I really don’t know where this post is going. It’s about heroes. But not sure… Let’s see.

I was doing the dishes tonight. Cleaning up after I had a fight with the barbeque. Oh I lost alright. The chicken burned and I ran out of gas midway. But that’s not the story.

I was doing the dishes and my lovely wife called me to say one of my favorite telly guys just won an Emmy. Stephen Colbert. Wish you could all see this guy. As sharp as a knife. Remember what he did to Bush in 2006 at the White House Correspondence Dinner? Go have a look here if you get the chance. (It is in three parts so please go look for part 2 and 3. It was worth it. I promise. And what the hell was Bush thinking Stephen Colbert was going to do?) Anyway… That took balls. In the lion’s den and he really went for it. And his show won again.

So I stopped doing the dishes and sat down on the couch to have a quick look at Stephen Colbert. I was slightly disappointed that he didn’t make a stronger political statement – he did it later when he joined Jon Stewart and they had a bit of a go at McCain. The old prune. I was about to get up when Steve Martin came on just after Stephen Colbert. I felt like having a laugh so stayed to watch him. And he introduced me to a new hero.

Tommy Smothers. Or Thomas Bolin “Tom” Smothers III as he is sometimes known. I won’t go into details of who he is. (Go here to see more on Wikipedia.) I didn’t know who he was. I was just watching Steve Martin make funny references about this guy. This guy who was going to get an Emmy for a show that hardly lasted more than a season back in the late 60s. Steve was funny, but I was about to get up when he did he speech and introduced the guy. For some reason I decided to stay and listen to what the guy had to say.

Well, maybe I stayed because Steve Martin told us how the show got cut because this guy got a little bit too political on his show. And how the guy didn’t want his name on the Emmy nomination back in the 60s because he thought that the other writers will stand less of a chance to win because of him. Honorable. And then he became my hero.

Just like that. This guy who could have had an easier life if he just kept quiet and did his show the way they wanted him to do it. Who could have had a much more successful career if he just kept his politics to himself. But he didn’t. He stood up for what he believed in. And he still does today.

I give you my new hero. And the words that made him my hero…

“It’s hard for me to stay silent when I keep hearing that peace is only attainable through war. And there’s nothing more scary than watching ignorance in action,” he said, dedicating his award to “all people who feel compelled to speak out, and are not afraid to speak to power, and won’t shut up and refuse to be silenced.”

That’s a hero. Someone who knows that there are easier ways. But only one right way. And a hero is someone who picks the right way.

Artists aren’t heroes. They are just celebrities. I like watching people like Colbert and Stewart. But they are paid do say what they say. They are good at it. They entertain me. But will they stay the same if the chips are down? Not all of them will. Bill Maher did. And he lost his job before everyone realized he was right. I don’t always agree with him. But he doesn’t pull punches. And never took the easy route.

But celebrities are just celebrities. Pretty people or funny people or “serious” actors. There to entertain us. Do they have a right to use this media for politics? Of course. They have an opinion and can use their medium just like everyone else. Like me. Like all of us. Just like NewsBusters and other right-wingers. I have no more knowledge than anyone else, but I use “my” medium to say what I want to say. And they have their medium. Some CEO’s use their mediums to influence politics. Why can’t actors? Charlton Heston did. And he is (was) loved by Republicans. Or rather by the pro-gun Republicans.

Hey Ronald Reagan was even voted into the office. And the role he was remembered best for was with a monkey. And no, I am not talking about Bush Sr, although I am sure he met Jr at some stage. And you know how I feel about Reagan. I didn’t like him then and I won’t start liking him just because he is dead. I saw the blood that came because of him. But this isn’t about Reagan. This is about heroes. And he wasn’t one.

After watching Tommy Smothers I was reminded of those other heroes I don’t know. That I haven’t met yet. Those men and women who defend the rights of Tommy to say what he wants to say. The soldiers. Yes. They are my heroes.

They do what is right. What they signed up for. To defend this great country when asked to defend it. To go into war when asked. Not questioning the war. Just doing what they said they would do. And staying true even if they don’t like it or agree with it.

Make no mistake. I hate war. And I especially hate the war in Iraq. There is nothing just about the war in Iraq. But they were asked to go into war by a weak President. And they did. Because that is what they signed up for. To defend this country. Even when the definition of defending is warped through lies and weakness and phantom enemies created by a President who ran away from war when it was his turn. The soldiers didn’t define what it means to defend. They only execute the decision by the leader who makes that decision. And the leaders who support that decision. They are heroes. Even when those who send them to fight a stupid senseless war are anything but heroes. President G. W. Bush is not a hero. The soldiers who fight his stupid war are.

It’s a shame they are not fighting a war to keep us safe. It is a shame that they are just fighting a war someone got them into. A war that has not made the US any safer than before 9/11. All it has done is to raise the possibility of them having to defend this country from more enemies than before. And one man wants them to fight some more wars no one can justify. “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.” Yes McCain. It might be funny to you. But to real heroes it is real and not funny. But don’t worry. These heroes will fight your stupid wars if you make it to the White House. While you sit in your nice cosy home – any of them. And when you sit there and laugh how you “got” the other guy.

These heroes will die for this country. To defend Tommy and everything he stands for. And they will die for McCain and everything he stand for. They will just do it. Because that is what makes them right. And because that is what makes them heroes. Those soldiers are heroes. Each and every single one of them. Even when I don’t agree with the war they are involved in.

But I also learned something else while washing the dishes. Heroes don’t always stay heroes. Tommy stayed a hero. He only became my hero tonight. But in truth… He has always been my hero. Because he always did what was right. Even before I knew him. That is a true hero. Someone who stays true no matter what. Even when it is tempting to take the easy route. Even when they could make more money or become more powerful if they took the other route.

So tell me Mr McCain… When did you stop being a hero? When was that moment that it happened? Or was it a gradual thing. Did doing the right thing slowly wash off you like a bad childhood memory? Or were you never really a hero? But we met you as a hero. When you took every single thing they threw at you when they tortured you and just stayed true. Stayed a hero. For more than 5 years while a prisoner of war. You were a hero. What happened?

John Sidney McCain III. How did you stop becoming a hero? How did you turn into what you have become? How did you go from hero to Nero? Willing to lie to become more powerful. Willing to torture others when you were tortured. Willing to smear anyone else who stands in your way. Putting yourself above what is right. Putting yourself above those who are willing to defend your rights. When did you become like those who held you prisoner for more than five years? When did you stop being a hero?

Heroes… Heroes never give up. Heroes never stop. Heroes never think of themselves first. Heroes stay true no matter what. To Tommy. You are a hero. To those men and women who stay true to what is asked of them no matter what. You are heroes.

McCain. You are not. You are a hero lost. And maybe that is the saddest part of it all. You could have been one…

Dear John,

I know we haven’t spoken for a while. Not since I broke up with you a few months ago. You remember my Dear John letter? Did you even get it? Very rude of you not to write back. I mean really. Did you have to take breaking-up so seriously? Live with it John. It’s over between the two of us. But I thought we could still be friends… Not that I missed you or anything. Puh-leeze… I need you like I need another 100 years of war.

What have you been up to? No, don’t answer. I don’t really want to hear. I see and hear enough on telly. You are seriously messing up my Lost and Raising The Bar time. Talking about Lost, how’s the election going? That Obama dude is really Raising The Bar isn’t he. The audacity of the man. To actually stand for something. And something good as well. I know, it is just not on in politics. But hey, what can you do?

But I am here to help John. Wait! Really, I have a few tips for you. (Just ask Sarah, I gave her a few tips as well.) Things you can use as you try and scare enough people to vote for you. Trust me, it comes from the deepest part of my heart. You know, that part that belongs to only you. The deepest and darkest part. I give you these tips in the hope that you could use them as you move along in your life outside of politics. I mean as you move along to retirement.

Missus in a bottle...

Missus in a bottle...

1. Having a beer woman on your side gets you no points if you don’t share.

Come on John. Didn’t you learn anything from Barney they Dinosaur?  Remember what he said? “Sharing is a special way of caring?” Not sharing isn’t very nice you know. Do you know that people voted for Bush because they think he is the kinda guy they would like to have a beer with? I know, it shouldn’t really be a criteria for who you want to run the country. But hey, what are you going to do? You get what you voted for. But you can learn from this. These people don’t really care about wars and money and stuff. So don’t worry about trying to figure that one out. If you don’t have it or get it by now you really shouldn’t bother. But dude! You have a babe with over $100 million worth of beers on your side! Not fair for not sharing. Why don’t you just promise a free round for everyone? No! Not a free round of more wars you idiot. A free round of beers! Hell, people are losing their homes and the kids are fighting a stupid war in Iraq – They could do with a drink you know. Come on John, ask Cindy for a few beers to share around. I would take one as well. You know, to drown my sorrows if you win. It might just make me forget.

2. Flip-flops are shoes and not a policy.

Summer is almost over dude. You have to get rid of the flip-flops. Both. Yes, the shoes and the policies. I mean really. The shoes are only good for one season but the policies… They come back to bite you in the ass for years to come. Oh, you can have more than one pair of flip-flop shoes, but you should really try to stick to one set of policies. Treat it like you would treat your wife. Have one and stick to her. Oh wait… Sorry… But on the policy front. Pick a policy and stick to one. I don’t care what it is, just make up your mind. Sooner or later people will start noticing the closer we get to winter. And they will realize you still have your flip-flops on. But then, I guess it is better than thongs. The shoes and the underwear.

3. A chick that smiles at you isn’t always hot or a running mate.

Dude! Nice one! I see you got a chick to run with you. Unfortunately she wasn’t running away with you. Or even away from you. That would have been so much easier. But man, you gotta learn. Even at your old age. Not every girl you meet that smiles at you has got the hots for you. Or should be your running mate. Look she isn’t hot. And I don’t just mean her looks. I mean her baggage. All those rumors up there in Alaska. The firing of the Commissioner. The debt she left behind in that little town. She’s a bit lightweight isn’t she? Or as we would call it in South Africa – wet behind the ears. And she might be foreign to mainland US or far off or spaced out, but it doesn’t give her foreign policy experience. What the hell do you think Putin is going to do with her? Hey, he is second in command over there in Russia you know. Doesn’t quite compare now does she? I hear he loves barracuda for breakfast. Sorry John. You’ve been had. She isn’t hot – no matter which way you look at it. But at least you have something in common I guess. You both love flip-flops.

4. Hugging a man does not make you gay. Just stupid.

Come on John. Be honest with us here. You have a man-crush on him don’t you? I saw that look in your eyes. That big hug with your head resting on his shoulder. A sweet whisper in his hear. A brush of the cheeks. It made you feel all giddy didn’t it? It made you feel all warm inside. But don’t confuse that with love John. It isn’t love. It’s envy. You are just envious that a little man that couldn’t run a baseball team to save his life beat you back then, aren’t you? And that he started a senseless war before you could, aren’t you? And that he became the worse President before you could ruin it, aren’t you? I know John. It is difficult to take. But you don’t have to become him or love him to be your own man. Come on. You are a big boy now. You just look stupid trying to be a Little Dubya II. But you two sure look nice in that hug. Twins almost. I could hardly tell you apart. Almost like your policies. Ever seen the movie Dumb and Dumber, John?

I love your wars big fella

I love your wars big fella

5. John, you are not del.icio.us. DiggIt?

I know you are trying to be all cool and hip. But really, it isn’t working that well. You gotta get with it John. I know you don’t get “the Internets” and all that computer stuff. But you are not helping yourself here. Email has nothing to do with she-males from Taiwan. They are similar in that they can deliver a message. But it is a message we should rather not go into. And MySpace isn’t the Reagan space programme. FaceBook isn’t about you being on the cover of “Guns Daily”. Digg isn’t an oil policy. StumbleUpon isn’t the way to get a foreign policy or any policy for that matter. MicroSoft isn’t something that can be fixed by Viagra. iPod isn’t something used to escape from the Starship Enterprise (that’s fictional by the way). Apple isn’t what the doctor told you to have. HP isn’t a sauce for you meat. Del.icio.us isn’t Sarah Palin’s vetting process. LinkedIn isn’t about your relationship with Dubya. RSS Feed isn’t an official aid policy. TreeHugger isn’t a Gore family member (well, not really). FeedBurner is not about GM crops. Spock does not know Captain Kirk. PayPal is not a donor. And Twitter is not for the birds. But okay, you might be a Twit.

6. Say after me, “P” in POTUS stands for President.

It’s easy, I taught my kids to spell this way. Say after me… P.O.T.U.S. stands for President Of The United States. You knew that’s POTUS stood for that right? No, not POT-ASS. That’s something else. It stands for PRESIDENT of the United States. I know it is a big surprise. But there you have it. I didn’t make the rules. It does not stand for Pandering OR The Ultimate Sell-out. Or even Pathetic Overtures That Ultimately Suck. No-no, John. It actually means you have to have the balls to run this country. You can’t pander just to try and become President. You actually have to stand for something other than just becoming POTUS. Look at what happened the last time you went for the “Don’t-Know” option. Endless wars and an economy that is tanking. And you are owned by China and the Middle-East. Balls please John. Or else you will make the US into Please, Our Time’s Up Sir. How low can you take it John? We are pretty rock-bottom as we speak. And do remember that the POTUS is also FOR the United States. Not for McCain. There is no J or M in POTUS. You should do it for the country and not for yourself. You should want to be President for and of the US and not just to be called President McCain. So don’t just say anything to become President. Rather say something “just” to become President. Hum… that last “just” is like in righteous or truthful. We get it from a little word that might be foreign to you – justice. This isn’t about you wanting to be President. This is about being the President Of The United States. Putting yourself first is not what America needs. Putting America first is what America needs.

7. The comb-over is not even old school.

I know you are trying hard. Hard to be one of the cool boys. But that hair just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work in the same way that you weak attempts at telling us nothing about yourself doesn’t work. No matter which way you comb it. You can brush it to the left or brush it to the right. We still know that it is a comb-over. Like we know you are anti-sex education, anti-choice, anti-peace and anti-everything in line with more of a typical Republican right-winger. It remains a comb-over and it sucked even in the 70s. But I guess it doesn’t suck as much as your policies and the party you stand for. Your comb-over isn’t “old school”. But your politics are old school. Straight from the books back then in the 60s (and even today) – control through fear. Shave your head McCain. It might look a bit cooler. Or hang your head in shame McCain and realize that people have freedom today. Of speech. Of choice. And of self.

8. Only Texans make more sense when speaking louder.

I have seen it before. People from Texas start speaking louder the further they get away from Texas. They have “Texan logic” to back-up their claim that people from a foreign country, like Massachusetts or France, will understand them better if they speak louder. But you are not Texan my friend. You don’t make more sense the louder you speak. You just create more white noise. A lie is a lie no matter how loud you say it. No matter how many times you say it. A lie remains a lie. No. Matter. How. Many. Times. You. Say. It. Take it from me. Slow down, speak softly and tell the truth. Like the fact that your tax proposal will actually increase the taxes I pay. And that you stand for… Hum… What do you stand for again?

9. Kool-Aid can be bad for your health.

I know you used to drink this stuff when you were a kid. But hey, we didn’t know about the problems with smoking or big fat hamburgers back then either. Kool-Aid is bad for you John. You shouldn’t drink it. The Kool-Aid that the economy is just fine. Don’t drink it John. And don’t sell it at your lemonade stand either. Or would that be a soap box? That Kool-Aid that drilling would make you energy independent. Don’t drink it John. Bad for your health. And bad for the health of the economy. That Kool-Aid that Iraq is doing just fine. Don’t drink it John. It’s not Disney you know. It’s Baghdad where the bombs still go off daily. Remember that walk in the market? Did you see they didn’t sell Kool-Aid? It’s because of the 100 troops on the ground, gunships in the air and armored vehicles on the roads that kept you in fresh Kool-Aid. That Kool-Aid should be left alone John. It’s no good for you and no good for America. And no thank, I don’t want any.

10. Please don’t scare the kids.

Last thing John. You really shouldn’t scare the children. You know how easily they scare. How easily they fill up with fear. Not nice John. Not nice at all. You should really let them grow up a bit. Let them decide for themselves. Tell them the truth. Tell them they are old enough to stand on their own two legs. I mean really. They aren’t even kids anymore. They are grown ups. Maybe you should share some truths with them. Tell them that America is a powerful nation. Tell them that America stands for something good. Tell them that not everyone hates America. Tell them that it is better to love as Americans than to hate as a world. Tell them it is better to talk first as America than to bomb first in the name of America. Tell them there are no monsters under their beds. Tell them that you might not know the future but that you stand for more than being anti-everything-Obama-says. Tell them that Obama was right about the withdrawel date in Iraq. Tell them that they will pay more taxes under you than under Obama. Tell them that you made a mistake in your first big decision by nominating Palin as your running mate. Tell them that you voted for the scary monster under the bed 90% of the time while he has been in the office. Tell them that your oil policies won’t get America an inch closer to energy independence. Tell them that you love big oil and anyone else who are willing to fund your run at the White House. Tell them that your senior advisers are all big lobbyist from DC and that they run your campaign. Tell them that you don’t need universal healthcare because you can afford you own private healthcare. Tell them you aren’t one of them because you are rich beyond their wildest dreams. Tell them you don’t worry about them losing their house because you have 7… 10… 12… Who knows and who is counting? Tell them that gas prices will remain high as hell as long as you sit in your big fat SUV with your big fat ego. Tell them that you will strip the forests to make sure that you have more paper to write your memoirs of pain. Tell them that you will continue to torture people in their name. Tell them that you want them to be at war for at least a 100 years and that they will suffer the consequences long after you are gone. Tell them who you are John. Tell them the truth. But then… Maybe not… Because that would be really scary and then they might know real fear.

 

There you go my boy! Ten easy tips even you can understand. I hope you have a fun time. Just look in the mirror and repeat after me John… “I must be better and more honest than what I really am. The truth will set me free. And I’ll just sit down and cry if that doesn’t work”. Repeat a thousand time and take an Aspirin.

John, John… John. What are we going to do with you? Or rather, where are you going to take us John? I’ve been there and it is not pretty. A country filled with hate and fear. We don’t need that John. We need love and hope. Give it to us or please leave the room.

Remember John, if you want to play this game of hate and fear then we’ll play the same right back at you! No more Mr Nice guy. You must be confusing me with some liberal. I am not. I am African.

Worst wishes, no love and hope to never see you again,

Angry African (on the Loose)

A bumper addition. Can’t help it. Too much news going around I guess. Lost in Africa. And guess what. I am not touching US politics this week! Okay, maybe just a little…

1. Fighting corruption the Nigerian way

Oh Nigeria… Good old Nigeria decided to fight corruption. At last. Get rid of this plague that has been haunting this beautiful country. But it didn’t go according to plan. This week Nigeria’s anti-corruption police had to sack 11 of its own officials. Why? Because most of them lied about their academic credentials and one for trying to defraud a suspect. Or as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) called it “forgery and other fraudulent acts”.  I can think of another word that also uses a “F” and a “C” that might be a better way to describe the Nigerian anti-corruption efforts. I think these guys used to work as consultants for Jack Abramoff’s and worked as Tom Delay’s special advisers.

2. Parliamentary priviledges the Zimbabwean way

What a big week in Zimbabwe. The newly(ish) elected parliamentarians got to go to parliament for the first time. And it was meant to be a changing of the guards. You know. The MDC won the election. Even after loser Bob “I-Murder-Before-Breakfast” Mugabe tried his best to get his party to win. And it was going to be a big day. They had to vote for the Speaker of Parliament. Guess what Bob “Crazier-Than-Bush” Mugabe did? He arrested opposition politicians as they entered parliament to be sworn in. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF hoped that enough opposition politicians would get arrested so that they (the ZANU-PF) would have enough votes to elect the Speaker. And how sad is this? They still lost the vote. Enough ZANU-PF members voted for the opposition MDC. So the new Speaker is from the MDC. I think that these people were the same people who organized the FEMA response to Katrina.

3. Mugabe is a “…”

We all want to say it. Hell. Some of us have actually said it. But you can’t do that in Zimbabwe. A guy got arrested in Zimbabwe for describing Bob “I-Have-No-Morals” Mugabe as a “female genital organ”. In all fairness, I would do it as well. Chuck the guy in jail. I mean really. It is an insult to… hum… “female genital organs”. Here is the clincher. Guess what was the guy’s name? And I am not joking. His name is Pinas. I think these were the same guys who worked for the main-stream media from 2001 to around 2006 in the US. They got fired and some journalist actually started developing a backbone again.

4. OMG! I just switched you off! LOL!

This one puzzles me a bit. The Kenya Power and Lighting Company has introduced new cutting-edge technology to communicate a very third world thing. They are going to text people to tell them that their electricity will be cut thanks to “supply interruptions” – read, we’re outa juice. Now here is the three things that puzzles me. Firstly, why can’t they introduce some new technology to keep the electricity flowing? You know? Buy some new cables instead of the latest iPhone. Secondly, where the hell do you get the electricity to charge your phone? Do you have a long extension cord to a neighboring country with a steady supply? Lastly, how the hell can you send a text if the electricity is down? You know, everything shuts down. Even the towers sending the signals. But then. Logic shouldn’t be part of it right? I think the guys who worked on this plan were the same guys who works on the US energy efficiency and oil independence policies.

5. A trial leading nowhere

Looks like the ANC is pulling the trusted “good cop, bad cop” treatment on the judges looking into Zuma’s corruption trial. First Blade “Short-Shit” Nzimande climbed into the judges for investigating Zuma. Do remember that Blade has a casual relationship with justice. I mean, as the leader of the Communist Party, he has a very old-school communist way of looking at justice. Then Motlanthe came out defending the judges. Okay, I won’t even try to explain it, but according to party leaders these two positions are not at odds with the party line. No idea how that logic works. I know these guys worked for the Bush administration. Why? Because in a Scooter Libby type move, Blade also said he is not going to rule out the possibility of an arms deal amnesty as a way forward. Hello Scooter.

6. Circumcision not a rip-off

And you thought I was joking! They actually found a new way to do circumcision. But, to quote them, “the question that arose was how the procedure could be rolled out universally. The new method is called the ShangRing. I think it is very unfortunate that this is a Chinese inventor. I don’t think anything to do with circumcision should have the sound of a knife as part of its name – “Shang” (can you hear the ring as the knife cuts through the… hum… you know…). How does it work? I am not going to tell you. But if you know what mulesing is… It is something similar. I like the fact that Dr Marc Goldstein said that “Shang promises to be faster, safer and more acceptable to patients than conventional surgical circumcision methods”. I am sorry. No “Shang” will be more acceptable to the guy getting his willy cut. And how about this one by Dr Howard Kim, “The beauty of this device is its simple, innovative design”. Sorry Dr Kim. The ShangRing is not an iPod or iPhone. It is never going to take off. No pun intended.

There is no foreskin toothfairy

There is no foreskin toothfairy

7. What’s in a name?

It seems as if the Thai people are getting fed up with the corruption that is so rife in their government. And like all good people pissed off, they decided to take to the streets. And they protested and ranted and threw their toys. All for democracy. The People’s Alliance for Democracy has drawn the line and want change now. No more corruption. And that is what democrats everywhere would want – a democratic government free of corruption. And with a name like that it is clear they want new elections. Right? Wrong! They aren’t protesting to get new elections. Nope. They are protesting for a “new coup”! They want the military to take over again. Either the Thais just don’t get this democracy thing or something got seriously lost in translation.

8. Canadians are weird

At last. At last they broke one of the major crime mysteries in Canada. A crime that has Canadians on the edge of their seats. Choking on their blubber because of the audacity of this crime. The Canadian version of Capone. The thief of all thieves. You could lock it but he always found a way. No chains could hold him back. But they got this man who terrorized communities all across Moose country. Free. Free at last. They got him. Him. The bicycle thief. Yes. The bicycle thief. But not just a run-of-the-mill bicycle thief. No. They found over 3,000 bicycles. 3,000 bicycles. What the hell was he going to do with 3,000 bicycles? I don’t know. But then, it is Canada. I think he was planning on starting their version of NASCAR.

Be afraid...

Be afraid...

9. Just don’t answer the phone

You sit there in your lounge and the phone rings. Bloody phone. Interrupting American Idol. And who called? The dreaded telemarketer. So you do what every proud American does at least once a week. You hang up on the idiot who phoned. That’ll teach them. You just sat down and settled in for some more Simon Cowell – to see how high he can pull up his pants this time. And the phone rings again. It’s the telemarketer again. But this time they have a message for you. “If you don’t want to get contacted if somebody wins, then don’t put your name in it.  That was just such a girl thing to do. Wimp,” yelled the telemarketer to poor old Randall Whited. And then slammed the phone down. One mistake though. The telemarketer must have forgotten that this is America. In England you just shake your head and say, “How rude.” And then go back to watch EastEnders. But this is the US. Here you will get your ass sued baby. And that is just what Randall is thinking about. I guess it could have been worse. If Randall was in England he would have been called by a telemarketer in India shouting insults at the British version of curry. And you know you should never touch an Englishman and his curry. Mind you, I don’t think they would have understood each other in any case.

10. When Obama is right…

Remember when McCain and Bush laughed at Obama and his plan to get American troops out of Iraq in 16 months? To get a timetable for the pullout of the troops? Well, it seems as if John “100-Years-In-Iraq” McCain has to eat some major humble pie. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani called her bluff just a week after Condoleezza Rice said that America was only in Iraq on the invitation of the Iraqi government. And then the Iraqi government said, “Get the hell out”. And gave them a deadline. Come Condi, you said it yourself. You will leave when you are not wanted anymore. Message clear? Come on McCain? Get the message? You were wrong. And Obama was (and is) right. Now take a cue from the Iraqi pullout deadline and get yourself a pullout deadline. I call it November 2008.

Like I said. A bumper issue! Hope you had fun.

What’s up in the news?

1. Thanks for the invite

Condoleezza Rice, or Condi to her friends, spend a bit of time in Baghdad this week. Good for you Condoleezza. It is much better than staying in that big white house up on the hill. You know that guy will work your fingers to the bone. Anyway, she spent time shopping in the “Green Zone” I think. Must be. Why else would she be saying something like this? “Obviously, the American forces are here, coalition forces are here at the invitation of the Iraqi government.” WTF? I don’t think so Condoleezza. Remember that you send those big tanks and flying objects called missiles into Iraq? I didn’t see the letter of invitation. Oh, you mean these guys in charge now? The puppets you put in place? With a fake vote that reminds us of Florida style democracy? I don’t think so Condoleezza. Crap stays crap. Whether in DC or Baghdad. Let’s get this straight Condoleezza, you are not invited to my house. With or without a gun in your hand and a tank at your feet.

2. McCain playing the age card

I think McCain might be playing the age card after weeks of playing the race card and the celeb card and the general lies and snake oil card. This time it was all about Russia and the “Georgia incident”. No. Not Atlanta. Anyway. He made another “misspoke” when commenting on the Russian invasion. And I quote, “in the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations”. Huh? Excuse me? Did I miss something? Or is it your age playing up? Did you get a free coupon to invade Iraq? I can’t even say grow up. McCain. McCain. McCain. You are one scary dude.

For McCain

For McCain

3. This man is stupid

I really couldn’t find a better heading for this guy. A guy from Nigeria has been told to divorce his wife. No wait. His wives. He has to whittle it down to four wives and no more. So he’ll have to divorce 82 of them. WTF? Dude! Doos! I don’t know what to say? The four that are staying are asking what the hell did they do wrong that they have to stay with him? Guess how many kids he has? 170. He had just under 2 children with each wife. Lesson? They thought the first time was just a bit of a… hum… problem… anxiety. The second time? They realized it wasn’t. You can fool some of the people some of the time…

4. But he is worse…

It seems as if Mugabe has decided to not continue the talks with Tsvangirai. I am not surprised. Mugabe doesn’t give a damn. And neither does my President. Mbeki. Blood on your hands. Go share what I gave McCain further up. And up yours. If Mugabe is the African Than Shwe (Burma), then you are the African Bush. No. Not the African bush.

A dick and a prick

A dick and a prick

5. Buy at employee price… if you can find one

GM has been taking a pounding in the sales department over here in the US. But they hit back with a brilliant new ad campaign. You can now buy a car at the employee price. Cool isn’t it? We know how much discount those guys get. Should work. Shouldn’t it? It should. If you can find an employee willing to sell you a car. It seems that most of the models just don’t make it to the dealers. And the salesmen doesn’t show up either. Great plan GM. Get the people to come into the showrooms to buy a car that isn’t there from a salesman that isn’t there either. I think Toyota might have a better plan. Sell people a car they want. I know. It is way unorthodox but it might just work.

6. How to kill the American Dream

How do you kill the American Dream? Bureaucracy… We’ve seen it everywhere in America. Little kids learning the rules of making money by selling goodies at roadside stands. Simple stuff. Lemonade, veggies, ice-cream and other stuff the can grow themselves or mix themselves. Just pretty simple stuff. Nothing much. But it teaches them the basics of how to be an entrepreneur. It’s as American as apple pie. But not anymore. At least not in Clayton, California. A little girl and her brother used to sell some veggies they grew in their back yard. Until the cops showed up. And dispersed the illegal merchants. Stupid right? And you would expect the Mayor to back the kids. Think again. “They may start out with a little card-table and selling a couple of things, but then who is to say what else they have. Is all the produce made there, do they grow it themselves? Are they going to have eggs and chickens for sale next,” said Clayton Mayor Gregg Manning. Mayor Manning, go get some of that McCain coffee offer I have up there. Stupid.

Remember to read between the lies… I mean lines.

Back from Bucks County. And back with some views on the news. It’s been a weak of news. Backward news. Let’s have a look, shall we?

1. Can’t take my eyes off of you

Poor old man McCain. He just can’t get any attention. It seems as if people, and especially the media, thinks he might be a bit boring. Big yawn. Big surprise. The most exiting thing that happens to him is when the comb-over flaps in the wind or when he puts in his teeth in the morning. Anyway… So McShame decided to show the world, or at least his closet closest friends, how unfair this all is to a senior citizen like himself. And decided to show it in a way that is a bit more hip. You know. To get with this “internets” thingy. Made up a nice clip (two actually) and posted it on YouTube. Showing to the world how unfair the media can be. Nice one. You really showed your age with this one. Or maybe not. My 4-year old won’t even do this. It is way below her standards. She is too grown up for it I guess. But then, she isn’t a Republican politician either. But then he pulled it off the site again! No, it wasn’t the early signs of ADD. Or flip-flopping. I was hoping it was his promise to “fight a good clean fight that will stay on the moral high ground”. Nope, that wasn’t it. He is already playing with the pigs. Remember the Bush man-love hug? Anyway… He pulled it because it was way to popular. And maybe illegal. Yep, the only way he could get any attention was by showing pictures and videos of Obama. Go figure. And then? He had to pull it because one of the songs they used, Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, might have a licencing issue… Yep, the more popular the clip the more they have to pay. A bit like oil prices I guess. And now McPain realizes he will have to pay up if he wants to be watched – or at least watch Obama being watched. Hah! Dig a hole for yourself Mac. Come on. Pick the nearest forest and start digging. Or offshore. You might just find enough oil to pay for using that song. Hope it is legal. The song. And the digging. He is going to be really pissed when he hears the European Commission just extended copyright for songs to 95 years. Even he can’t outlive that.

The Obama camps denied reports that they are currently looking at posting two clips of McCain on their YouTube channel. One showing him crying in the rain to “Wish You Were Here” (Pink Floyd) and another of him throwing a hissy fit to “She Thinks His Name Was John” (Reba McEntire).

I love you so much Big Fella

I love you so much Big Fella

2. McCain knows no shame – dissing the troops

I think that McCain is becoming desperate. Really desperate. He is now willing to shred the last pieces of decency he had. I don’t know if he is losing his mind or whether he lost it months ago already. But the last inch of respect he had is being lost at a rapid pace. Why? Because he is starting to disrespect the troops. It’s fine to throw cheap shots at Obama. That’s politics the Republican way. Cheap. Shots. But playing with the troops is another thing. Using them and abusing them for cheap shots is just… hum… you know… not on. Obama decided not to visit a military hospital in Germany because the Pentagon thought that it might be inappropriate as it might be seen as playing politics. Fair call. So Obama did the right thing. Pull out of the visit. This showed his respect for the troops. Not willing to let them be pulled into politics. Good on you Obama. And then McShame decided to open his stupid mouth again. Calling Obama out for not visiting the troops. He hinted that Obama isn’t showing enough respect for the injured troops. WTF? Are you for real? You want to show some respect for the troops? Shut your mouth when it comes to the military and get the troops out of this stupid war of yours. The troops should be supported. Not your stupid mindless war. You were in the military. But not anymore. It doesn’t give you a free pass when it comes to the lives of Americans. Troops or not. Show some respect.

Oh, and while we are on the war thing. That new ad of yours where you climb into Obama for not being in Iraq often enough. Here is a wake-up call for you. You don’t need to be in Iraq to know that war was the wrong decision. Maybe even illegal. A bad decision based on bad intel. The War on Error. And not one single person who supported that decision to invade is saying they are sorry. No, they are trying to say that it is “working”. Working! Bah! Maybe our definitions of working differ slightly. Working like a bloody band aid on a broken back yes. It was wrong to go into war with Iraq and that doesn’t change no matter how many times you visit.

And Afghanistan? Go read up a bit more. Not only are we losing the War on Terror there, but also the War on Drugs. The poppy’s are blooming. We are losing the war over there because the military is stretched to the extreme. Hope it doesn’t snap. So what do you do? Move the pieces around. Troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan. There is an old South African saying, “Slim vang sy baas.” The bright one catches his master. It means that eventually all you decision will backfire if they are wrong. And you just keep on sticking to those wrong ones baby. So, ¡Ya basta! Stop your whining and start showing some respect for those troops who are fighting your stupid war. Don’t play with them just to try and become President. It’s not on. So get off.

3. Please Mr President, just shut up

Look, it takes a damn lot to make President Bush look sharp and full of wisdom, but President Mbeki isn’t going to give up trying. At least President Bush is doing little to make things worse during the last few days of his reign. No wait. The war is still on, the economy is tanking, he wants to drill for oil no matter what or where, and he is still playing chicken with Iran, North Korea and whoever else said no to the dinner date. Okay… He can do way more damage, but so can Mbeki. Here is a man I used to support and defend. And then he lost me at… hello? Anybody there? First he made a joke of science with his Aids policies. Then he danced on the graves of human rights and logic with his “quiet diplomacy” approach to Mad Uncle Robert Mugabe over there in Zim. Both of these decisions took a special kind of leadership. Special needs more like it. It refined decision-making. Redefined stupidity in leadership. But just when you thought it can’t get any worse… He goes on to say that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir should not be prosecuted for war crimes. WTF? (Second one for today.) Come again? The reason? Because it will mess up the peace process. You know, you can’t talk peace with a guy who is in court at the same time. Now hang on in there El Presidente Mbeki. That logic doesn’t work. Say someone breaks into my house and steals everything. Now you are arguing that we can’t charge the guy because it might hinder his rehabilitation. No, no! No, baby, no. You don’t negotiate with someone while they are bus murdering and killing the innocent. You charge them and let justice takes its course. Please President Mbeki. Show some backbone. Stop making President Bush look good. I really don’t need that right now.

4. Not Mama’s Apple Pie

So you are just sitting there having a nice piece of apple pie. As American as can be. Spoiling yourself. At Maccie D’s. And you take a deep bite. You can feel the apple pie squirm against your braces. And then… Wait! I don’t wear braces! What the hell is this piece of metal doing in my apple pie? Screw them. Metal screw in the apple pie. That’s what happened to this poor woman. But that’s not the news. Bad food at McDonald’s? What’s new. No – the real news is further down the article…

“Her nephew had also eaten an apple pie, but there were no foreign objects in his dessert.”

Haha! Come on! You ate an apple pie at Maccie D’s. Of course there were foreign objects in your dessert. It just wasn’t metal.

While we are on the fast food topic. I see The Governator Schwarzenegger banned trans fats in restaurants. Good. Right? One thing has always bugged me about banning trans fats at fast food joints. Do you really think of any health issues when you go buy a donut from Dunkin’ Donuts? Do you stop for a minute and think, “I wonder how many calories in this Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese?” I don’t. I know it is bad. I think everyone knows that eating crap food is bad for you. This trans fat debate is a bit too nanny state to me. Too English. Not American. Eat crap and die.

5. Stop Press! Money to Democrats!

Those slightly crazy right wingers at NewsBusters and American Thinker really got their backs up this week. Because they just “proved” that the media is biased. You see, the media is giving more money to Democrats than to Republicans. And about 235 journalists gave money to the Democrats compared to 20 to Republicans. And who said the media is stupid? It isn’t a lot of money. About $225,000 compared to $16,000. But still. Why are they doing it? NewsBusters and the stupidity gang argues that the media is biased. But even Fox gave to the Democrats and not to the Republicans. So that can’t be right. I mean NewsBusters and American Drinker Thinker adore and pray at the feet of Fox. So what’s the reason then? I have an alternative theory. The media is giving money to the Democrats because they are sick and tired of getting screwed for nothing by Bush and the Repugnants Republicans. They are arguing that if they are going to get screwed they might just pay for the more entertaining lot. And better looking as well. I mean really. You don’t know where those Republicans have been before. Apart from airport toilets that is. Also, you pay for something that is worthwhile. Will you pay to watch a re-run of Gigli or the Adventures of Pluto Nash? You know what the Republicans are all about. Been there and done that. No reason to pay for it and see it again. It was aweful the last time around and you know it won’t be better the next time either. Not when you have the real blockbuster coming right up – the Democrats are the movie for next summer. You don’t know if it will be any good, but you know it will be a damn lot better than the bad show of last years and yesterday. No it isn’t the media being biased. It’s the media deciding that it is better to pay for hope than get screwed for nothing by dope.

___________________________________

See ya’ll later.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Well, 4th of July just passed. And the celebrations could be seen all around us. Flags flying, parades everywhere and fireworks to scare the cats – and kids. And it made me wonder – what does it mean to be a patriot?

We were sitting outside having a barbeque. American style. Burgers and all. Pretty American on 4th of July. Just us South Africans and an Aussie friend. Anyway… Our backyard neighbors were having their own party. Big family gathering. Even bigger griller. And meat to feed an army. At least a few divisions. And it went on and on. The crowd kept on growing and the noise kept on rising. We didn’t have a problem with it. They were having fun. Good clean fun. (And we loved the fireworks later in the evening – all courtesy of our partying neighbors.) And then we noticed the balloons.

Big balloons. All in the American colors. Red, white and blue. Stars and stripes everywhere. Almost every chair had a few of them tied to the back. Flying in the wind. This new type of flag. My wife and myself looked at each other and laughed. A very typical thing for us – we know each other way too well already! We said it at almost the same time, “I bet you those balloons were made in China!”

She won the right to blog on the “Made in China” joke. I really can’t say no to her. But it made me think of China. Again. And on the meaning of being proud of your country. Being a patriot.

And no. It wasn’t the “Free Tibet” flags that was made in China that made me think of China. It was my recent chats with a few Chinese in China that made me realize they are very proud of their country. Well, most of them anyway. Wherever I went they told me so. How they love their country and how proud they are of how China is developing. And, of course, the Beijing Olympics. For them the Olympics was about the Chinese people and not the Chinese government. A chance for us to meet China and the Chinese people. For them it was about them and their country. And not their government. I know, the Chinese government really secured the Olympics – not the people. But it still made sense. I know how it felt.

I have always loved my country. And my people. But I wasn’t always that proud of my government. The Apartheid government was not a regime to be proud of. Trust me. They weren’t. But I always loved my country. The mountains, the rivers, everything. And I really loved my people. It was an easy call. I loved my country. I loved my people. And I still saw myself as a patriot. I would defend my country and my people. But not my government. They were corrupt. In every sense of the word. If they asked me to go to war I would say no. If they asked me to vote in their rigged elections I wouldn’t. I would not listen to them and I would not support them in anything. But I would defend my country and my people. In my way. By protesting against the Apartheid regime. By speaking out when ever I got the chance. I would defy them. And challenge them. Because I was a patriot.

Over here in America people are asking the patriotism question. Again. And I am not just talking about Obama. Whether him wearing a flag or not makes him more or less patriotic. Like everyone wears that each day. Go do a Google search on the Mac and see how many times he wears one. Being a vet does not give you a free pass. Or at least I don’t think so. But this isn’t about Obama. Maybe only in an indirect way. The questions about him being American and being a patriot triggered some initial thoughts. But it isn’t about him. No, it’s about people who are claiming to be more patriotic than the next.

Supporting the war. That makes you a patriot. Being against gay marriages. That makes you a patriot. Not criticising President Bush. That makes you a patriot. Saying it is okay to hold people without trail and (maybe) torturing them. That makes you a patriot. Being in favour of subsidies for big oil but against universal health care. That makes you a patriot. Being Republican. Being conservative and against liberals. Listening to Rush and Bill. Watching Fox. Pro-flag. Anti-protests. And so on. And so on. It all makes you a patriot.

Or does it?

Were you a patriot if you supported the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII? Or were you a patriot when you tried to speak out against it? Were you a patriot when you supported segregation? Or were you a patriot when you acted against it? Were you a patriot when you lynched blacks and burned crosses and churches all over? Or were you a patriot when you marched against it? Were you a patriot when you supported a war to get rid of weapons of mass destruction? Or were you a patriot when you protested against a war with little evidence to support the claims of the President? Are you a patriot when you support a war no matter what the reasons? Or are you a patriot when you believe you can support the soldiers and still not agree with the war? Are you a patriot when you say other Americans are not American enough because they do not agree with everything you do or say? Or are you a patriot when you say that being an American means celebrating and loving diversity of all kinds – religion, color, languages, political thoughts, food and even stupid bloody movies?

You decide. I am not here to tell you what patriotism means in America. I can only tell you what it means for me as a South African. It means loving my country. Believing in my people. Caring for those around me. Looking after our land and the animals who live there. And speaking out when my government is unjust. Or just plain wrong. They are not my country. They are not my people. They do not stand for what my country stand for. Or at least not what the majority of us want our country to stand for. They are our government. They come and go. The people, the land and the spirit that make us never die. The meaning of being South African never come and go. It is more than the sum of us. It is that intangible meaning of us.

I am a patriotic South African when I disagree with my government when they are wrong. I am a patriot when I speak out against stupid decisions made by my government. I was a patriot when I protested against the government during Apartheid. I am a patriot when I speak out and protest against my government when I believe they are not being true to what we want our country to stand for – freedom, tolerance, equality and celebrating our diversity. And all the other good stuff.

And don’t confuse the patriotism bit with loving it or being proud of it. I love my children. But I am not proud of them when they do something wrong. I still love them. I still care for them. Deeply and without question. No less than before. But I also know I have to remind them of the rules. Our rules. Rules of respect, love and hard work. It does not make me less of a dad just because they need to know when I am disappointed with them. I tell them. But I also tell them I love them no less. I love them. I care for them. But I can’t always be proud of them. But I can be even more proud of them when they make right what they did wrong. That makes me love them even more. When they hold up their hands and say, “Yeah, I was wrong. Sorry dad.”

But driving a car made in Japan? Wearing clothes made in India? Eating food grown in Mexico? Drinking coffee grown in Ethiopia? Buying gas imported from Saudi Arabia? Reading books written by an Englishman? Watching a French movie? Having balloons made in China?

I don’t know. I like it when I see something made in South Africa. But I don’t buy it just because it is made in South Africa. I buy it (or not) because of many reasons – price, quality, taste, smell, functionality etc. Whatever. I buy it when I can. But I won’t buy a SUV just because it was made in South Africa. I’ll buy the less thirsty car made wherever.

A patriot. What is it? You decide. Because you make it. You build your country with every decision you make. The easy decisions and the difficult ones. They all count. There is no end. You build it every day. America is different from what it was a 100 years ago. Every single day you are still working on it. Keeping the good bits alive. And turning it into something new and making it relevant for society today. No end game. It’s not a game. It a journey. With no end destination. And every step counts. Every person count.

Every American count. Every American equals one brick. And you decide how strong you want this structure called America to be. You place your brick. You make it strong or you make it weak. It isn’t easy. And it has never been easy to build this great nation. It wasn’t easy to fight the British for independence. It wasn’t easy to free the slaves. It wasn’t easy to give women voting rights. It wasn’t easy to fight in WWII. It wasn’t easy to end segregation. It wasn’t easy to pull out of Vietnam. But it was the right thing to do.

Are you a patriot? Just wait before you answer. First ask yourself what does it mean to be a patriot? Define it. Look around and ask if this is what your fellow countrymen mean by it? Do you agree with it? What is your America? Happy you got all the info you need? Good. Now answer it. Are you a patriot?

Just don’t forget to look in the mirror when you answer.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

You know me. Pretty much a patriotic South African. Proud of our history. And deeply affected by Madiba – Nelson Mandela. I think the guy did an incredible job starting us off on the right track. Oh, we had a few other great leaders as well. But Madiba was our big daddy. Our Patriot. The John Adams of South Africa. The man who fought so hard to bring freedom to our little country down South. Just like John Adams and the other Patriots did over here in the US. (Oh yes, just like with the US, most of our subsequent leaders have been less “patriotic”, loved, reputable and effective as leaders than those original Founding Fathers.) So, I read with interest the recent flood of opinions regarding Nelson Mandela needing a special waiver to enter the US because he is still classified as a terrorist. As a South African I will refrain from commenting on whether he is a terrorist or not. That should be obvious. I will also refrain from blaming President Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney for this as that would be easy, but also opportunistic and a cheap shot. The fact is that President Mandela’s good friend President Bill Clinton had 8 years to undo this injustice. As did his partner Senator Clinton. I am more concerned with the policy behind this terror list and the message it sends to other “liberation” organizations and individuals across the world.

Nelson Mandela, and the African National Congress that he belonged to, were put on the list because the US government supported the Apartheid regime’s classification of the ANC as a terrorist organization. This indicated support of the Apartheid regime by the US government – both Republicans and Democrats. Again, I will refrain from discussing the Apartheid regime. I think we can all agree that it was a regime based on one of the most unjust and oppressive political systems in modern history. Really, take it from me and the people who suffered and died at the hands of that regime, they were not a nice bunch of guys to be associated with. Trust me, your mother will be most disappointed if you hung out with them.

On the other hand, the ANC was a peaceful organization for most of its history. It was established in 1912 in direct reaction to being excluded from having any political rights under the Union constitution of 1910. They remained an organization who believed in peaceful protest against the oppressive governments that gave no political rights to black South Africans. They did not even revert to violence when widows of black soldiers who died fighting in WWII received no pension whatsoever. It was only after 69 people were shot, mostly schoolchildren shot in the back, on 21 March 1960 in Sharpeville that the ANC got banned for calling a national stay-away campaign. Note, still no violence called for by the ANC – just a stay-away. It was only after more murdering by the Apartheid government and the arrest of more than 2,000 people that the ANC took up the armed struggle against the Apartheid government – while they were banned from South Africa. Their “military wing”, Umkhonto we Sizwe(Spear of the Nation), was only established in 1961. They officially took up arms when exiled. They took up arms when their people got murdered, arrested and taxed to death and they were banned from being in South Africa to represent the oppressed in even a peaceful way. Remember this bit – people being taxed, not represented in government, no ownership, murdered and arrested left, right and centre AND their “party” being banned even though they are promoting peaceful resistance.

In short, the ANC was a peaceful organization for 48 years before they took up arms. And only after they got banned and people were murdered in public did they take up arms. And they continued this armed struggle against the Apartheid regime for the next 30 years. So yes, they were peaceful for much longer than what they were in the armed struggle. But still the US and many other Western governments declared them a terrorist organization. And before you get on your high horse – they only started taking in money and support from the old USSR when all those Western governments refused to provide them with any support against the Apartheid regime. Many, many years after they got banned and classified as a terrorist organization. A case of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend…”

Let me put this in language and context you might get. A bit closer to home. Imagine you live in the US. Peacefully. Oh, there is a colonial power in charge, but you don’t care much for them. But then they start shooting your people when they protest against the unjust laws and taxes these colonial powers instituted against your people. And, of course, you don’t have full representation – only token representation. So after many years of continued oppression you say “enough is enough” and you stand up and have a big old war for independence. And you take support from anyone – even those who also have oppressive systems in place in their own country. Let’s say like asking the French monarchy for support even though they did not give their own people the rights you were fighting for and who were an oppressiveregime to their own people. Oh, wait – that happened here right? Imagine that, those Patriots who stood up against the British rule would have been branded a terrorist group if the current US application of the term terrorist was used by the colonial master back then. See, the ANC was like the Patriots back when you fought for your independence… And I for one will defend John Adams and anyone else who dare call them terrorists. They were freedom fighters on the side of the good and the brave. On the side of the oppressed. They were the good guys. They were the brave guys. Full stop. Not terrorists.

But the problem they would face today is that there is no clear guidelines on what will constitute a terrorist organization in the eyes of the US government.

So, does the US classify organizations based on their opposition to legitimate governments? No. As the case in South Africa highlights, the US government supported an oppressive regime and not those seeking democracy. It did the same in Angola and in Mozambique. It supported the warlords in both those countries who fought the legitimate governments. Governments who continued to win the popular democratic votes in elections from before, during and after the wars that ravished these countries. And, of course, the US supported the Taliban, Saddam Hussein and many Latin American dictators who were as oppressive as these African and Middle Eastern dictators. Yes, it was during the Cold War, but it still… The US build their partnership in the same way the ANC did – not being picky, but just picking anyone who will fight against the injustice they believe their own people will or are facing. Both picked dirty friends. And neither of them can claim that the other one had “worse” friends than the other. You willing to make a call on whether you would prefer the Taliban or a Communist? Not an easy choice is it? A bit like a pan and a fire choice I think. Hello pot, cheers kettle.

But it still leaves the question open – does the US classify organizations as terrorist if they take up arms against any type of government then? No. The US government is not averse to supporting organizations who take up arms. As mentioned before, they supported violent groups in Mozambique and Angola. And they have continued to do so – who can forget the call to arms of Iraqi’s during the first Gulf War? And the direct or indirect support for those who take up arms against oppressive regimes.

So what is a terrorist in the eyes of the US government? Who knows? And that has been the problem with declassifying Nelson Mandela as terrorist. We have no clear guidelines. How can we declassify someone when we don’t know the classification in the first place? It’s a bit like just building a road and seeing where it takes us. Or a railroad. And remember the big railroad bubble of 1893? This road is just waiting to blow up in our face and create panic.

At the very least we need to know what a terrorist is. I don’t mean some global definition we can all agree on. I am not that naive. All I can ask is for the US to have a clear definition. But there isn’t. Do yourself a favour – try and find a clear definition anywhere in the US laws. Too vague and too many loopholes. How can we win a war against terrorism if we can’t even define who or what is a terrorist? So far we have been more or less lucky. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban were relatively easy calls. Sadam not so easy. And the more we go into this “War Against Terrorism” the more fuzzy it will become. I would really like Nelson Mandela to not be classified as a terrorist. And I really don’t want us to start a war against the next John Adams and his group of Patriots. He was a Patriot. And so was Mandela. Let’s not shoot at anything that moves. Not every shadow is a threat. Let’s know who we fight. Because how else would we know when we have won?

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by RSS

Add to Technorati Favorites
Digg!