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Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Burning Man Strikes At The Heart Of Ouattara's Legitimacy!

The following story which appeared in the Chroniquesénégalaises caught my attention recently. I have been literary traumatised by it. It has become intrusive and repetitive of late that the only way to deal with it is to talk about it. The story states that on 1 April 2011, while committing the killings FRCI Duékoué Sogoni BAMBA, communications advisor of Alassane Ouattara, had a picture of a man burned to death on France 24:


 South African policemen attend to Mozambican immigrant Ernesto Alfabeto

This photo was presented by Ms. Bamba as an exaction  by supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, to justify the bloody offensive of FRCI is indeed that of Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave who was burned alive in Johannesburg May 18, 2008 during a riot:

« Côte d’Ivoire la guerre civile », France 24 le 01/04/2011, 9ème minute]
Oui ils [les FRCI pro-Ouattara] descendent vers le sud, et je pense que c’est par légitime défense, parce que vous ne pouvez pas avoir un monsieur qui a gouverné un pays, et qui peut accepter de laisser ses partisans brûler des jeunes comme ça ! Vous ne pouvez pas ! Aujourd’hui, on ne peut pas regarder ça. […] Il faut montrer ce que les hommes de Gbagbo ont fait, c’est donc une légitime défense !

"Yes they [pro-Ouattara FRCI] down south, and I think it's in self defence because you can not have a man who ruled a country, and may be willing to let his supporters burn young people like that! You can not! Today, we can not watch this. [...] We must show what Gbagbo's men have done, it is therefore legitimate defence!"

This photo has illustrated various sections of the Ivorian press, including that favourable to Mr. Ouattara (koaci.com) from November 2010.

Xenophobia in South Africa

The Guardian reported: "Mobs rampaged through poor suburbs of Johannesburg in a series of attacks against foreigners, mainly Zimbabweans, over the weekend, killing seven people, injuring at least 50 and forcing hundreds to seek refuge at police stations.

Two of those killed were burned to death and three beaten to death. The injured suffered gunshot and stab wounds. Johannesburg police were warning motorists to avoid the city's business district. "It's spreading like a wildfire and the police and the army can't control it," said Emmerson Zifo, a Zimbabwean."


"In a clash between the poorest of the poor, gangs of local black South Africans descended on informal settlements and shanty towns, armed with clubs, machetes and torches, and attacked immigrants from Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabawe. Locals accused these immigrants of taking jobs away from them, among other grievances. Over the course of those two weeks, over 60 foreigners were killed, several hundred injured, and many thousands of immigrants are now displaced, or are returning to their home countries. Dealing with the aftermath of the attacks has become a large problem for South Africa - prosecuting attackers, accommodating refugees, dealing with a labor shortage, political damage control, seeking to address root causes, and some soul-searching are all taking place." http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/06/xenophobia_in_south_africa.html

Saturday 24 October 2009
5.00 pm – 6.00 pm
Nameless 52

The Burning Man
Adze Ugah
South Africa
24 mins
South Africa, 2008: Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave, a Mozambican national, is burnt to death by a xenophobic mob. The media dubs him "The Burning Man".
Nigerian filmmaker Adze Ugah tries to understand who Ernesto really was, what the events were that led to this atrocity, and how it could have happened in the post-Apartheid South Africa of the Rainbow Nation... A South Africa where countless people- like the perpetrators as much as the victim of this crime- still live in poverty.

This film seeks to give "The Burning Man" back the dignity of his own name.

What Lay Behind The Violence?
"President Thabo Mbeki announced a panel had been set up to discover what lay behind the violence and the leader of the ruling ANC, Jacob Zuma, condemned the violence, warning that "we cannot be a xenophobic country". He said he could not understand how South Africans could be hostile to foreigners when the same foreign countries had given refuge to South Africans during the liberation struggle." the Guardian

The violence started last week in the old Alexandra shanty town. The clashes spread from Alexandra to the townships of Diepsloot, Thokoza and Tembisa.

"Those taking part in the attacks complained of the "theft" of jobs by foreigners. Zimbabweans have been flooding into South African in search of work following Robert Mugabe's destruction of the local economy." the Guardian.


Monday, 12 May 2008 21:26 UK

US Supreme Court Allows Apartheid Claims * BBC World Service, Page last updated at 20:26 GMT, Monday, 12 May 2008 21:26 UK

The US Supreme Court has cleared the way for a lawsuit against major international companies accused of aiding South Africa's apartheid system.

The court said it could not intervene over the case because of a potential conflict of interests.

Four of the nine justices had ties to the firms involved and could not rule on the case, it said.

By law, at least six justices must sit in order for the Supreme Court to hear a case.

As a result, the court could only uphold a lower court ruling allowing a lawsuit to go ahead against firms accused of aiding South Africa's apartheid system.

Apartheid was a policy which enforced a separation of the nation's races from the 1940s until the early 1990s.

The victims are seeking damages reported to be worth more than $400bn (£205bn).

Financial interests

Among the corporations accused in the lawsuit are oil firms BP and Exxon Mobil, banks including Citigroup and Deutsche Bank and multinationals like General Motors and Ford.

The plaintiffs bringing the lawsuit argue that the corporations violated international law by assisting South Africa's former apartheid government.

An appeals court in New York ruled last year that the lawsuit, being brought under a US law which allows foreigners to sue in US courts over breaches of international law, could proceed.

The Bush administration, the current South African government and business groups had sought the intervention of the Supreme Court.

They argue that the legal action is damaging to international relations and may threaten South Africa's economic development.

However, the court's hands were tied by federal laws requiring at least six of the nine justices to hear any case.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito all had to sit out because they had financial interests in some of the companies concerned.

According to the Associated Press news agency, Mr Roberts owns stock in Hewlett Packard, Mr Alito has shares in Exxon Mobil and Mr Breyer has stock in Colgate-Palmolive, Bank of America, IBM and Nestle.

Justice Anthony Kennedy sat out the case because his son works for Credit Suisse, another company concerned.

'These people get killed for nothing'


The headlines of the papers at the newsstand at the Bree Street taxi rank on Monday reflect the deadly xenophobic violence that spread around Johannesburg on the weekend.

"Violence flares up," the Sowetan says. "Flames of hate" is the headline of both the Star and the Times. It's a normal working day in Newtown, but it's not business as usual.

In Jeppe Street, several shops are closed for the day. Metal roller-doors are down and the streets are quieter than usual. After a night of anti-foreigner violence that claimed at least 22 lives and in which scores were injured, frightened people fled to the sanctuary of the Jeppe police station.

Rajia Rashid (26), from Pakistan, has opened his blanket shop in Sauer Street, but his brother's shop in Small Street is closed.

Says Rashid: "In that part [of town], it's bad. They are beating up foreigners. Malawi people, Mozambican, Zimbabweans, Indians. These Zulu people kill everyone."

Witnesses of the violence in the inner city on the weekend had also reported that Zulus were among those attacking both foreigners and South Africans of other groups, such as Pedis and Shangaans.

Rashid arrived in the country six years ago and gets on well with South Africans. "They are nice people, nice in helping you, nice for business. But Jacob Zuma is only for the Zulus, that's why this is happening," he says.

Although a foreigner himself, Rashid is not afraid. "I am not scared. I'm from Pakistan, I am used to these things."

Suddenly, the sound of a crowd fleeing the violence is heard. People are running past Rashid's shop towards Pritchard Street, and customers in the shop start panicking. Rashid's colleague immediately rolls down the metal doors, urging people to get out, otherwise "you'll get stuck in this shop".

Itumeleng (20), one of the people running down the street, is on her way to Braamfontein's Damelin College to write an exam. "This is ridiculous," she says. "These people get killed for nothing. These people helped us, a lot of us went to exile in these [foreign] countries. Now these people need help. We might also have a rainy day [in the future]."

Many foreigners are now crowded into the Central Methodist church, known as a haven for asylum-seekers and refugees. On Sunday, 300 more fled to the church looking for sanctuary.

Cyril Sikhosana (24) arrived at the church at about 3pm on Sunday after he had fled his house in Rosettenville. "A group of Zulu guys from the neighbourhood came. They asked around where foreigners lived. They were violent, they had sticks and guns but they didn't use them."

Sikhosana managed to escape through the back door. "Initially we ran, but after a while we started to walk, because we realised that we were attracting attention. I was very scared, because I had read in the newspapers that people had been killed.

"I don't think it is good for foreigners to come here any longer. I worked here and all my property is gone overnight."

Now that many of these people are no longer going to work during the day for fear of being attacked, the church is packed with people. John Dumba (24), who has lived in the church since March, says: "They [the attackers] rather attack people one by one. Here we are with a lot of us. People are depending on numbers now."

But, according to Dumba, "they already tried to attack us twice. On Sunday a lot of Zulus came in kombis. They were dropped off by taxi drivers at four places, each group with five people. They were shouting 'Makwerekwere [foreigners].'"

Bishop Paul Verryn expresses the atmosphere of fear in his church. "Yesterday [on Sunday] at the service you could feel the restlessness. At the end we gave people the opportunity to talk about the things that happened. That calmed things down a bit."

Verryn is very worried about the situation, calling for the nation to no longer to ignore the gap between the haves and the have-nots. "We must no longer ignore that communities are very disgruntled; this is really the poor fighting the poor ... It's an out-of-control paradigm."

How is he going to cope with the increase of refugees in a church that is already packed with people? "We are not going to cope. It's becoming impossible now with 1Â 800 people. But we do what we have tried to do the last four years."

Says Sikhosana: "All these people are involuntary unemployed now because they can't go to work. We don't have food, how are we going to live here? ... I was sitting all night, there is no space to sleep."

Dumba adds: "We all don't sleep. We are anticipating an attack all the time."


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