Monday, 25 July 2011

Lived experience of violent land redistribution

The land questions is a controversial one in Southern Africa, as in many other places. There are many perspectives and many firmly held beliefs. The philosophical questions are important. The heated rhetoric and strongly advocated positions are a relevant part of the discussion. None of this, however, changes the reality that the lived experience of being violently chased from your home, from the place you believe is your own and to which you have a right, must be terrifying, especially when you have no recourse to the law. What do you do when the police tell you that you must leave your home because you will be killed and they can do nothing to protect you? Whether they started out rich or poor, people forced from their homes by violence, drought, war experience a trauma many of those who espouse philosophical positions, on both sides of the question, probably cannot grasp. Surely there must be a better way.

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