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Reports

Friday, 19 October 2001
Kayamandi, Stellenbosch --> Somerset West (SA)

I joined Shumi during her chicken feet business (it just tastes like chicken by the way) and visited the Primary school and High School.
The staff at the High School in the township was really charmed by my visit, as some of them even had seen me on television a few weeks ago. Shumiís son Charles, teacher at the High School, showed me around, until Shumi dropped me off in Stellenbosch.

I was picked up from the center of Stellenbosch, by my next hostess Carla Husselmann, who took me along to her family home in Somerset West. Here I joined them at their dinner, together with some of their friends.

Carla is a journalist herself and is currently a writer at a content provider for the internet. She found this website when I was in the far north of Europe and never expected me to come down south that fast.

After dinner Carla took me to a party at a friendsí house in Stellenbosch, where it was crowded from the kitchen to the living room and music was played from a ghetto blaster. Interesting to count how many people were not drunk, it wasnít much, but it was fun.

After that party we mostly all ended in At The Life, a crammed full dancing in town, but remarkable of its simplicity and its deejay who sits cross-legged behind curtains waiting for Buddha himself. Or was it the alcohol that took control of him?

It was a fascinating day. One hour I walk through a township and the end of the day I seem to be at the other edge of our planet.

See the letter below, as it was posted in the messageboard. I hope for my own pleasure, that my writing wonít become that sterile and bare as this one above.




I donít feel like writing anymore. I write too much...




Ramon,

I think your travels are fantastic, but I think you are presenting an idealistic view, and "trying" to impart that view on others. You want to present a view that every culture is wonderful and "perfect" because it is "their" culture.

I refer specifically, and unabashedly, to your obvious protests to the USA and British "war" and bombing of the Afghanistan Taliban. You are correct in telling your hosts who asked your opinion that this is NOT a war on the Muslim religion, it is a war on religious extremists, the Taliban terrorists. But you are wrong in saying, and continuing to quote Ghandi "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind".

I believe that this pacifist attitude is what allows the people like the Taliban to continue. They DO NOT DESERVE to live in this world, and they do not DESERVE any communication or negotiation from any modern day head of state or country. Yes, I am an American, and a proud American. The Taliban performed a COWARDLY act by planning and plotting the September 11th massacre on the World Trade Center, the U.S. Military Headquarters "The Pentagon", (sometimes people forget the U.S. Military WAS attacked!!), and potentially the White House, home of the President of the USA, before the 4th plane was downed by sacrificing civilians who realized what was happening. Had those people not acted, most likely The Capitol building or the White House would have been hit by that 4th plane. This was all clearly an attack on the USA, militarily and governmentally. I think sometimes people just think it was an attack on "office buildings in New York City!" WRONG! It was an attack on the USA people and military and government!

THINK ABOUT IT! Thousands died in just hours, over what? Because Osama Bin Laden and TERRORISTS do not like Western "influence"?? They prefer the degrading and enslaving of women? They don't want any influence from a modern world? They prefer living in the past, versus moving forward into the 21st century? I think this is not the peoples will, but the will of the few extremists and "holier that thou" folks. My guess is the common folks would love to be able to practice their religion in a MODERN world. Yep, I bet even with the big old yellow M that you so despise!

How would people respond if there was a group of terrorist radicals in any other country insisting on Medieval or Victorian dress and morals and religious practices? It is not even HUMANE to force these women to wear the shrouds and face masks, and the girls/women cannot attend school or work for a living. They must remain "slaves", uneducated, and BEG on the street to feed the children of the men who impregnate them.

Muslims can live very peacefully in this world - it is the radicals that must go. Just as Hitler was radical. The USA has been the "melting pot" of all cultures and religions for hundreds of years, and there is no problem with that. We love the diversity and all that it has contributed to our society. 200 years ago, had we had the current attitude of the Taliban, people would have been persecuted for introducing their religions. (Yes, I know, we had a problem with Witchcraft in early colonial times!)

The USA, as a world super power, does look out for its own economics and safety, and for the safety of allies. The Middle East is a very volatile area, and yes, of course, OIL is an issue. This was apparent in the Gulf War when all the oil fields were set afire. We were able to get the invaders out of Kuwait, but the enemy knew the issues, and set oil fields afire. Again, cowardly. Only resulting in all the U.N sanctions against aid to innocent people, etc.

Innocent people suffer, in all of these cases. Just as in WWII. This IS WWIII, but a whole different kind of war. A war against terrorists and COWARDS who have invaded and infiltrated many countries. They could be your neighbors out watering the lawn right now, who knows? This is not a war against Muslims or a war against Afghanistan - it is a war against an underground terrorist network. They have done extensive damage for 15 years now, or more. They tried to topple the World Trade Center before with bombs in the parking garage. They figured out a new way to do it. Horrific! The events of Sept 11th were the last straw to the FREE world, as the saying goes. "No more negotiations, no more communications, no more concessions! This is WAR!"

Do you REALLY think George W. Bush or any free world leader would sit down with Bin Laden or any of his GANG and talk peace negotiations now? As if "we" would trust Osama, and his murderers at a negotiating table? When they struck Sept. 11th, they hit a nerve resonating around the world. I am surprised you did not have that same nerve, quite frankly, as one who purports people and freedom and peace! Surely you do not feel the people of Afghanistan are free, and ready to "let-you-stay-for-a-day."? Any invitations from Kabul?

I am a very tolerant person, and admire your travels, but I think you have a view that everyone is beautiful and everyone is perfect and every culture is perfect and every person is perfect. I think you have not yet met your bad match yet. I hope you don't, as so far you have met great people and great hosts. But someday you must take off those rose colored spectacles and realize the world is not perfect, and "an eye for an eye is justified" right now is the current situation. "An eye for an eye will make the world blind" was a saying perhaps idealistic and hopeful at the time - but unfortunately, not appropriate regarding the atrocities of September 11th.

Peace be with you and your hosts. Great travels, great hosts, great pictures. I have learned much about the countries and the people.

Just don't be "blind" to the realities of this "new" world!! It is not a war against a culture or a religion or a country - it is a war against fanatics and terrorists.

I am not affiliated with any organization; I am just a citizen of the USA.

I have been following your site for many months, but felt I had to respond to your anti-America anti-British sentiments regarding the military actions. You are having a good time, but are not in touch with the big picture reality. Perhaps you need to get on a jet to "Ground Zero!"? Perhaps you need to see what America has suffered?

I know, I know, all countries have suffered over the years. Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their countrymen! It's 2001! Time for 2001 culture, not year 1,000 cultures! Times moves on, ya know? Throw off the old repressive cultures and ways, and get with the 21st century. There is no longer a time to tolerate the oppressions of the Taliban! There is no longer a time to tolerate the terrorism and atrocities of the Taliban. We must all eradicate this cancer, the terrorist underground, and work towards world peace. It IS just like Hitler - be glad we won that war!

"An eye for an eye is a very good thing" regarding this situation!

Down with people of all cultures and nationalities being oppressed and terrorized!

And also for you Ramon, you say you are not a religious person. I would think you would be more open to peace among all men/women, versus religious fanaticism! These "wars" are about religious fanaticism! Sorry for the seemingly weak term, but this is "ridiculous!" to me that you would feel this way. You speak with forked tongue. One time you say you are not religious, the next time you say these religions and cultures need to have their way. Decide. Are you pro Taliban or not? Frankly, I cannot tell from your posts.

Regards, and thanks again for all your travel updates and pictures. I am NOT an "enemy", just asking for some clarifications!

Joan



Dear Joan,

If you, in the first place, think that I want to present a view that every culture is wonderful and perfect because itís their culture, then that is YOUR conclusion and not a mirror image on what I write.

I donít ask my sentences to be puzzled out or to read between the lines, itís just a daily report from a guy who travels around the world.

I am that guy whose English is NOT his native language and who mostly has less than an hour to upload photographs and to write some comprehensive report...

When it comes to politic debates like this, I donít want to know how much people DO read between my lines and give me feedback on anything I write. Know that I already get emails from people who tell me to stop complaining if I only write: ďItís raining outside.Ē Ė Wow, should I just stop writing if my words are taken that serious???

And then get political for a second:
If people really believe that WWIII has already started, then I would like to know which WORLD is fighting? Until now it has only been the US (with some support from the United Kingdom) against those mountain people in Afghanistan. Donít talk about a 3rd World War as it is NOT like that. Now, call ME narrow-minded, I am open-minded to receive those statements.

Some people think that there is only one thing going on on this planet. Itís not and you can find more headlines onlineÖ I hope you understand what I mean.

To response to my view that everyone is beautiful and perfect and every culture is perfect: you are reading between the lines, because I HAVE NEVER said that. Nobody is perfect.

And who am I to fear people during my travels? Should I worry every time the door I knock on gets opened? Should I always distrust a human until I find out that I can trust him?
NO, I donít live that way. Bad things happen, but I donít let them rule MY live and my FUTURE.

I know the world is not perfect, but may I please wear my pink sunglasses once in a while? I am an optimist person, I love live and enjoy many different people. Maybe I am unique in that, maybe nobody is like me. Who knows.

For the person who reads between every single line I have written and thinks I speak with a forked tongue: donít take everything that serious.

Donít relate my writing with things that have nothing to do with MY CURRENT situation.

If I say I respect religions, even though I am not religious myself, just look at me sitting at this dinning with this black hosting family in their home in a township of Stellenbosch in South Africa.

And keep me sitting there.

Ramon.



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