Things we learned in May

As I sit here tonight trying to write another pithy version of the world’s events, I look over and see my 10-year-old, busily scribing her schoolwork. I think of the parents of the children who lost their lives in Manchester, in Kabul , in Syria and in countless other places around the world and I can’t.

I can’t imagine the pain those parents must be going through. The anguish at realizing they will never see their child again. The thought that they’d never be able to hold their child again, or hear them laugh, or sing. I can’t even imagine that sort of pain. I doubt anyone can,really.

I think the worst pain a parent can go through is losing a child, especially in a violent way. Knowing your child probably suffered, probably cried out for you…

South Africa


Franziska Blochliger, 16.

I first heard of her disappearance from a friend’s Facebook post. She was a friend of the Blochliger family and posted the father’s urgent call for his missing daughter. Asking if anyone had any information, because she’d gone missing.

The next thing I knew, my FB friend’s profile pic had gone black and she shared the tragic news that Franziska’s body had been found.

The news showed her devastated mother’s face. Drawn, haggard, eyes red from weeping. My heart went out to her.

This week’s news that at least one of the alleged attackers had been found guilty of her murder,was a small consolation. A light had been extinguished and nothing would bring her back.


When the news broke of her disappearance in a sub economic part of Cape Town, shamefully my thoughts went to blaming the mother. I did not have the same reaction to Franziska’s death, so it gave me pause for self reflection. I am not ready for what that says about me.

Unfortunately, after her body was found and her alleged killer was brought before the court, the neighbourhood brayed for his blood. Soon enough theories started circulating about the possible involvement of her mother  in her death. I can’t countenance that any parent would have a hand in their child’s death, so did not join in the melee calling for her head. Her pain should already be monstrous without casual vilification from me.

I await the outcome of this trial. More is becoming apparent each day. Courtney has a long way to go before she finds peace.


Our president-elect lived to tell another lie. He convinced his cadre of loyal supporters within the NEC to let him steal, pillage and plunder for another day.

He made use of the optics of Courtney Pieter’s death and handed over a stack of bills to the mother. The picture was captured for posterity on the cover of a salacious rag. Is it that easy to buy forgiveness, Zuma? Just the blood of a three-year old, yes?



I was wrong in my prediction that Le Pen would sweep to victory in France. Steadier heads prevailed and hate failed. France stood up to nationalist ideology and preached centrist values. Macron stood up to the bully that is Trump (ugh! The name produces sours in my stomach!), with a manly contest of handshaking! He also lured engineers, scientists and other leaders in the field of scientific and engineering prowess to France with the promise of support and acceptance.



What a disappointment Theresa has turned out to be. Calling for an early election may not have been the smartest thing to do, as it turns out. Debate after debate, interview after interview show her to be far from strong and stable. Her greatest success this month was a #1 hit of a song parodying her weak and wonky stance. We wait with bated breath for June 7.

Middle East and Africa


Initially it appeared that Trump would triumph and leave us gasping in disbelief at his expert handling of his first international tour. He  didn’t put a foot wrong. He even managed to give a speech that didn’t further embarrass his handlers. His visit to Saudi Arabia was remarkable only in its OTT displays of obsequious and nauseating toadying.

From his face on a building, to thick ropes of gold and catered- to- his- juvenile- taste (steak and ketchup?!)banquets – the Saudis outdid themselves. Donald must have felt like he was finally getting what he deserved: adulation and adoration which were so sorely lacking in his home country.

Israel was where it all started unravelling. From announcing he had come from the ME, while obviously still in the ME, to Melania flicking his hand away, to vague wanderings off during a press conference – the wheels were coming off. Quick protestations of ” He’s tired!” were made in haste. All this earned were flashbacks to his  “She doesn’t have the stamina to be president!” observations during the run up to the election. Pot, meet kettle.

Syria, Yemen, Egypt

Daily bombings, civilian casualties, death. One has become quite inured to it. One doesn’t question why Manchester arena caused an outpouring of grief for 22 lives when 80+ lives in Kabul don’t get so much as a FB overlay. Why is it that I feel less for the families of the children who were lost in Kabul, than I do for the children in Manchester?

I have a lot of reflection to do. It will be unsavoury and painful, but necessary.


The USA is already feeling like a planet on the outer edges of the universe. Something so removed from the world that to speak of it feels ..alien.

The latest presidential incumbent seems hell-bent on erasing the very memory of the past incumbent. Because he is black? Because he is everything Drumpf is not, nor will ever be, or….? I don’t know.

To speak of things American is to speak of the past. What they used to be. What it used to mean to be American. What they used to achieve and represent. No more.

Now a sad laughing-stock or a stark warning. THIS is what happens when democracy fails.

The latest fail? Pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Accord. Because America. Is Great. Again. And fuck the rest of us.

Will South Africa step into the breach? Time will tell. China certainly is!

Until next I blog,



2 thoughts on “Things we learned in May

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