Thursday, November 23, 2006

Special Assignment

It appears my whole computer and the IT system connected to my computer is messed up. This was not a problem for awhile, then I realised why my work days were suddenly so quiet – my boss’s emails weren’t getting through to me. Even this was great, until the realisation, and the dumb vocalising of the realisation, and so the consequential flood of emails from all colleagues cc’d in on correspondence between me & my boss. Sigh.

It also means some personal emails are getting lost in the “technology” of my daily work life. This is distressing. I am forced to rely on blogging solely for distraction. Commenting behaviour/ topics over the past week are proof of how dire such a situation can become! (Hey my dear dirty little Harry & Tom!)

Onto more fascinating topics…hopefully… Since I was in school I have been watching Special Assignment religiously. That probably is the only thing I can claim I have done religiously, ever. Through school and varsity I would watch each week’s dilemma and vow that I would one day soon be trying to figure out a solution to this.

I still watch it, but I don’t think my idealism is still as strong. I still get as pissed off though. If not more, as by now I have realised that government has such a large role to play in sorting out these dilemmas and yet, we are so often faced (disgraced) with the top honchos’ lack of concern to address these problems, let alone save the tax money and consider spending it in these areas of desperation.

Recent topics have included teenage abortion (hectic video footage, plus my friend’s gorgeous background lyrics), the buying of fake id’s, the state of SA’s roads and how the future only looks gloomy, Sierra Leone kids post-conflict (prompting me to think what I will do in a few years in change to HIV work…conflict psychology & counselling).

This week’s episode was about Somalian refugees being the victims of Xenophobia, most especially in the Cape and Port Elizabeth townships. It was sad, and desperate, and complex. These people are destitute, but they are landing in areas that are already overrun by people in destitution.

I could happily go into this complexity – putting destitute people into areas to compete for resources with local & established destitute people. The extreme violence in the attacks against these people. That a Somali man who was burnt would rather return to his country which is destroyed and still suffering from war than live in SA, which apparently is at peace….what does that say about the way of life in SA!?!

What I did want to recall was a memory I have every time I hear these stories… this Somali man who opened a shop in our student town. It was tiny, filled with random goods, mainly cheaper cigarettes, and it was located next to the latest-open pub in the town. It would be open even when we stumbled out of that hole-of-a-pub at dawn.

I once left the pub in a slight blumbering dronk-verdriet mode – ex-boyfriend & too much cheap wine from a R10 box at the bar! As I walked out feeling very sorry for myself and lonely, this dear Somalian was standing outside and saw this. Without knowing me, he just took my hand and led me into his shop and made me sit at the counter, and gave me a few of the shop’s sweets. I don’t recall him being able to speak English. He just wanted to do what he could to cheer me up, and look after me, and looked so distressed that I was upset. It was the kindest gesture.

After that, we always greeted each other when we ran into each other around town. He was always so sweet & kind. He had such an aura of peace.

I think it was my last official night in that town as a student, (I found the photos and it was actually the morning of Nov 22nd 2003!) that I stumbled out of that same pub and just stood next to him on the pavement & we peacefully & quietly watched the sunrise together, while drunk students ran amuck between the pub, his shop, and the garage across the road.

Even all the people I have met from that corner of the continent have been so sweet & accommodating and open-armed loving to everyone. It is insane for me to think that so many of their countrymen are involved in war crimes as we speak.

On Special Assignment, there was a South African woman being interviewed about her experience of watching a Somali man run into her garden while he was on fire, because some South African had set him alight. She broke down and was sobbing about such a sight & how she had tried to save him with her one and only blanket, about how can we be doing this to people who are so desperate and lost. Where has our humanity gone?

I love that the programme doesn’t try to force a particular version or point of view on you. It brings up questions and leaves you debating and questioning and wondering how on earth all of this can be solved.

37 comments:

Peas on Toast said...

Hey Champs!First up, beuatiful pics there! I was wondering why you hadn't posted pics for a while, and it's so nice to see.
Also I agree about Special Assignment - free of some of the bias you see in other similar investigative journalism docs.

Jam said...

You should watch "Children of Men" for a post apocalyptic vision of England and their response to treating refugees. Shudder.

Daedalus said...

Champs,
Ola pops... Nice to see some picture blogging ... makes the reading of all the reams of txt a more fulfilling experience :P

Revolving Credit said...

Fuck, wrote stuuupid long comment and beta fuggin BLOCKer ate my homework

Will try again, fuck!!!

PS. And I have to try and repost this fucking comment cuz my keyboard forgot how to speak hebrew

Lollipop said...

I sometimes watch Special Assignment, when I'm tied to a chair with my eyes held open with ducktape. It brings out the rage in me.
I love what those University students are doing; Faces painted black, handing out pamphlets at the airport. That's the best way to be heard, hit them where it hurts!
I've also seen Children of men. We are getting so similar it's scary

Daedalus said...

Revo,
That be good 'ol Blogger 4 you ;)
Be a "serious blogger" and convert to WordPress.... Whooooooo.... your eyelids are going numb... your eyelids...arrr........

Revolving Credit said...

D - Are you batting your eyelids at me? You're scaring me dude.

Champagne Heathen said...

Peas - well, why thanks! I will try up my photo amount.

Jam - I have been debating watching it. Maybe this w.end, as I attempt another relatively chilled on.

Daeds - but did you ENJOY the text part?!!?

Rev - Please try again....

Lolls - varsity students painted black. Huh? I haven't read the news today yet, but am I missing a story?? Stick around...it will get more maddening!

But Rev....you are in Cape Town...surely you like and are used to the odd eyelid batter from a guy!?!

Champagne Heathen said...

Oooook, I am being very very risky here and braving taking the word thing off....treading lightly... but one comment of "how pretty my page looks and good choice of colours, doesn't it want to make me buy a cellphone" and you all better be purchasing improved glasses, typing skills & greek/ hebrew keyboards...tread....tread...tread....

Revolving Credit said...

Oooh, is this Xmas present for Me.

As I'm sure you've all noted, my typing and grammar is up to shit at the best of times, adding in a hebrew spell checker is like giving a Spoorwee Wheel Tapper a Suduko puzzle to complete on his lunch break.

here one back at ya

CLICK...CLICK...CLICK...CLICK...CLICK...
CLICK...CLICK...CLICK...CLICK...CLICK...

Champagne Heathen said...

Aaaaah, Rev. You shouldn't have! I feel so 'touched'! Aaaah, and it is JUST what I wanted. Mmmmm. Thanks!

(Out of interest, do half of you commentators even read the words in my postings? Either way, best you all just tell me that yes, yes, you agree, and that I am so insightful and intelligent etc. etc. Thanks!)

Revolving Credit said...

OK, here we go again.
As I was trying to say before I was so rudely erased…

I see the definite need for investigative journalism which highlights the plight of people suffering the equality and injustices which are still prevalent within our society. There is a strong need to bring these stories to the public eye and ensure that the appropriate bodies are held accountable for their actions or lack thereof.
In this regard, I think that Special Assignment succeeds in fulfilling their mandate by delivering hard-hitting reality to the nation.
The one problem I do have is that I find most of these subjects to be dealt with in a negative light. I do not mean that we should in any way trivialise these circumstances, there are however both negative and positive approached to journalism
Negative: ‘These people are really fucked’
Positive: ‘This community is suffering due to inadequate planning or funding by X. They are currently attempting to remedy this situation by do Y, but don’t know how. We are all able to help them by showing them how/paying for/ petitioning government for Y’
They is always a glimmer of hope and this is what we need to reinforce. That is where rectifying action and energies are initially spent. Don’t just tell me things are fucked, tell me how you think it should be fixed.
Same story, possible different outcomes.
I suspect that is why you would find me watching Carte Blanche more often than Special Assignment.
The negative and positive aspects balance each other. However when all I am plied with consistent negativity I tend to get depressed and when faced with the choice may opt rather not to watch it again.

Champagne Heathen said...

Thanks for that Rev!!! Very good point.

I don't watch Carte Blanche for the very simple reason as I don't have MNET.

I think the jounalists of Special Assign are trying to be as objetive as possible...which yes, leads to the negative dominating the doccie. To offer solutions might mean to highlight certain problems, or pehaps even been seen to be "laying blame". I think that they try to steer as far clear of this as possible. They show what government is trying to do, and ask that we recognise & understand the obstacles that they are facing. It is from here though that I add my knowledge of what top government guys are doing....and so lose my patience. Grrrr....there my blood goes boiling again!

Daedalus said...

Champs,
I always enjoy your ramblings ... you seem to tackle many topics in one post ... I can only imagine keeping up with you in real conversation [*DUCK*] ;)

Revolving Credit said...

You see...it depresses me and it aggravates you...making us both tense.

Lets go back to mindless Peas banter, it so relieves the shit I have to deal with on a daily basis.

Champagne Heathen said...

Daeds, ja, you can't slack off when I am talking away. Otherwise, best you learn how to 'smile & nod'.

Rev, I have been suckered into data inputting right now. ANY form of even slightly intelligent convo is incredible to me at the moment. But point taken.

I do know other ways of relieving stress, than Peas' blog. And I will be fully engrossed in such things so so soon.....yoga this evening!!

Revolving Credit said...

I do so like a woman who can stick her legs behind her head

Daedalus said...

Shampoo...
I am a pro at smiling and nodding
[insert smile and 2 nods here]

Champagne Heathen said...

Why Rev? Do you own a circus??

Daeds - good. Just keep practicing. Now add a few "Uh huh. Hmmmm good point. Yes. Should we ponder this over another round of tequilas...my round again of course" *Head nod head nod*...

Revolving Credit said...

Why, are you a sword swallower?

(tell me you're not the bearded lady)

Champagne Heathen said...

Well, right now I thought I was the ring leader, but the position is up for recruitment, and I will happily fall back to the Lie'n Tame'r.

Revolving Credit said...

OK, I'll be the human cannon ball.
It's quite an impressive cannon, Imight add.

Champagne Heathen said...

Rev, what makes for an impressive cannon ball? Hold on.....uh oh....can I be reading this comment of yours in the DODGY way I could possibly be reading it!?!

Revolving Credit said...

Impressive cannon ball/cannon - lets think.

-High Explosive rounds
-Rifled
-High Velocity
-Extended Barrel
-Rapid Firing
-Self Propelled

chewthecud said...

ok - i got to rev's comment of peas and went to check. made some pertinent comment there i felt ;P

so champers - tell us about your days as "ring" leader?

rev - your balls sound dangerous dude ;P

Daedalus said...

Shampooo...
"Listen and debate" some point?
I can do that, and "nod" and "smile", and "hmmm... good point", but, tequilas are show stoppers ey?...

Tell ya what ... you do the tequilas while I "hmmm... good point" more and more... I'll do normal drinks and then add the "smile" and the "nod x 2", and, after about tequila No4 just revert to the odd "nod" followed by a "devious smile".

Phuck, thinking about it, we are already on the "debate" bit.

Champagne Heathen said...

Rev, is this a modernised cannon, or do you still light it by putting a match to the fuse??

Chews - forget the balls, it is the cannon that sounds dangerous!!

As for my days as Ring Leader. Jaaaa. It can lose its appeal, being the girl holding all the control.

Daeds - debating?!? NO! You simply agree with me, and occasionally mention how clever & insightful I am! And then buy me a tequila, or two, or three....fck, is it 4pm Friday drinking hour yet?

Revolving Credit said...

No, its' quite modern.
To make it fire all you have to do is yank the lanyard.

Daedalus said...

Champs,
Join us later, and I'll buy tequila. I'll see about the agreeing part ;)

Champagne Heathen said...

Rev - you just have to yank it once! That IS very modern!

Daeds - You're willing to buy me a tequila from THERE!? You're wanting to poison me already?!

Daedalus said...

Shamoooo, that place was NOT my idea... I got dragged into it :P

Revolving Credit said...

Not just yank it once, yank it as many times as you want it ti fire.

Champagne Heathen said...

It shoots like a machine gun?!?!?!? Wow. Can you imagine how much fun that must be!

Daeds - ah, it is still a pretty sweet spot!

Revolving Credit said...

Machine Gun?
How fast can you yank???

Daedalus said...

Champs, never been there, I'll have to take your word for it or add sugar if it is not.

Champagne Heathen said...

Rev, I am not too sure. I am not much of a military man!

Daeds - Ha ha, I can't wait to see you sprinkling sugar on the roof after you've had too many tequilas!

Daedalus said...

Champs,
I am really allergic to Tequila though ... I'd much rather down a Stroh Rum ;) But I'll force 1 Tequila just for you hun.. ak...!