April 19, 2006

Go Golby

Mike I've been missing too long. Reading you is remembering, in this time and this space, it's like going home.

Bar the homeless, the tramps, the whores, and the usual detritus flowing like effluent from suburbia's drain, there are few refugees in Kenilworth. I guess the crows, like the Buccaneer pilots, don't care. They prey on other birds or, like the seagulls blown in on the high sea winds, scavenge whatever they can find, their harsh, throaty cries broadcasting success.

In 1976, we sailed into Las Palmas, an island belonging to a Spanish enclave off Morocco. Drifting in to the quayside, I saw — through one of the dining-hall scuttles — curio sellers and hawkers lining the harbour wall. Alongside me, a leathery, taciturn petty officer remarked dryly: "Fucking crows."

I was only eighteen then. I had no idea we were supposed to hate the Spanish. It took me years to learn that white people in general, be they South African or not, tend to despise other nationalities, races, and cultures. It took me only a short while longer to learn that their suspicion, bigotry, and loathing are underpinned by an unhealthy dose of fear.

Sorry to be so long quiet. I'm back home.

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