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Friday, November 10, 2006

What a way to ruin a friday...

Matthew Buckland's blog pointed me in the direction of this horrible article and subsequesnt "debate" - on essentially why SA is too scary and AIDS-riddled to host WC2010. As Matthew says this will "get your blood really boiling".

I get it, you know, the fear! It must be scary for someone who has no knowledge or understanding of a developing nation to consider having to go out to one just to watch a little footie - especially when you select the nasty passages out of the CIA handbook to back up your terror.

I know SA has problems! I'm not disputing that our crime and poverty situation is unacceptable - and no one should be. But I feel that this article, and his defence thereof (in the comments) are biased and misleading. I think his source choices are indefensible, and that this article is essentially irresponsible journalism. Especially aligning himself with journalists who have been "harrassed" because they wanted to show the world the real SA - what utter bollocks!

I'm angry (duh!) and I'm biased, but I'm not a popular sports writer warning people off an entire country.

Just read it...tell me what you think, but more importantly tell him what you think (you need an MSN login to do so).



belgatherial said...


OK, I think Mr, whatsisface American man is overreacting, but I have to admit to not having the same level of confidence some people seem to have.

I was at the Germany world cup, and it was a well-oiled machine, let me tell you. I just don't know that SA can overcome the things it needs to in the time it has to pull it off. Frankly, I think the HIV thing is totally irrelevant to this particular argument. Unless foreigners are planning on coming here and shagging every S.African they see, it's not an issue for football. And frankly, they could get AIDS doing that anywhere.

HOWEVER, crime IS an issue, and you can't get away from that. And it's a deep complex issue that I just don't think S.Africa is dealing with fast enough. The fact is, if people don't feel safe, they won't come.

Transport is a BIG issue. You live in Europe Kate, so you know the comparison. You can comfortably, safely, and relatively cheaply get from anywhere to anywhere in Europe without a car. That's simply NOT the case in SA.

I hate to be doom and gloom girl, and I really want to believe SA can pull it off, but I have serious doubts about that. Plus, from what I m seeing about SA politics, it's just getting messier and messier. Which doesn't bode well.

I am seriously starting to think that by the time I get to a point in my life where I can (financially) afford to go home, there won't be anything worth going back for. Which is extremely depressing.

Realist said...

Personally I think it is completely understandable for the journalist to have his views. What I get irritated with this Politically Correct Naked Emporer sayndrome. And, no, I'm not a racist, in fact I opposed Apartheid all long. And maybe it's because I'm ANTI racism that I'm so despondent with the SA situation today. The crime, corruption, reverse racism and inefficiency is totally unacceptable in anybody's language. To deny this is to have your head in the sand. And those with their heads already in the sand HATE being reminded that there actually is a real, screwed up world above ground.

Kate said...

I'm going to have to take some time to give measured and well thought out response to both your comments, but for now, i just want to reply to one thing bought up by Realist, regarding Jamie Trecker's "right" to his opinion.
If Jamie was a random blogger speaking just for himself, he would have the right to say whatever he wants to. As the Fox networks soccer analyst, however, he has to realise that he has certain responsibilities and a backing that gives credit to his writings. As a journalist, he is given expert status, and should act in the responsible way any other journalist should.

More on all this later.

Realist said...

Can you detail exactly how he has acted irresponsibly?

TiggerTash said...

I agree with Kate. Realist, Jamie Trecker absolutely has the right to his own opinion -- G-d knows, he speaks for many, many SAfricans and international footie fans who don't have faith in the 2010 WC. But he doesn't speak 'for himself' -- he is a well-respected sports journo making comments on a big website, and instead of playing Devil's advocate and offering both sides of the argument, he focuses on the negative and GUNS for people who point out the positive. Journalists have a lot of power. If he genuinely feels that the WC 2010 is going to be such a failure, there are proactive ways to deal with that -- he could start a petition, say, of sports writers across the world who won't cover the event because they feel SA shouldn't be hosting it.

I also have my doubts about 2010, but I think that if we apply serious pressure on government etc over the next while, the results could be really positive.

And by the way, why so deeply defensive? -- "And, no, I'm not a racist, in fact I opposed Apartheid all long [sic]" -- state your case, and don't be defensive. It makes people wonder what it is that you're not saying.

I don't think it's fair to state that Kate etc have their "heads in the sand" -- I for one am realistic about the daily struggles we face in SA, but I grow endlessly weary of people who paint us out to be living in a warzone. I agree with what someone said on Jamie's site -- if this WC was being hosted in a non-African country, there'd be hardly any international backlash. The majority of people are frightened of Africa, it seems (that's a very shallow reading, I know!) -- I mean come on, there are issues everywhere (wars, terrorists, media blackouts, democracy in disguise), but let's not talk about those, let's focus on SAfrica, eh?

Wow, I am incomprehensible today. Forgive me! :)

Kate said...

Tash, thanks for that great (completely comprehensible) comment.

Realist: see Tash's post for why Jamie's article is irresponisible. I think she's covered it very well and hence dont feel the need to simply reiterate what she's said.

None of us have our heads in sand. Not one individual here or in the comments on Jamie's blog have denied that there are issues that need sorting out. Serious ones at that. The comments seem motivated responses to
(a) genuine untruths about SA
(b) alarmist reactions to misquoted facts and
(c) the worst example of mixing issues to prove a point - that is the AIDS/HIV points that Jamie brings up while discussing WC2010.

TiggerTash said...

What saddens me the most is how many people actually WANT South Africa to fail. Instead of all these 'first world' nations offering real support and voicing their concerns in a more structured, reasonable and proactive manner, we have millions of people saying "SA can't do it".

And what happens if we do drop the ball (so to speak) and WC 2010 is not a success? "See!" crow the naysayers, "We told you so! No, we didn't offer any support and in fact we actively chased people away, and now we've been vindicated! Har har!"

Tragic, and unnecessary.

Kate said...

Tash: I couldn't agree more!
Dare i chance a "Halleluja!"?

I'm so frustrated with this debate anyway. You dont understand the one-up-man-ship and superiority complex of the first world until you been an outsider in it.


As an aside: Not that we want crime in SA, but at least the motivation is mostly survival, not vindictive boredom as seen in happy-slapping 1st world youth.

Kate said...

Oh, and I've tried not to give in to this petty point, but it's driving me mad!!!!
There is NO SUCH THING as REVERSE RACISM - its racism either and any way. black on white, white on black, whatever!!! Otherwise it would be something stupid like blackism and reverse blackism, which would be white-ism, see where I'm going with this.
Sorry: its a pet peeve!

Armchair Coach said...

All i know is that the crime statistics that have been released paint a very bleak picture for the Soccer world cup, thecrime is increasing at an alarming rate,

Anonymous said...

It always amuses me when someone says "all i know is..." and then follows it up with something thats patently false. It simply not true to say that SA's crime stats are inceasing: between 2001/2002 and 04/05 murder came down from 21 405 to 18 793(ie 12% reduction)(from a high of 28877 in 95/96- a 34% reduction), attempted murder down from 31293 to 24516 in he same period, carjacking from 15 846 to 12434. even those categories that haven't decreased are better described as stable than increasing. i could do this all day (check out ), but the point is simply: crime is a problem, but the implication that its getting worse, and that nothing is being done is absolute bullshit.

The perception that things are getting worse is perhaps undrstandable if untrue: its the absolute amount that matters to perceptions not relative shifts eg if fifty murders happen in year 1 and twenty five in year two thats a pretty impressive reduction in the murder rate (50% for people like boskaki), but the total amount of people affected, and hence people's perceptions doesn't reset itself annually, its still 75 people who have been murdered, and thats creates the impression that things are getting worse, even though the total is increasing at a decreasing rate. that said boskaki wasn't talking about perceptions, so he's just wrong.

Anonymous said...

there...i posted on your blog. i hope you're happy. jono.

Kate said...

Jono: thank you my love - i didnt realise I was nagging that much, but thanks :)
And thanks for bringing some much need stat facts into the debate.
You're right though - we can throw as many stats around as we want, but we need to work on the perception. That's why blogs like crime expo sa (cant remember the address) upset me so much, throwing around scary stats and stories, without the context of the rest of the news.