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On World Press Freedom Day today we can happily express our opinion of just what we think of our head of state, our parliament and pretty much anyone we want. Satire is welcomed. But not all countries enjoy such liberties.
Some of the biggest, or most powerful countries globally are either censored, or practice self-censorship so as not to become a target of oppression or be seen to rock the boat that floats the middle class and the elite.
South Africa and Africa generally are taking strain under the oppression of dictatorships, drought, epidemic, famine, warring extremists and more, so it’s perhaps a blessing that China is so kindly investing energy into African infrastructure. China is in every country in most of sub-Saharan Africa in some enterprising form or another. Why is China looking so promising compared to western investment. Perhaps the west has a bad history of colonialism in Africa, and human rights abuses, but is China any different. Are we going from the frying pan into the fire?
China is the classic dictatorship, since Mao. “You cant let 800 million peasants vote” is their attitude, while only 200 million enjoy the middle class semi-capitalist market opportunity, with over a thousand McDonalds. Yet 80% of college graduates cannot find a job every year. The civil service and army have had record intakes as a result. Also the education system is geared toward conformist learning so people struggle to think outside the box and thus innovation is behind imitation. Nobody dissents because the middle class are benefiting from capitalism. It’s consumerism in a one party system.
Still a planet of peasants and serfs
Like South Africa and much of Africa, the vast majority of the people of China are peasants. Trapped in transition, they don’t know who they are, communist yet capitalist. “A flock of sheep who follow the deep grass and the whip of their ruler.” Tibet’s human rights abuses are tolerated by the entire world because to do otherwise is bad for business, for profit. Nobody can speak openly about their dislike of the regime because they never know whose listening amongst them at a dinner gathering for example. Free speech and press is out of the question. Within the government corruption amounts to 15% of GDP a year lost. 12 of the top 16 worst polluted cities in the world are in China. 750 thousand people die prematurely every year, based on 2009 stats, from pollution-related illnesses for the past 15 years now. In Beijing sometimes you don’t see the Sun for days due to smog. Yet the middle class know better and are told not to encourage the mob. So like in Africa, a dictatorship can form where the top 1% make the most, the middle 20% capitalist business and civil servants make a lot all the time too, even by corrupt means, and the 79% suffer, voiceless, and with minimal human rights. Well give them 9 or 10 years and we will all be learning Mandarin as China becomes the world superpower it once was some centuries ago. But this time the empire consists of the entire planet. When last has that happened, I wonder?
For the people, as one can see in China, self-censorship may be one’s own worst enemy, when the people become afraid to speak out, either because dissent is punished, or because they don’t want to lose the little they do have compared to how it was under a worse tyrant in the past regime. Even in Hong Kong, the business tycoons consort with the government at the expense of the masses in a kind of “corporatocricy” to rival even the west. Even academics who used to be the activist voice of the people are too well paid to rock the gravy train that feeds them. Watch and learn, fellow Africans, so that the moral milestones are not also missed here in our own march to economic freedom. China had its Tiananmen moment, and we had our Marikana moment, but after the dust has settled, was it really worth it for the people?
One difference between us and China is that there if you don’t cause trouble you are free, but here causing trouble is the new way to get yourself into parliament. The ANC did it, The EFF are following suit. A red overall boiler suit at that. The colours of Red China by any other name still blaze just as bright. Plenty of financial backing from the comrades back east to install a healthy socialist regime that will keep the western imperialists at bay. Well at least we are free to choose our imperialists theses days. Who needs democracy when communism will pay just as well – for the elite that is.
Singapore- comfortable model
Singapore is also a Dictatorship, with no free press whatsoever, where any opposition is punished, yet this is tolerated because of huge economic gains and wealth available in the capitalist marketplace to its citizens all round. Actually it’s the best economy in Asia, And as a result China is trying to emulate. So the rights that I have, to research and write what I like, is totally missing in the best economy in the East. The internet is heavily sanctioned. Can they even read these words of concern there? Therefore those of us with the facility and liberties to see the world for what it is and to communicate freely have a duty of sorts to aid in getting the message across to still more people. Journalists and activists are one of the guardians of the guardians, along with the judiciary, and general parliament, and when they are gagged the people are easy to oppress. China may be as bad as North Africa, Mexico and the Middle East, but nowadays they are also more subtle. As China becomes a world top power in coming years, freedom of speech may be one of the last liberties to go. When it does know that it’s only a matter of time before life as we know it is soon to follow.
Reference: Freedom for sale – How we made money and lost our liberty
by John Kampfner 2009
This week the Sun is in an earthy Grand Trine alignment with Jupiter and Pluto, bringing with it tremendous opportunity for personal growth and insight.
The Sun is within 3 degrees of an exact 120 degree trine alignment with Jupiter today and at its usual rate of 1 degree a day, will be exact by Tuesday 3 May. It then moves toward an exact trine alignment with Pluto on Saturday 7 May. So for this entire week the influence of the Grand Trine will be available to us as a boost to our lives.
When two planets align at this angle in the same elemental signs – this time earthy Taurus and Virgo – it’s called a trine, which facilitates a healthy blending of the two planetary archetypes concerned. But when three planets align like this all in the mutual elements, it’s called a Grand Trine, and the three planetary archetypes are available to be harnessed for the duration of the alignment. We can allow for an orb of about 5 degrees as the faster-moving planet (in this case the Sun) approaches the exact angle. In other words from today, as the Sun approaches the focal planet of the three – Jupiter – already the influence of the alignment will be operational. Then by Tuesday 3 May the alignment becomes most potent, and as the Sun moves onward it approaches the alignment with Pluto, becoming exact, or again particularly potent by Saturday. Throughout this first week in May 2016 then we can expect the influence to be present.
Now Jupiter is already in its Trine aspect to Pluto, albeit with an orb of 4 degrees, and this part of the alignment thus is already facilitating in us wonderfully increased organizational ability or opportunity that can be useful in business, education and general public welfare, particularly where the recipient of the input is not just our own ego but rather society as a whole, or more specifically, the masses, most of whom may be needy. It provides an uplifting, almost exuberant quality to our natures, particularly those of us with the earth signs prominent in our charts, Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn. But generally we can all feel potentially more inspired, able to access our potential and, more particularly, inspire others to achieve theirs.
Now as the Sun gets involved in this aspect, it adds a more personal opportunity, the Sun being symbolic of our personality, our ego, as well as, curiously, any leader or head of an organization. So opportunity or favour from our boss, parent or leader in general may be forthcoming. It immediately boosts self-confidence, which attracts generosity from others, with a preference for fairness, good judgement and general good luck. Magnanimity in oneself and one’s benefactor or head may be available as a result. This can also imply good judgement by the law courts in favour of the masses, if not the head of state. Sometimes there is a conflict between favouring the head of a country or favouring his or her population, where one benefits at the expense of the other. Numerous heads of state are being challenged to face the music, the law courts now, like the Presidents of both Brazil and South Africa, who could both be on the verge of losing their jobs due to corruption – basically stealing from their people. So it will be interesting to see which way the sword of justice swings for them and the masses. Sun trine Jupiter could imply that the leader is given the benefit of the doubt as far as the legal judgement is concerned.
By the end of the week, as the Sun trines Pluto, righteous indignation may come to the fore, though it will bring out leadership qualities in us and the heads of state. It remains to be seen if either will use the opportunities and skills available for selfish interests or equitable and just distribution. Certainly investigative skill will be available to get to the truth, to the human motivations involved, and as long as the masses get their just share too, we and the leaders can possibly all come out benefiting from this Earthy Grand Trine. Especially if the charges against the leaders are trumped up, fabricated to bring them down by some ulterior force behind the scenes, not playing by the rules. Then the BRICS could topple because they tried to stop the NATO onslaught.
Ultimately the earth signs involved in this Grand Trine should facilitate us tapping into opportunities on the ground, and skills and resources will become available for us to further our material objectives. For the New Moon around the same time, at the end of this week, means that the Moon will also enter the Grand Trine as it conjuncts the Sun and thus both Sun and Moon will be in simultaneous alignment to Jupiter and Pluto. This means even more potency will be added since four heavenly bodies will be involved, even if only for a few hours. The Moon will indicate, possibly, the exact time of the result of this alignment manifesting to us, whether judgement or opportunity. Indeed, the New Moon moment in earthy Taurus on 6 May at 19h30 GMT (21h30 South Africa) could be just the moment that this alignment bears its greatest fruit. The Sun symbolises the head of state or boss, but the Moon symbolises the people, and since also trine Pluto here, facilitates the ability to handle and deal with and perhaps even resolve emotionally intense situations for the better by relinquishing the old and greatly improving domestic and business matters. Certainly emotional resilience will be available, along with resolve and unwavering determination to achieve your goal unobstructed. So nobody will be able to force anyone to do something they don’t wish to do, and that which is confidential will be kept secret. Thus we may never know how close we came to changing the course of our history for better or worse, because old allegiances and family ties make blood thicker than the ink of any contract or document written in law.
As Mercury comes to a retrograde station again this week on 28 April, the Winged Messenger slows to his point of stagnation at an interesting time in history.
Mercury stations now in Taurus, where he will enjoy his retrograde pastimes for the next 3 weeks until May 22. And curiously South Africa, as a nation celebrates its Independence day or birthday the day before the station, on April 27, making it originally a Taurus country by birth. And that seems to align with the mood and spirit of the country as an agricultural and mining hub of Africa, with the most leisurely bureaucratic pace one could imagine, like a heavy cow, strolling to its destination with all the time in the world – “African time”, they call it. Similar to “Indian time”…. “just now coming”, “now now”. So the slowing down of Mercury now could really exacerbate the sluggish pace of the already sluggish system.
To be sure the Taurus theme is a slow, steady, materially-focused, earthy one. The land, the cows and the senses are all of primary importance to the Taurus countries and the Taurus minds; and our minds may also be able to find time to stop and smell the roses. Particularly if the wheels of industry are at their slowest too, since the economy is at such a sluggish state, with almost zero percent growth, stagflation at best. Mercury retrograde in Taurus may force us to rethink our values, re-evaluate what it means to be well-off, what real wealth is, what really has value to me in this age of the crumbling local currency, the crumbling global economy and the critical credit crunch, all meeting at this precarious time in history. House prices may not be as reliable any more, but land is always a valuable item you can hold in your hand, along with food, commodities. This is the realm of Taurus and Mercury there facilitates the traders in such stock now, stock that appeals to the senses – the eyes, tongue, ears, etc. Land means food, and cows, and stability. Cash in the hand, and the sound of the names of the divine, as they say, are the only items to be relied on. That was Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami over 100 years ago, keeping it real by enunciating the real values, not credit with the bank and the Hollywood brand.
Another interesting event this week just as the Mercury retrograde starts in Taurus, is the unveiling of a 6 meter high statue of Nelson Mandela, the founder and hero of the Taurus nation of South Africa. This occurs just two days before the Mercury station, but it’s not happening in Mandela’s home country. It’s happening in Palestine. That’s right, the Mayor of Johannesburg, biggest gold mining city in Africa, Mr Tau (now there’s a name of the divine for you), is unveiling this gigantic statue in what is known as Johannesburg’s twin city – Ramallah – in Palestine. Mr Mayor said in his speech
“We see the statue as a symbol of friendship‚ as a symbol of demonstrating our solidarity but also hopefully as an inspiration to the people of Palestine that you indeed would be able to achieve your freedom…We are here as the people of South Africa to say we stand in solidarity with you‚ we stand in solidarity with your struggles and we understand the difficulties that you go through…Ultimately it is when you have experienced the real hardships of the people of Palestine that you understand the difficult situation that the people of Palestine are going through.”
After all, it was Nelson Mandela himself who said in 1997 that “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”. Now that is solidarity, based on the fundamental issue of land. Land ownership is as crucial an issue in SA as it is in Palestine. Still today most of Mandela’s people do not own land, have few cows, and little access, as a result, to dignity, self-respect or even economic opportunity, but at least they are free. And they vote and they can live and move where they please in their own country, their own state. The same cannot be said for the Palestinian people, who are corralled like cattle, “goyin” behind concentration camp walls, unable to move, access goods, live a normal life or call themselves free sovereign people in any way whatsoever. So it is fitting that a statue of the man most famed for giving his nation their land back, and a semblance of dignity and opportunity, be erected as a beacon of hope for some of the most oppressed and cheated people in the world today. Apartheid is alive and well and prays at the Wailing Wall, having left South Africa’s law books and constitution for ever.
Africa belongs to the black Africans, we colonialist settlers must face the truth, admit the obvious and step aside as the African is returned to his or her land, as it is redistributed again at last. And the same is to be said of the Palestinians. They must have their land returned to them, along with their sovereignty, for they have lived there for centuries. A peaceful two-state solution is the answer, as Mandela also wanted for them. Give a man some seeds, land and a cow and you feed him for life, you empower him, with his God-given legacy. Today in South Africa people are gradually being given houses on land by the government, while in Palestine homes are systematically bombed into oblivion, while the residents are deliberately kept on “a diet”. In other words the oppressor only allows just enough calories per person to enter the territory via the locked gates, to keep them alive but not thriving. When basic human rights are trampled upon in this way, we must wonder what has happened to the value system of humanity, wonder where we lost our way in the pursuit of that which is so valuable that it is more valuable than life itself.
So during the Mercury retrograde through earthy Taurus, take time to go back and re-evaluate what life is really worth to you, what are the real values, real valuables to satisfy our senses, and what are we being allured with by the powers that be, to such a degree that even our common sense is bewildered, and our humanity is stolen from us without us even noticing, and our dignity and self-respect and self-worth are eroded, lifted by the nimble fingers of propagandists pick pocketing the heart of its true treasure, namely divine remembrance and thus the sanctity of all life, even our own, our neighbour’s and our cows.
Cape Town – Koeberg nuclear power station is sitting alongside a geological fault which gave rise to an earthquake in 1809 that was the same magnitude as last month’s earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The Milnerton fault lies about 8km offshore of Koeberg.
New Zealand’s earthquake, which killed 145 people, measured 6.3 on the Richter scale. Cape Town’s earthquake 200 years ago, which had its epicentre in present-day Milnerton, is estimated to have measured between 6.3 and 6.5.
Several earthquakes in Cape Town have been recorded from this fault, including a small one in May 2009…