September 30, 2009 Edition 1
Brother Filippo Mondini – The Mercury
I SPENT four years working with Abahlali baseMjondolo. It was a wonderful and deep experience. I met wonderful people, courageous and committed comrades. I never met criminals during our democratic meetings. On the contrary, I met and listened to men and women who had the courage to say: enough!These men and women showed me the meaning of dignity. They are poor, they live in shacks and have nothing, but are rich in dignity.
Abahlali is a great gift to humanity. But it seems it’s a hard one to listen to because Abahlali is like a mirror of what we could be.
This is not the first time that they are under attack. We stood together during the Kennedy Six trial, we stood together during various demonstrations and marches. We have been beaten by police during a prayer, we marched together on police officer Glen Nayager when we said to him: “You have vandalised our humanity…”
During my time in South Africa I have witnessed police repression, political violence and intimidation of the movement. I spent most of my time working in a particular settlement where local ANC members threatened and oppressed people.
In that context, it was a very courageous act to participate in Abahlali meetings. Yes I witnessed violence, but it was always state violence. It was the state who sent armed police, it was the state and its councillor who intimidated people.
The recent attack is another evidence that the state cannot hear the truth, especially because poor people are now screaming this truth.
Today, again and again, we understand that the state and its police are afraid of Abahlali. They are trying to destroy it, but they only achieve the opposite effect.
I want to say thanks to all our comrades for their commitment, because they are making this world a better place. I want to give thanks especially to our leader, S’bu Zikode.
His commitment as Abahlali leader had been really costly for him. He is a wonderful person, gentle and good, always available to listen to everyone. He is not a criminal, he is a hero.
Professional politicians should learn from his example.
Let us stand together. The world knows that Abahlali are not a bunch of criminals, but a prophetical movement which stands for the truth. The world is watching now.Brother Filippo Mondini Comboni Missionary