Thursday, September 16, 2010

An interesting... gaze toward France

What the fuck is going on in France? As if the French haven’t pissed off enough people in their history...

Not only are they offending the Muslims (who they welcomed into their secular country) by banning the burkha in public places, they are now deporting Roma people (that’s the PC term for gypsies from Romania). Slight problem for Sarkozy the Tyrant though, they are European Union citizens.

Both Romania and France are part of the EU and citizens from their countries can go wherever the hell they like within the organisations’s borders. So these deportations are actually illegal and the EU parliament is coming to shit on Sarkozy’s head.

You know there’s a freak out coming because Viviane Reding, the EU justice commissioner went the classic route of comparing the Roma deportations to the removal of Jewish folks during the Holocaust. People only do this when they are KAK serious.

Sarkozy is just practicing easy politics though. His ratings are plummeting faster than Barack Obama’s and he is doing the equivalent of name changes in South Africa: noticeable political points with no real benefit to the country at large in the face of real problems.

For me, it’s always sad when religious freedom and people’s livelihoods are put aside for flagging political parties…

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An interesting... elitism

Jack Bloom is a DA member of the Gauteng Legislature. He wrote a rant against Cosatu on politicsweb - his point of view is no great surprise (he is not a Cosatu fan - no one saw that coming) and I am not really here to debate unions vs business because we'll bang on endlessly. You can read the article here.

It's a whole debate that can run forever and we've been doing it for 3 of the last 4 weeks.

However, a tiny section of Mr Bloom's write-up caught my eye. He is quoting Mike Schussler, a noted economist, and says this "He calls the public sector "the new elite" as even cleaners in government get R5000 a month."

Yes, he called people who earn R5000 a month "elite".

To be honest, out here in Mzansi, where blue-collar workers are black and poor and the majority of voters, this chap calls them elite. Those who board buses and taxis every morning from Soweto and townships around the suburbs to hike into rich areas to clean things that we're too lazy to, and may be paid more than the extorted cleaning staff who earn fuckall are elite?!

It has long been noted that there is a communications problem between the DA and poor, black folks (and unemployed folks, to be fully honest), and public statements calling R5000-per-month-cleaning-staff elite is an excellent example thereof.

There is a problem when we're happy that someone is earning R5000 a month, let alone ascribing them something with such positive connotations.

This kind of attitude needs to be dropped for the DA to make any notable headway into the electorate. While calling someone "elite", the DA is, ironically, opening itself up to accusations of being "elitist".

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An interesting... and obvious solution

Image lovingly pinched from

In case anyone wondered just how pedantic our leaders could get about non-important things forgoing the housing, employment, medical and eating needs of South Africans:

A future indaba between the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) and the ANCYL (ANC Youth League) is going to happen soon to work out just whether Julius Malema was having a pop at Jacob Zuma when he mentioned the YL's one-boyfriend-one-girlfriend policy.

The SABC has gone to great pains to deny ever painting a link between the monogomous and oh-so-moral Malema and the ever-marrying President, as a spokesperson said to the Mail and Guardian "We have gone through all the clips around that story and we can clearly say that there is nowhere in all the clips -- both radio and television -- where we have said that whatever Julius Malema was saying, was in reference to Jacob Zuma" (Full story here).

I have a much quicker way of settling this issue. Read:

Firstly, it is obvious that Malema was referring to Zuma. Whether it is direct or not, Malema is referring to people who practice polygamy, and saying that the Youth League does not do it and prefers monogamy instead. If we referred to criminals affecting our country, would be be implicitly including Jackie Selebi? Of course. If we pushed for a pro-choice stance on abortion, are we speaking against Catholics and the ACDP? Indeedly. In the same way, Malema was speaking against a Zuma principle. This tends to happen when we are not all identical and believe the exact same thing all the time.

Secondly, under the South African constitution, you can practice whichever philosophy you like. If you are a polygamist, marry away. If you are not, then date away before marrying once. Both are totally legal and acceptable in a legal sense. Amazingly, we also have this thing called free speech (for the moment, at least) which means we are allowed to agree and disagree and debate things. Not only is it legal, it's encouraged.

So although Malema aims the odd barb at you, Mr Zuma, it matters not.

People are allowed to - and will - disagree with you.

So if the hesitant and confused session over what or when Julius said could be cancelled so we could fix the lives of South Africans... maybe even if the SABC could work on fixing itself? That would be awesome. Thanks.

Monday, September 13, 2010

An interesting... not enough shock

(image pinched from but I think he/she pinched it from the Economist)

Menzi Simelane took over as the head of the National Prosecuting Authority at the end of 2009. We ummed and aahed and shook our heads but no one really gave a fuck.

Why was it important for us to get pissy about Simelane? Because it was the most blatant sign that the government was screwing with the judiciary - basically the people who decide whether to prosecute a crook or not, and then prosecute him if they think they have a strong enough case. Remember the folks who decided that Zuma couldn't be investigated because Mbeki has fiddled with his case? That was them. The people who clobbered Schabir Shaik? That was them.

It is shocking that the politicians are allowed to fiddle in the justice system. And, rightly so, there was criticism from all sectors - including overseas - until we all got bored and realised we didn't feel like couldn't really do anything about it, such is the way of South Africans. We all knew it was the wrong decision. Blatantly.

Similarly, though, Turkey voted in the last week or so in a referendum (with 58% agreeing with the motion) to allow the government to have more control in the country's judiciary. From the Guardian: The outcome presages a transformation of the judiciary, long seen as a staunch secular bastion. It would give the government more control over appointments to Turkey's highest court, the constitutional court, and the powerful Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, which currently appoints most senior judiciary officials. (Click here to read the full story)

And the worst bit? The referendum results give Turkey a far better chance of joining the EU. Said Stefan Fule, the commissioner for enlargement (of the EU I assume): "These reforms are a step in the right direction as they address a number of longstanding priorities in Turkey's efforts towards fully complying with the accession criteria". Bloomberg (the news agency, not the mayor) says that the judiciary will be expanded from 11 members to 17 - with 14 selected by the President and 3 by Parliament.

To be fair, I will mention that the referendum does reduce the military power of the Turkish army which has staged four coups in the last half century. But it must also be made clear that it could impact Turkey's secular society as the ruling party, the Justice and Development Party has faced criticism of pushing an Islamic agenda in one of the Middle East's few secular states.

However, the EU is pushing its own agenda here - backing constitutional reform to join the EU which could impact on other values the EU holds dear, particularly those which mean a lot to members of Turkey's public such as its secular society and independent justice system.

Only politics could twist government interference in the judiciary into a good thing.

We should be shocked.
We might be.
But it won't last long.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

An interesting... sokkie dans

For the first time I went to a sokkie sokkie for the gays - termed a GAT party by the regular attendees.

There are few things more enjoyable than watching people dancing. Hand in hand, cheek-to-cheek, spinning around in rhythmical fashion. The smiles shared between couples waltzing around a dancefloor make me feel great, and I sat a few weeks watching this parade of people swishing gracefully anti-clockwise around the room. It was such a grand, chilled-out evening with few worries, cheap beer and no drama whatsoever. And full of homos.

It is the first time I have ever been at a gay party which came with so little admin, drama and judgementalness, and so much happiness.

The gays are a tricky bunch. Very few of us are the typically screechy queen that popular culture loves to display us as – in fairness, that’s the meaningful equivalent of the hypocritical white liberal, the khakid-up Dutchman with a comb in his sock and the fact that the logo for every single thing in KZN is a badly-drawn King Shaka. I digress.

Although every subculture has its own politicking, (open generalisation) gays have a nasty bitchy streak that’s constantly on show (close generalisation). In fact in our world, being a bigger bitch adds to your brand value. Unfortunately, this manifests itself in our behaviour – becoming the biggest prick (no pun intended) means smashing other people down with your self-confidence rapier. This, in turn, possibly on a subconscious level, means we need behave as if we are impervious to criticism, hence the obsession with highly-crafted bodies, dress sense and other superfluous and expensive crap.

Because of our obsession with keeping ourselves at the top of our game constantly, it is very hard to just chill. Even what we think is a chilled, relaxed evening out ain’t no rugby braai. And this is why the aforementioned sokkiedans partytjie I was at on Saturday absolutely blew me away. Quite frankly, it was a room full of gays enjoying themselves in a very “straight” and traditional way – simply by dancing. Not in a showy-off, check-out-the-junk-in-my-trunk manner, but proper, lekker, classic dancing – I did a (toe-crushing) waltz for the first time in my life there. What could have been a night of personal-worry was actually stress-free fun – like singing alone in your car.

I think that we sometimes forget that fun is a simple thing, and in amongst the showmanship the simplicity gets lost. As ridiculous as it sounds, straight people have a lot to teach us when it comes to enjoying ourselves. I can sense that people may think I am saying that gays don’t have fun or are miserable inside – not so. My point is that fun is not necessarily an extension of judgemental bitchiness, a waxed, contrived body or Dolce & Gabbana. I think that the sooner we realise this, the happier more people will be.

So thanks to the sokkie-dansers. The lesson was good.