Quote of the week

Both the constructive disagreement intrinsic to science and the adversarial scrutiny necessary to politics disappear in this invocation of science as the ultimate authority – this trick will become familiar in the coming months. An extraordinary emergency requires extraordinary powers; no one disagrees with that. But it is politics, not science, which grants these powers legitimacy. How long will they endure?

James Butler
London Review of Books
18 July 2008

Happy birthday Mr Mandela, but what about the others

It gives one a nice warm feeling to know that Nelson Mandela is celebrating his 90th birthday today. His humility, humour, sense of forgiveness and the fact that he does not act like a saint but like a real human being stands out.

I was wondering though: what about all those other guys who were on Robben Island with Mandela, who have died or are now forgotten. Don’t they get a bit irritated that the chattering classes make such a fuss about Mandela while they do not warrant a mention?

Mandela is a remarkable man and we are an incredible lucky country to have such a leader. But many others also sacrificed to make freedom possible. We should not forget them.

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