I like many of you were saddened to hear of the death of Nelson Mandela, a man who stuck to his unshakeable beliefs and principles in the most trying of circumstances, becoming the focal point of a struggle that would eventually break the apartheid era regime in South Africa.
Instead of writing about the great man himself, what I want to talk about firstly is the impact he had on me personally and to then look at the sickening levels of hypocrisy shown by the political and media classes who have cynically abused his death as an opportunity to gain some desperately needed cachet.
As a child of the 1980’s, one of my first realisations of political action were seeing my parents close down their bank accounts with Barclays Bank for their support of the apartheid regime in South Africa. Before my tenth birthday, I had become accustomed to checking the labels on our fruits and vegetables, if it came from “The Cape” or from companies that were operating in South Africa, then they were not bought.
These were my early roots of being politicised, as an act of solidarity to those in South Africa.
The Boycott Divestment & Sanctions broke the back of the apartheid regime in South Africa & the exact same thing can happen in Israel.
The similarity between apartheid era South Africa and that of modern day Israel are plain for all to see. You can read more about this on an earlier article I wrote for MPACUK titled “The World Against Israeli Apartheid”
The mainstream press in Britain has been gushing in its praise for Nelson Mandela, but in their desire to remove him from politics & make him a saint does him a disservice.
The western narrative has become of a saintly Nelson Mandela that turned the other cheek, that there is no room for his type of radical politics.
Today, as you see whitewashed images of a post-prison, unarmed, grandfatherly Nelson Mandela, please remember that he was someone who had the pride and courage to take up arms against his oppressor. Mandela fought in a guerilla war against white supremacy in South Africa, as did many others all across the world. It was the CIA that alerted the South African authorities to Mandela’s location, which is what led to his 27 years behind bars and the medical condition which felled him today. The American government was responsible for that crime.
So when you see the likes of Obama and his fellow politicians crying their crocodile tears later today remember that today, they imprison the modern day Mandela’s, that they murder the modern day Mandela’s with their drone strikes, remember that these are the politicians that arm the apartheid government of Israel to wreak war and destruction in Palestine and that these are the politicians that do everything they can to crush the kind of dissenting voice that Nelson Mandela stood for.
Our very own David Cameron (probably Gideon Osbourne & Boris Johnson) was part of the Conservative Federation of Students in 1985 when they produced this “Hang Mandela” poster
If that wasn’t enough, in 1989, David Cameron marked Nelson Mandela’s 26th year in prison sipping wine with the apartheid state’s rulers.
The hypocrisy of certain people shouldn’t go unchecked:
Conservative Home had a bit more of a realism to their piece “Mandela and the Right” where they stated, without attempting to deny their previous hatred of Mandela:
“In some quarters of the Right when I was a student, there was sympathy for apartheid (on the racist ground that black people are the inferiors of others) and, in a few cases, outright support. It felt foul then, and the memory of it is no nicer now.”
After Nelson Mandela was released from prison he wrote an open letter to (one of Rupert Murdoch’s key lieutenants at the Murdoch owned New York Times) the unashamed zionist propagandist Thomas Friedman, stating:
“The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not just an issue of military occupation and Israel is not a country that was established “normally” and happened to occupy another country in 1967. Palestinians are not struggling for a “state” but for freedom, liberation and equality, just like we were struggling for freedom in South Africa”
A few years ago, I wrote about the story of Islam’s resistance to colonialism & apartheid in South Africa and how it echoed Nelson Mandela’s struggle.
Not only was Nelson Mandela listed as a terrorist by both Reagan’s US & Thatcher’s UK Governments, but his party, the African National Congress, or the ANC, was listed as a terrorist organisation.
How many of today’s terrorists in future will be remembered as ‘brave apartheid fighters,’ or ‘brave freedom fighters?’
Mandela was openly welcomed and coveted the world over by kings and queens, prime ministers and presidents.
Yet how was it that so called “great leaders” like Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan designated Nelson Mandela a ‘terrorist,’ and his party, a ‘terrorist organisation?’ for simply wanting self determination from the white, European colonial powers and to give back the indigenous people back their land and their rights, in their own country.
To sum it all up, as my brother said
We Muslims should be the first to appreciate the lessons that Nelson Mandela taught us in his struggle for freedom.
Those who dismiss the death of Mandela as just the death of another man do not appreciate what his life meant to the oppressed of his time, and to those oppressed now.