The more unjustified a persecution, the more vehement and long-lasting it is likely to be. – Eric Hoffer, who wrote in the 1950s.
Well, it’s finally over. The persecution of Tim Noakes has ended. Here are some quotes from a Business Day article online.
The Banting diet guru Prof Tim Noakes has won his case at the Health Profession’s Council of SA (HPCSA)‚ four years after he tweeted a response about a mother weaning her baby onto a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet.
He told TimesLIVE: “The predominant feeling at the moment is one of intense relief. Relief that it is finally over and that the appeal judgment was again 100% in our favour, as was the original judgment. This chapter is finally closed. I just hope that all the effort put in by myself and my team will help move the dietary guidelines forward to the benefit of the health of all South Africans.”
In February 2014‚ the mother‚ Pippa Leenstra‚ tweeted: “@ProfTimNoakes @SalCreed is LCHF eating ok for breastfeeding mums? Worried about all the dairy + cauliflower = wind for babies??”
The complaint against Noakes was laid with HPCSA by dietician Claire Strydom‚ who was then chairwoman of the Association of Dieticians of SA.
Way to go, dietitians of South Africa! In a previous post, I pointed out that:
1. Nobody should be prosecuted for answering a question tweeted to him by a fan. (The fan didn’t complain; the dietitians did.)
2. It isn’t necessary to prosecute people who offer contrary dietary advice if they’re actually wrong — people will discover that for themselves.
3. Tim Noakes isn’t your real problem. Lousy results are your real problem.
4. There’s no positive outcome to your continued harassment of Tim Noakes.
I believe point number #4 could hardly be more obvious now.
Four years. Lord-only-knows how much money spent on the prosecution. A fine man put through the stress of two trials. And the final result of this whole, sorry episode is that you’ve made yourselves look like the petty @$$holes you are. You took a shot at Noakes and wounded your own reputations in the process. Well deserved.
None of this ever should have happened, of course. If you don’t like what Noakes tells people about diet and health, argue your own case. Prove him wrong. Engage him in the marketplace of ideas. Demonstrate that your results are better than his. That’s how a sane person would react to a critic.
But no, you had to prosecute. You wanted him stifled. You wanted to make an example of him to scare off anyone else who dared tell people your dietary advice is wrong. This was never about a tweet. It was an assassination attempt.
To quote from the Business Day article:
During the appeal hearing, Noakes’s lawyers mentioned e-mails they had accessed through the Promotion of Access to Information request. The e-mails were between Strydom and a professor of dietetics at North-West University and discussed a plan to complain about Noakes — before the tweet in question was posted.
Noakes’s legal team argued that the two had planned to take him down and found a tweet to do so.
There’s really no question about that. Marika Sboros tweeted the text of those emails. This one was written by Strydrom to the professor on January 30, 2014 – before the tweet by Noakes that was the supposed basis of his trial:
Subject: Tim Noakes impact on the dietetics profession.
Here are other examples of what other people are writing due to the negative attention we are getting from Tim Noakes.
Sure sounds like Ms. Strydom was upset that Noakes inspiring others to question the advice offered by dietitians, doesn’t it?
This one was written by Strydom on March 20, 2014. If it doesn’t portray someone scheming to prosecute a critic, I don’t know what does:
Just would like to follow up on the Tim Noakes problem – the bashing of the profession continues and we need intervention from the HPCSA as a matter of urgency. As ASDA we do comment, but the HPCSA has a much bigger clout and we are desperate for an intervention.
Allow me to interpret: we’re not big enough to really hurt the guy, so we want you to do it.
Unfortunately for Strydom and the rest of the @$$holes, they chose the wrong target. Noakes was 65 years old at the time and could have simply ridden off into the sunset to avoid a long and painful trial. But the man has a steel spine. I’m reminded of a line from A Few Good Men: “You @#$%ed with the wrong marine!”
They wanted to shame him and instead gave him the opportunity to become a hero. Like most heroes, Noakes didn’t set out to become one. He was thrust into circumstances that would have crushed an ordinary man. But he’s not an ordinary man, so he stood up and fought a battle that lasted four years – for himself, yes, but also for the rest of us.
Congratulations, Professor Noakes. And thank you.