Tuesday, May 20, 2008

a south african war story

Two gunmen entered our home tonight. They locked my husband and helper in separate rooms and made off with my husband's car and his bag containing house keys, store keys and wallet. No one was harmed, and for that no amount of forehead-bruising prostration will ever fully convey my gratitude.

I was delayed at the office; having to work on a last-minute layout, cursing the job and dreading the traffic, not knowing that this irritation may well have been a blessing from the Almighty.
While driving, it was an alarming call from my sister-in-law, "They're holding Naeem up at home. Don't go home. Come here," that brought on a silence within and and cold unlike anything I'd ever felt. Stuck behind a taxi stopping for passengers, I was helpless, my face wet, tasting the salt of my desperation. My voice, a frail drone, a fraught and feeble supplication, "Ya Allah, just let him be ok, Ya Allah just him be ok."

I reached my sister-in-law's house and after her reassurance, we drove on to my home. Naeem was outside with police and neighbours, getting things moving; giving statements, canceling credit cards, changing locks, taking inventory of what was in the car, picking up the pieces of himself.

The room in which Naeem was in had to have its door smashed at the lock to get him out. The splintered wood and ugly gashes are a stark reminder that our safety has been breached. We have been violated.

We're all victims. Even just knowing someone who's had a crime committed against them, is a stain on you.

I feel a fatigue. I'm tired of feeling helpless, I'm tired of feeling outraged. I'm just fucking tired. This insane crime issue, and now recently the xenophobia madness, this take-what-we-want mentality, this valueless moral breakdown, this quagmire of defecation we're all floating in.

People are being massacred for seeking refuge in our country. Seeking safety, trying to escape the demons and despots in their lands. Refugees and economic immigrants, all here to chase something better. What foolish, pathetic delusions when this beautiful country is being fucked up by inept leadership, blasé attitudes, lawlessness and mob mentality borne out of ignorance, fear and desperation.

I hope for better things for this South Africa, but I don't feel anything for her tonight.

---My husband's car was spotted in the Meadowdale area, south of Johannesburg. A picture of it can be accessed here.
Chances are virtually nil I know, but perhaps just putting the information out there is some sort of positive step.


zee said...

crap saaleha i dont know what to say...i mean what can be said?:(

its scary to think that a day can just turn at any given point in time without notice..and in SA it seems its becoming a norm:(

lets mke shukr that at least he's ok...

i now this might sound cliche - but if u need anything, plz gimme a shout. and i really do mean it.

irshaad said...

zee said it perfectly, what can we say?

Except to offer our sympathies and gratitude that no life or limb was lost in yet another display of brutality.

My blog post today read 'Can we stop the haemorrhaging?'

after reading your post i'm even less sure we can. God be with you

Legend Lives On said...

No words can describe the feeling when someone invades your place of security, your sanctity, your final abode for the day..
The past Ramadhaan when i awoke for Sehri and saw the gate opened and car gone i had that feeling..

Just be grateful he's ok, alive and standing strong.

And remember that things always happen for a reason. And something like this always happens for the better..
Better in a sense where a car was traded for someones life.. In my case was , i didnt wake up.. Maybe it was better..

All will be good and keep your faith in tact.. Thats all that matters..
No words can describe the feeling when someone invades your place of security, your sanctity, your final abode for the day..
The past Ramadhaan when i awoke for Sehri and saw the gate opened and car gone i had that feeling..

Just be grateful he's ok, alive and standing strong.

And remember that things always happen for a reason. And something like this always happens for the better..
Better in a sense where a car was traded for someones life.. In my case was , i didnt wake up.. Maybe it was better..

All will be good and keep your faith in tact.. Thats all that matters..

Waseem said...

Hope you and your husband are doing OK.

Sofi said...

The last time I read about the anarchy this morning, there were 24 or so deaths and rape and destruction was still on going. I cant believe how its descended into such chaos. Who is to blame? Why isnt the government been called to account. Its at times like this you really question how insanity spreads among normal folk on the streets. The sleeping Xenophobics have awoken - lets all pray it ends soon.

Big hug Saleha - and my best wishes extend to your family too. Like youve said: things could have been a lot worse but thank God your old safe. x

Saaleha Bamjee-Mayet said...

Thank you all for the messages of support and concern. It's brought such a warmth to me.
Alhumdulillah, Naeem and I are fine and coping. We'll move on from this.
We were lucky, things could have gone a whole lot worse, we hear these awful stories everyday.

Fatima said...

i am sitting here with my jaw sitting on the ground.
i don't know what to say, i know the feeling, i've been through this twice and each time it hits you in the stomach and you go numb and you feel absolutely helpless.

i don't know how to reassure you, but i am glad that nobody was hurt and that your husband and helper are safe.

i felt the same way as you did...questioning everything...wanting to leave this country...and at times the thought of living here is just daunting.
but we get up, we go on and we continue living this life.

here i am saals, if you need to swear with someone listening...you know how to stalk me :)

Work in Progress said...

Glad to hear that no one was hurt. Although we hear about these stroies of horrendous crime everyday, we almost seem immune to the bad news until it happens to us. Something needs to be done about the crime - It's just not right that we have to lock ourselves up in our homes like prisoners. And even there we are not safe. The only comfort I can offer is that material things can be replaced but human life cannot. I'm glad it wasn't any worse. Hope you and your husband are well.

bb_aisha said...

at least even though we've all been through it, we haven't yet lost that intrinsic shock. i'm with you-i'm freaking tired of it too & ive reached a point where i'd seriously think of leaving-anywhere that safe.

recently, we found someones handbag outside our back wall. it had been thrown there. she was smash & grabbed just off corlett drive.

as a friend told me earlier this yr when our house was broken into-it was committed by a rare breed-the non violent criminal

Shukr Alhamdulillah that Naeem wasn't hurt & that you weren't there

queen_Lestat said...

OMW!! I'm glad you're both okay...must've been something good somewhere along the line that you guys have done.

Sadly though, an all too familiar South African story, we had our own incident not so long back as well,it's most unnerving to say the least.

We all keep saying that we're lucky to be alive and that no one was hurt and a robbery is just a small thing in the larger scheme of things...but as human beings we shouldn't have to say things like that at all. We shouldn't have crime, we should have people with consciences.

But cheer up, you're South African, we're a sturdy bunch when it comes to things like this mostly :) unfortunate side effect of reality)

Prixie said...

oh dear Lord, i am so sorry u had to experience something like this. how are both of you coping?

i feel betrayed by SA - by its sense of anarchy. What happened? What went worng? As a nation, we have become so scared by crime - it is this huge all encompassing force of darkness. what happened to our unified fighting spirit we had during aparheid? Maybe that may help. What happened to basic human decency? That may be a big help.

These are some of the reasons I fled north.

take care

ayesha said...

shux saaleha, i have a lump in my throat

what is this madness?
reasons? i have none
solutions? not any
pack our bags and go? to where ? why ? why not
May Allah give us strength

Muhammad said...

At least everyone is okay. Stuff can be replaced.

At times like these, we must remember that this happens for a reason. What else would spur us into action to make our lives and ourselves better.

i know it sounds like philosophical hogwash in text, but when we dwell on the situation with all its negative elements and hate and hate and hate... we might as well end up as the same people who commit robberies and violence and xenophobic attacks.

Take heart Saaleha. You and Naeem are moving forward to someplace better than where you are.


Naqiyah said...

Naeem and Saaleha ae such strong individuals. Their strength and courage can be greatly admired, something we should all strive towards in such a situation.

I went through a similar incident 4 years ago - in our driveway. Two armed men entered the garage and tried to drive off with my car - with me in it. With such instinct, i called Mohamed and threw the phone on the floor, so he could hear everything that was going on. They were unable to start the car, because of the safety mechanism. The alarm went off, and they made away with a diamond ring and diamond earrings - none of which seemed important at that time.

The strangest thing, that still bothers me till today was, how did they know i had another ring on (my wedding ring, which i threw under the seat) ... i was being watched, and i was no longer safe.

I am now aware of all the cars that enter our street, the license plate of the car in front of me and behind, and never ever drive anyway alone at night.

If anything, tht taught me to be more alert, and aware that these things happen to everyone.

... i make so much shukr that Saaleha wasnt at home that evening...

Saaleha Bamjee-Mayet said...

Thanks again guys. A post Mak did on Techleader made me come to the realisation that we have the power as bloggers and social-networkers to deal with crime in some way. Anyone with any ideas on how we can mobilise to this end? I'm open to your thoughts.

r said...

*hugs* its sad when we live in a society when we get attacked and our privacy violated and still say "thank Allah it wasn't worse". I'm brainstorming ways of mobilising - if anything comes up, will definitely post you.

isheeta said...

The first thing that came in my head was, I HOPE to God she and her hubby are ok.. its moments like this when I think man, and here I am complaining about my life... Im really sorry to hear all that has happened, it is unfortunate that people who know all about history are also doomed to learn from it, in addition to the others who don't... all my best wishes and prayers for you guys.

KimyaShafinaaz said...

hey u

of course theres gladness and gratitude that you guys are ok.. but it still isnt ok. this should never have happened in the first place. crime happens at odd hours in dark alleys, and people say you 'go looking for it'. those are cliches i can live with for their worth as story book rhetoric. but this is not. im angered by the violation, and have no words for you. accept to add to the gratitude for your survival; the both of yours. May Allah protect us all in this time of moral degradation; in this time of gross devaluation of life.

Princess said...

Saaleha, I just read this...Am so sorry to hear this but Shukar Naeem is alright. Inshallah things will be okay. I will remember you both in my Dua'as

Dew_drops said...

Saal, I am sorry this had to happens. Things like this change a person, but now at least you are more aware. i am so glad you and your husband are safe. There is never enough shukr one can make for that. Take Care.

'liya said...


I'm so glad you guys are okay, that's so incredibly frightening, thank God Naeem wasn't harmed... I can't even imagine what you must have felt when you got that phone call..

I wasn't expecting this when I flipped back to read this, and out of nowhere.. make sure you guys are taking all safety precautions possible and that the police are doing everything they can to make sure it never happens again to you guys.

SilverSabre said...

I hope you guys are doing ok.

I just stumbled upon your blog, and I'm really glad I did.

All the best, I shall be visiting often.


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