Stop the deathwatch

June 26th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

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I find it hard to contain my disgust at the response in South Africa and abroad to ’s hospitalisation for what is quite clearly a terminal illness. It has been nothing short of ghoulish.

Mandela is 94. Given what he has experienced in that long life, it is perhaps surprising that he has survived to such a ripe old age. Now it is time to let him go.

But ‘letting him go’ has not been an acceptable option for the country’s politicians, its churches and many of its citizens. The nation is encouraged to ‘pray for Madiba’ – not for a peaceful end to his suffering, but for the extension of that suffering or, at best, his survival in what may be little more than a zombie-like state. What masquerades as loving concern is in fact the ultimate selfishness.

Edwards is right.  I find this deathwatch ghoulish. We don’t need twice daily updates on him. When he dies, many will pay tribute – as is appropriate.

What South Africa and the world needs to do is to mourn Mandela’s death when it occurs and, when the mourning time is over, celebrate the life he lived. Instead, we crowd like vultures around the hospital bed of a dying man, some savouring titbits of hope, others in the expectation of gathering the first morsels of publicity that will increase their journalistic reputations.

Well said.

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40 Responses to “Stop the deathwatch”

  1. Dennis Horne (2,403 comments) says:

    He will rise again.

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  2. Nookin (3,341 comments) says:

    If t is ghoulish, why do Prince Phillip’s urinary infections attract international headlines and what will happen when the Queen is in terminal state?

    Maybe there is a need for South Africans to have someone or something to believe in? I don’t think we are able to apply our standards of good taste (if we can establish any) in this case.

    I am more disgusted by recent interviewers on TV3 raising the issue of race riots and violence when he goes. It has happened at least twice so far and in each case the interviewee has debunked the idea.

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  3. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    Perhaps the souls of those who had burning tires around their necks just don’t want him in hell!

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  4. wreck1080 (3,905 comments) says:

    I’m not sure I’d call it ‘ghoulish’ but I do find it odd how they want Mandala to ‘recover’. It sounds like old age is the problem and not many ways of curing that!!

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  5. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    The Death Watch was quite acceptable in western societies a century or so ago, however, as death has become ‘invisible’ to us, something that is detached and hidden, watching, waiting and wanting news and updates does seem bizarre, and as the article says, ghoulish.

    However, lets not forget that S.A. is a different type of society, a mix of cultures and ethnic groups, who may still regard death as open/visible and public and therefore require such updates.

    As a point of interest – societies who have more visible deaths, deal with grief a whole heap better in the long term, than those who are detached from the final process of life.

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  6. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Ive seen a lot worse than this.
    when i read the headline i thought it was in regards to Shearer

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  7. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    The coverage is being done to death and then some. I was sick of it a couple of weeks ago.

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  8. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    Zuma is just trying to leech some of Mandela’s status.

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  9. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    Being married to a South African I probably take more interest in this than I normally would. My understanding is helicopters have seen his family digging a grave at his rural property and that he is on life support until everything is in order.
    On another note, Zuma’s press conference the other night was nothing more than a stunt. We were watching on tvnz.co.nz and he showed up about half an hour late, then, knowing he had a world wide audience went on to tell total crap what a wonderful job the ANC is doing and 30 seconds on Mandela being critical.
    Finally, and please don’t take this the wrong way, but Mandela/Zuma/ANC has totally fucked a stunning country. The rapes, the murders, the assults, the roberries etc etc has gone through the roof. We hear nothing. The media don’t bother printing anything because there is just so much of it going on.
    My father went on the ’76 All Black tour to South Africa and loved the place, I always remember him saying if he was 20 years younger he would move there, he would turn in his grave today.

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  10. Akaroa (557 comments) says:

    I don’t usually have much time for Brian Edwards – but in this instance ‘Hear Hear’!!

    And ‘hear hear’ again!!

    Let the old guy go to his maker privately.

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  11. tvb (4,418 comments) says:

    We are being left to infer as to what is really going on. I suspect he is on life support, is basically in a coma waiting for the family to make a decision. I note they are meeting at his rural property and presumably they will now allow his life to end with some dignity rather than prolonging things artificially because they cannot make a decision.

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  12. Scott Chris (6,135 comments) says:

    I find this deathwatch ghoulish

    As do I.

    Vulturine.

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  13. Right of way is Way of Right (1,122 comments) says:

    I thought this post was about David Shearer’s leadership of the Labour Party!

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  14. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Somewhere I read that the family has been squabbling over his wealth for some time..Usually the bigger the family , the more the squabbles.. Never dignified…Thanks for your comments Micheals.

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  15. Dennis Horne (2,403 comments) says:

    Where there’s a will there’s a squabble.

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  16. Ross Nixon (559 comments) says:

    RIP Mr Mandela.

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  17. david (2,557 comments) says:

    Let the SAFAs feed whatever appetite they have for seeing the old guy off the twig but why on God’s earth have two NZ TV channels got people on the ground? Not only are they both showing evidence of poor financial decision-making and interpretation of what their viewers find interesting, but their presence literally forces them to justify themselves by having live crosses on a regular basis only to have them tell us in prime time that there is no change or he is not dead yet. One even used the term “waiting for word” the other night. Well the word is “dead” and frankly I can’t wait for it to be used and the circus can then leave town.

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  18. sHr0oMaN (25 comments) says:

    As a Saffa I reckon his death will be one of the few events that will drive South Africans closer. Much like the rugby world cup etc. After which, they’ll all go back to using the racism card and ignoring the real issues.

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  19. kowtow (8,439 comments) says:

    New Zealand has every right to have as many reporters at this world shattering ,tectonic and never to be repeated event of the millenium………afterall the New Zealand media is constantly telling us that it was New Zealand alone in the world that stood up for the oppressed blackman,stopped the tour,stopped the very Sun as it traversed the skies………

    and as michaels points out that once peaceful and prosperous country has been turned into one of the most dangerous places in the world ,great achievement, but of course the left wing media who played such a big role in demonising the evil white man aren’t about to highlight the fact they helped bring about massive corruption and the denials of basic rights to so many raped and murdered black women,people the left wing media would claim to be their very constituency.

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  20. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    The overtones for the voluntary euthanasia issue and quantity of life vs quality of life are palpable in this instance….

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  21. jcuk (686 comments) says:

    I am glad I don’t watch TV as to see as well as hear reporters saying ‘nothing new’ would be just too much.

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  22. David Garrett (7,271 comments) says:

    Akaroa: Well said.

    As for the “necklaces” of burning tyres, I think it was the fomer Mrs Mandela who was implicated in all that, rather than Nelson, who was in prison on Robben Island at the time…I have never seen convincing evidence of Mandela approving of that ghoulish practice…perhaps he did.

    Anyway, whatever; time to let what is if nothing else a remarkable life come to an end.

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  23. Komata (1,191 comments) says:

    Given that Mandela has had a ‘unifying’ effect on SA (even now, despite being out of politics for several years), what happens after his death and the loss of his ‘unifying presence’ over the country?

    Sadly, because it seems to be the ‘non-white’ way on the African continent; perhaps a tribally-based civil war and another Zimbabwe as a result?

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  24. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    Komata SA is already the next Zimbabwe. With over 2 million homeless black Zim’s in J/burg alone it doesn’t make a pretty site.

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  25. Redbaiter (8,801 comments) says:

    Just imagine the screeds of lies and the mountains of propaganda these left wing vultures have got ready to unload the second Manela goes. The truth is he is nothing but a liar and a murderer and a terrorist and a communist. You think these fawning communist cowards who pose as our media will ever tell us that truth?.

    Nelson Mandela- 1991

    “Long live the Cuban Revolution. Long live comrade Fidel Castro… Cuban internationalists have done so much for African independence, freedom, and justice. We admire the sacrifices of the Cuban people in maintaining their independence and sovereignty in the face of a vicious imperialist campaign designed to destroy the advances of the Cuban revolution. We too want to control our destiny… There can be no surrender. It is a case of freedom or death. The Cuban revolution has been a source of inspiration to all freedom-loving people.”

    Castro’s regime has killed about 100,000 Cuban citizens.

    Mandela was originally incarcerated, not for his political views, but for involvement in 23 different acts of sabotage and conspiring to overthrow the government. He and his fellow conspirators of the ANC and the South African Communist Party were caught by the police while in the possession of 48,000 Soviet-made anti-personnel mines and 210,000 hand-grenades!

    http://www.rhodesia.nl/goodcom.html

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  26. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    I’ve spent the last couple summers on holiday in South Africa and I have to say there is an incredible amount of racial tension still evident there. With people like Julius Malema (think Hone Harawira times ten) waiting in the wings I do worry about what will happen after Mandela has passed on. It is still a beautiful country and doesn’t feel much more dangerous than many of the US cities I’ve lived in and visited (with the exception of Joburg, that place is on another level). I’d hate to see it go the way of Zimbabwe, though oddly I’ve also visited Zim and it was far safer to walk around on your own there than in SA.

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  27. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    I totally agree. There’s the same news story on TV1 every night – and no doubt running updates on their website every time he sneezes.

    Surely the appropriate thing to do is to report that he’s ill, then leave it alone until either he gets better or he doesn’t. Quite why we need daily updates on the health of a 94 year old is beyond me.

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  28. Redbaiter (8,801 comments) says:

    There’s more-

    When this dirty commie sleazebag dies, what’s the bet that every damn party leader in the NZ parliament will stand up and speak in reverence?

    Not one of them will have the stones to call this communist murderer out for what he really is or refer to the stark reality of the murderous stinking communist hole that South Africa is today. Where South African whites and their families are daily subjected to rape and murder and torture and theft.

    We’re living in an age of political corruption and propaganda the likes of which we have seldom seen before and the accuracy of this statement is shown by the disgraceful fact that not one politician in our parliament has the courage to speak the truth on Nelson Mandela.

    A liar, a communist, a murderer, a torturer and a terrorist will be honoured as if he is the equal of Winston Churchill. What a bunch of gutless propaganda spreading cowards.

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  29. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    But “murder” is so much more subjective than you’d like to admit isn’t it Weddy?

    MK bombing campaign in South Africa: about 250 civilians killed.
    Firebombing of Tokyo in WW2: at least 100,000 civilians killed.

    But you will tell me it’s not the same, World War two was a “legitimate” war wasn’t it Weddy?

    It had a “legitimate” name and everything, and it was white men vs the evil Japanese peril, so those civilian deaths were “legitimate” and can’t really be compared can they?

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  30. Manolo (13,747 comments) says:

    RRM, are you trying to rewrite history?
    The Japs deserve every one of these bombs. No buts or ifs.

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  31. Kea (12,803 comments) says:

    He is a communist and terrorist should have been hung long ago for his crimes. Under his rule SA collapsed into a murderous crime infested shit hole.

    The popular image of this man does not stand scrutiny. People are mourning the image and what we are told he stood for, not the reality.

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  32. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    It’s a black & white world you live in isn’t it Manolo.

    Here are two dead Japanese in Tokyo. Did the little one on the left “deserve it”… really?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tokyo_kushu_1945-2.jpg

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  33. Alan Johnstone (1,087 comments) says:

    Was he engaged in an armed uprising ? Yeah, probably.

    I personally don’t have an issue with that. White South Africa denied political power to 90% of the population, it was an illegitimate state and it’s laws and any claim to authority are of no consequence.

    If the black populace has bombed and shot their way to political power in the 70/80s I’d have been cool with that.

    It’d have been no different to the Yanks in 1776

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  34. Redbaiter (8,801 comments) says:

    RRM, you’ve always been just a poorly informed commie light weight.

    One of my mentors once said to me that to understand global politics all you really need to do is look at the world map. This was one of the best pieces of political advice I have ever received.

    The Horn of Africa is an important factor in any global warfare strategy. Its why the British wanted it. Its why the Soviets wanted it. Its why the Soviets generated the anti-apartheid movement that eventually delivered South Africa into their hands. Trouble is this plan was fucked up because their union collapsed. However SA remains in Communist hands with Red China hoping they can fill the void left by the Soviets.

    The replacement of the Afrikanner govt in SA was never really about apartheid, it was about delivering the Horn of Africa to the Soviets. (why Mandela had all that Soviet merchandise)

    Mandela has always just been a shill for global totalitarian communists, the most criminal group of mass murderers in recent history.

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  35. Frankie Lee (12 comments) says:

    “Its why the Soviets generated the anti-apartheid movement ”

    Interesting, as the ANC was formed in 1912, five years before the Soviet Union even existed.

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  36. sHr0oMaN (25 comments) says:

    Redbaiter: What’s the Horn of Africa got to do with South Africa?

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  37. Redbaiter (8,801 comments) says:

    Yes you are quite right. and well spotted.

    My apologies. Of course I meant the Cape.

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  38. Steve (North Shore) (4,560 comments) says:

    I don’t like Nelson Mandela or anyone like him. Terorist? maybe. Winnie is the same.
    But the man did what he did because he fought hard – prison to President.
    Die Nelson Mandela, but die peacefully, your time has come as it will to all of us

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  39. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    Clearly none of those calling Mandela a communist have read his autobiography, where he explicitly states that he is an African Nationalist who supports Westminster democracy. This was borne out in his Presidency. By all accounts he regarded communists as “useful idiots” towards his goals.

    The National Party were just beyond vile. There is no question that SA was a “better place” in the apartheid era – for white people. But it was a morally corrupt state. Mandela took up arms against it, and he was right to do so. Maybe the aftermath is not pretty, and maybe it will get worse. But that does not justify the inhumanity of the previous regime.

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  40. Scott1 (549 comments) says:

    I wonder if it is possible for a good person to ever have much impact on the world, because they are far too constrained in their actions, and cannot compete with a dishonest person who pretends to be good. So if you see a hero in global politics – odds are he would have crushed you if that happened to be expedient (either metaphorically or literally) without much thought to if you deserved it.

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