Thursday, 2 March 2017

My first Famous Five

AGEING produces many changes but one curiosity is how the mind ravels backwards, driven I suppose by ones inner sense of mortality. Hey ho.

Among many reminiscences came one about the people who have figured as significant in my life. The list was quite long, multi-ethnic, duo-gender and interesting. I have chosen to blog on the subject by linking the reasons for 'greatness' in my mind. 

And to a degree all this can be done to the sound of Neil Diamond who, among many great songs, penned Done Too Soon. This covers many of my heroes.It his list not mine the general idea is good..

So this blog is about the people who I think have laid down some of the biggest historic markers for black people across the world.

We begin when I was five years old and so have to admit most of my admiration comes from later reading and acquired knowledge - Mahatma Ghandi, or Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as he was named. 

Sadly he died in the year I was five and a few months before my brother was born.
But I grew up with the name of Ghandi underscoring my growing years. By the time I was about 15 and had settled on being a left-winger to the annoyance of my very Tory father I was also ashamed of colonialism, Imperialism and especially partition. 

It was some years before I was to learn just how outrageous that act was in conception and implementation. So Ghandi: a hero of the victims of colonialism. A flawed hero to be sure but in history it is eventual reputation that wins and this is built on results. For me he represents the antithesis of all that pomp and merciless ceremony that disfigured the Raj. 
Indeed, the antithesis of Mountbatten who is sometimes unfairly it seems to me, gifted all the blame for what Britain did to the Indian sub-continent.

It was not long before this child of the 50s began to see a different world from the one he had been raised and taught to see. And one key ingredient was Martin Luther King.

Here indeed was the leader of opinion writ large. I of course only enjoyed a few years of his lessons (he died in 1968) but it was he more than anyone who made me focus on the plight of the black community in the 'good old' USofA. And thus I came to see that what is portrayed may be far from the reality. Today we talk of 'fake news' because a man who hates exposure to anything but adulation has coined the phrase. He is wrong - 'propaganda' has been with us always and that is why he avoids calling it so; for his home is in propaganda valley. 

Oh for there to be a Martin King, junior to strip Trumps down to size.

Around the same time another extraordinary man came to prominence. But where King used words this man used his body - Muhammad Ali, or Cassius Clay as he started out before freeing himself from an unforgiving past, was a true people's hero. Arguably the finest boxer of all time in terms of his craft, he used his success to point the way for his fellows.

Like King, he was telling the downtrodden black people of America that they were as good as anyone and could rise to greatness.

And unlike so many boxers he carried forwards, from an illustrious amateur and Olympic career, the lightness of movement and the deftness of touch that always marked him out. It was in that dance that he set himself apart from all boxers and demonstrated the grace of the athlete. I hate boxing but I loved Ali.

Back to the world of politics now and we come to a hero few will disagree with - Nelson Mandela, born Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela in 1918.

Here was the true dedicated man. His stubborn defence of freedom in the face of cruel apartheid led him to gaol but not to the shadows. He was the haunting of F W de Klerk and in the end his nemesis. That he became the first president of a free South Africa was the rightful pinnacle of an illustrious life.

He was the quiet man of one of the greatest drama of the 20th century, played out in South Africa, a land so beautiful it might be judged heaven it was, instead and for decades, hell for its rightful inhabitants. 

Apartheid in South Africa was for too long the secret justification for similar barbarities in many of Europe's former colonies.For once Britain was not wholly to blame but to coin a phrase, tell that to Australian aborigines or native Americans.

And now we enter a new century and something that seemed impossible for all the first 60 or so years of my life. And to all who have been named thus far. Barack Obama is elected president of the United State of America. Let your tongue roll around that fact today and remember - it was the same electorate that produced "Ginger November". 

But to win was not his last or finest achievement - for he did it again! Not so many white men have achieved a second term but Barack did. Oh his tenure may have been blighted by the disastrous Republican majorities in both the US houses.And I am sure he found plenty of other opposition along the way.

But not only did he tear down the big barricade; a black man in the Oval Office NOT serving the drinks. He did it twice. Let us just get through the Trump aberration and maybe, just maybe, we will see that Barack Obama's legacy is the final emancipation of his fellow Black Americans. What, even a Mexican president? Now that would be something.

So that's it - my first famous five. They share their gender and their ethnic background but it is good to note that they also share a belief in their fellow humankind regardless of race, colour or creed. I salute you all for helping me believe that good can win - eventually.

Next time: Science and technology - my Famous Five Boffins.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Bill Gates never expected this...

Windows 10 is the biggest pile of poo since computing started.
I was early into this stuff: After playing with Dragons and Commodores in the... was it the late 70s - I got serious on a Mac SEII in the 80s and for commercial reasons also used MS kit on what we called IBM machines - specifically Windows 3.1 for work stations. So I have enjoyed/suffered Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT and 7, 8 and now 10. Updates have become a way of lie. But not as we know it Jim. I have just suffered the update to end them all - Win 10 does an update and it takes over an HOUR! I have 50 meg so it not the connection. And it doesn't say it will take some minutes as usual. Oh no - its honest and say "It will take a while" Oh sure it does. And yes my PC did re-start several times. (Exactly why?) And then I got to actually use the machine I have bought and paid for but which Win 10 has decided is theirs. not mine!
And what does it do - it lies. It says it is all to keep me safe on line. Lie - I use a proprietary software security package that makes Win Defender look like toffee on a battle tank. And updates in minutes.
But worse - it tell me how to start my machine - Go to Start! And then it tells me to check out all the wonderful apps - bugger off; apps are what you get on mobile crap and are cut down progs designed to do little stuff on small memory. I use program(me)s like I always have. And then it has the cheek to say "Let's get started" - bugger off Microsoft - I'll do what i want on my kit; YOU are the servant her - read it, learn it and do IT!" Oh yeah - and who asked for EDGE? I hate the stupid prog - when i want it I'll seek medical help.
Now, where was that stuff on switching to LINUX...