| The Hijacking of Mandela’s Legacy!

The hijacking of Mandela’s legacy ~ Pepe Escobar, RT.

Beware of strangers bearing gifts. The “gift” is the ongoing, frantic canonization of Nelson Mandela. The “strangers” are the 0.0001 percent, that fraction of the global elite that’s really in control (media naturally included).

It’s a Tower of Babel of tributes piled up in layer upon layer of hypocrisy – from the US to Israel and from France to Britain.

What must absolutely be buried under the tower is that the apartheid regime in South Africa was sponsored and avidly defended by the West until, literally, it was about to crumble under the weight of its own contradictions. The only thing that had really mattered was South Africa’s capitalist economy and immense resources, and the role of Pretoria in fighting “communism.”Apartheid was, at best, a nuisance.

Mandela is being allowed sainthood by the 0.0001% because he extended a hand to the white oppressor who kept him in jail for 27 years. And because he accepted – in the name of “national reconciliation” – that no apartheid killers would be tried, unlike the Nazis.

Among the cataracts of emotional tributes and the crass marketization of the icon, there’s barely a peep in Western corporate media about Mandela’s firm refusal to ditch armed struggle against apartheid (if he had done so, he would not have been jailed for 27 years); his gratitude towards Fidel Castro’s Cuba – which always supported the people of Angola, Namibia and South Africa fighting apartheid; and his perennial support for the liberation struggle in Palestine.

Young generations, especially, must be made aware that during the Cold War, any organization fighting for the freedom of the oppressed in the developing world was dubbed “terrorist”; that was the Cold War version of the “war on terror”. Only at the end of the 20th century was the fight against apartheid accepted as a supreme moral cause; and Mandela, of course, rightfully became the universal face of the cause.

It’s easy to forget that conservative messiah Ronald Reagan – who enthusiastically hailed the precursors of al-Qaeda as “freedom fighters” – fiercely opposed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act because, what else, the African National Congress (ANC) was considered a “terrorist organization” (on top of Washington branding the ANC as “communists”).

 

The same applied to a then-Republican Congressman from Wyoming who later would turn into a Darth Vader replicant, Dick Cheney. As for Israel, it even offered one of its nuclear weapons to the Afrikaners in Pretoria – presumably to wipe assorted African commies off the map.

In his notorious 1990 visit to the US, now as a free man, Mandela duly praised Fidel, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat and Col. Gaddafi as his “comrades in arms”“There is no reason whatsoever why we should have any hesitation about hailing their commitment to human rights.” Washington/Wall Street was livid.

And this was Mandela’s take, in early 2003, on the by then inevitable invasion of Iraq and the wider war on terror; “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America.” No wonder he was kept on the US government terrorist list until as late as 2008.

From terrorism to sainthood

In the early 1960s – when, by the way, the US itself was practicing apartheid in the South – it would be hard to predict to what extent “Madiba” (his clan name), the dandy lawyer and lover of boxing with an authoritarian character streak, would adopt Gandhi’s non-violence strategy to end up forging an exceptional destiny graphically embodying the political will to transform society. Yet the seeds of “Invictus” were already there.

The fascinating complexity of Mandela is that he was essentially a democratic socialist. Certainly not a capitalist. And not a pacifist either; on the contrary, he would accept violence as a means to an end. In his books and countless speeches, he always admitted his flaws. His soul must be smirking now at all the adulation.

Arguably, without Mandela, Barack Obama would never have reached the White House; he admitted on the record that his first political act was at an anti-apartheid demonstration. But let’s make it clear: Mr. Obama, you’re no Nelson Mandela.

To summarize an extremely complex process, in the “death throes” of apartheid, the regime was mired in massive corruption, hardcore military spending and with the townships about to explode. Mix Fidel’s Cuban fighters kicking the butt of South Africans (supported by the US) in Angola and Namibia with the inability to even repay Western loans, and you have a recipe for bankruptcy.

The best and the brightest in the revolutionary struggle – like Mandela – were either in jail, in exile, assassinated (like Steve Biko) or “disappeared”, Latin American death squad-style. The actual freedom struggle was mostly outside South Africa – in Angola, Namibia and the newly liberated Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Once again, make no mistake; without Cuba – as Mandela amply stressed writing from jail in March 1988 – there would be “no liberation of our continent, and my people, from the scourge of apartheid”. Now get one of those 0.0001% to admit it.

In spite of the debacle the regime – supported by the West – sensed an opening. Why not negotiate with a man who had been isolated from the outside world since 1962? No more waves and waves of Third World liberation struggles; Africa was now mired in war, and all sorts of socialist revolutions had been smashed, from Che Guevara killed in Bolivia in 1967 to Allende killed in the 1973 coup in Chile.

Mandela had to catch up with all this and also come to grips with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of what European intellectuals called “real socialism.” And then he would need to try to prevent a civil war and the total economic collapse of South Africa.

The apartheid regime was wily enough to secure control of the Central Bank – with crucial IMF help – and South Africa’s trade policy. Mandela secured only a (very significant) political victory. The ANC only found out it had been conned when it took power. Forget about its socialist idea of nationalizing the mining and banking industries – owned by Western capital, and distribute the benefits to the indigenous population. The West would never allow it. And to make matters worse, the ANC was literally hijacked by a sorry, greedy bunch.

Follow the roadmap

John Pilger is spot on pointing to economic apartheid in South Africa now with a new face.

Patrick Bond has written arguably the best expose anywhere of the Mandela years – and their legacy.

And Ronnie Kasrils does a courageous mea culpa dissecting how Mandela and the ANC accepted a devil’s pact with the usual suspects.

The bottom line: Mandela defeated apartheid but was defeated by neoliberalism. And that’s the dirty secret of him being allowed sainthood.

Now for the future. Cameroonian Achille Mbembe, historian and political science professor, is one of Africa’s foremost intellectuals. In his book Critique of Black Reason, recently published in France (not yet in English), Mbembe praises Mandela and stresses that Africans must imperatively invent new forms of leadership, the essential precondition to lift themselves in the world. All-too-human“Madiba” has provided the roadmap. May Africa unleash one, two, a thousand Mandelas.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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| Nelson Mandela: Obama, Clinton, Cameron, Blair – Tributes of Shameful Hypocrisy!

Nelson Mandela: Obama, Clinton, Cameron, Blair – Tributes of Shameful Hypocrisy ~ Felicity Arbuthnot, Global Research.

Accusing politicians or former politicians of “breathtaking hypocrisy” is not just over used, it is inadequacy of spectacular proportions. Sadly, searches in various thesaurus’ fail in meaningful improvement.

The death of Nelson Mandela, however, provides tributes resembling duplicity on a mind altering substance.

President Obama, whose litany of global assassinations by Drone, from infants to octogenarians – a personal weekly decree we are told, summary executions without Judge, Jury or trial – stated of the former South African’s President’s passing:

“We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again … His acts of reconciliation … set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or our own personal lives.

“I studied his words and his writings … like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, (as) long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him … it falls to us … to forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love …”

Mandela, said the Presidential High Executioner, had: “… bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.”(i)

Mandela, after nearly thirty years in jail (1964-1990) forgave his jailors and those who would have preferred to see him hung. Obama committed to closing Guantanamo, an election pledge, the prisoners still self starve in desperation as their lives rot away, without hope.

The decimation of Libya had no congressional approval, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan’s dismembered. Drone victims are a Presidential roll call of shame and horror and the Nobel Peace Laureate’s trigger finger still hovers over Syria and Iran, for all the talk of otherwise. When his troops finally limped out of Iraq, he left the biggest Embassy in the world and a proxy armed force, with no chance of them leaving being on even the most distant horizon.

Clearly learning, justice and being “guided by love” is proving bit of an uphill struggle. Ironically, Obama was born in 1964, the year Mandela was sentenced to jail and his “long walk to freedom.”

Bill Clinton, who (illegally, with the UK) ordered the near continual bombing of Iraq throughout his Presidency (1993-2001) and the siege conditions of the embargo, with an average of six thousand a month dying of “embargo related causes”, paid tribute to Mandela as: “a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation … a man of uncommon grace and compassion, for whom abandoning bitterness and embracing adversaries was … a way of life. All of us are living in a better world because of the life that Madiba lived.” Tell that to America’s victims.

In the hypocrisy stakes, Prime Minister David Cameron can compete with the best. He said:

“A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death – a true global hero.

… Meeting him was one of the great honours of my life.

On Twitter he reiterated: “A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time.” The flag on Downing Street was to hang at half mast, to which a follower replied: “Preferably by no-one who was in the Young Conservatives at a time they wanted him hanged, or those who broke sanctions, eh?”

Another responded: “The Tories wanted to hang Mandela.You utter hypocrite.”

The two tweeters clearly knew their history. In 2009, when Cameron was pitching to become Prime Minister, it came to light that in 1989, when Mandela was still in prison, David Cameron, then a: “rising star of the Conservative Research Department … accepted an all expenses paid trip to apartheid South Africa … funded by a firm that lobbied against the imposition of sanctions on the apartheid regime.”

Asked if Cameron: “wrote a memo or had to report back to the office about his trip, Alistair Cooke (his then boss at Conservative Central Office) said it was ‘simply a jolly’, adding: ‘It was all terribly relaxed, just a little treat, a perk of the job … ‘ “

Former Cabinet Minister Peter Hain commented of the trip:

“This just exposes his hypocrisy because he has tried to present himself as a progressive Conservative, but just on the eve of the apartheid downfall, and Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, when negotiations were taking place about a transfer of power, here he was being wined and dined on a sanctions-busting visit.

“This is the real Conservative Party … his colleagues who used to wear ‘Hang Nelson Mandela’ badges at university are now sitting on the benches around him. Their leader at the time Margaret Thatcher described Mandela as a terrorist.” (ii)

In the book of condolences opened at South Africa House, five minutes walk from his Downing Street residence, Cameron, who has voted for, or enjoined all the onslaughts or threatened ones referred to above, wrote:

“ … your generosity, compassion and profound sense of forgiveness have given us all lessons to learn and live by.

He ended his message with: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” Hopefully your lower jaw is still attached to your face, dear reader. If so, hang on to it, worse is to come.

The farcically titled Middle East Peace Envoy, former Prime Minister Tony Blair (think “dodgy dossiers” “forty five minutes” to destruction, illegal invasion, Iraq’s ruins and ongoing carnage, heartbreak, after over a decade) stated:

“Through his leadership, he guided the world into a new era of politics in which black and white, developing and developed, north and south … stood for the first time together on equal terms.

“Through his dignity, grace and the quality of his forgiveness, he made racism everywhere not just immoral but stupid; something not only to be disagreed with, but to be despised. In its place he put the inalienable right of all humankind to be free and to be equal.

“I worked with him closely …“ (iii) said the man whose desire for “humankind to be free and equal” (tell that to the Iraqis) now includes demolishing Syria and possibly Iran.

As ever, it seems with Blair, the memories of others are a little different:

“Nelson Mandela felt so betrayed by Blair’s decision to join the US-led invasion of Iraq that he launched a fiery tirade against him in a phone call to a cabinet minister, it emerged.

“Peter Hain who (knew) the ex-South African President well, said Mandela was ‘breathing fire’ down the line in protest at the 2003 military action.

“The trenchant criticisms were made in a formal call to the Minister’s office, not in a private capacity, and Blair was informed of what had been said, Hain added.

‘I had never heard Nelson Mandela so angry and frustrated.” (iv)

On the BBC’s flagship morning news programme “Today” former Prime Minister “Iraq is a better place, I’d do it again” Blair, said of Nelson Mandela:

“ … he came to represent something quite inspirational for the future of the world and for peace and reconciliation in the 21st century.”

Comment is left to former BBC employee, Elizabeth Morley, with peerless knowledge of Middle East politics, who takes no prisoners:

“Dear Today Complaints,

“How could you? Your almost ten minute long interview with the war criminal Tony Blair was the antithesis to all the tributes to the great man. I cannot even bring myself to put the two names in the same sentence. How could you?

“Blair has the blood of millions of Iraqis on his hands. Blair has declared himself willing to do the same to Iranians. How many countries did Mandela bomb? Blair condones apartheid in Israel. Blair turns a blind eye to white supremacists massacring Palestinians. And you insult us by making us listen to him while our hearts and minds are focussed on Mandela.

How could you?” (Reproduced with permission.)

As the avalanche of hypocrisy cascades across the globe from shameless Western politicians, Archbishop Desmond Tutu reflected in two lines the thoughts in the hearts of the true mourners:

“We are relieved that his suffering is over, but our relief is drowned by our grief. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”

Notes

i. http://www.businessinsider.com/nelson-mandela-dead-obama-statement-2013-12#ixzz2mg2vrGbd

ii. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/camerons-freebie-to-apartheid-south-africa-1674367.html

iii. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/nelson-mandela-dead-live-updates-2895110#ixzz2mhBKAdVA

iv. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/sep/12/nelson-mandela-tony-blair-peter-hain-iraq-invasion

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