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South African President’s Failures On AIDS Nearly Drove Jimmy Carter To Manly Dudgeon, Fisticuffs

You, Sir, Are No Gentleman!Hey, what’s up with former President Jimmy Carter today? Pretty much the usual — talking about punching out foreign leaders and crediting Harry S Truman for curing him of racism.

On the foreign-leader-smackdown front, Carter told the Johnannesburg Sunday Times that he was so angry with former South African president Thabo Mbeki’s denial of the link between HIV and AIDS that

“The first time I came here to Cape Town I almost got in a fight with the president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, because he was refusing to let AIDS be treated … That’s the closest I’ve come to getting into a fist fight with a head of state.”

Mbeki had refused to accept UN assistance in distributing the anti-retroviral drug AZT, which he falsely claimed was toxic, a policy that critics argue led to hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths from HIV/AIDS. We wouldn’t have blamed Mr. Carter if he’d been tempted to sic an angry aquatic rabbit on someone like that, foreign or no.

In another interview, with Parade magazine, Carter touched on the controversy over Paula Deen’s admission that she had used the n-word in the past; Carter said that her admission should be seen in the context of a changing South:

What she did was admit what almost every southerner of her age would have to admit — that sometime in their lives they probably used the word. I’m not making an excuse — I don’t need to. I was in the navy when Truman ordained that racial discrimination be over in the military. I came home looking upon African-Americans as equals.”

(At our sister site, TerribleNewsforTerriblePeople.com, we had exactly the same reaction as Mr. Carter did, which was why we did not break the story when we had the opportunity; the actual problem was not that she used a word everyone else used; it was her racist management of her employees, over whose lives she actually had power.)

There’s your Jimmy Carter Update for today; no telling where he’ll turn up next — possibly in a fursuit with a jam band?

[Sunday Times via RawStory / Parade]

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