Friday, January 23, 2009

Soccer in orgy of spending in the face of death

How could a soccer club, put an offer of £ 100 000 per week on the table, for a player, in a time where governments are using public funds to bail out private banks and where thousands of people loose their jobs, their income, their livelihood? Maybe I've lost the plot somewhere or the soccer fraternity has. Maybe this is only possible in a world where it's okay for a Brazilian soccer player, currently playing for an Italian team owned by the Prime Minister of that country, yet also wanting to play in the English Premier League, in a club called Manchester City, 10th on the log, which is owned by an Arab from UAE. I could have started with our very own Mamelodi Sundowns as well: a club, owned by mining magnate, Patrice Motsepe, which put offers of R 2,5m on the table for players or pay R 760 000 per week for a coach from France. They'e also 10th on the log. This, in a country, governed by comrades, where state hospitals are falling apart and where the poor simply have to be patient, waiting in long lines. If only it was nothing. Maybe I got my facts all wrong and wrangled up. Something is wrong with this; something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Congratulations to Pres Obama

Congratulations to President B.H. Obama ! You are indeed an inspiration to the world. But also, congratulations to the USA. A few years ago we said, "shame on you!", "Go home Yankee !" and threw shoes at your man. This morning we applaud you, we celebrate with you.

The world has seen (and experienced!) enough of the culture of strong fisted men and nations, who are insecure in who they are or in the values of peace and justice that made nations great.
Martin Luther King Jnr said,
"The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood."(Strength to Love)

What we see yesterday is the possibility of a sense of security in values that bind us all together. Of course, the challenges are great and Pres Obama's speech eloquently articulated it. He was not on the campaign trail anymore, and indeed, no catchy slogans or emotions will save the day. This is the time for hard-nosed analysis and even harder decisions. I think it was the same Martin Luther King Jnr, who struggled and died to see this day, who at some point said that this struggle needs leaders who are hard-nosed and soft-hearted. May Pres Obama be blessed with this in his vocation, but also, may he be surrounded by a cloud of witnesses and critics who will not fail to ask the difficult questions and remind him of the small people, which look up to heaven and pray, "give us today our daily bread". He is, and will not be, the black Messiah of the world and yes, I am often uncomfortable at his unqualified confidence in the American dream. Yet, he has political and economic power, but more so, symbolic power to affect changes, which will impact changes in other parts of the world. Let's do him a favor by remaining vigilant with the eyes focused on the ultimate prize of a world where "justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."