Nelson Mandela remembered in Scotland


This video is called Nelson Mandela‘s first TV interview in 1961 by ITN reporter Brian Widlake.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Mandela‘s granddaughter thanks Glaswegian supporters

Saturday 19th July 2014

NELSON Mandela’s granddaughter had a simple message for Glaswegians yesterday as Scotland marked the late statesman’s birthday — thank you.

Tukwini Mandela last night led a Mandela Day remembrance ceremony on Glasgow’s Nelson Mandela Place, pointedly renamed in 1988 to the annoyance of South African consulate staff who worked there.

Ms Mandela told reporters that it was a bittersweet anniversary.

But she was grateful to the people of Glasgow: “I know that Glasgow was one of the first cities that awarded my grandfather the keys to the city.

“It galvanised a lot of the European cities to pay attention to what was going on in South Africa,” she said.

The icon of black liberation spent nearly three decades as a political prisoner under South Africa’s white supremacist regime before international solidarity campaigns forced his release.

Glasgow’s decision to grant “the freedom of the city” in 1981 brought vilification in the Establishment press, portraying the gesture as consorting with a terrorist.

But Dundee and Aberdeen soon followed suit and by 1990 the Establishment press was hailing his release as the end of a repressive era.

‘Israel supported Mandela, ANC in 1960s, but stopped doing so in 1970s': here.

FBI still spied on Mandela after release from prison


This video from South Africa is called Nelson Mandela‘s Life Story.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

FBI monitored Nelson Mandela in 1990s over perceived communist threat

Previously classified documents show federal agents continued to monitor Mandela and ANC even after his release from prison

Ed Pilkington in New York

Thursday 10 July 2014 18.10 BST

The FBI monitored the interactions between Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress and leftwing groups in the US through the 1980s and 1990s as part of its ongoing investigations into what the bureau deemed to be the communist threat to US national security, new documents reveal.

The batch of 36 pages of previously classified documents, extracted from the FBI under freedom of information laws, show that federal agents continued to monitor Mandela’s and the ANC’s connections within the US even after the legendary South African leader was released from prison in February 1990. The bureau monitored meetings between Mandela and other world leaders, tracked the movements of senior ANC officials as they travelled across the US, and kept a close eye on the anti-apartheid activities of the Communist Party USA (CP-USA).

The declassified documents are marked “secret” under recognised codes for domestic and foreign counter-intelligence investigations. They include a record kept by federal agents of a meeting in Namibia just a month after Mandela’s release from jail between him and the then president of Yugoslavia, Janez Drnovsek. The record notes that a transcript of the proceedings was sent in Serbo-Croat to the FBI’s Cleveland office.

Another document records the FBI’s decision in June 1990, four months after Mandela was set free, to send an informant from Philadelphia to New York to snoop on a meeting that the bureau thought was about to take place between Mandela and Puerto Rican independence activists. “Information contained in this communication is extremely singular in nature and must not be disseminated outside the FBI or existing terrorism task forces,” it stated.

The newly declassified records are the second batch relating to FBI monitoring of Mandela to be obtained by Ryan Shapiro, a freedom of information expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the first set of documents, made public in May, it was disclosed that the bureau had used a confidential informant to gain an inside track on Mandela’s first visit to America in June 1990.

The new batch suggests that the FBI continued to see Mandela and the ANC through a paranoid cold war lens even after the fall of the Berlin Wall and after Mandela had emerged as one of the great democratic figureheads. The bureau’s obsession with categorising Mandela as a threat to domestic national security reached such a pitch that even elements within the FBI were driven to question the bureau’s prevailing analysis.

In August 1990, the FBI’s Chicago field office wrote a secret memo that highlighted the historical ignorance of its sister branch in New York which had classed the ANC as a “known Soviet front group”. The memo complained that “our description of the ANC as a Soviet front is an over-simplification which fails to recognize the complex and paradoxical nature of that particular organization (which was, of course, founded before the Russian revolution).”

Despite such enlightened interventions, the FBI carried on investigating links between the ANC and anti-apartheid and anti-racist groups in the US over many years. In 1984, federal agents kept watch over a senior ANC official, Makhenkesi Stofile, as he made a tour of the US meeting anti-apartheid groups. It also kept records of the involvement of Democratic Congress representatives in the Free Nelson Mandela campaign.

“The documents reveal that, just as it did in the 1950s and 60s with Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, the FBI aggressively investigated the US and South African anti-apartheid movements as communist plots imperiling American security,” Shapiro said.

Many of the documents are heavily redacted, and Shapiro said he is now pressing for release of the complete uncensored records. He is also continuing to sue the CIA, National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency for all their paperwork on Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement.

Just 60 years ago, in the summer of 1954, South Africa’s prime minister and architect of apartheid Daniel Francois Malan and his ultra-racist National Party government had a real irritant and they needed to get rid of it. The thorn in their side was Sophiatown, the multiracial cultural suburb of Johannesburg that, more than anywhere else, showed up the barrenness and nonsense of the obscene apartheid system: here.

Nelson Mandela, fifty years after apartheid kangaroo court trial


This video is called Nelson Mandela – Full Speech At Start Rivonia Trial (20 April 1964).

By Peter Frost in Britain:

The men of Rivonia

Thursday 12th June 2014

PETER FROST salutes Mandela and his comrades who were sentenced by the racist apartheid state 50 years ago

June 12 1964, half a century ago today, was one of the darkest days in the history of the liberation struggle in South Africa.

It seemed like the forces of racism and reaction were about to achieve their final victory.

Ten members of the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party had finished an eight-month trial and had been handed down long jail sentences.

They were Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Denis Goldberg, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni.

Two of the accused, Lionel “Rusty” Bernstein and James Kantor, were acquitted.

Those in the dock covered the entire spectrum of what would become the South African “rainbow nation.”

Goldberg and Bernstein were white Jews, Kathrada was Indian and Mhlaba, Mbeki and Motsoaledi were black from the Xhosa tribe. Sisulu’s mother was Xhosa and his father was European.

Mandela came from the Xhosa-speaking Thembu tribe.

The Rivonia trial was essentially a crude mechanism through which the white apartheid government hoped to destroy or silence the ANC. It failed.

The ANC leaders, including Nelson Mandela, who was already in Johannesburg’s Fort prison serving a five-year sentence for inciting workers to strike and leaving the country illegally, were found guilty and given long prison sentences.

Leading the defence team was the distinguished Afrikaner lawyer Bram Fischer, assisted by Harry Schwarz, Joel Joffe, Arthur Chaskalson, George Bizos and Harold Hanson.

The team of Rivonia defence lawyers were unable to see the accused until two days before the trial opened on October 9.

At the end of October another one of the accused, Bob Hepple, left the dock. Under pressure he had agreed to testify for the prosecution. In fact he never did. ANC comrades smuggled him out of the country.

The charges against all defendants were both broad and vague: recruiting persons for training in the preparation and use of explosives and in guerilla warfare for the purpose of violent revolution and committing acts of sabotage; conspiring to commit these acts and to aid foreign military units when they invaded the republic; acting in these ways to further the objects of communism; and soliciting and receiving money for these purposes from sympathisers outside South Africa.

Mandela and seven other defendants were found guilty and given life sentences, much to the disappointment of the South African government and also many British Conservatives like Margaret Thatcher and today’s Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow who publicly demanded they all be hung.

The accused were sent to Robben Island Prison. Goldberg was sent to Pretoria Central Prison’s security wing for white political prisoners — the only one of its kind in South Africa. Apartheid’s segregation even applied to prisons. He served 22 years.

Not long after the trial, defence lawyer Bram Fischer was arrested and himself put on trial for “supporting communism.”

Many believe the state went for Fischer because the defendants in the trial had not received the death penalty. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and was only released when he became critically ill.

Mandela, as we now know, served 27 years, was released and became president of the South African nation.

His speech from the dock was to prove an inspiration to a whole generation both in South Africa and the rest of the world as they fought and eventually ended apartheid.

Finally the battle against apartheid was won, the obscene system was cast into the dustbin of history and with it the names, reputations and memories of the government ministers, judges, police spies, prosecution lawyers, prison officers and state witnesses who fixed the trial.

On the other hand the memories of Mandela and the other men of Rivonia still burn bright in all our memories and still inspire all those who are fighting for a better, more equal world today in Africa and beyond.

Thatcher let Mandela rot in apartheid prison


This video is called Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013) Official Trailer.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Thatcher left Mandela to rot in prison

Friday 3rd January 2013

PMs glossed over issue in controversial talks

Newly released cabinet papers put paid yesterday to longstanding Tory boasts that Margaret Thatcher used her controversial courting of South Africa’s apartheid-era government to help win the release of Nelson Mandela.

Government minutes from 1984, published under the 30-year rule, show that Thatcher made little or no effort to secure Mandela‘s freedom during her first official meeting with South African prime minister PW Botha.

The documents record a summit between Thatcher and Botha, supposedly to discuss the country’s policy towards its black population.

Yet the British PM did not mention Mandela once during the official discussion.

In a report sent by adviser John Coles to Roger Bone, then private secretary to Sir Geoffrey Howe, Number 10 suggested the issue was raised at a short “tete-a-tete.”

No note-takers were present during the discussion but Coles says the issue was raised by Thatcher, who was rebuffed by Botha who claimed he was unable to “interfere with the South African judicial process.”

In the officially minuted meeting that followed no further mention was made of the matter – apparently despite Foreign Office advice to do so.

Thatcher went on to infamously brand Mr Mandela and the ANC as “terrorists” in 1987, while the ultra right-wing Federation of Conservative Students notoriously wore “Hang Nelson Mandela” badges in the early 1980s.

In the wake of Mandela’s death Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior party figures have rushed to distance themselves from their previous stance.

But in a special parliamentary session former Labour cabinet minister Peter Hain claimed the Tories were attempting to “rewrite” the history books and attacked the Thatcher government for its “craven indulgence to apartheid rulers.”

“We all say in Britain we were against apartheid, and doubtless we were,” Mr Hain said.

“But some of us did things about it and others didn’t.

“But it really does stick in the craw, when Lord Tebbit, Charles Moore and others similar claim their complicity with apartheid, for that’s what I think it was, somehow bought its end.”

Film: Mandela- Long Walk to Freedom (12A): a critical review is here. Another one is here.

A new book on Joe Slovo and Ruth First pays due tribute to an inspirational couple in the struggle for liberation in South Africa, says JOHN HAYLETT: here.

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Humanitarian Award, in remembrance of Nelson Mandela


Image

Horty of the blog It Is What It Is has been so kind to nominate Dear Kitty. Some Blog for the HUMANITARIAN AWARD …. IN REMEMBRANCE OF NELSON MANDELA.

Thanks so much, dear Horty, for this nomination, and for all you do!

More about Nelson Mandela is here.

Barbara, who created this award, writes about it:

“I created this award several days ago. I am spreading it out to worthy people. I can do it because I designed it.”

Recipients should nominate 5 people how have demonstrated through their love of writing a Love for the Human Family which encompasses all without regards for differences.

Give credit to the person who passes the award to you.

~~RULES~~

To be eligible for this award a blogger must blog about the importance or One World, One Family of Mankind and One Love.

My nominees are:

1. GOOD BLACK NEWS

2. Prison Pork

3. LE MONDE N’EST PAS ROND

4. Feminist conversations on Caribbean life

5. Wife and War

Nelson Mandela, Obama and dictators


This video says about itself:

SABC TV Live Stream Coverage: Nelson Mandela‘s funeral in Qunu

15 Dec 2013

The funeral service of South Africa’s first democratically-elected president, Nelson Mandela.

From Human Rights First in the USA:

Top 5 Hypocrites at Mandela’s Funeral

12-16-2013

By Diana Sayed

At Mandela’s memorial service on Tuesday, President Obama delivered a speech in which he said “Mandela showed us the power of action; of taking risks on behalf of our ideals” that “[t]here are too many of us who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation… who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people.”

But some of those countries who sent representatives are top United States allies that persecute those who dissent:

1. Bahrain –Ambassador to the UAE Mohammed bin Hamad Al Ma’awda

Ever since Bahrain’s democratic uprising began in February 2011, the regime has brutally cracked down on activists. Many prominent human rights defenders have been targeted and imprisoned, including Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, former president and co-founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), currently serving a life sentence after being arrested in April 2011. Nabeel Rajab, current president of the BCHR, is serving the remainder of his 2-year sentence for Tweeting about the government’s prime minister and for participating in illegal gatherings. Zainab Al-Khawaja was arrested for sitting on a highway in protest of her father’s detention. She was formally charged with disrupting traffic and insulting an officer and remains in prison today.

2. Pakistan – President Mamnoon Hussain

Many journalists that report on matters perceived as offensive or critical of the government are threatened, harassed, and intimidated by a host of actors, including members of Pakistan’s security and intelligence apparatus. One of the most notable cases was that of Umar Cheema, who was abducted in September 2010 by unknown assailants, stripped, beaten, and photographed in humiliating positions.

3. Saudi Arabia – Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Saudi Arabia has no elections, parliament, or political parties. King Abdullah and his family exercise unchecked power, and the kingdom remains one of the most repressive countries in the world, particularly for its 9 million female citizens, who are prevented from holding many jobs or driving and are considered as chattel under oppressive guardianship laws. Practicing any religion other than Islam is banned. Mohammad al-Qahtani is co-founder of the Saudi Arabian human rights organization Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) and, in 2011, its leader before he was sentenced to ten years in prison on several charges relating to his peaceful activism.

4. Ethiopia – His Excellency Ato Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister

Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe has been Prime Minister of Ethiopia since 2012 following the death of Meles Zenawi. Hailemariam was elected as the Chair of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the ruling party. Prior to his rule the 2010 election, in which Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s party won a remarkable 99.6 percent of the vote, he closed down space for political dissent and independent criticism. The crackdown included attacks and arrests of prominent opposition figures, the shutting down of newspapers and assaults on journalists critical of the government. Eskinder Nega, a prominent Ethiopian journalist, was sentenced to 18 years in prison on in July 2012 under the country’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009 for publishing an online column critical of the use of the terrorism law to silence dissent and calling for the Ethiopian government to respect freedom of expression and end torture in the country’s prisons.

5. Uganda – His Excellency Yoweri Kagota Museveni, President

Museveni abolished term limits before the 2006 elections after nearly three decades in office and proceeded to launch legal attacks on independent journalists and harass opposition parties. NGOs have also documented numerous cases of unlawful detention and torture by the country’s Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force. Uganda came under international condemnation in 2010 for a proposed law, still pending, that would punish homosexuality with harsh sentences including the death penalty. The country’s most prominent gay rights activist, David Kato, was beaten to death in January 2011 just weeks after a popular tabloid published his photo along with the caption, “Hang Them.”

These regimes and other dictatorships are key allies of the United States. President Obama is right to criticize those who suppress dissent but his words are undermined by his administration’s support for repressive regimes that do just that.

A comment to this blog post by Vanessa Blaylock says:

I certainly won’t defend the atrocities you call out, but why pick on nations from that region and imply that Obama/USA has some sort of moral high ground? What about Chelsea Manning, given a longer prison sentence than even Mandela for telling the truth? What about Edward Snowden living in exile in that freedom loving country Russia because the USA can’t handle the truth? Obama/USA have no monopoly on freedom and no love of truth. Let’s not even start on Senator Lieberman’s extra-legal persecution of the journalists at Wikileaks or the Bush v. Gore forged election.

6 Things Nelson Mandela believed that most people won’t talk about: here.

Peaceful Activists Face Inhumane Conditions in Bahrain’s Overcrowded Central Prison: here.

Uganda: Former national football team coach arrested for allegedly having gay sex with player: here.

Nelson Mandela and the Daily Mail, from hatred to hypocrisy


This video about South Africa is called Nelson Mandela “I Am Prepared to Die” speech (with subtitles/transcript).

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

The Daily Mail‘s hatred of Mandela

Friday 13th December 2013

Today the Mail is singing Madiba‘s praises, but it wasn’t always so keen on this towering figure of resistance. SOLOMON HUGHES takes a look

Most British news reports on Nelson Mandela‘s death note the number of streets and buildings named after the ANC leader in Britain, showing how much British people cared about the great man.

They don’t say how hard the Tories and their friends opposed the Mandela name.

Now David Cameron says Mandela was a hero. But when it mattered, when he was imprisoned by apartheid’s jailers, the Tories were enraged by Labour councils supporting Mandela.

The Tories’ big ally in their anti-Mandela campaign was the Daily Mail.

The Mail complained this week that Mandela’s memorial ceremony was “a shambolic disgrace to his name.” But it hated his name when he was imprisoned.

London was the international HQ of the Anti-Apartheid Movement and Britain was a vital base of the ANC.

Britain saw big public protests and heroic underground support for Mandela and his fellow fighters.

Naming streets and buildings after Mandela was a small part of this. It encouraged the campaigners and spread his name – to the disgust of the Mail and the Tories.

A search of the Mail archives about Mandela throws up story after story denouncing the Mandela renamings.

In August 1986 both the Mail and the Tories were enraged that Labour-led Coventry Council wanted to name its new archive building after Mandela instead of poet Philip Larkin.

The Mail quoted Tory spokesman Stan Hodson saying: “Mandela has a record of being a terrorist. He has nothing to do with Coventry. What will naming a public building after him do for our tourist industry?”

This was part of a long campaign in the Mail against naming streets and buildings after Mandela.

In September ’82 it had a page three splash on “How the left turned Lark Rise into Soweto Close” following Cardiff Council‘s decision to name roads in a new housing estate after South African heroes.

A shocked Mail reported: “The quiet cul-de-sacs will be labelled Mandela Avenue, Biko Close.”

Laing Homes, building the new private estate, was outraged, complaining: “How can we possibly sell people homes when they hear the names of the roads they are in?

“We are in the business of selling homes, not playing politics. People want to live in friendly sounding streets, not places named after foreign political leaders.”

Inevitably the deputy leader of the council’s Tory group Gwilym M Jones said: “We will be opposing the names.”

In 1983 the Mail carried several stories about Camden Council’s decision to rename one of its roads “Mandela Street.”

Camden proposed the change because the Anti-Apartheid Movement actually had its headquarters in the road.

But the Mail was enraged that “the left-wingers on Camden Council” wanted to name the road “after the jailed black African nationalist.”

The Mail said residents were “furious” at the name change and in “revolt” against the Mandela name.

It claimed that everyone on the street with the exception of the Anti-Apartheid Movement and the Central Electricity Generating Board signed a petition against renaming their street after Mandela. If so there must be some very embarrassed residents in Camden right now.

In November ’84 the Mail reported that “left-wing” Harlow Council had renamed a road “Mandela Street,” finding an unnamed local to denounce it as “utterly confusing.”

It didn’t stop at street names. In November ’86 Manchester Council put Nelson Mandela on its Xmas cards.

The Mail‘s headline – “The left gives Santa the sack” – suggests it was not keen.

Manchester Tory MP Winston Churchill – grandson of the more famous Churchill – told the Mail this “tasteless propaganda is profoundly disturbing.”

The Mail‘s campaign was crystallised by Paul Johnson, who was given a whole page to denounce the “Crazy street warfare of the left” in July ’85.

Johnson was still angry with Cardiff councillors wanting street names to “commemorate revolutionary leaders such as South African blacks Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko.”

Johnson said the street names were “deliberately provocative gestures,” adding that calling a road “Mandela” was done by the “fanatics who run Labour’s local government regimes” who “never miss an opportunity to set people at each others throats. It is part of the Marxist doctrine of class warfare.”

Johnson wasn’t just worried about support for revolutionary leaders and “South African blacks.”

Give in on Mandela and “where would it end?”

The Mail‘s columnist argued that “women’s lib, increasingly powerful in the Labour Party, would stick its oar in and thousands of streets would be named after harpies and harridans.” Worse, “homosexuals, another Labour pressure group, would demand their quota. We would have scores of Oscar Streets and Wilde Roads.”

So for the Mail, supporting Mandela was as bad as supporting gay people or women.

This disgusting reactionary cocktail might look like something only Johnson – a ridiculous right-wing buffoon – would mix.

But his views were reflected in the high levels of Tory government.

When Michael Howard began drawing up his famously bigoted Section 28 against treating gay people as equals, he originally wanted to use the same law against councils supporting Mandela.

Just like Johnson, he seemed to think Labour councils naming streets after Mandela and being gay-friendly was all part of one plot.

Papers I got under freedom of information show that Section 28 wasn’t just proposed to stop councils “promoting homosexuality” and banning “the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship” in schools.

The law originally aimed to stop any kind of “left-wing political activity” by local councils.

Howard’s civil servants wanted the law to be a “proscription of a number of activities undertaken by local authorities in areas peripheral to their functions.

“These include the promotion of homosexuality but also other activities such as anti-apartheid and anti-nuclear activities.”

Howard agreed. Seeing councils being gay-friendly was part of “all the peripheral political activity of left-wing councils” and he was considering “proscribing some other activities by local authorities, such as anti-apartheid, anti-police and anti-nuclear activities.”

Hurray for the Blackshirts, Daily Mail 1934 fascist propaganda

The Daily Mail has a long history of far Right sympathies, as this 1934 article by its owner, Viscount Rothermere, in support of the Blackshirts of British nazi leader Sir Oswald Mosley, shows.

Nelson Mandela’s death resulted in an outpouring of tributes and veneration such as no other political or world figure could inspire, perhaps with the exception of Muhammad Ali. Like Mandela, Ali stood up against racial and social injustice as a young man and thereby transcended the confines of his background to become an international icon: here.

Nelson Mandela has been laid to rest – but his legacy must not be; Gary Younge: here.