The pockets of hope and compassion amid the inhumanity stalking the world

The pockets of hope and compassion amid the inhumanity stalking the world
The Marvels. (Image credit: Disney / Marvel)

It’s not just about the shocking lack of humanity and fairness in comments about the Israel-Gaza war; this brutishness and malevolence is far more pervasive than we’d like to believe.

Dear DM168 readers,

In the late 1990s a senior journalist – a white woman – in the newsroom wrote a series of stories about what it was like to live in a township. She rented a room in a black family’s home in Umlazi, Durban, at a time when people of colour were starting to buy homes in previously white areas and quiet, leafy suburbs became tense places.

The stories were widely read. They highlighted that we’re all the same and that we have the same existential angst: we worry about our jobs, our families, the safety of our loved ones, the future of the country.

After a few months, when the series ended, we asked her what the most important lesson was. She said it was about jobs, adding that she would try to employ as many people as she could because nothing was more important in a previously neglected township than employment.

Make of that what you will, but the message about creating jobs and the overarching need to involve more people in the economy, particularly those who were systematically excluded, is undeniable.

What struck me about that series of stories, however, was how some people seemed purposefully ignorant of the fact that we’re all the same and that, intrinsically, no one life is more valuable than another. But when you look at the state of the world today, and what people are saying about the various global conflicts, it becomes obvious that a lot of people don’t see their fellow humans as equals.

The heartless comments about the women, children, aid workers, medical personnel and journalists in Gaza being killed by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are a case a point. Even regarding stories that criticise Hamas’ attack, in which the group killed 1,200 Israelis and kidnapped 240 people, commenters refuse to acknowledge that the retaliatory slaughter of at least 14,850 people in Gaza is inhumane. And that is cause for concern.

But it’s not just about the shocking lack of humanity and fairness in comments about the Israel-Gaza war; this brutishness and malevolence is far more pervasive than we’d like to believe.

Fanboy hate

The Marvels, a seemingly harmless movie about superheroes, has been the target of a sophisticated campaign of hate because the protagonists are not just women, but include a black woman and a Muslim woman, and – shock, horror! the director is a black woman too.

I know, I can’t believe I’m writing about this either. But here we are in a world in which thousands of men feel so threatened by the odd movie that features superheroes with vaginas that they flooded social media with bad reviews months before the movie was released. And when it didn’t earn much during its opening weekend, they celebrated like mamparas marvelling at setting a house on fire, completely oblivious to the fact that it’s their own house burning down.

And those saying that The Marvels isn’t a good movie are being disingenuous. I have a youngish nephew and I’ve watched all the Marvel movies. This one is in the top 10 because it’s good comic-book fun with sharp dialogue, properly choreographed fight scenes and a lot of heart.

Even Stephen King, who is not a fan of Marvel movies, weighed in on the ridiculous hate campaign, tweeting that the celebration of the movie’s poor ticket sales was “very unpleasant” and “Some of the rejection of The Marvels may be adolescent fanboy hate. You know, ‘Yuck! GIRLS’.”

In this week’s DM168 edition

Thankfully, there are still many men and women in this country who are compassionate and kind, and we feature some of them in this week’s DM168. Read about varsity funding from philanthropists increasing to R2.3-billion (page 6), how members of the Delft community are winning awards for taking safety into their own hands (page 7), how a dedicated ranger on the Garden Route protects animals and plants (page 13), and how an investor has brought his plan to fruition to provide Wi-Fi in townships (page 42).

Our lead story this week is about former Eskom interim CEO Matshela Koko being let off the hook – temporarily – after the R2.2-billion Kusile corruption case was struck off the roll following the NPA’s request for yet another postponement. The story, by Dianne Hawker, also looks at the resource challenge at the NPA.

For the record, I believe firmly in Israel’s right to exist and defend itself, but I do not believe in Israel’s right to murder thousands of innocent people, and to target journalists and aid workers specifically. To date, about 200 aid workers and 53 media workers have been killed in Gaza. And no, these are not just casualties of war. There are credible reports about the IDF targeting journalists and aid workers.

To ensure there is no confusion, we need to say over and over that what Hamas did on 7 October and continues to do is utterly reprehensible, and there can be no path to peace with Hamas representing the Palestinian people and, equally, there can be no peace with Israel continuing to subjugate the Palestinians while claiming more of their territory.

Yours in defence of truth and humanity,


This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Denise Smit says:

    Give the proof of IDF targeting journalists and helpworkers. Reports are mostly from Hamas itself which is a terrorist organisation, You seem to be prejudiced downplaying the initiation of al this, The barbaric slaughter of people of the kibbutses, the music festival and the soldiers. Your actual use of language convey you lack of real compassion for the people of Israel. Again you say what “happened on the 7th” is condemned , and then us use another word ” murder” for the people of Gaza, not care of concern about the hostages of which there are babies and young children. This article of so called compassion is veiled in bias,

    • Debbie Annas says:

      What Ukraine is doing feels like defence. What Israel is doing is attack, and that on random civilians. The hatred with which they spoke of Palestine speaks volumes and it is only because of the (unexpected) outrage from commentators that they are toning it down a teeny bit lately.

  • Nic Tsangarakis says:

    Denise, did you bother to follow the link in the article that provide a Doctors Without Borders account of how their staff were attacked? I actually think Heather’s article is fair and balanced. Good job once again.

    • Denise Smit says:

      And did you read her article fairly, her use of words. I said most reports are by Hamas , not all.

    • Denise Smit says:

      And the article is not written by Heather

    • Denise Smit says:

      The link you refer to is not credible . It is an unknown publication with cookies to open it which means money is going to some or other organisation. Who?

      • John P says:

        Denise there are actually two links to refer to, one is Doctors without borders and the other is NPR which is a left wing American newspaper and possibly a bit biased.

        Cookies do not mean money is going to an organisation, are you suggesting the cookies on the FNB and Toyota websites as examples are collecting money for some nefarious cause?

  • Dick Beaumont says:

    Famously, when Netanyaho referred to the “iron dome” that Israel has used for defence, Hamas uses its people to protect their rockets; we use our rockets to protect our people.

  • The marvels movie sucks. It’s nothing about hating women. It sucks.

  • Vanessa R says:

    Sukasha, I don’t know about The Marvel movie, haven’t seen it, but about the widely approved Gaza genocide I agree totally – arab lives matter less than others it seem – how ugly is this…? Hamas are obscene terrorists, but that is NOT an excuse to kill 14,000 innocents (was Hamas warriors maybe 1000 out of these it still is not an excuse) – transfer the scenario to USA; terror attack happens in US & the terror organisation located in downtown Miami; so Miami is bombed…???

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      Gallup poll says Hamas has over 75% support of Palestinian civilians as if yesterday.

      Russian-Israeli hostage released escaped in Gaza and tried to reach Osrael border for 4 days. Was captured inside Gaza by civilians and handed back to Hamas (read re-captured, not released, by Gaza civilians).

      So about all these “innocent civilians” in Gaza…

      • Elia Gideon says:

        Very good sir the best option is for Israel to take Gaza again.
        I believe you are a jewish God bless you and send my message we support you and we know Israel is a real victim because its land as written in tanack are still ocupied

        NB i wonder if are there any civilians in Gaza

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

home delivery

Say hello to DM168 home delivery

Get your favourite newspaper delivered to your doorstep every weekend.

Delivery is available in Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Eastern Cape.

Get DM168 delivered to your door

Subscribe to DM168 home delivery and get your favourite newspaper delivered every weekend.

Delivery is available in Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Eastern Cape.

Subscribe Now→

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.8% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.2% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.2% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.2%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Become a Maverick Insider

This could have been a paywall

On another site this would have been a paywall. Maverick Insider keeps our content free for all.

Become an Insider