Sunday, January 05, 2014

Friday, December 06, 2013


So, Nelson Mandela passed away Dec.5, 2013. Tributes have been pouring out from the capitals of all nations for this remarkable man who changed the face of South Africa. That’s all very well, but my opinion is that the prime ministers and presidents and kings and generals and party leaders should all keep a respectful and humble silence. Offhand, I can’t think of a single world leader (a political one, anyway) that can claim the right to even speak of Nelson Mandela, for fear that their hypocrisy will be exposed.

Let us not forget that, first, he was a revolutionary. A real one, not a romantic one, who at a certain point adopted armed struggle as a way to defeat apartheid. At a certain level, this is what sent him to prison for 27 years. The South African government called him a traitor and a terrorist. Reagan thought he was a communist. And, in fact, the ANC did have some communist connections, as did almost any insurgent group in that era. The communists were always looking for a whip with which to scourge the West. And vice-versa. Margaret Thatcher...I don't  know what she thought...probably that Mandela was just too uppity. Prof. Cornell West reminded us on CBC today that Mandela was on the USA's terrorist list until 2005!

What distinguishes Mandela is that he achieved his goal...his revolutionary goal. Through his courage and determination, he transformed the racist face of South Africa. Mandela was sanctified by success.

In part, this is the old story of the terrorist reincarnated as freedom fighter. If you win, no one much questions the methods. But again, Mandela's singular accomplishment was to renounce the violent way and build on his success. Somehow he hit upon the solution that would cement his victory: truth and reconciliation, inclusiveness, forgiveness. All this hasn't been perfect for South Africa by any means, but it is far preferable to the likely alternatives had he not pushed forward on this path.

Meanwhile, all the world's leaders, degenerate as they are, will gather in a few days to sing the praises of this man, all the while knowing in their heart of hearts that they can not remotely approach the deeds and aspirations that Nelson Mandela espoused. It would be better if they all just shut up. The most fitting tribute he can receive is the one from the people of South Africa, singing and dancing as they weep.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

2nd Amendment Amendment

I have an idea for our poor, tragic, benighted Murrican friends. You need to start a mass movement to reframe the 2nd Amendment as The Militia Amendment. You know, like how it says in the very first phrase of the amendment..."A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state..." Then you pass a law which says that everyone who buys a gun is automatically subject to service in a state militia, or the National Guard for at least two years (preferably ten), and that they must undergo military training. Military discipline. You may end up having just as many guns as before, but you'll have one hell of a well regulated militia and a securely free state.

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Friday, December 14, 2012


Oh my god! It's been a year and more since I last posted on this blog.

So, since then I have aquired a Samsung Galaxy tablet, and tonight I pondered the idea of writing some extended pieces on it, just to see how feasible that might be. Not so much, I think. The pop-up keyboard is not suitable really for what we used to call touch-typing. This means that text entry is more onerous. The word-processing function seems a little wonky to me. I've had this thing for months and I'm still not really sure how the copy/paste works. No instructions came with it, and everything I know how to do on this thing I've learned by trial and error. Mostly error, and it has been sort of a trial.

Nevertheless, I'm spending a fair bit of time on the tablet, so maybe I'll spend some of it typing on this blog.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Autumn Haiku #1

One brittle leaf
in the autumn wind
startles the Buddha

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International Day For Tolerance

November 16 was the International Day For Tolerance.

The Dalai Lama Centre in Vancouver is promoting tolerance through education as one of its central themes.


The Yoni School's one and only cowboy pote, Hardtop Tulane, was heard to say at lunch: "I ain't too sure about this here danged tolerance! I suppose we'll just have to put up with it."

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Help! I've written and I can't get up!