“Hey Fillipo, stay off the streets, otherwise you will be robbed and murdered. Are you crazy – you want to die?”
Walking the streets of San-Gimignano, in twelfth century Italy was a suicidal thing to do. Post ‘Pax Romanus’ saw the fall of central government and the resultant expansion of the Italian population, city size and merchant capitalism, paralleled by the ruling of cities by rival communes.
By the end of the 12 century competitive rivalry between communes, started to turn deadly. This resulted in the building of fortresses within the towns or cities; these were mostly in the form of towers. At one time in San-Gimignano there were seventy two such towers.
Into these towers members of the aristocracy retreated into the safety of their clans.
These clans entered into alliances with other associations, and members collectively ruled sections of the city, with “their” tower or towers in the centre.
Access for members to the tower or towers was by underground passage or bridges from the upper stories of their houses to upper windows of a tower. The towers stood as a symbol of a clan’s power and influence, the higher the tower the more influential a clan was, but they also served as safe havens and lookout spots for a nervous aristocracy.
With the passing of the ages, many of the towers have fallen and in today’s Italy, like most countries, a central government, via municipal tentacles, administrates the country.
However, we should never lose sight of the fact that our world is in a state of never ceasing evolvement and this includes systems of governing.
Outside of God and taxes, the only other constant is – change.
Change has no limits or geographical boundaries.
A fine example of this, is the ever moving of population between countries; many as emigrants seeking better business or lifestyle opportunities; legitimate asylum seekers and by greater number, illegal immigrants.
Where there is an imbalance of those who have not, compared to those that have, this becomes fertile soil for crime, especially the drug trade.
There must be doubt in our minds as to whether crime is increasing on the basis of the state of humanity in our day, or the pro-rata increase in population.
We probably also wonder; is it just because part of the population don’t have, that crime is attributed to them; or is it that the greed, of those that do have, is increased by those that do not have being manipulating by them, to do their ‘dirty work?
Then again, what has all this to do with towers in Italy?
Viewing our present situation, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, would it be fair to suggest that there is a degree of similarity between twelfth century San-Gimignano, Italy, and say, Sub-Saharan Africa, most of the third and a portion of first world countries today?
Let’s look at it this way: Governments in the above countries seem to be showing less ability to control crime and afford their people safety and a better quality of life. The result of this situation is the exodus of people from the country of their birth, variously seeking a better and more secure lifestyle in other countries.
From Sub Saharan Africa, the flow of people to America, Australia, Canada and Europe, must constitute a goodly number of souls.
Now the question arises. For those that elect to stay in their countries, either because they do not qualify for, legal/illegal immigration or asylum; what do these folk do?
Do they build towers to keep themselves and their families safe?
Let’s consider the South African situation:
Along with the rise in crime throughout the country, there has been massive development in secure domestic complexes, apartments and gated communities.
For those with larger free-standing homes, higher perimeter walls, alarm systems electric fences, automated gates, CCTV systems. The list is without end.
There has been a phenomenal growth in security companies, neighbourhood watch groups and more recently, social sites security groups.
The quip in this country is: “Criminals have gaoled us behind bars in our own homes”.
Hands up from those that see the ‘tower connection’.
What do you think, considering the following statements?
- Crime is not a new phenomenon. The first recorded case of ‘murder one’ was in biblical times, where Cain killed Able
- Crime is not getting worse; it’s just increasing pro rata with population increase.
- Building towers seems like a good idea, but it’s not the final solution.
- What about building mini-communities of residents of both domestic and commercial groups who actively involve themselves in working together to ensure the safety of themselves and their families/workmates. Mini communities that will agree to partner with other communities in underprivileged areas and not limit themselves to just caring for their ‘block’.
A transcript received the other day on a Whats Apps security site:
Sender: “Hi all, just saw a white truck drive around the cul-de-sac twice in last 20 minutes…seems weird.
First response: Ask ADT (security) to check.
Second Response: Delivery for me, could not find address.
Fourth Response: “Thumbs Up” ikon.
In unitate est virtus – In unity there is strength.
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