A writer, a life, a city · Thoughts

Of Men and Moon

Note: As with legal contracts, reference to “men” also refers to “women”. (Is that patriarchal or has it not hidden meaning? Legal documents tend to be long and we simply make some effort to shorten them.)

Of Men & Moon (2)

In South Africa, at two minutes before midnight a little over twelve hours ago (at the time of writing)—23:58 on 20 March 2018 South African time, to be exact—was our March equinox. While our friends in the northern hemisphere welcomes spring, we officially usher in autumn. It is one of my two favorite seasons. The other is spring. They are not too cold and they are not too hot. I share Goldilocks’ preference to “just right”.

I digressed a wee bit there. Apologies.

I gathered that men (and women, like I said above) could see the Super Worm Moon rise with the Spring Equinox. I don’t know if it was here in the southern hemisphere, too, but most probably not since it’s not spring for us. Also, Africa is usually excluded from the good, fun and exciting. [Some] Hollywood performers/singers would go on world tours and that world does not have Africa in it. Oh well…

I did take another detour there. I’m sorry.

As I was saying, I don’t think we had the super worm moon, which is slightly larger than the usual supermoon. I caught a glimpse (barely, because I wasn’t wearing my eyeglasses) of a lovely luna as I walked out of our front door to pretend to go on a walk… or to go on a pretend walk. (My tendency to be slightly lunatic shows at times.) The walk lasted a good five minutes, or much less. I love the moon more than I do walks. When the moon lights up the night gloriously, I might enjoy a walk.

I was initially going to call this post something with “Human” but “Men” with “Moon” has a better ring to it. Before the idea of equinox and super worm moon came to me, my intention was to write something that I could connect to human rights, even vaguely, because South Africa celebrates Human Rights Day today. I normally don’t pay attention to these “special” days. I just appreciate and love them because I don’t have to go to work.

Aha…

I am starting to understand why the world excludes us. We seem to like being different. Not long ago, women of the world were celebrated. International Women’s Day is on the 8th of March. South Africa celebrates Women’s Day on the 9th of August. My ex-husband must love this public holiday because it’s the day after his birthday. I would. I can enjoy my special day to the fullest without worrying about going to work the next day.

Similarly, internationally, Human Rights Day is celebrated on the 10th of December to honor the 10th of December 1948, when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at Palais de Challoit, Paris. (from Calendarlabs.com.) In South Africa, the 21st of March is a public holiday (Yay!) because it is Human Rights Day.

There must be valid reasons for celebrating special days on different dates, and not because we think we’re special and we don’t need the rest of the world, although some politicians seem to believe so, but I haven’t asked Google yet. I must also still educate myself on the basic human rights. I had a quick Google scan but it looks complicated. I was hoping to come across a short, summarized list of the rights but people ask different questions, so there could be the “5 most important human rights”, or “5 basic human rights”, or “6 human rights”, even “13 human rights”, and so on and so forth. Are there “7 human rights”? Are there “10 basic human rights”? I would like to say I would get back to you, but it could take forever.

Anyway, whatever human rights we have, it is apparent that Eskom, South African elecricity public utility, strongly believes that it is NOT a [South African] human right but a privilege to have uninterrupted power supply. In fact, we can’t even buy a UPS (also, uninterrupted power supply but the equipment or a “system”) because with Stage 4 of load shedding, I don’t think that the UPS will survive for four hours.

What is certain is that human has a right to live, and hopefully freely. In South Africa, we already need to be vigilant at all times because other citizens, the non-law-abiding ones, do not care much for the life of others. For cash, televisions, cars, computers, mobile phones and other earthly things, we could lose our life. The government does not do anything about the crimes. Our right to live has conditions: burglar bars, security systems in our homes, avoid unfamiliar territories when darkness comes, and at all times, we must be attentive. We must not let our guards down.

As if that’s not enough, a husband may decide that he can take his wife’s life, or a boyfriend his girlfriend’s. The judicial system may fail us but the truth remains. Reeva Steenkamp, Oscar Pistorius. Susan, Jason Rohde. Anni, Shrien Dewani. Jayde, Christopher Panayiotou. And so many before them, especially those in power. A royal life seems so glamorous, but back in the old days, the wife of a royal probably had a higher risk of being killed by her husband, the king, or whatever official position/title he held. Reading the news, I realized that uxoricide (I only learned the word today; uxoricide means the killing of one’s wife, or a man who kills his wife) is more common than I initially considered. I am appalled. It is execrable!

One very recent case is close to home, physically. We live in Fourways. When we need to go to hospital, there is Life [Hospital] on Cedar Road. This is between home and my child’s school. On Tuesday, two days ago, a woman (about 50 years old, according to some news articles, but journalism these days is not as reliable and credible as it used to be) was shot by her lover (husband or boyfriend, I cannot say for sure due to conflicting details from the news). He then fled the scene of his crime, but he stopped a few kilometers away, somewhere on Witkoppen Road, before Main Road, and shot himself. We drove past a cordoned off area on my way to work, ignorant of the incident. There was his white Range Rover on the island. There were also a couple of police cars and some police officers. On the other side of the road were two other private cars and a man on his phone. Too close to home. I was distressed.

I read about the murder-suicide of a couple after a domestic dispute, witnessed by their children. It’s awful! It’s self-centred of the couple. Surely! It is despicable! This happened this month, too. What is happening to the world? We bring children to this world and we don’t think about their well-being. And that’s on top of not caring for any life in general, own or another.

Do we really care about humans/humanity and human rights? I sometimes feel I am losing faith in humanity. There seems to be no hope for humanity. Why does the good continue to turn a blind eye on evil? Then, we sometimes get to blame the moon. Diminished responsibility. We get a short stint in a psychiatric facility and then we get to keep our life even when we take another’s life.

I was a member of Amnesty International in college. The organization considers capital punishment to be “the ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights”. (Thanks, Wikipedia.) So, a person, an evil person, a criminal, can deny another human being of life but he must keep his human right to live… I just find it a little difficult. It’s just me. It’s an emotion thing.

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8 thoughts on “Of Men and Moon

  1. This is a profound article. I don’t think most people ever really consider what you’re saying here. “Rights” aren’t something bestowed upon us by nature; nature couldn’t care less. The moon and the seasons will go on as they will, regardless of what the people who observe their passages do to, or among themselves.

    “Rights” are merely freedoms and privileges societies bestow upon their own members. Whether those rights serve the common good, or merely the welfare of a few… that’s something determined by the society itself. And a “society” is not the same as the people who comprise it… for one thing, a society can’t feel the same things as an individual. Hence, they don’t necessarily reflect the welfare of their own members.

    I have two “refugee” friends who, in private, will share that they fled parasitic societies where rights had become dissociated from responsibility. It’s not enough to simply destroy a preceding injustice. It has to be replace with something better. My time in Cambodia made that abundantly clear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your sharing, your input. I am often left challenged, pondering further. I like to extend myself a little bit. It makes for a fertile ground for growth. I only wish reflecting on society and humanity does not make me feel a little helpless and sad.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. An excellent post.

    There are some countries in the world where it’s easier to lose one’s faith in humanity than others.

    It sounds like South Africa is one of them.

    But these days, even what are called the developed countries of the world look like they’re breaking down.

    Like the U.S. for example.

    I guess it just goes to show the truth of writer G.K. Chesterton’s statement, “Original sin seems to be the one theological doctrine for which there’s an overabundance of empirical evidence.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Chris. I appreciate you a lot! I do think there are only a handful of countries left about which you can confidently say there is hope… a second flood isn’t necessary.

      Contemplating, it is rather upsetting to realize that I will have to agree because it does seem like it about original sin.

      What should humans do for humanity?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was just telling hubby the same the other day, although not because of the question. We were talking about what makes a good person. I think that people, as a general rule, find loving their neighbors as they love themselves a little challenging.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hahaha! Or one, in my regular company, often swears at “neighbours”. I do my best though. I told him he needs to work harder. It is a little more challenging on someone raised, in a farming community of the same people, by a very Afrikaaner father, and his formative years were during the apartheid, and he looks up to the one who raised him who probably didn’t mind the system (maybe even it thought it was fine). I still wonder sometimes how he ended up with a “brownie”.

        Liked by 1 person

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