The Guardian from London, Greater London, England on August 6, 1996 · 14
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The Guardian from London, Greater London, England · 14

London, Greater London, England
Issue Date:
Tuesday, August 6, 1996
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14 I OBITUARIES The Guardian Tuesday August 6 1996 Abdulrahman Mohamed Babu Appreciation: Mohammed Aideed Lord of chaos and destruction Free thinking in Zanzibar 5 lll ABDULRAHMAN Mohamed Babu, who has died aged 71, was a significant figure in the Pan-African movement of the 1950s, a key player in the runup to the Zanzibar revolution of January 1964. He was also an influential thinker, as a cabinet minister in Tanzanian mainland politics from 1964-71 and, later from London, in the debate about multi-party politics in Africa. These periods of political activity were interspersed by a period in prison in mainland Tanzania on a charge that Babu had masterminded the assassination of Sheik Karume, the first president, of Zanzibar in 1973. Babu was born into a Swa-hili family in Zanzibar's old Stone Town as such,he had firm roots in both Arab and African culture. And for a time, his father was Portuguese consul on the island. The early 1950s saw Babu studying journalism in London. By then he had already come to identify with the anti-colonial movement. When he returned to Zanzibar in 1957, he had built significant links with the communist powers which he saw as the most effective allies in the fight against colonialism. In August 1964, he told me: "They (the communists) are not confused about South Africa, they don't give the Portuguese arms, they know what they think about southern Rhodesia." In the shifting sands of Zanzibar politics up to independence in January 1964, his principle alignment was with the "left wing" of the Zanzibar Nationalist Party (ZNP), Jean Muir Rebel without the roles If you were men, as men you are in show, You would not use a gentle lady so Helena, in A Midsummer Night's Dream IN 1935, Jean Muir, who has died aged 85, appeared as an enchanting Helena in Max Reinhardt's A Midsummer Night's Dream, a curious cultural concoction featuring a host of Warner Bros contract players. With Dick Powell (Lysander), Ross Alexander (Demetrius) and Olivia de Havilland (Hermia), Jean Muir was one of the most promising young stars at the studio. The tall (5'9"), attractive, dimpled blonde, with a delightfully warm personality, seemed assured of a bright future in Hollywood. But successive roles in mediocre B films had, by 1950, irrevocably destroyed her career. Jean Muir paid a heavy price in reactionary Hollywood for being an intelligent, independent and inquiring woman. Immediately after she was put under contract to Warner Bros in 1933, she was active in the newly-formed Screen Actors' Guild (SAG), a union set up to protect motion picture performers. Muir was also nicknamed "the studio pest" because of her tendency to question every phase of the movie-making business. "That Muir girl drives me crazy," commented one director, "I could cheerfully drown her, but I want her in my next picture." Like Katharine Hepburn and Luise Rainer, among the few rebels within the studio system of the 1930s, Muir wore no makeup off History waves AS TWO Americans of practically French extraction and eager that a fledgling art form find its wings, we would like to see the team put this rebuff behind it and get on with something that still rebounds to the glory of French culture without necessarily giving audiences the willies. Here are a couple of ideas we've been throwing about: 1. "Pasteurale": Life of the Great Druggist. The team making full use of the "freestyle", re-enacts Louis Pasteur's experiments with bacteria leading to the germ theory of infection. His work on phylloxera is mimicked by deft strokes, as which he sought to turn into a party closely allied to the international leftist movements. However, this proved to be a position which could not be sustained against the party's more conservative elements. In 1963, Babu therefore walked out of the ZNP and established his own "Umma Party" which became the focus of support for those who thought that independence meant more than a nationalist government and that it should embrace both a domestic and an international economic re-alignment. However, in the 1963 eve of independence poll, it was the ZNP alliance, with a breakaway faction of the Afro Shir-azi Party (ASP) which formed Zanzibar's newly independent government. It was not to last. Within a month a revolutionary force, which had some links to the Umma Party, but was led by a Kenyan migrant labourer, John Okello, seized power. In the aftermath Okello himself was removed, Karume of the ASP came to power and formed a government in which Babu was Minister of External Affairs and Trade. It was a stormy time in which the small island state received extraordinary attention in the politics of the cold war. A critical choice facing Zanzibar lay in the question of whether to join a potential East African federation then being pushed by the UK, and for which Julius Nyerere had even offered to delay Tanzania's independence. Babu was doubtful, believing that it would be controlled by forces hostile to his internationalist leftist stance. The outcome, in the wake of US pressure (or screen, and , resisted posing for publicity photographs. "I'm not pretty, I have no sex appeal and I wear clothes like a cornfield scarecrow," she remarked inaccurately. Muir had arrived in Hollywood after being spotted on Broadway in Saint Wench (1933). She had made her debut playing an ingenue in Ivor Novello's The Truth Game (1930) starring the author. Her screen debut came in The World Changes (1933) , a Paul Muni saga, and was promptly given the leading feminine role opposite the vastly popular comedian Joe E Brown in Son of a Sailor in the same year. As The Earth Turns (1934) saw her as a farmer's daughter who falls in love with a Polish boy (Donald Woods), and helps him make a success as a farmer. From rural innocence, Muir changed to urban naivety in A Modem Hero (1934) , the only American film directed by the German G WPabst. In this tale of the rise and fall of a ruthlessly ambitious young man (Richard Barthemess), Muir played the boss's daughter wooed by the putative tycoon. She made 14 pictures in her first three years at Warner Bros, including A Midsummer Night's Dream, but most were inconsequential and did not satisfy her. In fact, two of her more substantial roles were for 20th Century-Fox in White Fang (1936), based on Jack London, and for RKO in The Outcasts of Poker Flat (1937) in which she played a schoolteacher who tries to reform gambler Preston Foster. After a few years on Broad- are his studies of chicken cholera. In an uplifting climax, swimmers are successfully "vaccinated" against anthrax and rabies to the sound of the "1812" Overture. Four minutes, 29 seconds. 2. "Esther Williams at the Lapin Agile": A celebration of French painting. Liberty leads the team, wearing Phrygian bathing caps and weight belts, into the deep end. The naiads assemble on the bottom of the pool, where they languidly consume a "Dejeuner sur l'Herbe." Then, shooting to the surface and gasping in tandem, they convey the sensational reception of the Armory Show. Three and a half minutes; four to allow the costume change for the optional "explosion in a shingle factory" finale. 3. "Dominance and Subversion": A post-humanist underwater ballet. Drawing on themes from Michel Foucault, the team symbolises its withdrawal of allegiance from the out-moded socio-historical construct of power and authoritarianism implicit in the state of buoyancy by performing "The Death of Man" in an chestrated by Frank Carlucci, US consul in the island and later President Reagan's Secretary of Defence), was a union between Zanzibar and Tanganyika: to be known as the United Republic of Tanzania (URT). Babu bitterly opposed the union, which he saw as compromising Zanzibar's sovereignty and its scope to play a role in the internationalist, "third world" movement. As part of the deal with the mainland government, he was given a place in the Tanzanian cabinet. In his ministerial capacity eventually in the Economic Affairs and Development Planning portfolio he provided the most important intellectual challenge to President Nyerere. Babu, a refreshingly flexible Marxist, adopted the position that the forces of capital should be allowed to continue to accumulate before they could be handed over to the people. In real terms, this meant he opposed the nationalisation of all wholesale trade (then largely in the hands of the Indian community) in 1971. It was to be the end of any effective working relationship with Nyerere. MOWEVER, his position became more serious in April 1972 when Karume was assassinated while playing chess and drinking coffee outside the party headquarters in Zanzibar. Babu, who that day had been fishing off Zanzibar's coast, was accused by the government in Zanzibar of master-minding the assassination. Babu was arrested on his return to the mainland Jean Muir . . . her career dived after she was "exposed" as way (Pride and Prejudice) and radio, Muir returned to Hollywood for three further films. Her last part was in The Constant Nymph (1943) as Kate Sanger, Joan Fontaine's cello-playing oldest sister, the cello coming in handy for hiding her advanced pregnancy. Despite having once declared that she would never marry "I'm too selfish to be loved by any man arid I'm too interested in my career to let my emotions become a stumbling block" she gave up acting for a number of years to become Mrs Henry Jaffe, and bring up her three children. empty pool. Sixty seconds. 4. "J'Accuzzi": The Dreyfus Affair. Finesses the painful opera libretto. In severe terry cloth robes, the team marches on to the diving board in French military style. One by one, they cannonball off, miming the discovery by a French spy in the German Embassy of a secret list of French documents recieved by Major Max von Schwartzkoppen, military attache in Paris. Next, suspicion falls on Dreyfus, followed by the acquittal of Esterhazy, Zola's open letter to the president of the Republic, Dreyfus's trip to Devil's Island, and the eventual unification and bringing to power of France's political left wing. In the shallow end, Dreyfus is exonerated and given the gold medal of the Legion of Honor. Just under four minutes. Olympic notes on how to cause bigger ripples in the New York Review. Judith Flanders Fat moves FAT Manifesto: Practice saying the word fat until it feels the same as short, tall, thin, young, or old. Chat with your Beyond Africa . . . Babu with on the same day of the assassination and held in detention until 1978. Meanwhile, a "People's Court" sat in Zanzibar and tried 58 defendants of whom 43 (including Babu, in his absence) were sentenced to death by firing squad. The years in prison impaired his health, and particularly his eyesight. His wife Ashura, formerly a community worker in Zanzibar, continued to do whatever she could on his behalf and look after their five children (one of whom pre-deceased him). Once out of prison he was based primarily in London. From there he published a bbok which he had written in prison African Socialism or Socialist Africa (1981) and formed the International Institute for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa. But he was not reconciled to being a commentator and guru. In the 1995 presidential election in Tanzania, he was slated to stand as the vice-presidential running mate of the leading opposition candidate Augustine Mrema. Arriving in a rain storm Babu was greeted by hundreds of supporters for whom In 1950, Muir was. offered the role of the lovable mother in the sitcom The Aldrich Family, transferred from radio to TV. However, as rehearsals were about to start, her name appeared in the anonymously-published Red Channels newsletter, which "exposed" her as a communist sympathiser. The producers fired her from the show though they did not necessarily believe "the correct or incorrect facts", but Muir had become "controversial" and therefore "a sponsor risk". Blacklisted by the entertainment industry, she volun fat. Give it pet names. Doodle fat on your notepad during meetings: fat, fat, fat, fat, fat. Use it with your parents, with your partner. Let friends in on your secret. Say, "By the way, I'm fat." Not not plump, not bloated. FAT! Combine the word fat with other words in new and unusual ways: beautifully fat, fat and fabulous, fat pride. Use fat in a sentence: "You're looking good, are you getting fat?" "I met a handsome, fat man the other day." "Gee, I wish I could be fat like her." Try out these radical phrases on people you meet and watch their stunned reactions. Beat the bikini bulge blues at www.fatso.comman6.html Thanks to David Ingoldsby. Hearty lines "She seemed to have been born with those Attractions, which seat a Soveraigntie in the face of most beautiful persons: yet was her mind endued with more excellent charms, then the Attractions of her Face: Modest and Mild of Disposition, Courteous of Carriage, and of such Affable Malcolm X (left), no cause was he had become a distant but important figurehead. However, the Tanzanian government was never happy with his reappearance and in a quickly enacted court case he was disqualified from standing on the grounds that he had spent more than five years outside Tanzania. It was a hard judgment for one whose whole life had been consumed with a concern for the politics of eastern Africa. His death in hospital in Hackney might seem a sad end to the life of. a political exile. However his colourful views, personal links with many leaders of the anti-colonial struggle, and enormous charm earned him a warm place in the hearts of many. Laurence Cockcroft Victoria Brlttaln adds: Babu had a great gift for friendship, and his friends ranged across all shades of left-wing politics in Africa. No exile was too obscure, no cause seemed too hopeless to be espoused by Babu, and his various homes in north London in recent years welcomed them all. The current leaders of Eritrea and Uganda whose long a communist sympathiser tarily went before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in 1953 in order to clear herself, but to no avail. Her rejection caused her emotional problems which led to divorce and alcoholism. In the late 1950s, Muir was given six months to live. "Suddenly I became aware of every blade of grass and every little thing in life," she recalled. "I realised how important every person was to me." Gradually, she returned to acting, appearing on TV in Naked City and Route 66, and on Broadway in Semi-Detached opposite Ed Begley in 1960. In the same year, she received a Deportment, as might entitle her to the name of Queen of Hearts, before she was designed for Queen over any subjects." Proof that Princess Di has only beenfollowing ancient tradition. Extract on Lady Jane Grey, from Clement Barkdale, Memoria Is of Worthy Persons. The ThirdDecad. 1662. Thanks to Helen Vincent. Hot sock MY WIFE gave me a pair of red ski socks in the 1989-90 Whitbread Race, and whenever I wore them, even if we were behind in the fleet, suddenly we would be back in the front again. Sometimes we were quite a long way behind the fleet, maybe between Uruguay and Freemantle, and the crew would shout: "Come on, you've got to put your socks on!" "No, no. We'll wait until it really matters," I would say. Then I would put them on and the next day, maybe in a flat calm, we would have a breeze that no one else had. "In this latest America's Cup I wore the red socks. The ever too helpless to espouse struggles most people wrote off as unwinnable, romantic follies remained friends to Babu after their exile ended with top jobs at home, and no one was happier than he at their reversal of fortune. His ideas and sometimes his criticisms were as valued by them as much when in state house as they had been when fighting in the bush. They were, to him, the successors to the liberators of his own generation. Babu's treasured memories of some of the pre-independence leaders of Africa, such as Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta and Tom Mboya, were as vivid as the days and nights when they first met, often clandestinely, to plan the liberation of the continent from colonialism. Even with his health failing in recent years, his enthusiasms were undimmed. Good food, jazz, and long, late night conversations about African politics were his sustenance until the end. Abdulrahman Mohamed Babu, politician, born September 22, 1924; died August 5, 1996 RONALD GRANT ARCHIVE star on the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard, a symbol of her redemption in the eyes of the movie colony. Yet, in 1968, Jean Muir who had called her film career "nightmarish", decided to take up the post of drama teacher at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. There she instilled in her pupils the very qualities of independence for which she had been castigated. Ronald Bergdn Jean Muir (Fullarton), actress, born February 13, 1911; died July 23, 1996 crew used to look askance at me as no one wore socks at all. When our bid ran out of money, one of our sponsors devised a campaign for the public to support us by buying red socks. In one week, it made us half a million dollars, which we put back into the sails and other bits and pieces to keep ourselves going. You wouldn't believe the sight after winning the America's Cup. A group of farmers put their sheep into Yachting . . . red socks saga BY ALL accounts, Mohammed Farah Aideed (obituary, August 3) was a master destroyer, a man who would rather demolish what he could not have. Now that he is dead, one is left only with the impressions of those who met his charm and those to whom he displayed his rage when he wasn't having his way. A journalist I know described him, when angry, as a dog with rabies. Mogadishu tells the tale of his (and Mahdi's) madnesses much better, a city still bearing the scars of his savagery. We were not destined to meet, because I arrived in Mogadishu in the very fortnight when defeat had taken the wind from his sails. He had just been rendered homeless following brutal fighting between his forces and those of Caato's. Nor did he consent to "receive" a German parliamentary delegation putting up in the same guesthouse as I. One is or isn't "received" by the men who had the nation's blood on their hands; and one is made to show one's gratitude. He was his worst enemy, always fluffing. He could have had the presidency for a song. Only he didn't play his cards right. Every warlord was an ally of his at one time. Aideed could boast a list longer than anyone's when it comes to the number of friends whom he alienated. I keep running into former allies of his, and these speak with the bitterness of a wife betrayed. Often he is compared to Siyad Barre, on whom he had modelled himself, two tyrants unable to invent a world in which they alone were not supreme! Letters Dr Robert Davis writes: James Tye (obituary, July 27) was indeed a skilled publicist and opportunist. However, his approach to safety on the road was by no means as benign as your obituarist suggests. Very much a "gardez-vous" approach, it could be victim-blaming for the most vulnerable. In the case of seat-belt legislation (although he was a lot less responsible for this than he and your obituarist claimed), evidence of the negative effects of this legislation on driver behaviour was ignored, to the detriment of those suffering the majority of fatalities outside cars. Much of the "I'm all right Jack" attitude to driving, which bedevils the most vulnerable and most benign types of travel such as walking and cycling, can be attributed to a "road safety" approach of which James Tye was such a highly visible example. Meanwhile the problem of reducing danger at source remains. Viren Sahai writes: I write to correct the erroneous version of events given in your obituary of Dame Jane Drew (July 31). It was not Le Corbu-sier who invited Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry to collaborate on the design of Chandigarh; on the contrary, it was the initiative of Jane Drew, supported by Fry, which was instrumental in getting Le Corbusier to become involved with the planning of the new capital for Punjab. Her intellectual honesty was accompanied by immense humanity: her constructive opposition to apartheid resulted in the creation of a racially integrated system of architectural education in South Africa. She inspired a number of students and young men in many countries; I was privileged to have been one of them. red socks, there were horses with red socks on, dogs and little old ladies in wheelchairs. When the curtain went up on the cast of 42nd Street, there were all these red socks dangling on stage. Then there was the prime minister and the elephant in the zoo . . . the place went crazy. People still wear them on the lapels, and someone's applied to the Guinness Book of Records to claim they have made the biggest red sock ever." New Zealander, Sir Peter Blake (who could claim to be the greatest yachtsman the world has ever seen) tells Country Life the secret of his success. Morehair "IT'S A spoof!" many will cry when they read Knitting with Dog Hair. It can't be taken straight. But why not? "The definitive guide to a new and ecologically friendly hobby", it is published by a respectable firm (Hutchinson at 6.99). Step-by-step instructions take you all the way from collecting the dog or cat hairs to wearing the jerseys, caps, mittens, socks, scarves L If Aideed prolonged his survival into posterity, it was courtesy of Admiral Howe, the UNOSOM chief, who put him on a "wanted" list. Not only did the act serve as a rite of passage for him, but it gave him a new lease of political life. He exploited the Ameri-can's faux pas to rehabilitate a ruined reputation by presenting himself as a nationalist, which he was not. He thought small when he should have thought big. Paranoid to a fault, he could not trust American intentions and therefore did not agree to negotiate when, as unconfirmed reports had it, they wished to hand over the authority to him in preference to Ali Mahdi. He hadn't the gumption to take political gambles: that was one of his major failings. He invested in the canard that he . represented a large segment of Somalis. The truth is he "controlled" no more than a third of Mogadishu outside the territories he invaded to subject to his tyrannical will. Whilst he fed his primal hunger for false power, he was for ever haunted by his prickly sense of self-esteem, thus failing to work his way around the country's booby-trap politics. As part of his deflective strategy, he appointed himself president. In his republic, there were no citizens with the freewill to do what they please, only vassals to his commands. But he fulfilled a vow to himself: he died a "president". Never mind that no one recognised him. Now his 35-year-old son has taken over "his" presidency. Nuruddln Farah Birthdays Chris Bonington, mountaineer, 62; Billy Boston, rugby league player, 62; Steve Cairn, composer, 75; Charles Crich-ton, film director, 86; Ron Davies, Labour MP, 50; Bill Ermnott, editor, the Economist, 40; Norman Granz, impresario, 78; Sir Howard Hodgkin, painter, 64; Sir Freddie Laker, air charter pioneer, 74; James Lees-Milne, architectural historian, 88; Moira Lister, actress, 73; Robert Mit-chum, actor, 79; Jack Parnell, drummer, bandleader, 73; Judge Valerie Pearlman, 60; John Reid, jockey, 41; Dr Winifred Watkins, immunochemical geneticist, 72; Barbara Windsor, actress, 59; Charles Wood, playwright, 64. Death Notices FAWCETT. Ellas Manual Fawcett died suddenly In London on August 3rd. Funeral to bo announced shortly QIBBS, John, aged 80 years. Husband ol Joan and lather ol Richard and Tilly. Service and committal at Macclestiold Crematorium on Friday, August 9lh. 1996 at 3 00pm. Enquiries lo Hooley Watson and Buckley, Tel. 01625 422734. HAMPSON. on July 30th 1996 poacelully in hospital altor a short illness, Phyllis, aged OJ years, O! vvurmBy, iuvuu wiib vi iiib iolu Norman Hampson, sister ol Hilda and a dearly loved aunl. Cortege leaves her homo on Friday 9th August at 12.15 pm tor service at St Mark's Church. Worsloy. 12.30 pm prior lo committal at Overdate Crematorium. Bolton, 1.4b pm. Family (lowers only by request please. Donations tn lieu II dosircd to The British Heart Foundation. Enquiries Co-operative Funeral Services. Farnworlh and Walkden Tel 01204 573280. RHINO Elaine Olive, daughter ol Tom and Minnie, granddaughter ot John end Sarah Ann Rhind ol Manchester, diod August 2nd aged 93 in Montreal. Greatly lovod and admired by her Inonds and romaining cousins horo and abroad. ROBERTS. Dennis (Rob), died Faversham 3.8 96. Funeral 11am Vintors Park. Maidstone No tlowors. donations to C.N O or N L.I. Enquiries to Co-op Funoral Services. Faversham. tol 01795 532498. In Memoriam HIROSHIMANAGASAKI. In momory ol the dead August 6th and 9th 1945. Births SANDELSON, Jacob Alexander David barn 4 August 1996 to Mary and Johnny. To place your announcement telephone 0171 713 4567 Fax 0171 713 4129. and even blankets they turn into, and photographs of the finished products encourage and amaze. Far from being a solitary pastime for elderly spinsters (though spinsters in its original sense is exactly what the hobbyists are), it is put forward as an up-to-the-minute occupation for the whole family, the ultimate in recycling. "Better a sweater from a dog you know and love than a sheep you'll never meet", we are told. Does the finished product smell dogish or feline? Certainly not, the authors assure us. Wool has no smell of sheep after all, and careful washing at the start ensures a fragrant result. A new method ofcontinuing to feel your favpurite pets presence, after they have gone to the grand kennel in the sky. Reported in the Tablet. Jackdaw wants jewels. E-mail uk.fax 01 71-713 4366; Jackdaw, The Guardian, 119Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3ER. Emily Sheffield

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