Category Archives: South Africa

When Did Reeva Eat?

It is still uncertain in my mind if anyone still has any interest in the ongoing saga of Oscar Pistorious and his shooting of Reeva Steenkamp. The only thing we do know for certain, the only thing both defense and prosecutor agree upon is that Reeva IS dead. OK, they both agree that Oscar did shoot someone which most probably was Reeva. The case is now stalled over the issue as to when did Reeva last eat food before she died. The prosecutor insists the presence of good in her stomach means she had eaten about two hours prior to death. The defense had Christina Lundgren, an expert on food in stomachs testify and she insists one can still have food in the stomach several hours after eating. She cited several examples. So, is Oscar right they ate at 7:00 p.m. and shortly after went to bed or is the prosecution right in arguing they ate and shortly after he killed her?

Oh, social worker Yvette van Schulkwyk saw Oscar after the shooting and says he was “a heart broken man” who rambled on and on about his future plans for Reeva. I assume these great debates will go on and on and on.

Once More Oscar Into Breach

The nation of South Africa, for some reason, does not employ the concept of a trial by jury. Their is a presiding judge and she hears evidence. Since the trial of Oscar Pistorious began a few weeks ago, we initially heard Oscar do a bit of shouting and moaning and groaning and bewailing the death of his girl friend, Reeva Steenkamp. In his original version, she was sound asleep in the bedroom when he heard noises in the bathroom which he interpreted to be those of an intruder which led him to fire four shots through the bathroom door. Alas, no intruder on the other side of the door, just Reeva.

The second version which he presented during a grueling examination by the prosecutor was somewhat different. He then claimed firing four shots accidentally. During this version, he cried, moaned, vomited, and expressed remorse unknown to have been heard in recent times. They decided to take a two week break and now the defense is ready to present fourteen more witnesses who will undoubtedly present still a third version. The world now knows that Oscar could readily win an Oscar for offering the most expressive howls of pain known to the human race. We trust if he must vomit, please do so in a garbage pail along with the other garbage that so far has been presented.

O.J. And Oscar On Trial

It is nearly twenty years since famous athlete O.J. Simpson was on trial charged with murdering a woman he allegedly loved. Oscar Pistorious, a white man in South Africa, is currently on trial for the murder of a woman that he allegedly loved. A white and a black man, a trial which has excited the world and offered ample opportunity for a crusading district attorney to make headlines and for the media to provide non-stop stories concerning the emotional state of the alleged murderer. We, the public, follow avidly each detail, each cross examination, we discuss the events while at work or with friends. We are fascinated, we devour key points that arrive dealing with the act of murder. Did HE really fire the shot or was there a third person who is the key witness to events that unfurled in the night of the murder?

Oh, what a glorious time for those in the media. But, there is something more important. We, the public, want this trial. We want an event in which someone who is powerful, a great athlete is confronting the issue of death and life. In the end, O.J. Simpson, was acquitted for the act of murder, but a large number of people continue to this day believe in his guilt and blame the media for allowing him to escape the death penalty. Ironically, today he is in jail for a different crime. So, what awaits Oscar? Will he escape only to fail at some future moment?

The only victor in either case was the media. So, will it be tomorrow.

Pistorious Kabbuki Another Rashomon

There is but one thing all involved in the murder trial that features Oscar Pistorius–Reeva Steenkemp is deas. Other than that fact, the remainder of what happened in the story leading to her death depends on which version of reality is selected. Oscar insists that he heard sounds in the bathroom indicating an intruder was in his house and thus blasted away until he had killed Reeva who was in the toilet. There is another version of reality according to the prosecutor Gerrie Lee. In plain English, she informed the famous runner, “your version is a lie.” During his time in court with the Defense attorney, Oscar howled and cried and shook his body in order to make clear that he was in pain for the shooting of Reeva.

But, the prosecution has a different interpretation of this performance and it is based on some factual data. “We know there was no intruder, there was no ladder against the wall. We know that Reeva was in the toilet.” So, what happened? My questions:

1. How could he avoid knowing that she was in the toilet?

2. Did he tell her to call the police? Certainly, that would be a normal request.

3. Did he call out for the intruder to emerge from the toilet? Why not?

Just some questions.

Can’t Stand Your Ground In South Africa?

it is increasingly evident that Oscar Pistorious was living in the wrong country at the wrong time and this is what has led to his being placed on trial for shooting his girl friend, Reeva Steenkamp. If only Mr. Pistorious lived in a civilized society such as found in places like Texas or Florida or the southwest of America, he would not be standing trial just because he THOUGHT there was a threat to his life by some black dude and blasted away to save both his and his girl friend’s life. OK, so the “noise” he heard in the bathroom was not that of his girl friend, but the important thing is: “he felt a genuine and real danger to his life which means he has the right to shoot and shoot until the threat is gone.” OK, so there was not a threat to his life, but according to the National Rifle Association if YOU THINK THERE IS A THREAT then you have the right to kill and kill.

Based on NRA logic, the culprit in this trial is Reeva Steenkamp. WHY did she make Oscar think there was a threat?? If she had not made him think there was a danger, he would not have fired. This means, the person who should be on trial is –Reeva Steenkamp!!

Black Myths In South Africa

There is an unstated topic inherent in the trial of Oscar Pistorious who shot to death his white girl friend, Reeva Steenkamp. He argues that he was frightened because he heard a noise in the bathroom and thought it was some evil burglar come to do harm. Of course, everyone knows that alleged “burglar” was a black skinned man, not only out to rob his money, but to rape his beautiful girl friend. So, what else could this brave man do but to grab a gun and blast away. The undiscussed issue in this case is the theory that a burglar–black one– could find a way into his bathroom. The overwhelming majority of wealthy white folk in South Africa live in a housing area which is more alike an armed fortress. There are armed guards and surveillance cameras all over the place. An electric fence most probably protected his home.

But in the mind of Oscar Pistorious there always lurks the “swart geevar,” the black peril whose only goal in life is to rape white women. He HAD to fire away in order to protect Reeva from the black peril lurking in the bathroom. In other words, she had to die to prevent her from being raped! Seated with the Steenkamp family in the court room are representatives from the African National Congress Women’s League. Most reports say that Oscar rarely, if ever, glances toward the Steenkamp family.

Pistorious Tales Of Woe

Every so often we normal humans need a good old fashioned murder trial to keep our attention away from such mundane things like possible war in the Ukraine or that other place called the Crimea. So pleasant not to worry about Putin goons beating up homosexuals or Fascists from the West who dare to invade the great Motherland of Russia. Down in South Africa they have a nice, pleasant murder trail which features a famous runner, the Blade Runner, himself who is accused of murdering his girl friend. Oscar Pistorious claims that he heard noises of an alleged intruder and blasted away and in the process blasted out the life of his girl friend. Anyway, another girl friend was called as a witness. Samantha Taylor said that Oscar was an angry sort of guy who enjoyed screaming and did enjoy firing his pistol. He once fired his gun through the top of his car after some cop dared to halt him.

Samantha did describe an occasion when Oscar went prowling through the apartment because he heard “noises” just as he claimed in the recent shooting. A major point of dispute are claims by neighbors they heard women screaming. The defense team argues that Oscar can scream like a woman. So pleasant not to talk about mass murder and only focus on a single murder. We humans are proceeding in life.

Banality Of Evil

A half century ago the state of Israel placed Adolf Eichmann, the notorious Nazi who helped organize and carry out the Holocaust on trial for genocide. At that time Hannah Arendt, a famous historian, wrote a book in which she argued that Eichmann was a bureaucrat who carried out orders because they were orders and it was his task as a bureaucrat to carry out orders given by superiors. Arendt was harshly criticized because she employed words such as “banality of evil” as to transform the Holocaust into a process carried out by bureaucrats rather than a systematic murder of millions. Alas, we continue to live in a world in which whoever is in charge employs the bureaucracy that exists to enforce laws because it is the duty of bureaucrats to enforce laws. Barack Obama twice ran for the presidency arguing that he would end the disabuse of rights by the Bush administration and restore basic Constitutional laws that guarantee the rights of individual American citizens. Instead, Obama has become the defender to spying and surveillance because since he is the president then he must do what presidents do-catch the spy and enforce whatever technology has been used in the past to catch the spy.

If tomorrow, someone else became president- Chris Christie or Ted Cruz or even Rand Paul, we could expect that president would continue a campaign of surveillance and disregard of human rights. The power of bureaucracy is even more powerful than the power of common sense and respect for the Constitution. Military leaders, bureaucrats, technicians always argue that in the name of “our national security” certain actions must occur. Edward Snowden, in one sense, was the anti-bureaucrat because he chose to pose questions concerning which comes first, Constitutional rights or “national security.” In so doing, Snowden made clear the choice was NEVER between “national security” and the Constitution.

The evidence is overwhelming. For over a decade we have allowed bureaucrats in the armed forces or the NSA or the CIA to decide what constitutes “national security” and in so doing, have allowed nameless bureaucrats who simply are “doing their job” to continue doing a job that has failed for over a decade to protect “national security.” What is unusual about Edward Snowden is that a nameless bureaucrat who was just doing his job, began to question the nature of his job, and set in motion the concept that those who run the machine of death can always stop and question why this program of death?

He Is Signing Out Anyway

There has beeb extensive controversy over the sign language expert who accompanied President Obama at the funeral for Nelson Mandela. Apparently Mr.Janttjie really didn’t know anything about being sign language expert and sort of threw his arms around imitating what he had seen sign language folk do for a living. There are charges that he is a fake, a criminal, a rapist and so on. Why is everyone so upset? We daily have members of the United States Congress speak the English language in words that supposedly make sense, but to whom, I do not know. Republicans want to reduce taxes in order to reduce our debt, and that apparently makes sense to the American people. Republicans want to get people back to working at jobs paying $7.50 an hour which somehow will restore economic prosperity to the nation.

Nelson Mandela is dead. Those who hated him today are hailing him, those who followed him are daily betraying every principle he upheld. So, why get upset because some character out of a comedy decided to play around with his arms. I urge the American government to hire this sign language guy because waving his arms around makes more sense than anything said by Ted Cruz or the “experts” on Fox News.

Is There An Israel Mandela?

There is no comparison in terms of human depravity with the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust. South Africans endured the horror of Apartheid and its brutality. If one reviewed the history of slavery in terms of how many died, then one might envision a parallel. Perhaps, it is time for Israel to take a step back and enter into the mind of Nelson Mandela. If he was able to forgive and offer friendship to those who tortured and killd his friends and himself, perhaps, it is time for Israelis to forgive Palestinians who hated and murdered. By reaching out to those who are willing to move away from violence, then the people of Israel will surpass the limits of hate.

We all can transform ourselves by challlenging our emotions of pain and become something other. As Jews we believe God placed us on Earth to become models of decency and love. Let us lead such lives.