24 June 2008

Mbeki Rejects Gravity

South African president Thabo Mbeki today shocked international observers when he announced an immediate suspension of the law of gravity in his nation. He urged other Southern African leaders to do the same.

“This pressure represents the kind of outside interference that all Africans must oppose,” he said.

“It has come to our attention that the so-called law of gravity was devised by an Englishman,” Mbeki said at a government-sponsored conference on gravity in Johannesburg. “No one who is familiar with the foul history of British colonialism in Southern Africa can expect us to abide by this arbitrary, capricious power for another minute.”

A government spokesman later claimed that Mbeki’s speech had been taken out of context. “The president meant merely to suggest that we must remain open to other theories,” said the spokesman. “There may be many reasons that objects fall from the sky, and Africa must find its own answers, soberly and critically, without reliance on European theory. It is typical of the Western press to distort the president’s message. Are you with the CIA?”

Nevertheless, independent news agencies confirm that Mbeki disputed several chapters of Isaac Newton’s Principia. “What evidence exists that these so-called ‘laws’ are more than theories?” Mbeki said. “I ask you, are Newton’s laws observed in Great Britain? Do British children sit around all day with apples falling on their heads? Why should Africans be expected to submit to these British laws, if the British themselves do not?

“The British must be crazy,” Mbeki said. “The next time a colonial imperialist European seeks to throw a Coca-Cola bottle out of an airplane, he had better not do it in Africa.” Mbeki then led the audience in cheers of “Down with gravity!”

Mbeki has drawn global criticism for his resistance to the widespread medical belief that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), despite the significant public-health crisis posed by the disease throughout sub-Saharan Africa; and for his continuing support of Robert Mugabe, the increasingly despotic leader of neighboring Zimbabwe, despite a tide of refugees crossing the border into South Africa and their violent rejection by South Africans.

“What do you want me to do about it?” asked former South African president Nelson Mandela. “He stopped listening to me years ago.”

CORRECTION: The above photograph does not depict a gay wedding in California. It shows Thabo Mbeki, left, with Robert Mugabe, last spring, following the latter's defeat in national elections.