Friday, January 15, 2010

Did Haiti's earthquake damage extremist Islam's foundation?

On Tuesday of this week, Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake. The destruction has been widespread  and the Red Cross estimates that 50,000 people have been killed.

Sadly, that figure could be conservative.

Aid organisations and the United Nations have appealed to the international community for assistance. The response has been overwhelming, and planes are being turned away from Toussaint L'Ouverture International Airport.

Haiti is regarded as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It has a population of 10 million,  with per capita GDP at $US790. 80% of the population live below the poverty line.

Haiti has nothing to offer to the Western world. No natural resources. No oil. Haiti is no threat to the Westerm world. It does not even have an army. There is no need for the Western world to support, or assist, Haiti. The Western world has nothing to gain by assisting Haiti. And the Western world has no Haitian threat is has to be fearful of.

However, news agencies were quick to report on those countries, NGO's and aid agencies that have responded to pleas of assistance.

I praise The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. They have been essential in providing assistance and attempting to coordinate relief efforts.

The United States has pledged and intial $100 million in aid, and Barack Obama has promised more. 800 American paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division were deployed from North Carolina. 2000 marines will be joining them.

America is also sending a naval hospital ship, the USNS Comfort. It is best described as a 'floating hospital'. It has a trauma facility that can treat 1000 patients at a time.

Britain has sent a team to Haiti that will assist with rescue and relief efforts. Gordon Brown has appealed to the Brtish public to donate money to the relief effort.

Israel was one of the first countries to respond, with assistance in search and rescue as well as field hospitals. An Israeli military official, Gidi Shenar, said "We have been in several places in the world. We are bringing our knowledge and we are coming to assist the people over there and save lives. As fast as we can, we will be over there."

This kind of assistance, from the West, is not unique. And it's not limited to predominantly 'Christian countries', like Haiti.

For example, following an earthquake in Iran, in June 2002, America sent aid and supplies to Iran. President Bush stated ""Human suffering knows no political boundaries". Following a December 2003 earthquake in Iran, the USA, Russia, Britain, Germany and Spain all offered help.

Israel has sent teams to assist in rescue and aid efforts following, for example, the August 1999 earthquake in Turkey, the January 2001 earthquake in India, the June 2006 earthquake in Indonesia, the December 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka and Thailand.

There has been amazing support being sent to Haiti from the Muslim and Arab world as well as Muslim and Arab charities. South Africa based Gift of the Givers is just one example of a charity that responded within hours of the news breaking. Turkey is sending a mobile hospital and humanitarian aid to Haiti.

Here is a list of countries that were reported, in the 'West' and the 'East', as first to respond to Haiti's calls for assistance:

United States, United Kingdom, China, Brazil, the European Union, Britain, Germany, Israel, France, Switzerland, South Korea and Canada.

However, there is something that stands out, for me, from the list of countries that were first to respond to Haiti's humanitarian crisis.

And, whether the humanitarian crisis is in Haiti, Sudan, Somalia, Iran or Zimbabwe... the lists of those countries who are first to offer (and indeed provide) assistance, are almost always made up entirely of Infidels
If you are based in South Africa, and would like to donate to the relief effort in Haiti, contact Gift of the Givers on Tel: +27 (0) 33 345 0163 or visit

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Great start to 2010 for South African film industry

Skin nominated for Best Foreign Film at the NAACP Awards

(With thanks to the National Film and Video Foundation)

Skin, a true-life story about South Africa¹s Sandra Laing has been nominated for Best Foreign Film award at the NAACP Image Awards, while Sophie Okonedo, who plays the role of Sandra Laing in the film, has been nominated for the Outstanding Actress award.

Celebrating outstanding achievements and performances of people of colour in the arts, and individuals and groups that promote social justice through their creative endevours, the NAACP Awards will be held on Friday 26 February 2010 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Skin follows Sandra¹s thirty-year old journey from rejection to acceptance, betrayal to reconciliation, as she struggles to define her place in a changing world - and triumphs against all odds. The film tells the story of Sandra Laing (Sophie Okonedo), a coloured woman born to white parents (Sam Neill, Alice Krige) who were unaware of their black ancestory. Though classified as white, Sandra struggles to be accepted by the white community.

Sandra ultimately falls in love with a black man and together they have two kids.

Skin is due for release in South Africa on Friday 22 January 2010. The film will be screened at the following cinemas: Cape Town - V&A Waterfront Cinema Nouveau and Cavendish Nouveau; Durban - Gateway Nouveau; Johannesburg - Bedford View Nouveau, Cedar Square Nouveau, East Rand Mall (Ster-Kinekor), Rosebank Nouveau, Maponya Mall (Ster-Kinekor), Westgate (Ster-Kinekor), and Pretoria - Brooklyn Nouveau, Wonderpark (Ster-Kinekor). For tickets visit during the week of release.

Skin had its World Premiere at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival in September 2008, and premiered to rave reviews in the United States late 2009. Since its international exhibitions Skin has won over 12 Festival awards including the Audience Award for Best Film at the Santa Barbara Film festival, Best Narrative and Best Jury Awards at the Pan African Film Festival, Audience Award at the Afrika Film Festival, Belgium , Audience Award at the AFI Dallas, Best Feature Film at the Palm Beach International Film Festival 2009, and Circle Audience Award at the Film Fest DC - Washington DC.

Starring Award-winning Sophie Okonedo, Sam Neill, Alice Krige, Tony Kgoroge and Ella Ramangwane, Skin is produced by Anthony Fabian, Genevieve Hofmeyr and Margaret Matheson, and directed by Anthony Fabian. The film’s release in South Africa is supported by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), The History Channel, Ster-Kinekor, United Independent Pictures (UIP), and Mail & Guardian.

For more information on Skin visit

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hitler would be so proud of Sandton attitudes, doll

(This tale has been translated from the original German)


Nazi Germany


In January of 1939, a German man, Harold Maximilian (Harry), aged 35, went for a dental check-up. Harry visited a respected German dentist. The German dentist performed standard procedures, and replaced some old fillings.

However, from that first visit to the German dentist, Harry started experiencing problems with his teeth. 1939 saw numerous complaints and visits to the German dentist, but Harry’s teeth issues persisted. Harry’s German dentist had done something wrong, and he could not correct the problem. In November 1939, the pain got unbearable. Harry’s German dentist informed him that Harry would now require root treatment. In utter disgust, Harry left the German dentist’s office and started looking for a new dentist.

Harry found one, not too far from his home. Very convenient. And Harry made an appointment, visited the new dentist, and started the root treatment with his new dentist. The German, Harry, now had a new dentist, a Jewish dentist . A graduate of the University of Berlin.

Harry was impressed with the service and professionalism. The young Jewish dentist was far superior to his experienced (and recommended) German dentist.

So the German, Harry, started recommending the dentist, and told his friends and family about the great new dentist he had found.

Harry: “I have had a nightmare of a year with my dentist. And now, he tells me I needed root treatment”

Friends: “So, what did you do?”

Harry: “I stormed out of his office and looked for a new dentist. I found a great new dentist, close to home. In the heart of Berlin’s financial and commercial district. He is based on Bernauer Strasse. I highly recommend him”

Friend 1: “That is great. What’s his name?”

Harry: “Doctor Steinberg”

Friend 2: “A Jewish dentist?”

Harry: “Yes"

Friend 3: “Why not a German dentist?”

Harry: “What’s the difference? This dentist is great, professional, and graduate of the University of Berlin. You should use him. He’s great”

Friend 4: “Yes, but he’s Jewish. I would never use a Jewish dentist”

Friend 5: “And he probably didn’t even get through his studies at the University of Berlin”

Friend 6: “Yes. And the University of Berlin certificate on his wall is probably forged"

Friend 7: “Or stolen”

Friend 8: “I could never use a Jewish dentist. I would not trust him to do a good job”

Harry: “Do you realize that it was German dentist who caused all the problems in the first place?”

Friend 9: "I reckon the Jewish dentist will probably rip you off"

Friend 10: “And I suppose his nurse is also Jewish”

Friends: “You should use a German dentist. A Jewish dentist does not know what he’s doing”


Thank God, I have a found an amazing new dentist, based on Grayston Drive, Sandton

Dr P.W. Mdudli
BDS (Wits)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Do not bet against the Rand in 2010

South Africa’s economy will face a challenging 2010. While South Africa is surviving the international economic disasters of the past 18 months, it has not remained unscathed.

Many indicators point to a positive 2010. The ‘science’ of Economics is (in my opinion) first and foremost a social science, but there are a number of positive comments and reports I would like to refer to.

In the 28 December 2009 edition of the Bangkok Post, Michael Preiss, Senior Investment Adviser at Standard Chartered Private Bank, wrote the following: “Borrowing US dollars to invest in Brazilian real made a 40% net/net return, the best carry trade of 2009, followed by South African rand at 33%”

Considering that the year ahead will see a less volatile Rand, returns like those noted above should not be expected. However, I believe that the outlook for the Rand, and the South African economy, should not be underestimated.

On the 21st of December, the South African Reserve Bank’s released its latest leading indictor – showing a rise at a faster pace in October than in September. The leading indictor combines a range of measures, including, among others, manufacturing hours worked, building plans approved and vehicles sold. Michael Belby of the Business Day writes: ”After a patchy start to the year, the trend has been solidly upwards”. Commenting on SARB’s leading indictor, Elna Moolman, group economist at Barnard Jacobs Mellet said “At the beginning of the year, when it started to improve, it was mostly financial market components that boosted it, but by now it is quite broad based. That is very encouraging”.

South Africa’s inflation rate is expected to ease in 2010. According to the University of Stellenbosch's Bureau for Economic Research, CPI will moderate to 5.7 percent in 2010, down from 7.2 percent in 2009. In the 4th quarter of 2009, there was in increase in Rand Merchant Bank’s Bureau of Economic Research business confidence index. JP van der Merwe of TradeInvestSA highlights that this is the first increase since the 3rd quarter of 2009.

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook was released in October. The IMF predicts growth of 1.7% for the SA economy in 2010. This is a modest forecast, and while it may seem like a gloomy prediction by the IMF, JP van der Merwe notes the IMF’s praise of South Africa for its fiscal policy, future growth prospects and the resilience of South Africa’s banking sector.

The 2010 ‘africapractice survey’ was released on the 15th of December. It is a survey of business leaders across Africa. All respondents expected foreign direct investment to rise in 2010. 95% of business leaders expected to grow their businesses in the year ahead. And while many respondents were optimistic about the FIFA World Cup, most felt that the benefits would be limited to South Africa.

I support Jacob Zuma’s words:

"The year 2010 must be the year in which for the first time, we all communicate positive messages about our country to the world – the successes and possibilities. We have to put the culture of negativity behind us."

South Africa’s economy will face a challenging 2010.

Despite, and in spite of, these challenges, all bets are on