Blogging for the Sake of Blogging (4)

It’s Simple!

I felt good when I woke up this morning! The heavy rain had subsided, I could see some patches of blue sky when I opened my curtains and it is the weekend. Sadly, things suddenly became gloomy when I switched on the TV to watch the news. I was expecting to see some Mandela Day stories. However, the first thing that caught my eye was the headlines running at the bottom of the screen. It read, “Malaysian plane…,” and for a split second, I thought the headline would continue, “… has been found”. Instead, it read, “Malaysian Plane Shot Down, 298 dead”.

This was followed by, “Israeli forces launch ground attack on Gaza”; more atrocious news on what started out to be a good morning.  What exactly is the cause of these events? Well, “political unrest” is a term used in both stories, but we never know exactly what is going on. All we know is that hundreds are dead.

I am no political analyst, so am in no position to comment on the recent events that have transpired in the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel or the frankly confusing battle that has recently erupted between Russia and Ukraine. I am more concerned about the people in these regions – people on both sides.

Families are being torn apart, communities are being destroyed and many are denied their basic human rights. Children who should be going to school are either hiding in their homes, fearful of the next airstrike or terrorist attack, or joining their brothers, fathers, uncles in battling military forces on the streets.

I find it useless pointing fingers at which side is losing more people; this does nothing more than fuel the propaganda produced by both sides. I use the words “both sides” for a reason.  The world seems to view the conflict happening in these regions from a “whose side are you on” perspective. You support either the Russians or the Ukrainians or you support either the Israelis or the Palestinians, which has now manifested itself as religious battle instead of a political one. It is now more of Jews versus Muslims issue. Sadly, in all this “whose side are you on” nonsense we are forgetting about the innocent lives lost – on both sides.

Whose side am I on? I am on the side of peace, love and logic.

When I see a group of mostly Muslims marching in Cape Town to demonstrate their anger at the Israeli use of chemical weapons, I feel compelled to join, but when I move closer and read their signs admiring Hitler for killing millions of Jews, I walk away – that to me is not logical. Marching in revolt of one atrocity while admiring another is not logical.

However, in all this news of war and death I find it refreshing to get to work and find my colleagues filling boxes of clothes and non-perishable foods to donate to the local children’s shelter as our little something for Mandela Day. It brings back the warm feeling I woke up with this morning. It says to me that often the solutions to the problems we see happening around the world is not about cease-fire agreements or winning wars. No, it’s much simpler than that. It is about uniting for a common cause, looking out for one another and putting our own selfish interests aside to help others.

As has become custom now, here is a little accompanying poem.


Three Words ©



 By Torieq Arendse


I feel lucky for where I am today

Fed, sheltered, safe, 3 words too few can say

Not just in my country, but all over the world

Too many places by war in disarray hurled


 I feel lucky for where I am today

Loved, protected, happy, 3 words too few can say

Not just in my country, but in many a war-torn town

Where neither government nor rebel will consider backing down


I feel lucky for where I am today

Clean, mobile, clothed, 3 words too few can say

Not just in my country but in most of the Middle East

Where daily bombings have now increased


I feel lucky for where I am; I truly have to say

And I am sure many of you reading this will also feel this way

In commemoration of man who fought for peace I must surely relay

Let’s help where we can, Happy Mandela Day!