The latest headline tonight from the BBC declares that Nelson Mandela is ‘critically ill’ in a Pretoria hospital. Let us hope, this time, he’ll be allowed to die in peace. Mandela has been shuttled back and forth to doctors for months now. Video has shown him glassy-eyed and not in full control, whether from large quantities of drugs, or dementia due to his advanced age.
While it is possible to understand why South Africans are loathe to let him go, there is now a growing acceptance that his end is near.
This from the Telegraph two weeks ago:
Hundreds attended mass at the Roman Catholic Regina Mundi Church in Soweto, the township where Mr Mandela used to live.
“We wish him speedy recovery, he must get well,” Mlugisi Sekhosana, a local resident, said. “We know what he did for us in South Africa. All the nation, black and white, we wish him well.”
President Jacob Zuma, addressing ANC supporters in Mr Mandela’s ancestral homeland, the Eastern Cape, also urged them to pray for his recovery.
“Please, our president Madiba must make a speedy recovery,” he said. “We wish Madiba can get well soon because we want him to stay with us for a long time.”
Others suggested however that Mr Mandela’s life should not be prolonged unnecessarily.
The front page of South Africa’s Sunday Times bore the headline “It’s time to let him go”.
Yes, it is to to let him go. So we may all remember him with dignity.
There’s less dignity about the US Congress today as the American media declares the whistleblower, Edward Snowden, a fugitive from justice. They seem to have a strange notion of the justice he would receive by returning to the United States.
Only days ago, Congress suggested Snowden had no need to hide from them. They requested he return and “talk to them”. Now, he’s been branded a traitor by those so keen to “talk”, and faces a long prison term if he’s returned to US soil.
Tonight’s media news coverage was damning of other countries not rushing to extradite this man at America’s behest, the US government resorting to veiled threats against any foreign power offering him asylum. A sour-faced Senator Dianne Feinstein telling CBS News:
I thought China would see this as an opportunity to improve US ties.”
Could this be translated as, ‘China already has an appalling human rights record, so they could have helped us with ours’?
Meanwhile, it seems the American public are lethargic in their support of Snowden; slow, perhaps, to realize the service he has done for them? They should be roaring their support for this man, who has done no more, it seems, than shed light on the erosion of their freedoms, their constitutional right to privacy ripped apart by security services apparently prepared to go to any extremes under the guise of fighting their ill-named, and ill-conceived, “war on terror”.
Thanks to US President Barack Obama’s private obsession with drone warfare against the people of Pakistan, nine foreign tourists lie dead in a Pakistani mortuary tonight.
With no more wish than to spend their vacations climbing one of the highest mountains on the planet, these nine were spending the night in a hotel at the base camp of Nanga Parbat, before setting out to climb the mountain next day.
Instead, they were shot in cold blood by Taliban gunmen who stormed the hotel. A spokesman for the Taliban said the attack was in retaliation for the killing of a Taliban official by a US drone strike in May. He also affirmed that other foreigners would be targeted in similar future attacks.
It seems President Obama is killing them over there, to ensure they kill us over there, rather than over here.
On a sweeter note, it’s Wimbledon fortnight in the UK and tennis stars from all over the globe are serving for a chance at those coveted silver platters. The female No 3 seed, however, isn’t relying on a big Wimbledon payout. Maria Sharapova has already launched her own ‘Sugarpova’ brand of ‘fashionable’ candies:
“A premium candy line that reflects the fun, fashionable, sweet side of international tennis sensation Maria Sharapova.”- according to her website – “sugarpova.com” (what else!)’
Sadly, not all of us have the time and money to keep as superbly fit as Miss Sharapova. She, it seems, can stuff herself with candies and still play eight hours of tennis without raising more than a minor perspiration. The rest of us risk coronary artery disease and obesity from consuming too much of her product. Still, only this week the American Medical Association decided obesity was actually a disease, so it won’t be too long before the US pharmaceutical companies are clamoring for shares in Ms Sharapova’s candy business.
It would seem she can afford to lose at Wimbledon and still remain sweet.
 “Nelson Mandela critically ill in hospital” BBC, June 23rd 2013
 “South Africa urged to ‘let Nelson Mandela go'” Telegraph, June 9th 2013
 “Fugitive Edward Snowden asks Ecuador for asylum” BBC, June 23rd 2013
 “Tourists killed at north Pakistan mountain camp” BBC, June 23rd 2013
 “Sharapova looks for sweet taste of business success” BBC, June 23rd 2013