Skip to main content

Good Morning!

IMG_2269 - Copy
Photo by: joanneleon. December 5, 2013.


Johnny Clegg (With Nelson Mandela) - Asimbonanga

News & Opinion

Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013: Anti-Apartheid Icon, 'Now at Rest'

Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president who helped lead the country's revolution out of the brutal apartheid system, died Thursday at his home at the age of 95.

"He is now resting," said South African President Jacob Zuma. "He is now at peace."

"Our nation has lost his greatest son," he continued. "Our people have lost their father."

Mandela had been suffering from several health issues including repeated hospitalizations with a chronic lung infection.

This is an article from last April.  I don't usually try to give extra attention to deaths or anniversaries for a number of reasons. First, they usually get a lot of coverage in the mainstream media, and my focus is usually on news that is undercovered yet profoundly significant.  Second, I'm afraid that I will fail to cover them in a way that everyone thinks is a timely and proportionate way in my daily posts. Third, the people in this community do a much better job of it in the comments.  But Mandela's death and his life story have so many parallels to conditions and events of today, and it is such a complex and important story, that I feel compelled to include more than just an announcement of his death.
South Africans give mixed response to Margaret Thatcher death
Condolences but also criticism of British former PM who once dismissed ANC as 'a typical terrorist organisation'

But other veterans of the liberation struggle were less circumspect. Pallo Jordan, the ANC's chief propagandist in exile during the apartheid era, made no effort to hide his emotions.
"I've just sent a letter of congratulations," the former cabinet minister said. "I say good riddance. She was a staunch supporter of the apartheid regime. She was part of the rightwing alliance with Ronald Reagan that led to a lot of avoidable deaths.
"In the end I sat with her in her office with Nelson Mandela in 1991. She knew she had no choice. Although she called us a terrorist organisation, she had to shake hands with a terrorist and sit down with a terrorist. So who won?"

Artists United Against Apartheid

Van Zandt became interested in writing a song about Sun City to make parallels with the plight of native Americans. Danny Schechter, a journalist who was then working with ABC News' 20/20, suggested turning the song into a different kind of "We Are the World", or as Schechter explains, "a song about change not charity, freedom not famine."[1]

When Van Zandt was finished writing "Sun City", he, Schechter and producer Arthur Baker spent the next several months searching for artists to participate in recording it. Van Zandt initially declined to invite Springsteen, not wanting to take advantage of their friendship, but Schechter had no problem asking himself; Springsteen accepted the invitation. Van Zandt was also shy about calling legendary jazz artist Miles Davis, whom Schechter also contacted; with minimal persuasion, Davis also accepted. Eventually, Van Zandt, Baker and Schechter would gather a wide array of artists, including Kool DJ Herc, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Ruben Blades, Bob Dylan, Pat Benatar, Herbie Hancock, Ringo Starr and his son Zak Starkey, Lou Reed, Run–D.M.C., Peter Gabriel, Bob Geldof, Clarence Clemons, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Darlene Love, Bobby Womack, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, The Fat Boys, Jackson Browne, Daryl Hannah, Peter Wolf, U2, George Clinton, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Bonnie Raitt, Hall & Oates, Jimmy Cliff, Big Youth, Michael Monroe, Stiv Bators, Peter Garrett, Ron Carter, Ray Barretto, Gil-Scott Heron, Nona Hendryx, Lotti Golden, Lakshminarayana Shankar and Joey Ramone.

These artists also vowed never to perform at Sun City, because to do so would in their minds seem to be an acceptance of apartheid.

Schechter had also taken on the job of documenting the sessions on video and producing a behind-the-scenes documentary, working with 16 mm crews and independent production companies, directed by Jonathan Demme. Paul "Lucky" Goldberg, director, producer and cinematographer for ThunderVision Media Ltd and president of Hollywood New York International since 1993, worked with producer and partner Paul Allen of ThunderVision Media Ltd, based in New York at Kaufman Astoria Studios to capture the action. Lucky and Paul introduced a new camera technology to work alongside the 16mm crews, the one-piece camera - Panasonic's Recam format for extensive handheld coverage of two days of the artists in the streets of Manhattan as well as a rendition of "Sun City" in Washington Square Park. Approximately 150 policemen surrounded the entire park on horseback and foot to secure the area for the performance, which included Van Zandt, Bono, Springsteen, the Fat Boys, Mötley Crüe, Afrika Bambaataa, Nona Hendryx and many others. One of the most notable shots was caught when Bono gave a huge kiss on the cheek to one of the Fat Boys, in his signature yellow satin jacket and red hat. They went on to shoot Sun City II in Central Park, capturing the politics and music of the spirit of Little Steven's award-winning "Sun City", including interviews with Peter Gabriel and Bono.

Schecther invited MTV to get involved and asked a friend, Hart Perry, to film the sessions.


The song "Sun City" was only a modest success in the US, reaching #38 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1985. Only about half of American radio stations played "Sun City,"[citation needed] with some objecting to the lyrics' explicit criticism of President Ronald Reagan's policy of "constructive engagement."

Meanwhile, "Sun City" was a major success in countries where there was little or no radio station resistance to the record or its messages, reaching #4 in Australia, #10[2] in Canada and #21 in the UK.[3] The song was banned in South Africa.

Van Zandt and Schechter also struggled to get the documentary seen. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) refused to broadcast the non-profit film "The Making of Sun City" even though it won the International Documentary Association's top honors in 1986; PBS claimed the featured artists were also involved in making the film and were therefore "self-promoting."[citation needed] (In contrast, PBS chose to broadcast The Making of "Raiders of the Lost Ark", which was made as a promotional exercise by the for-profit Paramount Pictures and Lucasfilm Ltd..) In 1987, WNYC-TV, the New York City-owned public television station, aired an updated version of the documentary, produced by filmmaker Bill Lichtenstein along with Schechter. The film included updates about the Sun City resort and apartheid as well as the success of the Sun City video. In addition to airing the documentary, WNYC-TV made the film available over the PBS system to public television stations across the country for broadcast.

[Emphasis added]

United States, Israel opposed Mandela, supported Apartheid

The attempt to make Nelson Mandela respectable is an ongoing effort of Western government spokesmen and the Western media.

He wasn’t respectable in the business circles of twentieth-century New York or Atlanta, or inside the Beltway of Washington, D.C. He wasn’t respectable for many of the allies of the United States in the Cold War, including Britain and Israel.

I visited Soweto in 2012 and went to Mandela’s old house. It was a moving experience. I don’t want him to be reduced to a commercialized icon on this day of all days.

We should remember that for much of the West in the Cold War, South Africa’s thriving capitalist economy was what was important. Its resources were important. Its government, solely staffed by Afrikaners and solely for Afrikaners, was seen as a counter-weight to Soviet and Communist influence in Africa. Washington in the 1980s obsessed about Cuba’s relationship to Angola (yes).

This is unbelievable.  
Jeremy Scahill on DemocracyNow!

Canada Stands Firm Against Iran Nuke Deal, Cozies Up to Israel & Saudi Arabia

American teacher Ronnie Smith shot dead while jogging in Benghazi
Smith taught chemistry at the International School in the eastern Libya city and was jogging near US consulate, says official

Gunmen shot and killed a young American teacher as he was jogging in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Thursday, amid an upsurge of violence between radicals and security forces.
Last week the [Libyan] army stormed four bases of Ansar al-Sharia, the Islamist militia blamed by some for the killing last year of American ambassador Chris Stevens at the US consulate. Bombings and assassinations have continued on a near-daily basis.
Smith had worked in the city for 18 months. On the profile of his Twitter account, he described himself as “Libya’s best friend”. But his tweets were also critical of Islamist militias. In October he tweeted: “Libya Islamists are threatening kidnappings. As if they can fit kidnapping into a 2hr (sic) work day that already includes a nap. Losers.”

The Best Response to Grammar Nazis, Ever
Stephen Fry nails it

There is a interesting profile article in an upcoming issue of Rolling Stone.  The details about Greenwald in high school make me feel a little bit better about my rebellious sons, omg. A little.

But he's right. When you read things about his life story, it's true that he has been preparing for all of this for his entire life.  I often wonder why he spends so much time arguing with and rebutting his many trolls and detractors, though to be fair, he only engages a tiny percentage of them.  Last night, for instance, there was just a complete freak out when he said something about Mandela.  But when you read more about his history, you can see that he has always been passionate about debate.  I can relate to that too.

Snowden and Greenwald: The Men Who Leaked the Secrets

Contrary to his confrontational persona, Greenwald is actually quite sweet in person, apologizing for his car, a somewhat beat-up, doggy-smelling, red Kia with tennis clothes tossed in the back, and a Pink CD case on the dashboard that Greenwald, 46, is quick to explain belongs to Miranda, who is 28. "I still listen to all the stuff I liked in high school – Elton John, Queen," he says, shrugging, and then immediately wonders if it's weird that "music just never spoke to me all that much."

Politics, on the other hand, had a powerful hold on him from an early age. Originally from Queens, his family settled in South Florida, in the bland, cookie-cutter enclave of Lauderdale Lakes, then inhabited largely by ethnic, working-class families and wealthier Jewish retirees. The oldest of two, Greenwald was raised in a small house on the low-rent side of town, where his mother, "a typically 1960s-1970s housewife who married young and never went to college," as he says, ended up supporting her sons by working as a cashier at McDonald's, among other jobs.

This began a lifelong struggle against authoritative structures, beginning with his teachers, with whom he engaged in epic battles over "unjust rules," as Greenwald puts it. "Glenn was this supersmart, extremely obnoxious, eccentric kid, and depending on your sense of humor, you either loved him or hated him," recalls his friend Norman Fleisher. "He was probably the smartest kid in the school, but it's kind of a miracle that he graduated."

Greenwald's contrarian nature made him a star on the debate team, where he ran circles around his opponents and became a state champion. He enrolled at George Washington University in 1985, and spent so much time debating that it took him five years to graduate. After achieving a near-perfect score on his LSATs, he enrolled at the NYU School of Law, where, as a budding gay activist, he decided to "test the authenticity" of NYU's liberal reputation by leading what became a successful campaign to ban Colorado firms from recruiting on campus after the state's voters passed an amendment to overturn existing anti-discrimination laws.


Stop Watching Us.

The revelations about the National Security Agency's surveillance apparatus, if true, represent a stunning abuse of our basic rights. We demand the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA's spying programs.

Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest

The Evening Blues

More Tunes

Artists United Against Apartheid - Sun City

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site