It is the opening ceremony of the World Cup at the swanky Soccer City stadium, the crowd is in a frenzy over the sounds of Shakira, John Legend, etc and as they do the Diski dance and “ make that circle bigger, “ BOOM! Suddenly Kimberely is not the only city in South Africa with a 200 metre deep Big Hole!
A ghastly thought? Yes ghastly beyond words and with less that a month to go before the World Cup, it chills the spine to learn that this may indeed be a reality. Since yesterday, the world and South Africa in particular has been shaken to hear that an Al-Qaeda operative has confessed to terrorist attack plans targeted at the World Cup. The Saudi Muslim, Abdullah Azam Saleh al-Qahtani when arrested in Iraq, told police that the plan was in place and all that is left is for Osama bin Laden’s number two in command to give the thumbs up. The most probable target is the Denmark-Holland match since the two nations have been accused of offending the prophet Muhammud. Even more shocking is the revelation that ordinary fans were not to be spared as targets in this envisaged bomb and gun attack.
This certainly puts egg on the faces of the South African police minister Nathi Mthethwa and police commissioner Bheki Cele, who just the previous day flaunted their might in an over-the-top parade in the streets of Sandton. A 3000 strong police and military force went all out with their cars, motorbikes and helicopters to prove that they have sent the criminals scurrying for cover in the deepest dungeons and security preparations for the world cup are done and dusted.
I feel sorry for these crime busters who have worked extremely hard to achieve this level of readiness, only to have that confidence threatened by a threat from the biggest terrorist organisation in the world. The romanticism surrounding video footage of Nathi Mthethwa’s nifty foot work with a soccer ball, has just been blown to smithereens. Hopefully that is the only blow up that we will have to witness. It might also trigger further negative, sensationalist and malicious international reporting about the 2010 World Cup.
Only last year the US embassy in Pretoria also suffered a threat of an Al-Qaeda attack. With the ever growing activity and presence of Osama’s goons in African countries such as South Africa, Mozambique, Somalia and Kenya, the continent might have to take a stand. That is easier said than done because historically, Africa has aligned itself as allies of the East in the political and ideological war against America and other “Western imperialists.” Africa also has a large population of Muslims which might complicate things further, though not all Muslims subscribe to terrorism. Al-Qaeda though have shown that they do not give a hoot about killing a couple of Africans while in pursuit of their American, Danish or Dutch targets. Let that not be forgotten as we decide which side of the fence we are on regarding this East / West conflict.