Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Mandela

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  • Sacha, in reply to DexterX,

    he would be civil but uncomfortable

    reckon he'd be comfortably uncivil

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    Bad me wants to know what side John Key really was on during the Tour. One of the protesters on Willis St? One of the beer-lobbing brutes? One of the peer-out-the-window-in-shirtsleeves-and-back-to-work brigade? The snappers of the time took a lot of shots: somewhere, just somewhere there might be one that could jog his memory.
    Now back to respect. Mine has not been reading the acres of print about a human, who was wonderful and fallible: I can't be bothered with the cut and pastes. I've stuck to PAS because I know it will have insights from a range of people expressed in an interesting way. Thanks all; even Krankylite.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2895 posts Report Reply

  • martinb, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Nice post Matthew.

    I almost want to say- you’re alright (until I remember the whole Brash and Iwi/Kiwi thing) . But all the same, you're alright. I guess we all have a little cognitive dissonance to our positions.

    I remember the main thing that interested me is that there was this whole other country where they played cricket, hidden away fossilized like the dinosaurs, and at the age I was at, I remember winning a speech competition asking if South Africa was ready to rejoin international cricket with the following lines:

    “Mandela says no, what do you think?”

    It wasn’t until much later, after Crowe and Hadlee had retired I realised there was much more to life than cricket and the much greater implications of the great man’s legacy. But the idea of this strange cricket nation emerging from a cave with a metaphorically long cricketing beard was what struck me most at the time, as I guess all I did was talk about and play cricket at that stage of my life!

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Hebe,

    Yes, there has been far too much, Acres of newsprint. He was an honourable and unique individual ... but enough, already!

    I think that when the Queen dies ... or Phillip ...I will need to go hide away in a cave for a week or two.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    I will need to go hide away in a cave for a week or two.

    Yes. I've stayed away from most meeja, letting others be my filter. There are some good ones, though, that have come through the screen:

    Mark Steel
    Musa Okwonga

    and something a friend of mine said, privately,

    Nelson Mandela. I will remember him, always. In my lifetime he is THE public figure that I most respect. He is the Gandhi for my generation.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to nzlemming,

    Thanks for this.
    Mark Steel is a welcome discovery.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Kracklite,

    This is about Nelson Mandela. Forget me, honour him.

    Please do, Kraklite – I’m glad if you’ve never done or said anything in your life you later had cause to regret, because Nelson Mandela did. One thing I admire Mandela for is his frank admission that during his tenure as President, the government he lead tragically dropped the ball when it came to HIV-AIDS. That should never be forgotten (or forgiven), but neither should this.

    In 2003 Mandela began to speak out plainly and forcefully about AIDS. And he acted. He created a foundation to fight HIV/AIDS, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and began a fundraising campaign to support HIV prevention and public health efforts called 46664, his identification number when he was imprisoned by the apartheid government on Robben Island. For the rest of his life he urged people to talk about HIV/AIDS “to make it appear like a normal illness.” And he used his reputation to make HIV prevention and AIDS treatment an international issue. In his retirement, he put AIDS at the top of his personal agenda.

    And then Mandela personally experienced the horrible price of his early stumble against AIDS.

    On Jan. 6, 2005, Mandela shocked the world when he summoned the media to his Johannesburg residence to announce his sole surviving son, Makgatho, 54, had died that morning. Mandela was forthright about the cause: “My son has died from AIDS.”

    It not only took sheer decency to do any of that, but it really mattered within South Africa that someone with the mana of Mandela was not only directly confronting lies and myths about AIDS, but clearly calling out the lethal AIDS denialism within his own party, and coming from his own hand-picked successor.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    As a teenager in the late 1970s I discussed the Anti Tour Movement with my father - his view was that it was important to protest to show that you cared and give hope to the people in South Africa, and he expanded how apartheid, and any form of institutional discrimination, robbed people of fulfilling their potential and the gifts that their potential could bestow was lost to humanity.

    When I began working in Otahuhu in the 1980s – it struck me being in the minority at the bus station, a first time experience. I can remember reading the Biko biography during my lunchtimes at the Otahuhu Library just how savage the state can be to an individual, to people, in wanting to defeat an ideal – for no other purpose than to defeat and deny the ideal.

    The protests against the tour bought out some pretty savage and ignorant racist prejudice – an example that sticks in my mind from one geezer, was “The problem with Mandela was that he was educated, proof that you shouldn’t educate the blacks it created trouble.”

    A focus of the anti tour movement was to educate and counter the racist viewpoint –opposition to apartheid took NZ on a journey it needed to travel.

    In the early 2000s I worked with two South African expats, father and son, on a building project and recall them saying that it wasn’t until they came to live and worked in NZ and were amongst us, NZers of all races, working alongside each other as equals that they realised why people had protested so long and hard against the tour. They realised how flawed apartheid was – but at the time they just didn’t know, it could be any other way.

    This is a quote from NJ in the NZ Herald –

    “Nelson Mandela was proof that if you keep to your just principles, the people in the wrong will eventually bow down. RIP”

    Nelson Mandela a gift to the human race - and to all those people that stick to just principles – Thanks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Alec Morgan,

    One occasion where some tasteful namedropping may be permissible. Didn’t meet the man but his eyes seemed to meet everyones at least once, but sat just a couple rows back from Nelson Mandela as he addressed several hundred ’81 tour veterans during a poignant function Nov 13 1995 at St Mathews in the City.

    Still keep my invitation card and a fading photo of him. Informality was the tone but with the church lighting it was a special day indeed. The Security slrs were busy that day but the police were very respectful indeed to those of us some of them remembered only too well.

    Drummer Fred Faleauto, very ill, made it to play “One Brotherhood Aotearoa” with Herbs (billed as past and present) and then the band backed Tigilau Ness on “In the Ghetto” -no not the Elvis song. In that winter of ’81 few would have imagined Mandela free let alone RSA leader speaking from the heart to our motely crew of crash helmet wearing activists including the backroom people that helped the anti racism movement function. An argument between factions at the time–stop the tour vs an ongoing movement dealing with post colonialism and racism in ‘our own backyard’ has obviously been resloved in the latters favour. Feel like a playlist coming on of all those great songs mentioned above.

    Tokerau Beach • Since Nov 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to DexterX,

    Nelson Mandela a gift to the human race – and to all those people that stick to just principles – Thank

    Yes a person who had integrity who rose to a position of power and did some good for his country and by extension all of us. Rest in Peace.

    But as a New Zealander I wonder why john Key is inserting himself into the funeral process and going, it feels wrong somehow.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to andin,

    But as a New Zealander I wonder why john Key is inserting himself into the funeral process and going, it feels wrong somehow.

    “Inserting himself”? I really really get that you don’t like the man, but that’s a pretty offensive characterization of the duly elected Prime Minister of this country attending a state funeral he doesn’t exactly need to crash.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to andin,

    But as a New Zealander I wonder why john Key is inserting himself into the funeral process and going, it feels wrong somehow.

    He’s the PM: it’s his job! Of course he must go.

    The issue I have with the NZ guest list is Jim Bolger and Don McKinnon are included but not John Minto: that is a call that brings shame on those who made it. What does it say to South Africans? We’ll send to the funeral of your Gandhi those who supported the Tour, those who cannot remember whether they supported it or not, but we can’t find the space for one of the figureheads of the movement that helped tip over the regime that ruled so inhumanely.

    Bad call: do the decent thing Mr Key.

    It smacks of inept and ungenerous political management: can't send Minto because he will gain respectability and credibility in time for the general election next year. If it's a civil servant decision: change it!

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2895 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Hebe,

    What does it say to South Africans? We’ll send to the funeral of your Gandhi those who supported the Tour, those who cannot remember whether they supported it or not, but we can’t find the space for one of the figureheads of the movement that helped tip over the regime that ruled so inhumanely.

    Well, perhaps the presence of a former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, the leader of the Opposition in a stable pluralistic democracy and a Maori minister of the Crown might say a little more than you might think but I don’t know. And neither do you, when we get right down to it. But it might also serve some people to remember that this party is representing this country to pay respects to a man who personally invited his jailers to his presidential inauguration – something, to be frank, I’m not so sure I could have done at all.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    a man who personally invited his jailers to his presidential inauguration

    That's advanced forgiveness! As for the make-up of the NZ delegation, I don't have a problem with who is included -- it is who, and what groups, are not included that is telling.

    Would the anti-apartheid movement be able to crowd-fund a trip by Minto or whoever to represent us?

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2895 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Malignant past and present figures who may shuffle off this mortal coil in the not too distant future...

    Pat Robertson, past US televangelist and Republican presidential aspirant- 83

    Ian Paisley, former Northern Ireland First Minister and fundamentalist
    Protestant agitator- 87

    Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI- 86

    Fred Nile, fundamentalist homophobe and NSW Legislative Councillor- 79

    George H.Bush- former Republican US President- 89

    Lord Norman Tebbit, Thatcher era relic- 82

    John Howard, former Australian Prime Minister- 74 [sadly, this is a long-term prospect]

    Fortunately, none of the great and good from the past seems to be in this category- apart from

    Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of Capetown Desmond Tutu- 82

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Rickai,

    Reagan and Thatcher's position on Mandela was deplorable but the Cold War context must be considered. For them, the dominant enemy was the Soviet Union and Communism. Anyone supportive of Communism was, by association, an enemy. In their simplistic winner-take-all mindset, the ANC and Mandela's connections to Communists, legitimised their position. I agree with Hooton - Reagan and Thatcher were instrumental in bringing tyranny to an end, they just seemed to lack the balance, grace and dignity of Mandela.

    Since Jan 2007 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • anth,

    I don’t have a problem with who is included – it is who, and what groups, are not included that is telling

    There is a petition to have Minto added to the delegation.

    Since Nov 2006 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to anth,

    [Redacted due to unnecessary and unhelpful levels of snark.]

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I'd be furious if Key didn't go. As many of our dignitaries as good taste allows should go, and of course it would be a huge gesture of reconciliation if a National government would invite the most famous figurehead of our own resistance to Apartheid. I'm surprised that they wouldn't just consider it to be a canny move.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I’m glad if you’ve never done or said anything in your life you later had cause to regret

    I have plenty of regrets, I just don't indulge in revisionist autohagiography and that's what pisses me off.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/06/follow-nelson-mandela-laugh-rightwing-fawning

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to BenWilson,

    it would be a huge gesture of reconciliation if a National government would invite the most famous figurehead of our own resistance to Apartheid.

    Endorse our own version of premature antifascists? One has to maintain standards.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to BenWilson,

    if a National government would invite the most famous figurehead of our own resistance to Apartheid

    I don’t think this is the time or place, but it would be interesting to tease out the irony of that “most famous figurehead” being… well, a white man, and what (if anything) that might say about the nature and biases of the media-political complex -- and whether that much has really changed since 1981.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    and whether that much has really changed since 1981.

    And also whether or not tyranny has actually ended in the former Soviet Union...

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Alec Morgan,

    There are various reasons John Minto does not need to go despite my signing the petition. If some one has to go (and they do symbolically in international bereavements) perhaps he should. But.

    Modesty, historic differences with the ANC and John’s personally observed state of RSA today due to their unfortunate neo liberal hangover are several realities. Really if a government figure has to go it should ideally be Hone Harawira leader of Auckland Patu squad in ’81 and nowTe Mana. He is the only actual government rep with any credibility beyond office holding for such a representative role. Hone don’t forget was the sole NZ politician to attend Aussies “Sorry” day, no one else had the rap or balls to attend.

    Tokerau Beach • Since Nov 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Alec Morgan,

    Points very well made Alec.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

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