President Obama swatted a fly during a televised interview a few days ago. And then he congratulated himself on his quick reflexes.

The fly, which as far as I could make out had done nothing wrong except settle on the presidential knee, lay there on the carpet twitching in its death throes for all the world to see.

Yet the media have been shamefully silent about the morality involved in this spontaneous act of violence and has given not a thought to the probable impact of the Presidentís action on impressionable minds.

Isnít the world violent enough already? (Answers on a post card please).

Thank heavens then for Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Its members donít wear leather, they donít eat meat - they wonít even drink milk because that would be exploiting cows. And they certainly donít go about swatting flies and mosquitoes. They all walk funny but thatís only because they have to avoid stepping on ants.

Peta is yet another forthright and courageous animal rights group in America and it has demanded an apology from the President.

As President for Life of Densa, the club for those who havenít a snowballís chance in hell of getting into Mensa (the society for those with high IQs) I want to congratulate Peta and offer it my full backing. Peta! I am right behind you marching shoulder to shoulder.

Densa firmly believes flies have rights just as cockroaches, slugs and politicians have rights.

Flies have feelings (otherwise why was this one twitching?) and flies are sensitive towards other creatures. Do you ever see a fly eating a LIVE animal? No. They wait until an animal is stone dead and, just to be sure, they even hang around until the carcase is rotten and suppurating and stinking.

And did Obama give a momentís thought about whether this fly was perhaps a daddy fly with 4677 children (now tragically orphaned). Children now without a bread-winner (OK. Yes. I should have said, ďnow without a green meat-winnerĒ) and 89 500 grandchildren and 1 456 000 great grandchildren crying into their pillows at night?

And yet, as I say, the media has not seen fit to criticise the President. Is this because they are a bunch of liberal pinkos who believe Obama is the new Messiah?

After all, what did this fly do? He, or she (She? OMG. What if this fly was a mummy fly about to fly home to feed her 40677th baby?) Ö he or she merely sat on the presidential knee.

Maybe he (or she) wanted to impart a vital message from the insect world?

Even if it merely wanted to impart a tiny globule of fresh dogís dropping - maybe from the White House lawn itself, left there by the Presidentís own dog, Bo - did it deserve to die for THAT?

It was an abuse of power.

What if George Bush (remember him?) had settled on the Presidentís knee - would Obama have, with one blow, sent him sprawling to the floor? On television?

By viciously striking an innocent creature 1/10 000 000th smaller than himself Obama showed a facet of his character that must have disappointed many. Yet the media have shown no sign of outrage.

The Stoep Talk Organisation wishes to distance itself from The Star which, like all the other newspapers, has not even raised an editorial eyebrow. Yet look at how indignant it was when B52 bombers swatted Iraq. And look how, only a month ago, it roundly criticised North Korea because it threatened to drop atom bombs on peopleís heads.

Is it that size counts after all?

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James Clarke