Christopher Rodrigues

‘Black boers’ and other revolutionary songs

A hat tip to Mphutlane wa Bofelo for pointing out the subtext to the ANC’s claim to the “shoot the boer!” song: For is it not the case, as wa Bofelo points out, that the attempt to establish a heritage status for the song locates the struggle in the past? And what of the new…

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Why the Irish vote really matters

On October 2nd the Irish electorate will be pressed into voting again on a treaty that they rejected as long ago as last year. There have been no changes to the Lisbon Treaty itself as, indeed, there was little to distinguish it from the treaty establishing a constitution for Europe that Dutch and French voters…

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The news you don’t know, and what to do about it

Forgive me for being so presumptuous, but I suspect that even the well informed are unaware of some of the most remarkable international news in recent weeks. Now if this supposition is correct then ask yourself, dear reader, for we will surely agree about the significance of the following — whether a corporate dominated media…

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Citizen Monbiot and tomorrow’s justice

In spite of being unsuccessful last week’s attempt by the Guardian columnist George Monbiot to arrest as a war criminal the former US ambassador to the UN, and Under-Secretary Of State for Arms Control, is a salutary reminder of civic duty. The charge against John Bolton, who was speaking at a literature festival in Wales,…

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Iran and the masters of war

On 21 April 2008, the American Defence Secretary Robert Gates, told the West Point Military Academy’s cadets that they could expect “years of persistent, engaged combat all around the world” for — note well — “there are no exit strategies”. At the Academy, much is made of their claim that “the history we teach was…

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ANCYL (Pty) Ltd

Recently a friend asked me what I, as a former member of the organisation, now make of the ANC Youth League. Her question resulted in me googling the names of my former comrades, who in the early Nineties had been activists in a range of Congress-aligned associations at the formerly named University of Port Elizabeth….

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‘For sale: Baby shoes, never worn’

These six simple words are widely acknowledged as one of the greatest short, short stories. Ernest Hemingway wrote it, and with it won his barroom bet to that end. A Cape Town tabloid once came close with “Man dies kak death”, but I think you’ll agree that, despite its gain in brevity, it lacks the…

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‘Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran’

Events recently have made John McCain’s boneheaded interpretation of the Beach Boys’ Barbara Ann seem far less inconsequential than he claimed it was, this time last year, while campaigning in South Carolina. His belligerence was, you may recall, prompted by a question from a war veteran on when he thought the US military might “send…

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Why we must boycott the Olympics

Before considering a few arguments on why a boycott is obligatory, let’s be clear about why this is not yet happening on any significant scale. There are, I think, at least two broad reasons. The most pivotal has to do with the ambivalent attitude of power towards human rights and the other with the inherent…

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Politics on the couch: Getting in touch with our inner Thabo Mbeki

“They fuck you up, your mum and dad. / They may not mean to, but they do. / They fill you with the faults they had / And add some extra, just for you”. So begins the British poet Philip Larkin in This Be The Verse but his wry observations are just as applicable to…

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