Make an effort to help the deprived

Don Oliver,
Marina da Gama

The letter from Jade van Rhyn (“Why put up with riots,” Echo. October 24) cannot go unanswered.

My wife and I live in Marina da Gama opposite Capricorn.

Firstly, it is absolutely untrue that we “constantly have to put up with riots from the people from Capricorn and Vrygrond”.

There have been incidents from time to time, but we have never felt threatened. And the people she refers to are mostly not criminals; those who cause damage to property are criminals, and, in the main, the services deal with them appropriately. The people she refers to are protesters.

They are protesting against their circumstances; being unemployed, suffering abject poverty and not knowing where their food is going to come from, let alone how their children are to be clothed and will get to and from school.

Ms Van Rhyn has an absolute right to be free of threats to herself and her two little ones, but on the odd occasion that she feels her children are driving her to despair, she could think that this despair is quite different from the despair felt across the road. And while she is contemplating her privilege of having her own transport and probably more than one bathroom, she might reflect on the possibility that instead of proposing the use of water cannons – a bad memory from the brutality of the apartheid era – it would be rather kinder to show compassion, such as offering employment or making an effort to help in the many ways available to those who are so deprived.

Engagement in outreach efforts builds bridges which our city desperately needs.

We have a long way to go in achieving a just and happy society. Little things can mean such a lot. For instance, when pulling up at an intersection, just try to acknowledge a beggar or vendor even if you have nothing to give instead of staring ahead and acting as if no one is there.