Jonathan Berger

As good as it gets?

For an apology, at least one issued by a senior politician, it’s not half bad. None of the “misquoted” or “quoted out of context” nonsense we have become accustomed to being dished. Instead, in a carefully worded statement, Fatima Hajaig, the deputy minister of foreign affairs, has gone some way in undoing the damage caused…

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Bye-bye Balfour?

MM died in August 2006. Four months before his death, as an inmate at Westville Correctional Centre (WCC), he joined 15 others in taking Correctional Services Minister Ngconde Balfour to court. That case resulted in Balfour and others being compelled to take reasonable steps to ensure access to antiretroviral (ARV) treatment at WCC. MM only…

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Gaza madness spreads south

Officially, at least, the war on Gaza is on hold, with one unilateral ceasefire following another. For now, a large number of Israeli troops remain on Palestinian territory, having been given a week by Hamas to retreat. World leaders have gathered in Egypt to pontificate. Obama becomes America’s next president later today. It’s anyone’s guess…

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Yes we did

On 4 November 2008, I was one of hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the United States working to ensure Barack Obama’s election. In anticipation of Tuesday’s inauguration, here’s my account of that day. After an exhilarating 24-hour stretch, I crawled into bed on the following morning with an ache in my left leg and…

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Christmas in Cuba

Being extremely risk averse, I seldom stray beyond the bounds of the law. Granted, I once had sex with another man just north of the Limpopo. It was consensual and, to be frank, quite delicious. But unlawful nevertheless. Luckily, however, the privacy of our coupe on the night train to Mutare secured our liberty. Steamy…

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McCain’s ever-diminishing bag of tricks

In just three weeks, Americans go to the polls to elect a new president. All the polls strongly suggest that if the election were held today, That One would sweep to victory. FiveThirtyEight.com, which aims to “accumulate and analyse polling and political data in way that is informed, accurate and attractive … to give ……

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Sarah and the spelling bee

So there we were, an admittedly partisan crowd, waiting for Joe Six-pack’s sister to bomb. Endless repeats of her embarrassing interviews with Katie Couric had left us with unrealistic expectations. Tina Fey’s work on Saturday Night Live hadn’t helped. Nor had the musings of MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. We were expecting a train…

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The Republicanisation of the ANC

As my train passed Washington National Airport at dusk the day before 9/11, I was overcome by a sudden spell of warmth and fuzziness. I had just finished my second stint of voter registration in Fairfax county — in Northern Virginia — and was enjoying reading Jeffrey Toobin’s The Nine, an absorbing tale of the…

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In defence of Zapiro

At their recent national convention in St Paul, Minnesota, the Republicans were quick to blame the “liberal media” for many of the ills of society. So too were their supporters in the conservative press. In response to questions regarding the suitability of John McCain’s running mate, for example, Jeffrey Kuhner of the Washington Times —…

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A paler shade of white

I agree with John McCain that “we can’t turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness”. There. I’ve said it. Bite me. Unfortunately, however, the Republican candidate for president was talking about Russia’s exploits in Georgia and not George W Bush’s foray into Iraq. Plus ça change … It’s a Thursday night in a…

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