Conflict & Justice

South African violence

(You've been to a township where this kind of violence has been happening, what's the scene like there?) In one township where all this began, it was very much as normal until I went to the police station which has become like a tent shelter and the main shelter for the victims, a couple thousand people are now living there. I went to another township and visited a squatter camp and that's where the most gruesome violence has happened. There was no unrest but a lot of people moving into the vacant houses left by the people who have fled, it was quite chilling. (Who is perpetrating this violence? Are these attacks coordinated?) I don't really know the answer. There is a huge amount of hostility towards immigrants which begins at government level and trickles down for a long time. Why now? the one thing is people felt they could get away with it. (Did it start with the Zimbabwean refugees?) the vast majority of people from Zimbabwe want to go home but the problem is more than that. But the fact that the Zimbabwean number has risen has done nothing to sooth the problems, but the problem has existed longer. (There must be some bitterness for neighboring countries?) Yes, the neighboring countries gave a lot of support to refugees during the fight against apartheid so it's shocking now. (What is this doing to the South African psyche?) Most people are just glad the refugees are gone. The class of people who aren't preoccupied with their survival and can think about this are shocked and it's been very uncomfortable.

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