I've just been inspired by a wonderful person, (Hi Cathy!)to pick up my IPad after six months of silence and blog! As they used to say in the classic BBC Goon Show: "Waits for applause... Not a sausage!"
Never mind. I have missed too many chances to entertain, instruct and show off: example, take the death of Mandela.
I was living in London when Mandela was in prison. Of course, you could have lived in London, married, had kids and moved to the country and he would still have been in prison. Back then, in the sixties, London was full of white liberals, many of them Jewish, exiling themselves from apartheid South Africa. (A better class of resident than the current Russian oligarchs and Arab millionaires.)
Back then, Mandela was the political touchstone by which we were all measured. Were you for the boycott of all things South African or not? I can't remember if we students had banned diamond engagement rings but we refused to eat pineapples. (It would have been unbearable during the war, to spurn the Christmas food parcels from our South African relatives, with their cans of golden pineapple chunks.)
The South African boycott as a policy, is still debated today: did it help destroy apartheid? Do boycotts work? If we shun vodka now, will it hurt the Russian economy? Or just South Beach? Back then, it was clear cut as a fairy tale: a very good man was in prison and by not eating pineapples we could help get him out.