Jonathan Berger

We’re not in Wasilla anymore, Sarah

You just have to love the irony of it all, notwithstanding the unbelievable spin that would have made Goebbels proud. Mrs Family Values, John McRage’s somewhat quirky running mate, has a pregnant teenage daughter. Now just because I was chaste as a youngster is no reason to frown on those who indulge. And I don’t….

20 Comments Continue Reading →

The most powerful weapon against the occupation?

Last week I cried – in public – for the first time in a long time. Years of working in the field of HIV/Aids and access to healthcare have made me tough, perhaps even cold. But as Robi, Ali and Rami recounted their stories of loss, the tears flowed. I wasn’t alone. Robi Damelin is…

10 Comments Continue Reading →

Harassed in Hebron

It seemed perfectly scripted if one had wanted to embarrass the settlers: a peaceful walk to the Tomb of the Patriarchs that gets disrupted by armed zealots and the unjustifiable arrest of peace activists, all done in the presence of a host of photographers. Except that our intention in visiting Hebron was simply to observe…

3 Comments Continue Reading →

Next week in (East) Jerusalem

My most recent memory of Jerusalem stretches back more than 20 years. I had just spent a year studying in Israel — first Hebrew in Jerusalem and then architecture in Haifa — and had decided to return home to Johannesburg. I was visiting friends at the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem,…

3 Comments Continue Reading →

Blowing up the bridges

Like a defeated army in retreat, our minister of magic seems intent on leaving behind nothing but ruins for her successor. In what appears to be a frenetic dash to the finish line, the final stage of her marathon of misconduct, Dr Beet and her department are churning out a flurry of ill-conceived regulations and…

9 Comments Continue Reading →

Manto-style madness from Mpumalanga

Whoever said that the wheels of justice grind slowly must have had Dr Malcolm Naude in mind. Almost seven years ago, he was dismissed from Nelspruit’s Rob Ferreira Hospital. At the time, government would not provide post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) — a course of antiretroviral (ARV) medicines to reduce the risk of infection following exposure to…

2 Comments Continue Reading →

Apologists, ideologues and their lies

I’m really tired of drug company apologists. Take Thompson Ayodele, for example, the executive director of the conservative “think tank” Initiative for Public Policy Analysis. In a recent op–ed piece published in the Mail & Guardian, he trotted out old, tired and discredited arguments in support of uniform high levels of patent protection for medicines….

5 Comments Continue Reading →

More Manto than Manto

It’s really hard to take anything Peggy Nkonyeni says seriously. As MEC for Health in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), home to about one in four people living with HIV in South Africa and the epicentre of the global extensively drug resistant (XDR) TB epidemic, Nkonyeni is the epitome of arrogance, incompetence and malevolence. Every time she opens…

23 Comments Continue Reading →

Hillary and the happy ending

It’s time to come clean. Against my better judgment, I think I may have had a soft spot for Hillary. Just a few weeks ago, I dreamt that the two of us were walking hand–in–hand. She was unusually charming. I was feeling guilty for not supporting her bid to become America’s next top commander. And…

6 Comments Continue Reading →

Letter about Lhasa

I remember a time not so long ago when one could pick up T-shirts in the markets of cities in India and Nepal embossed with a very colourful flag and the words “Free Tibet”. The markets are still there, as is the clothing and the flags, but the word “free” seems largely to have been…

4 Comments Continue Reading →