio version of the Cheaters which has been exposing the people cheating in their relationship. The word on the streets is that people are driving from around the Gauteng province on Wednesday evenings to the outskirts of Soweto to hear the show. That truly shows the power of a radio when it is done right and when idea is juicy enough. I hope the new community TV station will live up to these standards and at the same time I also wish that the Cape Town community TV starts getting a bit more support and funds to get started. For the rest of the world I just hope that we could wake up and understand the opportunities of community media.

On the negative side of things, and I feel this must be mentioned, I was rather disappointed with the album RBG by one of my favourite rap groups Dead Prez. This album has been released a while ago but I only got it now. Beats were not very strong and message, to me felt quite distorted. Far from the brilliance of their Let’s Get Free album. Sad really because great American rap groups can be counted with the fingers of one hand these days.

Few weeks back I wrote how "western" media likes to pose African paedophiles as ignorant people who follow sick traditions which really are not even traditions but plain misconceptions and their "western" counterparts as ones with some sort of a medical disorder. At least in South Africa the penalties for Europeans are not too harsh as a Swiss corporate lawyer Peter Zimmermann flew home after agreeing in the court to pay R10 000 fine which equals to approximately 1500 Euros after raping ten year old boy from Alexandra in Johannesburg.

Lastly I must mention that this week I was interviewing some street kids and recording their stories. Whoever has a chance to read this text should be happy about their lives because those kids have it rough. Never-ending circle of police harassment, imprisonment, more crimes, beatings drugs, rapes prostitution etc, are something that we do not even have nightmares about. More power to them. I hope that my feature on them could help at least some people to understand that life in the streets, especially at the age of six or younger, is not really your own choice. At the moment we have sixteen days of activism going on opposing the violence against women and children and these stories fall under that campaign, as many children left home after being abused. Us men really need to step up our game because more I read, see and hear, the more convinced I get that, regardless of your colour or religion, it tends to be the men who are behind all the madness that we like to call the present state of the world.

1 comment:

Derin said...

Hey, hope you're feeling much better now. I know this message in very belated but nevertheless, it's always good to read your experiences. Most importantly, the rape of a child only costs 1500euros? I wonder who the money goes to. That's no punishment for a rich bastard like that, I assume he is rich.

Did you hear about Gary Glitter, some has-been singer from the 1980s or 90's. He had 11yr old girls in his bed in, I think Vietnam, and they were only there because 'they were afraid of ghosts.' He has a history of paedophilia.

I still do stand by my comments that many people in South Africa possibly do believe that having a 'connection' (it sounds a little vulgar) with an innocent child will rid them of the "evil' of AIDS. I'm sure the the people who engage are not totally ignorant to the fact that they are robbing a child of it's innocence but a rumour like that spreads (curiously, from who?) and people believe it.