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Desmond Tutu: Not going quietly – The Frost Interview – Al Jazeera English

The Frost Interview

Desmond Tutu: Not going quietly

– The Nobel laureate on his role in South Africa’s struggle against apartheid and his alarm over recent developments.


Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the famous Nobel Peace laureate, and one of the world’s most respected church leaders, was a central figure in ensuring an end to white minority rule in South Africa.

He was instrumental in the struggle against apartheid, also acting as chairman of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). He has since gone on to play a role as one of Nelson Mandela’s handpicked ‘Elders’ along with others like former US President Jimmy Carter.

The archbishop takes Sir David Frost on a tour of his beloved South Africa; he talks about his time in the anti-apartheid struggle movement, his work with the TRC, and his alarm over recent developments in the “rainbow nation”.

As a defiant campaigner against apartheid, Tutu is one of the world’s most prominent defenders of human rights.

Growing up in a racially divided state he tells Sir David how hard it was to explain South African politics to his children:

“We’d just come back from England with our youngest child. The youngest was born in London and she saw some children playing on swings and she said, ‘I want to go and play’ and, we had to say, ‘No sweetheart, you can’t’.

“We still have children learning under trees. Now that is quite unconscionable really, to have people going to bed hungry in South Africa. Our economy is not madly prosperous, but then it is also not one of the worst …. But we seem to have lost the plot to some extent.”

– Desmond Tutu, on South Africa

“And she said, ‘But there all the children playing’, and it was incredibly difficult. It really just made you feel, ‘I wish the ground could open and swallow me up’. How do I tell my child that, yes you are a child, but you’re not a child like those other children who are on the swings?”

The archbishop recalls how the injustices he saw under apartheid tested his Christian faith:

“I really got very angry with God, and would rail at God and say: For goodness sake, how can you allow such and such to happen?”

But he later says: “Someone up there must really have been on our side or batting for us …. After [Nelson Mandela’s] release and the build-up to our first democratic election, it was one of the roughest, one of the bloodiest, periods in our history.”

Tutu hails Mandela as an “incredible guy!” – after all Mandela was a prominent participant in the negotiations that led to South Africa’s peaceful transition from apartheid to democracy.

“His contribution is immeasurable; his stature,” says Tutu. “I mean for someone who was the commander-in-chief of the military wing of the ANC to be at the forefront of persuading people that it would be better for us to negotiate; it is better for us to lay down our arms. And then to try to live that.”

Moving forward, Tutu expresses his concerns about the direction the current government in South Africa is headed. He has also become more outspoken about his criticism of the ruling party, and the rainbow nation, of what he was once so proud.

“We are a wounded people,” Tutu says, recalling the painful testimonies he heard as chairman of the TRC hearings.

“Things could have been a great deal worse but I still have this sense that they could have been a great deal better,” he says of South Africa’s political transition.

“I think we have let the people down, in so far as you have an elite that has done very, very well for themselves, who have got quite quite rich, and the bulk of the people are still where they were, or sometimes worse off.”

The Frost Interview can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 2000; Saturday: 1200; Sunday: 0100; Monday: 0600.

via Desmond Tutu: Not going quietly – The Frost Interview – Al Jazeera English.


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Filed under blogging, News Iranian Currency Falls 17% in One Day

Monday, October 1, 2012

Iranian Currency Falls 17% in One Day

Sanctions against Iran are making their impact, on the innocent working-class people of Iran–and the destruction of the currency may be getting a boost from the CIA.

International trade is dying and the currency is in free fall. It fell 17% this morning. The rial has lost more than 80 percent of its value since the start of the year.

I am also hearing that the CIA may be pumping newly (CIA printed) rial into the country in an effort to destabilize the country through hyper-inflation. The Fed may think money printing boosts an economy, but the CIA knows what it really does.

AFP reports:

Ordinary Iranians are increasingly struggling with the resulting inflation, which was officially put at 23 percent even before the latest plunge of the rial.

“Prices are rising every day and it just doesn’t stop,” said Khosro, a retiree who gave only his first name. He was forced to work as a taxi driver to boost his diminishing pension, he said.

Even locally made products were becoming more costly in Iran’s supermarkets.

“The price of my toothpaste, a foreign brand, has tripled in just a few months. Now, I’m buying an Iranian one, but it has also nearly doubled in price,” said Maryam, a young shopper.

via Iranian Currency Falls 17% in One Day.

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The New York Times Announces a Fucking Editorial Policy Change.

The New York Times Announces an Editorial Policy Change.

BY Sarah Rosenshine

– – – –

Dear Readers,

The New York Times has been a steadfast beacon of truthful reporting since printing began in 1851. Our slogan, “All the News That’s Fit to Print” applies well even to this day, though our definition of “fitness” has evolved as decades have progressed. It is with this in mind that we are making an important announcement. In a medium that not only prides itself on conciseness, but is rooted in it, it is absurd to waste entire strings of words and even sentences avoiding a particular word. We’re going to print it now. It’s “fuck.”

There will, of course, be rules regulating our use of the word, as with all journalistic style. We won’t be using it, for example, in the sentence “Paul Krugman is a motherfucking badass.” Unless, of course, someone starts a Tumblr by that name, in which case we will use it, and spare the reader the construction “a Tumblr named for Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman punctuated with an intensifier depicting incest of the Oedipal variety.” Because that’s stupid, and everyone knows it.

Which brings us to the subject of Tumblr blogs in general, because if we must dedicate a “Style” article to every third Tumblr in existence (and we must) “fuck” is an integral part of this geography. And so we will use it there. We won’t use it in the phrase “The fucking New York Times paywall” because that would require acknowledging the highly flawed and unnecessary scheme of ours in something other than an advertisement, and that we simply will not do.

And when we choose to profile a band or a book with the word, because we live in an era where that happens now, we’re just going to write it. We won’t say, “a band with an unprintable name” and come up with wink-y article titles that dance around the subject, like “Group With Procreative Name Is Pro-Creative.” We’ll just print “fuck” and move on, like grown-ups.

This new policy will also allow us the opportunity to print Neil deGrasse Tyson’s bi-weekly rants about Pluto’s status as a planet in full, a welcome change from the tempered and toothless versions we’ve presented so far.

We won’t use it in the “Weddings/Celebrations” section, because that would be crass, even though our readers know every article could accurately conclude with the happy couple going to take part in the very act depicted by the word we have now resolved to print on occasion.

We will use it in quotations, titles, and excerpts. We’ll rarely use it as an adjective. After all, we aren’t fucking Gawker.

We do this because if our readers can handle headlines like “Thousands Dead and Mangled in Massacre” they can handle the word “fuck” once in a while. We do this because it’s ridiculous to live in a profane world with no profanity. It isn’t some Unforgivable Curse from New York Times Best-seller Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Printing the word “fuck” isn’t going to condemn anyone to death. We cover homicides, bombings, earthquakes, and the rest of the staggering list of terrors perpetrated on humans by one another and by God. Surely the public finds these concepts more upsetting than a simple word. No more fecklessness by fuck-less-ness. We are the fucking New York Times. We print “fuck” now.


The Editors

P.S. The monosyllabic vulgarity for a woman’s genitals is still completely off limits.

via McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: The New York Times Announces an Editorial Policy Change..

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Fighting Dirty

Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for. When you hear of atrocities in war, don’t be fooled with imagery of good guys and bad guys. If something is worth killing over, it is already worth doing so ‘dirty’. Protecting your family is worth fighting for, defending against invading forces too, so there are no rules – a person will do whatever it takes.  Spreading democracy, protecting the world from terror, building control over oil reserves, these are all things that are not worth fighting for – hence they should be negotiated for instead, and if you are fighting people to accept them, you must at least abide by certain rules of engagement.

Predator Drone Firing Missile

The US military, using unmanned aerial drones, participates in what are known as “double-taps”. I know of the term from the film Zombieland, where the hero claims that he shoots zombies twice to make sure that they are definitely eliminated. The term is also used to describe the terroristic practice of planting two explosives, one to cause some initial injury, the second targeting the police and other first responders. The US military engages in double-tap practices themselves, targeting recently attacked strike zones as well as the funerals of deceased men believed to be militants. This is a despicable practice, with civilian casualties always far outnumbering any terrorist ones; apparently even the Mafia has a strict policy of not attacking funerals.  In attacking the Middle-East and North Africa, the US doesn’t even seem to distinguish anymore between, who they believe they can call (from a control room across the oceans) “militants” or “terrorists”, and ordinary foreign civilians.  In fact, the latest development is that the US military intends to classify any and all “military aged” (18+) males, in any one of the countries that they are busy in (even the undisclosed ones like Yemen and Pakistan), as potential militants, unless proven otherwise.  Soon we may have to see this classification extended to include woman and children… in this unmanned aerial war: on what?

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Everyone needs that stoner friend

Apparently everyone needs that stoner friend.  Two scientists, one studying cancer genes, the other the effects of Cannabidiol – an ingredient in marijuana – “conveniently” managed to combine their work.  This resulted in evidence that Cannabidiol may deactivate some particular cancer causing genes, preventing the spread of cancer.  This sounds to me like the kind of accident that may occur whilst throwing the Cheetos to your geneticist friend who is trying to get high for the first time since college.  Guess this is why everyone has to have that one stoner friend.

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US Presidential Elections 2012.

US presidential candidates 2012; Obama and Romney. Picture from

Well here is how the 2012 US presidential elections look from my perch in SA:

Obama says the right things.  Not as much as a few years ago when he ran against McCain, but his words still sound like they are on the right track.  His performance now is of a powerless president who needs the public’s help to fight the senate. It’s funny how with all his new powers, this president cannot facilitate the ‘CHANGE’ that his supporters wanted/want, but he has no problem signing into being legislation like the NDAA overnight.  Funnily enough he sort of apologizes for that and declares his ‘concerns’ over the indefinite detention and torture aspects of it, making sure that he says the right things again, while doing the opposite.

Romney and his crew say the wrong things all the time; like “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” He even got himself videotaped disenfranchising half the country, and seems to love the term “faggy” – the man’s chances are slim.

So the one: is at best an impotent slacker, at worst an outright liar – I’m going with liar.  The other: a daft elitist bigot.  So Obama has virtually won this thing, for lack of competition really.

I just want to tell the American people: this election is already f*cked, and you can’t fix it because of the flawed structure of your voting system.  Unfortunately you need to take real action and remove people from power by hand, the system is corrupted.  Many people will suffer if you have to wait for Jesse Ventura in 2016, and even if you do, it will take a ton of electoral reforms, and there will be no guarantees that you won’t be waiting another four years.  How quickly can a nation teach its people how not to fall for election manipulation, without government or corporate assistance?

Romney is a bad idea, but at least he is open about it.  Obama will tell you that he’ll look after your mother for you, and then throw her under a buss.  Romney is better, he’d be easier to rally against, but vote neither, and find your own leader.

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September 18 2012

The world has been ablaze for the past few weeks, but I have been quiet.  Anti US sentiment has erupted in Africa and the Middle-East, with US embassies all over seeing protests, some even attacked.  The reason given for the unrest is a particularly insulting spoof video circulating around the web – The Innocence of Muslims.  My own opinion is that the video was just the final straw – it is as though the Arab world can handle: petty sanctions, drone warfare, countless civilian casualties, uninvited NATO occupation, threatening mock military displays, even the slow erosion of the state of Palestine, but to then go and make fun of this entire population’s beliefs, at the same time, is just too much.  This may be understandable, these people where raised differently from me:  I personally wouldn’t care for a second if my own belief in atheism was ridiculed.  If the response to this short film seems out of proportion to you, then you should try and remember all these atrocities; atrocities that this population faces everyday at the hands of Western powers.  For this sick charade to continue it needs the illusion of being an option which faces domestic opposition – our governments can destroy a nation, but then we have to provide humanitarian aid and moral support to the victims.  In this way, the faceless enemy remains faceless; those affected can just direct their anger and hatred towards GW Bush, or NATO, or the American army/government.  When a video like this emerges, however, it destroys the image of goodwill from Western countries and serves to extend the anger, from being just for the US government, to include: the American people, their allies, Christianity and Judaism, and even the capitalist structure of our modern world society.

On another note, a man in a US prison is scheduled to be executed soon.  It turns out that the jury was not initially aware that the men that he murdered were in fact rapists who had molested him.  I just thought that while we are on the topic of retaliation, and whether or not it is appropriate (or at what levels it is), I should put it out there: I consider myself emotionally stable; I believe in forgiveness and actively refuse to dwell on issues from the past; but if some dude ever raped me, or even tried to, I think I might have to kill him too.  Similarly, I also wouldn’t sit down and accept things like drones killing my family.

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