Carpet bong the swine

I have spent the last two hours wondering how to write about the lighter side of terrorism. It’s proving harder than you might imagine. A couple of beers usually help to ease the flow of ideas. Not this time, though. I’d try a couple of cases if I thought it would kickstart the column, but it won’t. It will simply make me confused and belligerent and the evening will end badly. I imagine there’d be very little writing done and a fair amount of stumbling around the complex in my nightgown banging on doors like a drunk, Islamophobic Wee Willie Winkie.

“But we’re Hindus!”

“Don’t care. Come out and fight. Jesweeparee motherfucker.”

By morning the complex will be under my control. I shall assume the role of America and all who are not with me will be against me. Nobody will be allowed to be Russia for the simple reason that one cannot go from villain to superhero without approval from the UN Security Council and Marvel Comics.

With assistance from my architect neighbour, I will divide the complex into sectors and implement our campaign to flush out the terrorists. They are everywhere. And yet nowhere. It won’t be easy. This is a good thing. Like women, freedom tastes so much sweeter when it doesn’t come easy. There must be fighting. Nobody is going to ring your doorbell and offer you a bowl of freedom. But if they do, you must knock them down and take the bowl from them by force. If they refuse to fight, give the bowl back and offer them incentives. Tell them that if they put up a struggle, but not so much of a struggle that you won’t be able to get the bowl of freedom away from them, you will put in a word with the president of the coalition of the damned and they might be spared. Don’t tell them you are the president. Enemies must be kept confused at all times or they might begin believing they are allies and if everyone did that we wouldn’t have any enemies at all and what the hell kind of world would that be?

Apparently dozens of South Africans have gone to Syria in recent months. So what? It doesn’t mean they’re all joining Islamic State. Tourism might have dropped off a bit in recent months, but you can still have a fun night out in downtown Damascus. You’d want to tone it down a bit if you’re gay or a member of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, but if you’re wearing something loose and flowing and are happy to suck on nothing more vivid than a bong, you’re in for a pretty good time. And there’s no shortage of stuff to do in the day, either. There are plenty of ruins that stay open 24 hours a day with no entrance fee at all. Sounds like a damn fine deal to me.

Most of the families that have gone to Syria were previously living in Gauteng. I don’t want to offend anyone here, but I’ve been to Joburg and I honestly can’t see how Damascus can be much worse. There’s less crime, for a start. Okay, sure, there are war crimes, but you’re not going to get mugged.

A young Gauteng man called his parents from Syria recently. They seemed surprised. Maybe they thought he had got stuck in the Lotto queue there by the Laudium Spar. They begged him to come back. Of course he refused.

We don’t know what his home life was like. His mother probably insisted on buying him mauve shirts and yellow broeks when all he wanted to do was wear black. Also, it’s unlikely he was allowed to wave flags about inside the house. Porcelain dogs don’t come cheap. Nor could he have an AK-47 for Christmas, something he’d spent years asking Allah for. I imagine his job was rubbish, too. The only reason you’d walk away from gainful employment in these harsh times was if you couldn’t afford a car. That’s the Islamic State’s biggest appeal right there. I don’t know if I could resist the offer of a Toyota SR5 4×4 Double-Cab Pick-Up with a 50-caliber machine gun mounted on the back. If I were still undecided, the unlimited mileage, free balaclava and complementary ammunition would certainly tip the scales. And I’m not even Muslim.

A Joburg-based researcher for an Al Jazeera investigation says a lot of the recruitment is increasingly done face-to-face. I also prefer a more personal approach. If you care enough to drive all the way over and meet me for a beer, I’ll listen to you what you’re saying. And if you’re buying, I’ll wear whatever the hell kind of vest you want me to wear.

The researcher also said IS was targeting individuals between 15 and 45. That’s a bit broad for my liking. A bit desperate. Contiki Tours target 18 to 35-year-olds and their missions are far more regimented than anything offered by Islamic State. Contiki’s leaders not only have flags but whistles, too. It’s quite disturbing. I was once almost recruited in Spain but managed to slip away undetected while the Australians were on their feet urging the matador to finish the job so they could return to the backpackers for more alcohol.

Speaking of which, the ex-wife of Paris bomber Ibrahim Abdeslam has told how he would spend his days smoking cannabis and drinking liquor. I have friends who do this and they couldn’t blow up a lilo. Marijuana – the gateway drug to terrorism. She said Ibrahim smoked “an alarming amount of joints, at least three or four a day”, never went to mosque and served two prison sentences for theft. Sounds a bit like a Christian to me.

I have been in the company of people capable of smoking three or four joints an hour and nobody seemed particularly alarmed. However, had I suggested we go out and source a kilo or two or plastic explosives, they might not have notified the authorities but they almost certainly would have asked me to leave. Or at least laughed at me until I left of my own accord.

Anyway. Ibrahim blew himself up outside the Comptoir Voltaire café in Paris. He was the only one who died in the blast. The lesson here, children, is that if you want to be a successful suicide bomber, don’t smoke weed.

Smoke and fire rise from the explosion Tuesday in Gaza City.

 

 

Thinking about drinking like an African

A few days ago, President Zuma said we should stop thinking like Africans, although I am fairly sure that he meant to say we should stop drinking like Africans. It would have made more sense. Anyway, our fearless leader is not known for making much sense. It’s why we love him.

I thought he might be onto something, though. Just because we live in Africa doesn’t mean we have to think like an African any more than we have to speak, look or taste like one. And so I spent much of the past week thinking like other nationalities.

I started off by thinking like the English. This came quite naturally to me because I think in English and it’s easier to think like a particular nationality if your thoughts are in the language of that particular group. This sounds more complex than it is. I think this is what long-suffering spin doctor Mac Maharaj was getting at when he said the president sometimes gets his words mixed up because English isn’t his home language.

The problem with thinking like the English is that almost immediately you start complaining about things. It’s raining too much. It’s not raining enough. Blasted beggars at the traffic lights. Them darkies are making an awful mess of running the country. Good help is so hard to find these days. I also found myself nipping down to the pub a lot more. When I was thinking like an African, I’d go to the bottle store. I would get into conversations with strangers and moan endlessly about the weather and how David Cameron needed to pull up his socks if he hoped to get my support next year.

Then I tried thinking like the Germans. I woke up and reorganised my cupboard. After colour-coding my socks and folding my underwear into perfect little triangles, I went off for a breakfast of schlackwurst, bratwurst, blutwurst, schwarzwurst, leberwurst and rollmops. If I were in Syria, the UN weapons inspectors would have mistaken me for a biological weapon. The trouble started when I waddled out into the city. My brain began having miniature seizures. The littering. The jaywalking. The shouting. The hooting. Mein Gott im Himmel! And all of this to a German porn soundtrack in my head.

On top of it, I was struck by an unfamiliar urge to separate my garbage. Even worse, my sense of humour was slipping away. I had to think like someone else quickly or risk going mad. When Germans go mad, they put ads in the paper asking for volunteers to cook and eat them.

This time I chose the Russians and found myself waiting for the bottle store to open. I took my vodka into a park and it wasn’t long before I was going up to people and shouting at them about those bastard Chechen rebels, the gays in government, the tyranny of babushkas and the shocking price of potatoes. At one point, I was crying because I was in love with Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, the pretty one from Pussy Riot. That’s all I remember.

The next day I decided to think like an Israeli. After instructing builders to add another five metres to my boundary walls, I declared my house a sovereign state and annexed the neighbour’s back yard. His dog bit me when I tried to put up a flag. There will be retaliatory strikes when he least expects it. I stuck an ‘Occupied Territory’ sign on my bathroom door, locked myself inside and prayed for eighteen hours for the total destruction of my enemies. After that I felt guilty and tried thinking like an American.

This one suited me the most. I felt even more like one of God’s chosen people than I did when I was thinking like an Israeli. I began to find that the idea of oil – olive or engine – excited me more than it should. My voice went up several decibels and I was taken by conflicting urges to buy a gun, become a hippie, kiss a man, hurl abuse at homos, evangelise my suburb, torch a church, buy an SUV, save the environment, go to war, join a peace movement, fill up on hamburgers and go to gym.

It was all too exhausting. I felt myself drifting perilously close to stereotyping those who do not think like me. The last thing I needed was to be accused of bigotry and intellectual indolence. That’s the domain of Julius Malema and Steve Hofmeyr.

In the end, I found it easier to just go back to thinking like an African. Time to work on a new get-rich-quick scheme. But first a nap. Then something to eat. And maybe a post-snack snooze. Followed by drinks. And later, sex.

I’m feeling better already.