24 December 2006

Merry Xmas (to the rest of the world)

Just when I thought I had seen the worst. Tel Rumeida.

A settlement in the centre of a major city! Unbelieveable...

If you have time, search for 'Tel Rumeida' on YouTube. Shocking stuff!

03 December 2006

No matter what you accomplish, somebody helped you.

Hajj is in the air. Quite a few trips to the airport recently to see the guys off. The airport is such a lovely place- people coming and going, some happy and joyful, others sad and teary, chaos and a general sense of urgency- just awesome! Quite a bit more chaotic, with all the Hujaaj trying to get onto their flights, with all that baggage, while trying to not lose anyone from their groups. The number of Hujaaj would have been much higher this year, and if you are a local then you probably hate Sahuc or know someone who does:P

Sahuc, for those who haven’t heard, are the regulatory body that are in charge of arranging visas and the like for South Africans. Been doing a terrible job of it and that has resulted in advocacy groups being formed, a march of men, women and children against them through the streets of Johannesburg and this Friday, and a representative from the organisation doing PR at the Musjid for Jumah! Hajj is an amazing journey. A journey of life. Or so I hear. Hope to get an opportunity soon. Next year in fact. If Sahuc doesn’t stop me! There is a verse in the Quran that speaks about those who prevent the people from performing Hajj. Look it up.

The United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was held on the 29 November. In South Africa, this was observed in Pretoria at the University, hosted by South African government and the Palestinian embassy. The proceedings were weak to say the least. Ok, it was a good initiative, better than nothing and all that hogwash- the South African Police Services brass band played the two countries national anthems. I didn’t even know the SAPS had a brass band! Mildly entertaining nevertheless.
Then the deputy foreign minister went on about how supportive the government is of the Palestinians- are we really? Then what’s with all the trade and cultural ties with the Israelis that we refuse to break! The Palestinian ambassador to South Africa is quite a character himself. I’ve heard many Palestinians speak publicly about their cause, not all of them even close to eloquent, but the ambassador, as the person supposed to be representing the Palestinian people once again sadly disappointed. He couldn’t deliver a coherent message, maybe due to his unwillingness to call out the South African government’s policy of ‘Talking Left and Walking Right’. As Patrick Bond writes.


Some interesting discussions were also raised this week about the sad state of the South African public healthcare system. Doctors are usually eventually drawn to the private sector where they can make loads of money. This, once again coupled with inadequate government’s policies of privatisations, etc, leads to a near catastrophic collapse of the public healthcare system, which a majority of the 45 million citizens of this country need to rely on! But let’s see (or hear from for now) what the new breed of socially aware and Islamically conscious doctors have in mind…

Pro 20’s cricket was fun to watch- from a suite! Haven’t watched many games from up there, but the views are super and you even get good food:p Attended as guests of a group that is usually charged with advocacy work, but I guess a social event for their volunteers was an excellent idea! And mind you, there was much talk during the evening of things to be done and ideas that need to be discussed...

Newcastle was quite a buzz this weekend- the Uloom had their annual graduation coupled with the first reunion since its 1973 inception. Then the biggest casino in the province had their opening night at the same time, with the fireworks, pomp and celebrity guests as usual with these places. Guest of honour there was none other than Jacob Zuma:) The Tab Jamaat had a national meeting of their elite, not the biggest beards or bellies, but the deal makers (I think) from around the country. And I hear the Murabitoon were also in town having a function of some sort. Who would have thought that a place like Newcastle would have so much going on in one weekend. The fact that each of the four functions happened is something to really thing about... Highly reflective I believe of our mindsets and even those around us...

Still battling with flights- just cant seem to get out of the country! All flights are fully booked for the next few weeks! Make a dua...

Peace & Blessings.