So as you all know, there were some bombings in Boston a few weeks ago.
I purposefully didn’t hang out on Twitter during that period because I knew that the overload of information would overwhelm me. I kept up by reading snippets of updates here and there and this worked really well for my mental health.
During times of tragedy I am usually fascinated by the people dynamics. How strangers come together to help one another, how volunteers just come from nowhere and say “I am here to help in whichever way you need – use me”.
I loved reading about how people turned their homes into makeshift surgeries. I loved reading about how a Dr who had just finished her race just jumped in and started to treat the victims. I loved reading about how strangers jumped in to help with wound management, using blankets and their t-shirts to stop bleeding.
At the core of it, I guess I am a sucker for stories that show the how people rise up despite adversity. How people just jump in and help. Stories that show only love and compassion in the details. Stories that say “ we’ve got this”.
Sometimes it takes absolute devastation and pure ugliness for us to see how AWESOME humans really are. Sad but true.
I listened to Obama speak to the American people a few hours after the incident.
It was a short speech and I don’t have the exact text, but he said something to the effect of “we mourn with you, we are angry, we WILL find them, they WILL face the law, DO NOT jump to conclusions”.
I loved what he said and how he addressed the people. He was short, sweet, to-the-point and very, VERY reassuring. He spoke like someone who had it under control. He spoke like someone who knew EXACTLY what was going on – someone who was in the loop. It felt like I was listening to my Dad speaking taking charge and speaking during a family crisis.
And while I watched him I have to admit that I wondered how Zuma would have reacted and what he would have said if something like that had to happen in South Africa.
Would he have been embarrassing? Would he have giggled? Would he have fumbled over his words? Would he have blamed abc and d? Would he have been “out of the country” the way he usually is when there is a crisis? A lady in my office is convinced that he would have gone home for some dot dot dot first.
I listened to the eloquent Obama who really is such a brilliant, gifted orator. There is not a single world leader who makes me sit up and actually pay attention the way he does. Who seems to have that gift of the gab. Who quite literally grabs me and seduces me with words and body language. Who inspires and motivates and who makes you WANT to do good things to help your country. Who is a proper sales person – because ultimately, that is what the face of a political party is – a sales person.
I guess this is more of a big deal for me because I am a words person.
While I was listening to that address, I felt some very serious leadership envy. Actually, whenever I listen to him I have severe leadership envy. It’s because he knows exactly how to use his words. He knows exactly how to engage the people. And he doesn’t even have to dance! THAT is the kind of leader that I want.
Also, I felt some police envy. Because there were 9000 policemen chasing a 19-year old. They were briefed by their VERY STRONG leadership and they delivered. They were trusted by the public to DO THEIR JOBS and they delivered.
In all fairness, I have never ever received poor service from SAPS when I was a victim of crime. However, I know of too many people who DO receive poor service from SAPS when they are vulnerable and at their lowest point because of crimes committed against them.
Seriously people. Nine thousand (9000!) policemen chasing ONE puny little punk. Can you imagine our South African Police Services coming to the party like that? Can you actually imagine a crime-free existence because of a police force like that? An existence on the Cape Flats without any gangs/drugs because of the fact that the police are not just invited to the party but actually PITCH up and are READY TO PARTY?
I know that I shouldn’t compare. We are a different country with a different dynamic. We have a different history, we have different problems. But I can’t help it.
I have some serious leadership envy. And police envy. Because as horrible as the Boston bombings were, all that they have done is to highlight our shortcomings wrt leadership and police. Here’s a really cool piece that I bookmarked a few weeks ago. It says all of this soooo much better.
Do you often look at other countries and how flawlessly some of their basic services are run and say “I wish?”
How do you think our president would have reacted if (God forbid) something similar had happened here?