Jet lag and nooses

It’s 2.41 am my time and I am wide awake and blogging becasue I am severely jet lagged.

I’m excited about my upcoming trip to Cape Town, me and about 20 white people. I find that 2007 has done nothing to reduce my cynicsm. We had an information session yesterday, and I found it interesting when one girl in the group asked, “Well, since we’re going in there, I would like to know how South Africans feel about Americans, considering the fact that America isn’t doing much to help them with their AIDS problem?” (My paraphrase, except for the phrase “we’re going in there”). You have to wonder what is going through someone’s head when they can describe a school trip as “going in there.” Why does that phrase reek of military action or some missionary incursion (in my mind the same thing)?

We’re apparently staying at some fancy schmancy waterfront hotel in Cape Town. We’ve also been advised to look out for the extreme poverty not too far away, one of the main aims of the project being to see the juxtaposition of wealth and poverty in South Africa. It might however be too dangerous to go into the townships because lately, township dwellers have resented their poverty being seen as a tourist attraction and have attacked tourist buses (shocking!). I sigh and ask myself why I signed up for this trip. It sounds like two weeks of rubbing shoulders with the rich, gawking at poor blacks and in the end remembering only that “we went to Africa on safari.” And then I remember that I have my own agenda. I’ve learnt a lot about South Africa and I want to experience it for myself (as best as a tourist can. Sigh, I hate that word, tourist). It’ll also be a great way of understanding a setting I have used for some of my writing.

So I guess I am going to Cape Town (where maybe I will be able to get in touch with Sokari and Kameelah, yaay) and maybe I am even excited. But since it is now 3am and my jet lagged brain is flying madly in lots of different places, I will go read a book. And in the meantime, here’s what I think of America’s monarchy and Saddam’s hanging.

If the statue is to be toppled
And the dictator must come crashing down
Then why have the defenders of democracy
Not overturned their own monarchy?

When you say that he must hang
For the freedom of a beleaguered people
And for the success of your ratings
And for oil and regional stability and…oh speculations

Then where, do tell
For questioning minds want to know
Is the gentleman’s noose?
And his father’s?

Why has the hangman bowed away hastily
When it is his job to bring criminals to justice?

Oh right, he doesn’t judge
So who does then?
Ah right, the guilty themselves judge
The snake bites justice in the heel
And as she topples, just like that historic statue
She screams “murder!”
For justice has murdered… and so have they!

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