Monday, December 09, 2013

A Revolutionary Without Revolution: The Other Mandela

Binoy Kampmark
December 9, 2013.
"George Orwell warns against the embrace of any cult of saints. To be a saint, you probably had to have been a rather serious sinner. Revolutionary figures, as Mandela was, embraced their share of diplomatic means and revolutionary violence. He was a serious combatant to the White regime of South Africa. Its officials knew that. Many outside South Africa knew that, and anti-communist regimes were particularly troubled.

The fable makers prefer another Mandela, the historical figure one extracts from books as a precedent; the convenient prop for any historical cause one is defending; a gentle, smiling creature who found peaceful solutions, wished no harm and inflicted none. It is that Mandela that will prove to be the least attractive of all, the revolutionary deprived of his revolutionary dress."
 Read the rest of the article here.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email:

Comment: Dr. Kampmark points out in his article above that the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, "refused to lower the flag to half-mast in commemoration" of President Mandela's passing.

I am not surprised.  Conservative hack politicians like Abbott and the late Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan believed Mandela was a terrorist.  Thatcher and Reagan supported apartheid South Africa and certainly were not friendly to the struggle against white domination.

That is old news though.  What irks me is President Obama's remarks about being inspired by Mandela and his political vision.  Did he miss the part where Mandela considered Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Muammar Gaddafi comrades in struggle?

And, did he ever think for a minute that Nelson Mandela would not rain down drone bombs on innocents in the name of an empire gone made?

Where is the inspirational influence then?

I think Obama like Tony Blair - who has lauded Mandela in recent days - is full of it.  The same goes for the current UK prime minister, David Cameron.

Who can take these people seriously when they are the worst purveyors of violence against innocents in the world today?

I laughed this morning when I read that the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, won't attend Mandela's funeral because the trip will prove too expensive.  Now just minutes ago - as of this writing - the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, announced he too won't be going because he has the flu. 

Mandela's statement and sentiment that our freedom in South Africa would be incomplete until Palestinians were free too is probably more of the reason these two genocidal murderers won't be present.

On Tuesday we will witness perhaps the biggest gathering of world leaders when Mandela is memorialized.  I don't expect that Fidel Castro will be present but it won't be because he does not want to see his longtime friend and comrade laid to rest.

I know that President Raul Castro will be here and if Obama and company had not killed Muammar Gaddafi he too would have been present.

We live in a strange world and politics is a messy business.  Still, it never ceases to amaze me how tyrants and genocidal murderers like Obama and George W. Bush, in particular, truly believe that they belong at Mandela's memorial.


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