Burn the Children?

Just when you thought the mindset of some people couldn’t get any more sickeningly juvenile, selfish and destructive. Imagine this hypothetical situation and tell me what you think:

Let’s say you’re one of the residents of an informal settlement, and the municipality decides to take down your shack. However, they leave the local crèche standing, because the owner got permission to erect it there, but you didn’t bother to get permission for the building of your unsightly shack.

How do you react to this? Do you submit a well formed litigation to the municipality, informing them of your position and reminding them of your human rights? Do you strike and sing and toyi-toyi? Or do you get creative, and attempt to burn down the crèche, while there are still innocent children inside?

Well on Monday, a resident of a Western Cape township chose the latter. Some shacks were demolished, and the ex-resident took it upon herself to set fire to Phandulwazi, a crèche owned and run by Belinda Manakazi.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. And I’m not going to type it here, for the sake of decency.

What I will type is this: There is no hope for this country if this is how people react to injustice, and let’s just face it, what happened to those squatters is probably an injustice.

Even though this news24 article does not state exactly why the shacks were torn down, the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Bill states that “no one may be deprived of property except in terms of law of general application, and no law may permit arbitrary deprivation of property”.

So yes, normally those poor poor people who were kicked out of their homes would have my sympathies, and this blog post would be about their plight, but if attempting to set children on fire is how they go about getting justice served, I renege my sympathies.

My question to them is this: now that you have no home and no hope, and you’re itching to kill somebody, why not just kill yourselves? Those children never had a say in your removal, and burning them alive isn’t going to bring your shacks back, so why don’t you rather set yourself on fire?

As a utilitarian, it just strikes me as a slightly more sensible course of action…


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