Provocation triple distilled
23 October 2017 15:30 (South Africa)

The six words that may yet haunt Obama

  • J Brooks Spector
    brooks spector 02 BW
    J Brooks Spector

    Spector settled in Johannesburg after a career as a US diplomat in Africa and East Asia. He has taught at the U. of the Witwatersrand, been a consultant for an international NGO, run a theatre, and been a commentator for South African and international print/broadcast/online media, in addition to writing for The Daily Maverick from day one. Spector is a Writing Fellow of the Unit of Johannesburg’s Institute for Advanced Studies. He says he learned everything he needs to know about politics from ‘Casablanca.’ Maybe he's cynical about some things, but a late Beethoven string quartet, John Coltrane’s music and a dish of Pad Thai will bring him close to tears.

obama six words
Aniya Seki of Switzerland,(R), fights against Kleopatra Tolnai of Hungary, (L), during a WBC silver title fight in Guemligen, Switzerland, 21 October 2017. EPA-EFE/PETER KLAUNZER

While you were sleeping: 23 October 2017

By John Stupart
Photo of St Petersburg by Mariano Mantel via Flickr.

Op-Ed: A hundred years later, finding the modern Russia amid the remnants of a revolution

Traditional Moroccan knights ride in an equestrian show during the Festival of Tbourida, a competition between the Moroccan tribes, in Al-Jadidah, Morocco, 18 October 2017. Tbourida is a traditional exhibition of horsemanship in the Maghreb performed during cultural festivals and to close Maghrebi wedding celebrations. The performance consists of a group of horse riders, all wearing traditional clothes, who charge along a straight path at the same speed so as to form a line, the pickup speed and then at the end of the charge, fire into the sky using old muskets or muzzle-loading rifles.

While you were sleeping: 20 October 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: (L-R): The president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, general secretary of the World Labour Organisation, Guy Ryder (partly covered), the director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, general secretary of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurria (partly covered) and the general secretary of the World Trade Organisation, Roberto Azevedo, during a joint press conference of the leaders of international economy and financial organisations in Berlin, Germany, 10 April 2017. Photo: Clemens Bilan/(EPA).

Op-Ed: Intellectual property for the 21st century economy

Photo: Kendall Waston of Costa Rica celebrates after scoring against Honduras during their qualifying match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia at National Stadium in San Jose, Costa Rica, 07 October 2017. Photo: Jeffrey Aguedas/(EPA).

Op-Ed: Pure life as a means to development, Costa Rican style

Photo: (left) Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond speaks at an OECD press conference in central London, Britain, 17 October 2017. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL; (right) Ajay Gupta (Gallo images)

State Capture: UK Serious Fraud Office aware of Guptas’ overseas banking networks

By Marianne Thamm
Real Madrid's Croatian midfielder Luka Modric (L) in action against Tottenham's English striker Harry Kane (R) during the UEFA Champions League group H soccer match between Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, 17 October 2017.

While you were sleeping: 19 October 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: USA’s 16th President Abraham Lincoln (L), and 45th President, Donald Trump (EPA)

Trump v Lincoln: Condolences from two US presidents, a universe apart

By J Brooks Spector
Photo: The new Welsh Secretary Peter Hain departs 10 Downing Street following a cabinet meeting in London, Britain, 09 June 2009. EPA/ANDY RAIN.

UK: Lord Hain to question role of UK and European financial institutions in State Capture

By Marianne Thamm
Filipino soldiers conduct a patrol in the ruined city of Marawi, southern Philippines, 17 October 2017. The President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte announced that the city of Marawi is liberated after five months of fighting between the Philippine armed forces and rebels allied to the Islamic State terror group. Rodrigo Duterte's announcement came a day after the army killed Isnilon Hapilon, the self-proclaimed emir of the IS in Southeast Asia and leader of the Islamist rebels in the southern Philippines.

While you were sleeping: 18 October 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: UK Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel, delivers her speech on the third day of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, Britain, 03 October 2017.  Photo: EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Op-Ed: Has the World Bank become irrelevant?

Photo: Thomas Picauly/(Unsplash).

Letter from Trumpland: An auditorium of tears for an all-American death

By Glen Retief

While you were sleeping: 17 October 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: A general view of barrels of red wine in a cellar at La Motte wine farm in Franschhoek on 25 August 2015. Photo: Nic Bothma/(EPA).

South Africa fails to exploit free trade agreement access to massive EU market

Vehicles burn at the scene of a massive explosion in front of Safari Hotel in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia, 14 October 2017. Reports state at least 20 peole have been killed when a truck bomb went off on a busy street in central Mogadishu. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the country's Islamist militant group al-Shabab often carries out similar attacks in the capital.

While you were sleeping: 16 October 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: US film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives for the Jury Cinecoles ceremony during the 13th annual Marrakech International Film Festival in Marrakech, Morocco on 6 December 2013. File photo: Guillaume Horcajuelo/(EPA).

Power, money and sex: Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump and All the King’s Men

By J Brooks Spector
Photo: Antonio Grosz/(Unsplash).

Right of Reply: Gun-free proponents make emotional claims

By Jonathan Wright
US President Donald J. Trump (2-L) and First Lady Melania Trump (2-R) welcome Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau (L) and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau (R), at the South Portico of the White House in Washington DC, USA, 11 October 2017.

While you were sleeping: 13 October 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: US President Donald J. Trump (2-L) and First Lady Melania Trump (2-R) welcome Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau (L) and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau (R), at the South Portico of the White House in Washington DC, USA, 11 October 2017. EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Survivor: The White House Edition

By J Brooks Spector
A general view of a forest fire close to the village of Lobios, in the natural reserve of Xures, in Orense, northwestern Spain, early 11 October 2017. At least 70 hectares were affected by a fire that started on 08 October.

While you were sleeping: 12 October 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: Several handguns are seen at the headquarters of the National Direction for Guns and Ammunition Control (DIGECAM)) where 96 seized weapons were destroyed in Guatemala City, Guatemala, 30 January 2014. Photo: EPA/Saul Martinez

Op-Ed: Mass shootings in SA and the US – why the killings will continue

By Peter Storey & Adele Kirsten
A polling staff member holds a child while the mother votes at a polling station in West Point slum community in Monrovia, Liberia, 10 October 2017. The elections are hoped to be the first peaceful and democratic transfer of power from Africa's first female democratically elected president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to a new leader who has to continue the countries rebuild following nearly two decades of brutal civil war.

While you were sleeping: 11 October 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: In this file picture students from Wits University stand defiant against police forces during ongoing protests against the cost of higher education in Johannesburg, South Africa, 04 October 2016. Photo: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

Op-Ed: Student fees crisis in Britain – lessons for South Africa

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28 (C), who was detained in connection with the death of Kim Jong-Nam, is escorted by Malaysian police officers as she leaves the Malaysia Chemistry Department in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, 09 October 2017.

While you were sleeping: 10 October 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: File photo dated 04 November, 1991 shows US President Ronald Reagan giving a speech at the dedication of the library bearing his name in Simi Valley, California.  EPA/J._David_Ake

Declassified: Apartheid Profits – American Guns

By Open Secrets
Photo: Athol Fugard as Oupa in The Shadow of the Hummingbird. Photo:  Jesse Kramer

Nobel Prize for Literature: Beating the drum for Athol Fugard to be nominated in 2018

By J Brooks Spector
Cirque du Soleil artists perform on stage during the Australian premiere of the new show 'Toruk - The First Flight' in Brisbane, Australia, 05 October 2017. The show is the first in its Australian tour which ends in Perth on 30 November 2017.

While you were sleeping: 6 October 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: LinkedIn

Solving the US firearms conundrum: An Immodest Proposal

By J Brooks Spector
US Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders (C), with Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal (R) and Diane Feinstein (L), delivers remarks on gun control legislation during a press conference in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 04 October 2017.

While you were sleeping: 5 October 2017

By John Stupart