Tuesday 17 September 2019

Trevor Noah compares teenage gun control protesters to anti-apartheid uprising

The Daily Show host spoke of the power of youth idealism.

Trevor Noah presents The Daily Show in the US (Ian West/PA)
Trevor Noah presents The Daily Show in the US (Ian West/PA)

By Joe Nerssessian, Press Association

Comedian Trevor Noah has praised the resolve of the teenagers fighting for tighter gun control laws in the US as he compared their battle to the anti-Apartheid movement.

The Daily Show presenter, who was born in apartheid South Africa, spoke of the power of youth idealism in the wake of the Texas school shooting which left eight students and two substitute teachers dead.

The attack came just three months after a similar incident in Florida which left 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and reignited the fierce debate around gun control.

In the wake of the Florida shooting, teenage survivors began lobbying politicians and organising school walkouts which has attracted the support of tens of thousands of fellow students.

Noah compared the campaign to the Soweto uprising in South Africa in 1976 which focused the world’s attention on Apartheid’s injustices as well as Martin Luther King Jr’s civil rights activism and the Arab Spring protests.

He told the Press Association: “With every shooting, I don’t think their resolve is going to die down, I think these kids are going to keep pushing on for what they believe in because in many ways they are the victims of what is happening.

Trevor Noah has praised the teenage gun control movement (Aurore Marechal/PA)

“That’s a powerful movement I don’t think is going to lose steam anytime soon.

Noah added: “People forget how most movements, or many movements around the world, have been fuelled by the youth.

“In South Africa the youth uprising of June 1976 is one of the biggest reasons that the fight against Apartheid had the thrust that it did.

“It seemed like an unending battle, it seemed like there was no progress, but it was in many ways the youth uprising that gave light to what was happening.

“The same thing goes for Martin Luther King, people forget how young he and his peers were when they were fighting for equality and freedom in the United States.

“And I think that’s one of the important things in any movement around the world, whether the Arab Spring … and now what’s going on in the United States, young people are victims of a great idea and that is idealism,” he said.

Noah, who took over from Jon Stewart as presenter in 2015, said he looked to “find different aspects” to the gun control debate because it is such a reoccurring news item.

He also rejected accusations programmes such as The Daily Show were reaping the benefits of US President Donald Trump and the current political climate.

“I think of myself like a weatherman, I’ll report on whatever the weather is,” he said.

“If someone says to me, you’re really benefiting from this hurricane, I’ll say ‘OK fine if that’s the way you want to think of it.’

“I think we all experience the hurricane, my job is to report on the weather either way.”

– The Daily Show Airs on Comedy Central UK

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