Nelson Mandela vs. his hagiography
The Anne Arundel County Council unanimously passed a resolution honoring the late Nelson Mandela on Monday night, after Councilman Daryl Jones made a personal appeal. Jones recalled his time as a college student in the 1980s, when he lobbied the University of Maryland to cut its financial ties with companies doing business in South Africa, which operated under apartheid at the time. Around the same time, Jones said, then-Mayor Richard Hillman of Annapolis was arrested during anti-apartheid demonstrations in Washington. All the while, Anne Arundel Countys government spurned requests to divest from companies doing business in South Africa, Jones said. Also
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Mandela’s struggles for peace and justice in Africa
It was this vision that saw him in 1961 travel to almost all of independent Africa, drumming up support for his fledging armed struggle; it was out of this experience that he settled on his great legacy for the world: reconciliation and redistributive, rather than retributive, justice after the experience of tyranny and warwhat has now (somewhat uneasily) become the sprawling and protean field of transitional justice. I have done whatever I did, both as an individual and as a leader of my people, Mandela told the judges at his trial at Rivonia on 20 April 1964, because of my experience in South Africa and my own proudly felt African background, and not because of what any outsider might have said. He was not and never wanted to be seen as a pacifist: for him freedom and justice were worth fighting and dying for. His harsh journey from prison to the presidency enabled him to pursue his vision, which afterward needed to be broadly applied across Africa. The government of Abacha, secure in oil wealth and facing a fractured opposition whose leadership preferred comfortable exile to the necessary task of national leadership, was the first setback to Mandelas vision in 1995. The following year he was appointed chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a regional economic bloc, and that brought him to confront an even more onerous problem: Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) was fast sliding into chaos under its long-term kleptocrat, Mobutu Sese Seko. Nothing could stop this slide, and the problems of that massive, unwieldy country still remain largely unresolved. Such setbacks tested the nerve of the old warrior, so that when an electoral crisis in tiny Lesotho, which looks like a dot inside South Africa on a map, threatened to lead to a civil war in September 1998, Mandela quickly authorised military intervention. Though unpopular and messythe South African forces, never completely weaned of the brutality of their past, sometimes carried out gratuitous attacks on civilians and local infrastructurethe intervention did succeed in preventing civil war. It was, however, Mandelas work on Burundi that assures his legacy as a peacemaker in Africa. Aging and in poor health, Mandela took over in December 1999 the position of chief negotiator of the long-running conflict in Burundi, after the death of Julius Nyerere, the erstwhile holder of the position. Peace, like freedom, like democracy, in Mandelas clear-sighted and dignified vision, is a positive attribute: the conditions for its full enjoyment must be established before it is possible. This vision recalled his address to his judges at Rivonia in 1964: such was his principled consistency.
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In another narrative, Mandela is identified as the arch-betrayer; the man who sold out black South Africans liberation and the South African path to socialism, who sold out the ideals of the liberation movement to white capitalists and the national party, who saw it more necessary to reconcile and embrace white South Africa rather take on the old elite and their allies. This narrative is closely tied to the Stalinist influence within the ANC in the form of the concept of the National Democratic Revolution, in which a bourgeois nationalist revolution is seen as the first necessary struggle before the real struggle for socialism can begin. In this narrative, the state is seen as a blunt instrument, socialism can be achieved only if the right people are in charge. But this narrative never engages with both historical lessons of actually existing socialism or experiments in African socialism; it never deals with the fundamental contradiction between nationalism and socialism.
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Mandela never trained by Israeli agents: Foundation
“Media have picked up on a story alleging that in 1962 Nelson Mandela interacted with an Israeli operative in Ethiopia,” the foundation said in a statement. “The Nelson Mandela Foundation can confirm that it has not located any evidence in Nelson Mandela’s private archive that he interacted with an Israeli operative during his tour of African countries in that year.” British national daily newspaper, the Guardian website reported on Friday, that Mandela apparently underwent weapons training by Mossad agents in Ethiopia in 1962 without the Israeli secret service knowing his true identity. They attributed their report to “an intriguing secret letter lodged in the Israeli state archives”. The site reported that the missive, revealed by the Israeli paper Haaretz two weeks after Madiba’s death that he was instructed in the use of weapons and sabotage techniques, and was encouraged to develop Zionist sympathies. The foundation has however denied that such a thing occurred. “In 1962 Mr Mandela received military training from Algerian freedom fighters in Morocco and from the Ethiopian Riot Battalion at Kolfe outside Addis Ababa, before returning to South Africa in July 1962.” “In 2009 the Nelson Mandela