December 10, 2009

A Christmas Story

Amazing story from Bayou Renaissance Man. This is just an exerpt -- go and read the whole thing at the link above.
The night Christmas became real
It had been a bad day. A very bad day.

Members of the so-called 'Mass Democratic Movement' (MDM - a front organization for terrorists) had been trying to 'politicize' a township in South Africa for some time. Most of them were members of one particular tribe - and in Africa, one's tribe counts for quite a lot. Their efforts had been resisted by many residents, who were members of another tribe, and didn't see why these upstarts from an 'inferior' tribe should be allowed to push them around.

Needless to say, the apartheid police, always eager to 'divide and rule', had encouraged the rivalry through not-so-discreet egging-on of the resisters. If Black people could be induced to spend their time fighting each other, instead of uniting to fight apartheid, it was a net gain for the State. Who cared about those who got caught in the crossfire? They were only Black, after all, and the State was White. That's the way it was, in that year, in that part of the country.

Matters came to a head the week before Christmas. The MDM moved a group of 'comrades' into the township, trying to enforce a consumer boycott of White businesses, threatening violence to those who resisted. Some women were forced to drink the liquid soap and cooking-oil they'd bought, and ended up in hospital. Others were threatened. Minibus taxis taking shoppers to a nearby town were met at the outskirts of the township, and forced to turn back. In response, the police shut down deliveries to the few shops in the township itself. Very quickly, people began to run out of food and essential supplies.

I got a phone call in the afternoon of December 24th from a pastor in the township. I'll call him 'Fanyana' for his safety (he's still working there).

"Hey, Fanyana, what's up, brother?"

"It's bad, Peter." (Sound of scattered gunshots in the background. He was breathing quickly, shallowly, the fear evident in his voice.) "The 'comrades' have been trying to shut the place down all week, and the miners have finally had enough. They've ganged together and they're out on the streets, looking for the outsiders. It's bad, man."

I sobered, very fast. If Fanyana was this scared, and didn't mind showing it, it was bad indeed. The previous year he'd dragged me clear of a riot, both of us bleeding, me almost unconscious. He had guts to spare.

"What about the cops?"

"Oh, hell, man, the usual, you know! They're sitting on the outskirts, watching the fighting, and doing ****-all. They don't care."

"What do you need?"

"Can you get the brothers and sisters together, Peter? I'm opening the church to refugees, but we have nothing. Nothing. The 'comrades' have stopped all shopping in (the White town nearby), and all the shops here are empty. We need food, medical supplies, and anything else you can find for us."

"We're on our way. Usual meeting-place?" (A crossroads on the outskirts of town, on the bush side, where the police usually didn't go.)

"Yes. I'll try to have someone there in three hours to meet you. Be careful, my brother. You've got the wrong color of skin to be in here after dark, remember."
An amazing and moving story. Tangentially: There was a movie called District 9 that came out last August. Amazon has it for sale starting on December 22nd. It is a must-see movie. Amazing. Posted by DaveH at December 10, 2009 7:44 PM
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