Category Archives: South Africa

Issues Of Academic Freedom

The University of Johannesburg in South Africa has decided to sever its working relationship with Ben Gurion University in Israel due to questions concerning that institution’s support of the Israel armed forces. The decision arose out of student demands to end the relationship on grounds Israel believed in apartheid policies. Among groups supporting the decision was the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign which argued BGU was engaged in “research for an occupation army” and supported efforts to deny academic freedom to Palestinian professors and students. On the other hand, the South African Union of Jewish Students argues the decision is a blow to “academic freedom” and singles out Israeli universities while remaining quiet about universities in societies like China, or Saudi Arabia or Belarus which are blatantly dictatorial.

If individual Israeli academics were involved in assisting the Israel Defense Force then it is appropriate to regard them as violating academic freedom, but there are professors at BGU who fight for the rights of Palestinians. If Israel is to be denied relations with South African universities than so should academic leaders at all universities in dictatorial and oppressive regimes. If not, it is an example of anti-semitism.

Can I Sing, “Kill The Umpire?”

Ah, the great battles of humanity, what can I or can’t I sing before an audience of people. In an age in which thousands of young people are risking their lives in the struggle for human rights, fights still emerge over the words of war. U2 Bono is in the middle of a controversy. His band was in South Africa and a song about resistance was sung. It included the words, “shoot the Boer” which referred to the struggle of black South Africans against the white rule of Afrikaaners who ruled South Africa for decades. Bono argued his Irish uncles sang revolutionary songs which described fighting and killing the Brits who were in their country so what was wrong about a song dealing with the fight for human dignity in South Africa. Heck, I was raised in a union home in which we sang songs about Joe Hill and how the rotten, dirty bosses killed him. I was raised to sing about the human struggle against forces of oppression. The words were strong and often filled with anger, the intention was emotional, rather than to have anyone actually go outside and kill a wealthy person.

Up the Irish!

Up the Working Class?

Down with the bosses!

Diamonds Are Robert Mugabe’s Best Friend

There is an old expression about “diamonds being a girl’s best friend,” but to Zimbabwe dictator, Robert Mugabe, they are his ticket to remain as chief thug of the country for the coming decade. After ousting South African companies from the Chladzwa fields of his country, luck became his companion because an incredibly rich find of diamonds made Zimbabwe a rich nation. Of course, none of this money will find its way into the hands of ordinary citizens, but Bobby Mugabe and his cronies and fellow thugs will gain incredible wealth. Experts say this is the “biggestyfind of alluvial diamonds in the history of humanity.” Kimberly Process, the diamond industry watchdog has allowed diamonds from these fields to be sold on the international market. In a nutshell, this means US and EU economic sanctions which were placed on Mugabe in order to force restoration of human rights are now meaningless.

Reports indicate the Zimbabwe army controls the diamond fields and is compelling people to work as virtual slave laborers in order to extract diamonds that will flow into hands of army and government leaders. I guess diamonds are not the best friend of most people.

IN DEFENSE OF ARCHBISHOP TUTU

Ik write as one “anti-Semite” to another “anti-Semite,” who has been a courageous fighter for human rights. This “anti-Semite,” like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, helped to develop a Holocaust Center which certainly is what most anti-Semites do! A group of 300 people have signed a petition asking that Tutu be removed as patrol of Holocaust Centers in Cape Town and Johannesburg because they regard him as uttering “numerous anti-Semitic” statements that are “morally repugnant” and “horrific, grotesquely false accusations against the Jewish people.” Alan Dershowitz, self appointed defender of what anyone can utter about the nation of Israel or Jews, insists that Tutu “is an unrepentant sinner.” The basis of these accusations stems from Tutu’s disagreements with policies of the Israel government. As an “anti-Semite” I also disagree with many policies of the Israel government. I do not recall anything in my upbringing as a Jew that requires me to agree with policies that oppress people and deny them human rights.

Fortunately, about 380 people throughout the world also signed a petition in support of Bishop Tutu. Among those signing was South African Arthur Chaskalson, former head of the Constitution Court. This petition argues: “he represents the finest tradition of resistance to all forms of oppression. To call him an anti-Semite because he has attacked the policies of the Israel government is outrageous.” The essence of being a Jew is opposing any policy which deprives people of their human rights, their property, and their right to be free and equal citizens. Even as opponents of Tutu were sending their petition, the Knesset in Israel was pushing for a law that would compel non-Jews in the country to swear allegiance to a “Jewish state.” How does lawyer, Alan Dershowitz defend such actions which violate the right of individuals to decide who or what they pledge allegiance to?

A Holocaust Center only has meaning if it becomes involved in ALL issues in the world dealing with denial of human rights. A Holocaust Center is NOT FOR JEWS, it is for ALL humanity so that we may never forget what happened during the Holocaust.

Dictator Robert Mugabe Rants On And On

In theory, President Mugabe of Zimbabwe promised to share power with Morgan Tsvangirai in the aftermath of the stolen presidential election which was won by Tsvangirai and stolen by Mugabe. A group of African nations led by South Africa attempted to persuade the two bit dictator Mugabe to share power in order to end the chaos which had engulfed the nation. During the past two years, Morgan Tsvangirai had worked-and succeeded– to end the calamitous inflation which wrecked country’s economy. His efforts have been challenged at every step of the process by the President who regards Zimbabwe as his personal nation. After all, he led fight to drive out the British which, in his view, entitles him to run everything as long as he breathes.
The latest chapter of the so-called joint government is leading to a ludicrous conclusion. Wikileaks revealed that Prime Minister Tsvangirai had the audacity to speak with the US ambassador to his country!

The Attorney General of Zimbabwe has appointed a group of lawyers to examine whether the prime minister should be charged with treason because Wikileaks reveal he discussed the need for continuing sanctions until Mugabe gave evidence he was really interested in peace and reconciliation with opponents. Most probably there will be some charges laid against the prime minister for failing to wipe the ass of Mugabe.

Jacob Zuma Caught With Justice Pants Down

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa enjoys women, he has been involved with quite a few and several have made charges that he forced attention on them. In 2008, the president was acquitted of rape charges and soon after there appeared a cartoon in the Johannesburg Sunday Times which apparently he has not fogotten. The cartoon depicted Zuma with his pants open and preparing to attack a female figure who symbolised justice. For some reason, two years later, the president has decided to sue the paper for defamation of character. Of course, this will allow open season for cartoonists throughout the world to do their best in attacking Zuma.

If Zuma can sue over a cartoon showing him ready to rape justice, what the heck can Barack Obama sue about? How about cartoons depicting him as a gorilla? A Muslim terrorist?

HEADLINES FROM THE WORLD PRESS

Each day we offer a sample of headlines that appeared in the world press along with our comments.

South Africa, Argus: “Missing Deaf Girl Found”
Let’s give one loud cheer for this one.

China,China Daily: “Chinese Railroad In Saudi Arabia”
I assume it is drawn by some Arabian horses.

Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Paradise Lost”
America before Bush became president.

Denmark, Copenhagen Post: “Breasts Best Defense Against Terrorism.”
Let’s milk this story for all its worth.

UK,Guardian: “Whose Bright Idea Was That?”
Well, if you elect Tea Party folk, we Americans soon may ask the Brits to take us back.

Kuwait, Kuwait Times: “Serial Killer Hung’
How many times?

USA, Army Times: ‘You Can Nominate Boss For Rewards”
How about the reward being to hire rather than fire folk?

South Africa, Mail & Guardian: “Three Held After Suicide”
I have a hunch it will be difficult prosecuting people after their suicides.

Norway, Norway Post: “Three Prisoners Still On Run”
Huff, puff, when will this run end?

Hungary, Budapest Times: “Scotch Rumors of Tall Hungarian”
He was really a short Bulgarian.

India, Times Of India: ‘Not Without A Clean Chit”
Shit on this story.

God Denied Reading Matter In South Africa

Woolworth stores in South Africa, if they are like Woolworth stores in the US, sell a lot of inexpensive junk. They are not the type of establishment one enters in order to acquire something of value since price is the deciding factor in what is being sold. So, how did this nice, pleasant chain of stores arouse the anger of thousands of decent folk in South Africa? Periodically, store managers review what sells and what remains on shelves. They discovered sales of Christian magazines were not exactly booming. As a store manager put it: “we looked at the faith-based catalog of magazines and discovered they were not selling.” So they withdrew these periodicals from their stores. Unfortunately, ministers of churches rushed to utter pleas to God up in Heaven and soon discovered the old man up in the sky was an avid follower of these magazines. He particularly loves those stories about men and women who have strayed and find their way back on the right road.

After listening to Sarah Palin I thought God was a free enterprise fanatic who regarded businessmen as his only true followers. I admit being mistaken, I now know the Old Man does not go along with free enterprise. Oh well, the only certainty is there will be plenty of magazines on shelves in the future. You can guarantee they will not be Playboy.

Mandela Opposed Iraq War

Nelson Mandela is known as a man of peace, but when he learned that Prime Minister Tony Blair was joining the mad American invasion of Iraq he hurriedly made his views known to British leaders. He contacted an old friend, Peter Hain who was a member of the Cabinet. He told him, “Peter, a big mistake, a very big mistake. It is wrong. Why is Tony doing this after all his support for Africa? This will cause huge damage internationally.” Mandela subsequently told associates that he had never previously been so angry at a foreign policy decision. Hain said that Mandela felt upset because he had always been an admirer of Tony Blair’s record in Africa and thought this would damage the United Kingdom and bring world-wide criticism. Mr. Hain told Mandela that while he respected his comments, he still thought Blair was acting out of conviction.

During the ensuing years, Mandela described Tony Blair as the “US Foreign Minister” rather than as the British Prime Minister. Once again, Nelson Mandela not only had courage, he had intelligence.

South Africa Ponders Somalia Mission

It is now nearly twenty years since the people of Somalia have enjoyed any aspect of a peaceful existence. Their lives are a constant encounter with violence, death, rape, and destruction. At times, it is difficult to differentiate between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” as Muslim insurgents splinter into an ever increasing number of sub groups. The “government of Somalia” is limited to control over parts of the capital city of Mogadishu, and once its representatives leave the protecting embrace of African Union soldiers, they are at risk for their lives. South Africa is undoubtedly, among the most important nations in Africa, and its government is now considering the possibility that it will demonstrate its power by dispatching troops from its National Defense Force to Somalia. African Union troops are fairly well reduced to control over parts of the capital and would welcome thousands of fresh South African soldiers.

The only current hope for Somalia is some form of coalition government in which radical Fundamentalists agree to share leadership of the country. Frankly, at this point, issues about “radical” or “moderate” must take a step backward and enable a coalition government to establish the semblance of government in the country.