“Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison, 18 of them at Robben Island - the notorious island jail that held the principle leadership of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. It was at that jail, with the help of his comrades, that Mandela wrote his story, “Long Walk to Freedom” (published in 1994). In this book, one gets a sense of Mandela as the deeply political figure that he was: a lawyer who fought against apartheid — a lawyer who discovered that the law was the barrier to change and so moved to politics, including terrorist operations against the intransigent apartheid state.
Not long after his arrest in 1964, Mandela became the iconic figure of the South African struggle against apartheid - one that was not only against a ghastly political system, not only against the white ruling clique in South Africa, but also against the governments of the Western world which backed the apartheid regime virtually until the end (Mandela appeared on the U.S. terrorist lists until 2008). It was this iconic figure that the world knew from the 1960s until now. Rarely did people engage with Mandela’s ideas: rarely do we hear him quoted for his principled positions. Particularly after the struggles within South Africa weakened the regime and brought it down, it became impossible not to engage with Mandela - but it was only with Mandela as icon, as Madiba, not Mandela as the political person with deeply held views and commitments.
Everybody now is sad that Madiba is dead. Not a dry eye can be found. But many of these same people opposed freedom in South Africa to the very end. Many of these same people pilloried the struggles around the world in solidarity with Mandela’s ANC. And many of these people now ridicule the kind of views that Mandela held to the very end. When Mandela opposed the Iraq war (“All Bush wants is Iraqi oil”), the Western press lambasted him — the same press that is now aggrieved at his passage. All the obituaries detail what he did in his life, but none go into his political views.
Mandela’s legacy is not only his tremendous role in the fight against apartheid. It is also his contribution to the fight against unjust systems of power, property and propriety that shackle the world’s people from their true destiny. Goodbye Mr. Mandela, but long live his legacy.”—Mandela, the Unapologetic Radical by Vijay Prashad
“If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings.”—
Remembering the unvarnished truth of Mandela’s words means refusing to let anybody sanitize his legacy. As the United States attempts to piggyback on Mandela’s revolutionary spirit, never forget that it was the CIA who helped jail him for 28 years. His sentiments toward our imperialist government reflect what our government remorselessly tries to keep we citizens from seeing, that indeed ”…the United States now feels that they are the only superpower in the world and they can do what they like" regardless of who we harm in the process.
Here are a few more quotes we are unlikely to see in the mainstream press:
“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”
"A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens."
It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
“No single person can liberate a country. You can only liberate a country if you act as a collective.”
"If the United States of America or Britain is having elections, they don’t ask for observers from Africa or from Asia. But when we have elections, they want observers."
“But the overall failure of American conservatives to forthrightly deal with South Africa’s white-supremacist regime, coming so soon after their failure to deal with the white-supremacist regime in their own country, is part of their heritage, and thus part of our heritage. When you see a Tea Party protestor waving the flag of slavery in front of the home of the first black president, understand that this instinct has been cultivated. It is still, at this very hour, being cultivated.”—Ta-Nehisi Coates, on apartheid’s useful idiots. (via theatlantic)
“If you are wondering why Pope Francis singled out American-style trickle-down economics in his apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel,” the prevalence of [Dave] Ramsey’s you’re-on-your-own scorn for the poor provides a good starting point. Pope Francis can’t understand why so many Christians, especially in America, have turned their backs on economic justice. For people like Ramsey, the term “economic justice” is nonsensical. Either we blame the government for our misfortunes, or we blame ourselves. If you blame the government, you’re a liberal fatalist. Everything must be viewed on an individual basis.”—Dave Ramsey channels Ebeneezer Scrooge (via azspot)
"Can you imagine what would have happened to us had Nelson Mandela emerged from prison in 1990 bristling with resentment at the gross miscarriage of justice that had occurred in the Rivonia trial? Can you imagine where South Africa would be today had he been consumed by a lust for revenge, to want to pay back for all the humiliations and all the agony that he and his people had suffered at the hands of their white oppressors?
Instead the world was amazed, indeed awed, by the unexpectedly peaceful transition of 1994, followed not by an orgy of revenge and retribution but by the wonder of forgiveness and reconciliation epitomized in the processes of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.
It came as no surprise that his name towered above those of any others when the BBC conducted a poll to determine who should head a world government to guide the affairs of our conflict-ridden global village. A colossus of unimpeachable moral character and integrity, he was the world’s most admired and most revered public figure.
People warmed to him because they knew, they felt in their bones, that he cared genuinely. He was consumed by this passion to serve because he believed that a leader exists for the sake of the led, not for self-aggrandizement or self-promotion.”
Glenn Broadnax, a 35-year-old black man from Brooklyn, was unarmed on the night of September 14 when NYPD officers shot at him in the middle of Times Square, striking two bystanders.
Instead of apologizing, the New York Timesreports that the city has charged Broadnax ”with assault, on the theory that he was responsible for bullet wounds suffered by two bystanders.”
Broadnax was emotionally disturbed and dodging cars in the middle of the street when officers say he reached into his pocket to grab what they believed was a weapon, prompting them to open fire. His lawyers says he was reaching for his wallet.
So, because the NYPD is made up of trigger happy, crappy marksmen who fire at unarmed black people with impunity, Broadnax might spend up to 25 years in prison on trumped up assault charges, which the Manhattan district attorney insisted on.
… Meanwhile, the two cops who did the shooting are on desk duty pending an investigation. If the past is any indication, that means they will be back on the streets in no time.
from nytimes: Mariann Wang, a lawyer representing Sahar Khoshakhlagh, one of the women who was wounded, said the district attorney should be pursuing charges against the two officers who fired their weapons in a crowd, not against Mr. Broadnax. “It’s an incredibly unfortunate use of prosecutorial discretion to be prosecuting a man who didn’t even injure my client,” she said. “It’s the police who injured my client.”
"When he reached into his pants pocket [for his wallet], two officers…opened fire, missing Mr. Broadnax, but hitting two nearby women. ‘The defendant is the one that created the situation that injured innocent bystanders,’ said an assistant district attorney, Shannon Lucey."
“I came to the conclusion that as violence in this country was inevitable, it would be unrealistic to continue preaching peace and non-violence. This conclusion was not easily arrived at. It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle. I can only say that I felt morally obliged to do what I did.”—Nelson Mandela,"An ideal for which I am prepared to die". Mandela made this statement from the dock at the opening of his trial on charges of sabotage, Supreme court of South Africa, Pretoria, April 20 1964 (via randomactsofchaos)
Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday. He was 95.
The South African president, Jacob Zuma, announced Mr. Mandela’s death.
Mr. Mandela had long declared he wanted a quiet exit, but the time he spent in a Pretoria hospital in recent months was a clamor of quarreling family, hungry news media, spotlight-seeking politicians and a national outpouring of affection and loss. The vigil even eclipsed a recent visit by President Obama, who paid homage to Mr. Mandela but decided not to intrude on the privacy of a dying man he considered his hero.
Mr. Mandela will be buried, according to his wishes, in the village of Qunu, where he grew up. The exhumed remains of three of his children were reinterred there in early July under a court order, resolving a family squabble that had played out in the news media.
Mr. Mandela’s quest for freedom took him from the court of tribal royalty to the liberation underground to a prison rock quarry to the presidential suite of Africa’s richest country. And then, when his first term of office was up, unlike so many of the successful revolutionaries he regarded as kindred spirits, he declined a second term and cheerfully handed over power to an elected successor, the country still gnawed by crime, poverty, corruption and disease but a democracy, respected in the world and remarkably at peace.
The question most often asked about Mr. Mandela was how, after whites had systematically humiliated his people, tortured and murdered many of his friends, and cast him into prison for 27 years, he could be so evidently free of spite.
The government he formed when he finally won the chance was an improbable fusion of races and beliefs, including many of his former oppressors. When he became president, he invited one of his white wardens to the inauguration. Mr. Mandela overcame a personal mistrust bordering on loathing to share both power and a Nobel Peace Prize with the white president who preceded him, F. W. de Klerk.
And as president, from 1994 to 1999, he devoted much energy to moderating the bitterness of his black electorate and to reassuring whites against their fears of vengeance.
The explanation for his absence of rancor, at least in part, is that Mr. Mandela was that rarity among revolutionaries and moral dissidents: a capable statesman, comfortable with compromise and impatient with the doctrinaire.
When the question was put to Mr. Mandela in an interview for this obituary in 2007 — after such barbarous torment, how do you keep hatred in check? — his answer was almost dismissive: Hating clouds the mind. It gets in the way of strategy. Leaders cannot afford to hate.