Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the icon of the South African anti Apartheid movement, father of the Black South African nation, and inspiration for revolutionaries worldwide, died yesterday at the age of 95; his legacy will never be forgotten, his failures are often overlooked, and the hypocrisy of Western leaders in fake mourning whilst instigating wars in Africa and continuing the legacy of economic colonialism was sickening to the stomach.
The crocodile tears of Western leaders
When the world’s media announced that Nelson Mandela had passed away at his family home at the age of 95, the tributes that poured in from leaders all over the world reminded me of the Italian mafia films, where a deceased elder’s funeral is presided over by men who plotted to kill him whilst he was alive.
It was sickening to hear UK Prime Minister David Cameron mention:
“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.” (Nelson Mandela: Obama, Clinton, Cameron, Blair – Tributes of Shameful Hypocrisy, By Felicity Arbuthnot: Global Research: December 6, 2013)
This is the same Cameron as a young Conservative who in 1989, went to Apartheid South Africa funded by a firm that was against the sanctions to bring down the Apartheid regime.
According to Former Cabinet Minister Peter Hain:
“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.”
Then we had former UK Prime Minister and war criminal, Tony Blair, who said:
“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.”
The same Blair who according to Hain was chastised by an angry Mandela when he took Britain into war over Iraq in 2003. Hain said that Mandela felt “betrayed” by Blair.
We had US President Barack Obama getting his two pennies worth in. The same Obama who approved the recolonisation of Africa for its resources through the military strategy AFRICOM. (Read The empire strikes back: America plan Africa re-colonisation)
According to Charlie Kimber (Nelson Mandela 1918-2013: Socialist Worker: 5 December, 2013), the US kept Mandela “on a terrorist list, banning his from travel to the US—until 2008.”
It was sickening listening to war criminals, warmongers and murderers commenting on a man who only turned to violence because he was dealing with a violent dictatorship.
Mandela’s Legacy and failures
The legacy that Mandela leaves behind is immense. He spent 27 years in prison before he was released. The fact that he survived his ordeal is a testament to the strength of his character. A strength that has inspired many people fighting against oppression all over the world.
Yet despite his many strengths, it is his weaknesses that is rarely explored or spoken of, perhaps because many felt it would be disrespectful to a man who gave his life for change and freedom for his people.
Yet, it is these weaknesses that are rarely spoken about that account for the continuing economic and social disparities between black South Africans and white South Africans today.
Mandela courted big business which is why when he was released and became South Africa’s first Black President, the white corporate world cheered, because much of the economic infrastructure which kept the minority white South Africans in power was still intact. The main changes, would be a new small black South African elite, and the majority of black South Africans poor and still destitute; and of course the historic right for black South Africans to vote. Yet Mandela accepted a disastrous International Monetary Fund plan, which basically handed over the resources of the country and the services to private companies.
Mandela was the leader of a political party which was suppose to nationalise the country’s main resources, but on his leadership in 1994 until 1999, this never happened. These failures are significant because in the words of Kimber:
“…today South Africa is the second most unequal country in the world. Two thirds of people live below the poverty line.”
“Unemployment is officially at 25 percent, but is probably really almost double that. And the strikes and township risings have returned.”
From this perspective the struggle continued for black South Africans to have freedom over their economic future.
Yet Mandela’s legacy is numerous. One only has to listen to the people in South Africa who was inspired by him. A generation who was born with the right to vote. His influence over the future of South Africa is beyond measure; but it is his endurance and strength that we should draw from to overcome the enemies of peace and human cooperation. The very enemies who spoke favourably of him and will no doubt be at his funeral with false tears and grief to milk off his greatness.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. May he rest peacefully.
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