well, this is going to be one of those posts. if you don't like it, move along, skip onto the next one, but thank you so much for stopping by.
the internet and death are strange allies. in recent times, the sad, shocking news that James Gandolfini had passed away led to an outpouring of messages, declaring him "the greatest actor ever" and The Sopranos as being "the greatest TV show ever". the fact that The Sopranos wasn't even his finest ever work was neither here nor there. on a similar note, the equally sad passing of Ray Manzarek led to a "reverse" of the usual, with many trying to claim his death was a hoax, again using "the internet" as a conduit for this. usually one gets to see entirely fake death stories on the internet - i have lost count of how many actors and musicians have fallen to their death in New Zealand - but this was the first time i had seen a genuine death be attempted to be described as a hoax.
where is this kind of approach going? the psychology of it i leave in the hands of expensive psychological analysists who pocket an awful lot of money for stating the obvious in an authorative way. me, i just sit and stare in disbelief, disappointment and with a mild amount of anger at the below picture, one of those "viral" or "meme" things that is spreading at a shocking rate.
the arrogance and the folly of the "developed First World" is all right there for you to indulge. too much time to think and too little to do would be the best way i can find to describe the thinking above. the worst - and most likely to be the case - way i can think of to describe it is as being laced with racism, xenophobia and displaying colonialist thinking. people are presumably seeing it, noting that it is anti-Cameron at face value and just sharing it, not noticing that it is one white chap having the audacity and nerve to presume they can say which other white chaps may and may not grieve for Mr Mandela.
i would not describe myself as being either a supporter or an apologist of David Cameron, let me make that clear. the problem here is someone taking it upon themselves to say who can and cannot grieve for the death of someone, anyone in general, and in particular one of the most celebrated, admired people in the history of our little rock surfing around the sun. if you loathe, hate, despise and cannot stand Cameron and his politics, well then fine, go off and do something about it. sharing this offensive statement is not doing something about it.
i have no idea if this "Rocker Rosehip" is either the author of this or just one that has decided to share it, but the above is the most common being shared all over the place. here is a look at who seems to have become the spokesperson for who may and may not express support or thanks for Madiba.
hmn. i am not at all certain that either the family of Mr Mandela, the ANC or anyone from South Africa has opted to make a DJ from a provincial radio station either a spokesperson or the ideal person to determine who can and cannot express admiration for Madiba.
the single most offensive part of the sentiment expressed in this "viral meme" thing is that the thinking in it goes against all that Mr Mandela tried to do in this world. his expressed view was one of peace, unity and equality. the struggle was for the quality of man, regardless of race, creed and colour, with a free and fair South Africa being the dream of Mr Mandela. i would not ever dare think i could speak on behalf of Madiba, but what i, and what the people of this land know is that the idea of someone taking it upon themselves to say who may and who may not comment on the man and all that he did would have horrified him. Mr Mandela extended the hand of friendship to all, no matter who they were or what they thought. perhaps Mr Cameron and many others who it is claimed were "pro-apartheid" in the 80s learned from that over the last 20 years.
i have considered it nothing but an honour and a privilege to be a guest of the home country of Mr Mandela for the last 20 or so years. this is a troubled land, make no mistake, but understand this - the overwhelming majority of people here share Mr Mandela's vision of a beautiful, free and equal country. they do not need nor want squabbling over who may or may not be sad when the father of this nation passes.
i suggest that "Rocket Rosehip" and similar stick to what they do best - mocking the likes of Princess Diana and Jade Goody in life, then celebrating them as saints when they pass away. leave things that you do not understand well alone.
for all the normal, well balanced people who have taken the time to read this, i can only suggest you carry on with the only thing any of us can do - be kind in your thoughts of this extraordinary man that this country and the world have been fortunate to know, and hope that Madiba is at peace with himself.
be excellent to each other.