The Man Who Didn’t Disappoint 113


Nelson Mandela was a rallying focus for any progressive thinker of my generation.  I attended numerous events of which the aim was to free Nelson Mandela.  I carried a torch through Edinburgh, danced round a bonfire in Dundee and talked to the startled tourists in Norwich cathedral, among other things.

That walk from prison came at a time when it seemed possible that the world would actually get better.  Walls were coming down, liberty was in the air.  All that was eventually to change and become a neo-con nightmare in Europe and a corruption nightmare in South Africa.  I remember even in the early eighties wondering what Mandela was really like.  How many people really knew him before he went to jail?  Certainly none who were demonstrating with me.  How had he managed to project a worldwide presence from decades inside a cell?  There was a real danger he would turn out to be a hideous disappointment, to have feet of clay, like – well at the time like Winnie Mandela was the obvious fear.

Indeed the rest of the ANC were in power to prove corrupt, elitist and grabbing.  I keep getting disappointed still.  I was astonished to see a statement last year from Cyril Ramaphosa effectively supporting the police who shot striking miners.  Mbeki had lost it before he took over.  In Europe, Walesa was a nightmare in government, and Havel a neo-con tool.  I never believed in Blair, but those who did were certainly deceived.  The greatest disappointment of all, however, was Obama, who turned out to be a smoother and more obediently ruthless front for the Orwellian security state than George W. Bush

Mandela is the only political leader who never failed my faith.  His philosophy and demeanour was Christ-like in its capacity for forgiveness and inclusion.  He really was everything those millions around the world hoped as they demonstrated for the better world that would be symbolised through his release.  The miracle of Mandela was that he never disappointed.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

113 thoughts on “The Man Who Didn’t Disappoint

1 2 3 4
  • nobody

    Dear oh dear, you’ve not read Pilger then? Mandela did a deal with the Oppenheimers. They get to keep South Africa’s wealth he gets to walk. He walked.

  • Abe Rene

    I grant you, he was a nice chap apart from holding hands with Col Gaddafi and calling him “My brathah leadah!” 🙂

  • Komodo

    I am wondering on what conceivable terms the apartheid regime in SA could have been ended without the positive involvement of the diamond (gold, platinum, etc) industries. If he’d kicked them out (if he could have kicked them out), he’d have been left with a dysfunctional economy and incessant subversion by the West. He’d probably have been assassinated and replaced by something like Mugabe. Mandela’s objective was achieved: pity it wasn’t sustained and developed by his successors. He had high ideals, but he was a realist.

  • Flaming June

    The ANC successors should hang their heads in shame. They have betrayed their people. I was in S Africa when the first democratic vote took place after the disgusting system of Apartheid was dismantled. There were queues to vote that were miles long and there was excitement and high expectation in the air.

    I never visited Robben Island but did look down from a high point on the prison called Pollsmor and thought of Nelson Mandela who was incarcerated there and from where he walked to freedom.
    Mandela describes prison time on Robben Island and Pollsmoor Prison.

    ‘His 28-year tenure in prison was marked by the cruelty of Afrikaner guards, backbreaking labour, and sleeping in minuscule cells which were nearly uninhabitable.’
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Walk_to_Freedom_(book)

    It is even more crowded now.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollsmoor_Prison

  • Passerby

    The miracle of Mandela was that he never disappointed

    Agreed. Mandela indeed deserves our respects, he has earned it the hardest way possible.

    Furthermore, Walesa was never going to be anything other than a nightmare, he pulled out the Gdansk shipyard workers on Strike because the shipyard management would not let him take his holidays, based on a short notice of only three weeks. Walesa was just the tool to bring down the Polish government, and pave the way for the fall of the rest of the eastern block.

    Czech republic was handed over to Havel, whom turned the country into a giant open air whorehouse (anyone travelling the route 66 would recall the ugly sight of scantly clad hoards of young women punting for business on the roadside), that was the miracle of capitalism, the once proud men and women were pimping and selling their women folks’ genitals; they had no other assets to fall back on.

    Now the world has turned out to be a giant workhouse, and a whorehouse.

  • John Goss

    The miracle of Mandela is that he has come back before, and if he does not this time, so be it. He’s in his nineties. It sounds desperate but he’s not dead yet, and while there’s life there’s hope. One of the great acts of kindness was his visit to Abdelbaset al Megrahi in prison. Mandela knew about prison. He knew too, long before many others, that al Megrahi was innocent.

    http://wikispooks.com/wiki/Abdelbaset_Ali_Mohmed_Al_Megrahi#Prison_visit_by_Nelson_Mandela

    If there is a single act that could be done as a tribute to Mandela it would be to push for a proper inquiry into who was responsible for the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am 103. Even though it is well-known that al Megrahi was not responsible both David Cameron and Ed Miliband want a line drawn under it as though al Megrahi was responsible. That alone should tell you something. The CIA handled the original inquiry. That should tell you something else. Speculation among those who have made this issue a lifetime work is that the target of the bombing was Bernt Carlsson, United Nations Commissioner to Namibia, who died in the crash. That seems like a good place to start the inquiry.

  • mitch

    THE TRUTH ABOUT MANDELA
    Who started apartheid in South Africa? It was the British who imposed segregation between whites and blacks way back when South Africa was a British Colony.
    In his early years as a black activist, Nelson Mandela was involved in an anti-apartheid “freedom” group known as the African National Congress (ANC) with the goal of bringing rights and privileges back to blacks that had been taken away by the whites. After years of peaceful demonstrations, things turned violent. Mandela was arrested, imprisoned and given a life sentence.
    Mandela’s imprisonment became a public relations nightmare for South Africa’s white criminal minority. During his imprisonment, a “Free Mandela” campaign attracted world wide attention to apartheid, white domination, terror, aggression, abuses, suffering, killing, torture and detentions. The whites had squandered South Africa’s resources and used them to build a military machine and wage an unending war against the population of blacks.
    Mandela had been called a terrorist by the Thatcher government, so how and why did this black terrorist become eligible for a British knighthood from the Queen and a Presidential Medal of Freedom award from George W. Bush?

    THE MANDELA DEAL
    “Free Mandella” campaigns and the ever-growing global anti-apartheid movement pressured South Africa’s white minority into supporting the anti-apartheid movement of the ANC.
    The ANC became guided and sponsored by two Communist Jews, Albie Sachs, “one of its foremost intellectuals”( London Sunday Times, August 29, 1993) and Yossel Mashel Slovo (Joe Slovo, 1926-1995) who staged a terrorist war against the Apartheid government of South Africa. For publicity purposes, they used their Zionist-controlled mass media to bill their terrorist actions as “the people’s struggle”.
    The white elites needed a black face to front their mining operations, so they released Mandella from prison after 27 years and installed him as South Africa’s first black President “for a price”.

    The illusion that the indigenous people’s had taken back control of their country was bought hook, line and sinker by the world and even by South Africans themselves! White ownership over the land was taken away and the land was returned to the blacks…but instead of bringing prosperity to South Africa, the wealth of the nation declined. Farming practices were abandoned which decreased exports and weakened the economy.

    WHITE CONTROL – FROM OVERT TO COVERT
    Before the transfer of power from the white minority to the black majority, the white Jewish Oppenheimer family controlled about 80 per cent of the companies quoted on the South African stock-market. They owned the gold, diamond and other mining industries on which the country depended. They also controlled the media through various frontmen.
    Today, the Oppenheimers still control about 80 per cent of the companies on the South African stock-market. They still own the gold, diamond and other mining industries on which the country depends, and they still control the media via Henry Kissinger’s frontmen. The income from the exploitation of South Africa’s vast resources is being funneled into foreign hands.
    So what’s the difference between the white Brotherhood’s control of South Africa before apartheid and after apartheid? The difference is that no-one is complaining anymore. World condemnation of the racist white minority dictatorship in South Africa was successfully silenced and overt “white” control was replaced by covert “white” control.
    The media monopolies glorified Mandella as a national hero, an icon of freedom while the same “whites” continued controlling South Africa just as they had done before, only now they were free to exploit without condemnation.
    The shanty towns and corrugated iron ghettos are still there in Soweto and spreading out every day. The heart wrenching poverty is no longer front page news because everyone knows that South Africa is now free.

    MANDELA’S HOMICIDAL WIFE
    After Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, , Winnie Mandela was sentenced in 1991 to six years in prison for kidnapping and assault in the death of 14-year-old James Seipei “Stompie” Moeketsi. She appealed her sentence and it was reduced to a suspended jail term. Winnie Mandela has also been found guilty on 43 counts of fraud and 25 counts of theft. She is implicated in the murder of two ANC activists whose bodies have recently been exhumed.

    SAINT MANDELA
    People LOVE Mandela because he’s a “saint” they say. He brought “freedom” to South Africa, blah blah blah. He’s an enemy of poverty, blah blah blah.
    The ruling African National Congress (ANC) are using the dying Mandela as their political prop. In power since 1994, the ANC wants to convince the public that it is still the party of Mandela despite widespread corruption and poverty.
    ON HIS DEATH BED
    In a controversial new book, MI6: Fifty Years of Special Operations, by the acclaimed intelligence expert Stephen Dorril, allegations of Mandela’s recruitment by MI6 British intelligence service and his endorsement of UK spying operations based in South Africa are revealed.
    Now that Mandela is on his death bed, South Africa is attempting to write his legacy and a eulogy for him while facing 40% unemployment, poor public education, devastating poverty and epidemic HIV and AIDS.

  • Jemand

    There aren’t many people who fail to disappoint. So long as people continue to fool themselves, and others, into thinking that humanity is something intrinsically good, they will continue to be disappointed.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Certainly Mandela never failed my faith, nut I can also say that for JFK, MLK, Gorbachev, and a few other lesser lights.

    The problem with the current world is that there is no one on our side who is anything but a terrible disappointment.

  • nevermind

    Thanks Mitch, your comprehensive post has added much to this thread.
    Mandela was an icon just as Mother Theresa, they are both fallible and no saints.

    The ANC has betrayed its own aims and objectives, infighting and backstabbing, to become the token black on company boards, jumping on to the Oppenheimer express gravy train, has become the currency of estimation within the party.

    SA is being robbed, still.

  • Cryptonym

    @John Goss (12:51pm)

    I agree with you on Lockerbie and now that the prosecutor Peter Fraser, who took such a flawed case on, has passed away, the impetus is growing. I’ve just been reading, the original aaib report on the incident and have become convinced that the explosive charge must have been large, very large, not a small amount that could be accomodated in a radio-cassette. The aaib concludes the front part of the plane, from the damaged area forward including upper and lower decks, and flight deck, cabin and nose separated completely from the rest of the plane, within 2-3 seconds of the explosion. A necessarily small amount of explosive packed into a radio-cassette then attenuated by suitcase contents such as clothing, hard but ultimately yielding suitcase and then luggage hold container of aluminium could not have had such a catastrophic effect so quickly, such ‘over-pressure’, again hinting the explosive charge must have been considerable and with a lesser charge the plane may have over a longer time period still broken up completely with such a charge, if it could not be controlled and brought safely down.

    Not ruled out either is any external source of explosive, i.e. a missile; with its trajectory and momentum stopped by successive layers, ie inner and outer skin, aluminium luggage container, suitcases and contents -its small entry hole would be lost completely in the 17ft by 5ft exit hole after its detonation.

    The aaib report also incredibly incongruously refers refers to at least four pieces of satellite debris which were expected to enter the earth’s atmosphere in the relevant timeframe and burn up, statistically so unlikely I would think to have been connected in any way, or even mentioned and if they had posed a threat to aircraft, with however low a probability then surely a general grounding of civil aviation would have been a wise precaution until they were down or burned up. Also I thought it significant that this was no ordinary 747 but heavily modified, strengthened for ‘military’ cargos.

  • Phil

    Yeah yeah. We all did the anti apartheid thing. I pickedted oil copmanies and banks. I hosted delegates. I remember going to a meeting attended by Joe Slovo. Now that was heavy. One of my mates wrote a well known song about freeing him. Funny enough another friend now rents the basement of the old anc hq in brixton.

    But really he is just another man. I have no idea what “christ like” means. Wether he did the wrong thing for the right reasons is another argument but the pedestal on which he is placed is somewhat hollow.

    All politicians will disappoint. Including the son of god. Especially the son of god.

  • Cryptonym

    Significant too that the reconstructed damaged section of the plane has been returned to Scotland from Farnborough and significant felling of trees towards the eastern end of the southern debris trail, in then heavily forested areas has been taking place, opening up areas which may only have been cursorily searched at the time, or missed entirely including probably that area where the highly improbable mebo fragment was allegedly found, though the chances of any useful or significant physical evidence still being recovered is slim.

  • Flaming June

    The price of gold.

    CAR gold miners killed in pit collapse

    Clashes in Bangui leave ’17 dead’
    Profile: CAR’s new strongman
    CAR rebel leader reviews mine deals

    At least 37 gold miners have died after heavy rains caused a pit collapse in the Central African Republic, officials say.

    /..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-23046572

    The connections between the ANC and the Central African Republic.

    Central African Republic: Is this what our soldiers died for?http://mg.co.za/article/2013-03-28-00-central-african-republic-is-this-what-our-soldiers-died-for

    South Africa ‘downplayed’ casualties in CAR fighting
    http://www.france24.com/en/20130404-south-africa-deaths-central-african-republic-mining-oil-anc

    which all helps to keep Mr Leviev’s trade in blood diamonds going amongst all his other activities.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa_Israel_Investments

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    14 posts in and we’re off on our favorite hobby-horse again….

    Two mentions of the Oppenheimers and one of a “Mr Leviev” (who he?), with poster Mitch at least being honest enough to lay his cards on the table (“..the white Jewish Oppenheimer family..” in case any of us thought the Oppenheimers were Bantus.

  • Villager

    Mary, kindly also take a line from Craig’s book:

    “I am in Africa. Edward Snowden seems to be doing a super job without me, so I have been working on my book and not burdening you with superfluous comment.”

  • Phil

    Am I living on another planet where FlamingJune isn’t the worse person in the world? Why regular posters join in with the trolls is beyond me. You are mugs. Childish bullying mugs, falling for aggressive pr.

  • A Node

    I too felt hope when Nelson Mandela made his walk to freedom. Over the next few years, my political cynicism grew and by the time Tony Blair was foisted upon us, I already knew that Prime Ministers were appointed, not elected. My cynicism has stood the test of the intervening years.

    A few years ago, I pondered the live televised release of Nelson Mandela, the adulation of the media, the glowing tributes of Western politicians, and I re-assessed it in the light of my cynical beliefs. I reflected that foreign leaders who get a good press in this country are invariably putting Western interests before those of their countries. The reverse is also true, Mugabe being a clear example of the demonisation reserved for African leaders who thwart Western interests. I could think of no exceptions, and so I regrettably concluded that Nelson Mandela must have done a deal. Maybe he convinced himself (possibly correctly) that he was the one who could get the best possible deal for his country, but foreign leaders don’t get media treatment like that unless they’ve paid a price.

    Sorry Craig, but somewhere hidden inside Nelson’s shoes, you’re going to find some clay.

  • Passerby

    Mary, kindly also take a line from Craig’s book:

    “I am in Africa. Edward Snowden seems to be doing a super job without me, so I have been working on my book and not burdening you with superfluous comment.”

    The Irony of ironies, filling the thread with mendacious little ditties whilst lecturing others to take a a line from Craig’s book

    Along with the gripes about “white Jewish families”. Is this blog yet another occupied territories wich the settlers having been promised it in the bible or some other scriptures?

    #############

    He’s clearly a remarkable man. A good man. But “christ like”. Please. There were many other african who suffered as badly, worse, and didn’t get to enjoy the life of riley.

    No one has proclaimed Mandela as Christ. However we cannot take the credit away from him, without Mandela the apartheid would not have vanished, without a great deal more bloodshed. The detractors, have not fully explored the entrenched roots of White South Africans’ racism towards the blacks, which would not vanish overnight. Apartheid was destroyed, this somehow did not mean that the black South Africans could overnight achieve economic prosperity too.

    The disgusting roots of racism are still alive and kicking in the same virulent potency as the old apartheid South Africa, and are the course of “normal conduct” in the shitty little Strip of land that evidently is beyond any reproach in case anyone dares to offend the current contrived imperatives by committing “tropes”.

  • Kempe

    “A necessarily small amount of explosive packed into a radio-cassette then attenuated by suitcase contents such as clothing, hard but ultimately yielding suitcase and then luggage hold container of aluminium could not have had such a catastrophic effect so quickly, such ‘over-pressure’, again hinting the explosive charge must have been considerable and with a lesser charge the plane may have over a longer time period still broken up completely with such a charge, if it could not be controlled and brought safely down.”

    You clearly have no concept of just how powerful 1lb of commercial/military grade explosive is. It’s more than enough to shred a car and an aluminium container and the contents of a suitcase aren’t going to significantly attenuate the blast.

    “Not ruled out either is any external source of explosive, i.e. a missile; with its trajectory and momentum stopped by successive layers, ie inner and outer skin, aluminium luggage container, suitcases and contents -its small entry hole would be lost completely in the 17ft by 5ft exit hole after its detonation.”

    It would have had to have been a big missile to bring an aircraft down from that height, would’ve left it’s own debris and done far more damage. These things tend to travel at supersonic speed and could pass right through a 747 without appreciably slowing down.

  • Phil

    Passerby 25 Jun, 2013 – 4:27 pm
    “No one has proclaimed Mandela as Christ.”

    Er, yes Craig did.
    “His philosophy and demeanour was Christ-like..”

  • Goodwin

    Having spent a couple of years in South Africa, a good deal of which was spent visiting the various “squatter” camps around Cape Town, Jo’burg and the Eastern Cape, I’d suggest that Mandela has disappointed a great many people in failing to deliver a better quality of life to any but a privileged few.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Flaming June :

    “I had not realised that Leviev was an Uzbek.”
    ___________

    No, but I’m sure you’d sniffed out that he was Jewish (clue: Lev Leviev)

  • Je

    Mandela is given credit for what FW de Klerk did – dismantle Apartheid in South Africa. To be the leader of that minority who hands over power. Who takes that huge risk… Far more towering than the role of taking the reigns… but seldom sung…

  • Levantine

    Mandela could be said to have disappointed himself, in the sense that he publicly pointed to his attitude toward AIDS as one of his administration’s worst blunders. (That means there have been blunders even worse.)

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    The other day, The CE was kind enough to regale us with a superb example of ‘prose’ from Mark Golding. I recall that he offered a prize to he or her who could make sense of it, but I strongly doubt that he’s had to fork out yet…or ever will.

    Anyway.

    Here’s another offering which earns the Habbabkuk “nonsense of the day” accolade (from Passerby, above) :

    “The disgusting roots of racism are still alive and kicking in the same virulent potency as the old apartheid South Africa, and are the course of “normal conduct” in the shitty little Strip of land that evidently is beyond any reproach in case anyone dares to offend the current contrived imperatives by committing “tropes”.”

    What an egregious piece! “Roots” which are not only “disgusting” but which posses the animate quality of being able to “kick”. A “potency” which is “virulent” and then back to the disgusting roots which are now “in the course of normal conduct” – whatever that means. And we round off with a reference to Israel (I suppose), a country which is apparently beyond reproach in case anyone dares to offend (huh?) the “current contrived imperatives by committing tropes” (Meaning??).

    With reference to Passerby’s very last phrase : while everyone should of course be free to express the most lunatic views, it is perhaps Passerby who should be “committed” – for offences against the English language.

1 2 3 4