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EDINBURGH — Donald Trump is like marmite – people tend to like him a lot or dislike him deeply. Now that Trump has shaken off suspicions that he’s Vladimir Putin’s brother-from-another-mother, the US president is set to pop over to England because he has cracked the nod for an official visit to meet with the Queen and Prime Minister Theresa May in early June. That trip is expected to cost British taxpayers almost £18m (about R340m) just to cover security while Trump is in the UK. The BBC reports that 10,000 officers will be needed, with the Stop Trump Coalition and Stand Up To Trump campaigners expected to turn out in huge numbers to demonstrate their unhappiness about the former reality star being leader of the developed world. Irreverent columnist Simon Lincoln Reader, who has one foot in the UK and one in South Africa, reckons there are many more reasons for people to join protests. Here are some ideas for anyone who fancies a march. – Jackie Cameron
By Simon Lincoln Reader*
Last year Business Day published an angry letter by a Capetonian who accused me of being a bully. Simon Rhoades, ostensibly a forager and renewable energy enthusiast, took exception to my condemnation of media, groups and individuals protesting Donald Trump’s arrival in London, in doing so implied that I occupied a position of well-paid privilege (in their failure to edit this part of the letter, the newspaper was an absent-minded participant in the spread of its own fake news – I was not paid one penny from Business Day).
Donald Trump will be visiting Britain again in June and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume from Simon’s letter that he was possibly one of the hopeless many resting their hopes on the Mueller Inquiry being the means to the end of Donald (Glenn Greenwald, hardly a fan of Donald, has written an intriguing article entitled “Robert Mueller Did Not Merely Reject the Trump-Russia Conspiracy Theories. He Obliterated Them” on the theintercept.com).
Sadiq Khan being Sadiq Khan, I have no doubt that protest action will again be approved, and, like last time – and last week – hundreds of thousands of working Londoners will be inconvenienced, an already painful commute disrupted simply to accommodate yet another a virtue-signalling opportunity for the elite.
Admittedly I only heard about Extinction Rebellion from colleagues at my office. I was in Cape Town when a pink boat was positioned in Oxford Circus and middle-class swampies super-glued their hands to central London streets. That the movement’s privately educated, double-barrel surnamed leader apologised is not only irrelevant, but confirmation that so many didn’t understand what they were doing.
It’s not as though there are a shortage of issues to protest about. I can think of one right now: George Osborne. The former Chancellor of the Exchequer, in an act of immeasurable and unwarranted privilege, was appointed editor of the London Evening Standard (one of a handful of gratuitous appointments afforded to him) and now uses the newspaper to i) patronise and ridicule Brexit voters (most of whom don’t actually live in London), ii) exact vengeance upon a Prime Minister who sacked him and iii) leverage some kind of liberal rebirthing from the very people he delighted in thrusting austerity upon. In addition, he has recently used his verified Twitter account to engage in mob justice – celebrating the wholly unjustified sacking of Sir Roger Scruton without having observed the facts. Surely he’s worth a march?
I can think of an even better one: the Xolobeni community on the Wild Coast. Now here’s a scenario – a greedy, pudding-necked thug sitting in Perth barking unoriginal threats plagiarised from Hollywood, corrupt local officials aligned to the ANC, murky “empowerment” deals, hit lists, the machine gunning of Sikhosiphi ‘Bazooka’ Rhadebe and Gwede Mantashe’s enduring creep to extract titanium from the area’s dunes.
In the wake of Extinction Rebellion’s protest, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist called Greta Thunberg has been visiting Parliament. Ministers and opposition leaders have been lining up to meet her. Greta speaks in platitudes, confesses to provoking civil disobedience and will soon no doubt be a recipient of some major prize, probably the Nobel Prize, which might work nicely, given that riding a donkey or walking to the Stockholm town hall is less harmful to the environment than first class air travel.
The fawning over Greta is something to behold – but Xolobeni has no Greta and most of the attention concerning their resistance involved Bazooka’s murder. It has since all but diminished. They have the brave and principled lawyer Richard Spoor, but he would never be able to command the attention of the political and campaigning elite in the way Greta has.
In 2015, a shocking report was published concerning the cavalier behaviour of Australian mining companies in Africa. I have worked with Australian miners: they are some of the most ruthless bastards I have ever encountered, most of the time unconsciously so. The report was issued by the Americans and exposed a series of environmental and humanitarian infractions that the government in Australia was either i) deliberately ignoring or ii) blissfully unaware of.
What makes Extinction Rebellion’s manifesto so confusing is their adherence to political correctness whilst exploring a misanthropic theme. Despite being prescriptive they can’t bring themselves to disclose that climate offending nations are mostly the habitat of people who are not white. They ignore the policies western capitals have instituted. Subjecting the working public to incoherent interruption subsequently results in dismissing the environmental protest as a refuge for the politically neurotic, or, frankly, mad. This cheapens Xolobeni’s legitimate aversion, further weakening people who are at the mercy of those versed in forced removals. The Xolobeni community is neither white nor Muslim. Bono and George Soros have not donated.
- Simon Lincoln Reader lives in London.