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.


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113 thoughts on “The Man Who Didn’t Disappoint

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  • Levantine

    “Is Phil a chumpus maximus”

    Hardly anything is more mentally degrading and socially destructive than discussing persons, labeling persons, elevating them, getting disappointed in them…

    ……Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. Even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil…..

    – Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    How many leaders were exterminated that could have aided in the transformation?

    ‘Bantu’ Steven Biko was a tragic loss.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    The ‘forgiveness’ and ‘inclusion’ Craig used to express the spirit of Mandela has been drowned in our age of terror by those bastards who represent us. Accusation and exclusion prevail.

    These are their words:

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says there will be consequences for countries helping former U.S. intelligence analyst Edward Snowden avoid arrest for disclosing secret details of the U.S. government’s surveillance of telephone and Internet activities.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/kerry-says-there-are-consequences-for-countries-aiding-snowden/1687952.html

  • Suhayl Saadi

    I’m sorry to break into the paean. I respect Mandela as a symbol of anti-apartheid resistance and much else, in the 1980s I too was moved by the songs and I was as excited as the next person when he was freed. I will be sad when he dies.

    Yet like all redemptive (redemptive for the liberal whites) black and brown political icons idolised by liberal whites (think also, Gandhi and Martin Luther King), it is important not to close down the gates of enquiry and analysis with convenient laurel leaves.

    These three links have the usual prefixes but no ‘worldwideweb’ bit:

    1) What precisely was MI6’s – and Daphne Park’s – role in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba?

    panafricannews.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/allegations-resurface-surrounding-role.html

    2) Another view of Mandela:

    mayihlome.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/the-question-is-did-nelson-mandela-sold-out-or-not/

    3) Was Mandela an agent of influence for MI6? In his voluminous book on MI6, Stephen Dorril claimed that he was and the Sunday Herald reported this view; both Mandela and MI6 denied it.

    greenhouse.economics.utah.edu/pipermail/marxism-thaxis/2000-March/016164.html

  • Herbie

    Very good article which presents a critique of Question Time, although why anyone still takes the BBC seriously enough to critique any of its output remains a valid question.

    “Reality TV stars from The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den have clocked up more appearances on Question Time than all scientists in the world put together since the last general election”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/the-lay-scientist/2013/jun/14/bbc-question-time

    I remember some years ago, when Rod Liddle was still the producer of the Today programme, he was taken to task over his poor coverage of science. The overweening nature of Liddle was of course a significant part of that memory, but people should reflect on why science forms so small a part of output in favour of soap opera and trite narrative.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Mark @ 8:44

    He said it while in India, one of the BRICS participants. I think a lot of the acrimony is due to the terror inherent in the death of the Petrodollar. The rest is window dressing for our latest dupe,
    John Kerry. You can almost see the strings if you’ve been to the Circus or a Puppet show.

  • JimmyGiro

    The irony is that all those that disappointed, entered positions of power with relatively clean hands, whereas Nelson Mandela was a convicted terrorist.

    Some have it all to lose, others have it all to win.

  • 1-0

    Hard to resist the inveterate temptation to rank them in the standings like goalies, but there’s a cure for that: in universal moral and legal terms, the two men are comparable in exactly one way. Both of them are rights defenders.

    States can’t pick and choose your rights, they’re indivisible, you get them all. So if a Snowden risks torture for your right to privacy, whereas a Mandela endures decades of inhuman and degrading cruelty for your right to self-determination, there’s no point comparing their nobility or courage or virtue. We can’t survive without either one of them. We need many more of their ilk. Here’s how self-evident this truth is:

    http://www.humanrights.gov/2013/06/10/the-u-s-greatly-values-the-work-of-human-rights-defenders-around-the-world/

    Even the criminal officials of the USA can’t deny it.

    The civilized world has thought hard about how to keep rights defenders alive and free. NGOs, the OAS, the EU and the international community are developing protective norms and institutions because everyone knows that criminal states try to destroy their rights defenders. Everyone in the world knows that rights defenders must prevail over criminal states. That’s why the world can’t ever wash its hands of Snowden.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Mark; your prose has been much maligned recently, by persons not worthy of mention, and I would just like to say your style is like mine. BTIM similar in that you place alliteration on the altar it deserves.

  • Flaming June

    There is a strong reaction from Nigeria and India on the ConDem plan (which copies the Australian model) by taking £3,000 from visitors to this country which would be confiscated if they overstay.

    India, Nigeria warn UK over plans to make visitors pay £3,000 bond
    http://world.myjoyonline.com/pages/africa/201306/108472.php

    The other day, it was reported that foreign students are feeling unwelcome here.

    I see Ghana is in the list of countries Craig.

    Shut all the doors. Close down the ports and airports. We don’t want any foreigners here unless they are war criminals or rich oligarchs.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “Mrs Thatcher was supporting the South African Zulu leader, “Mangosuthu Buthelezi, as an alternative to the ANC. British intelligence (MI6) agents took the ANC more seriously.” Mark Golding. 9:37pm, 25.6.13

    Yes, that seems likely. And the aim is to have irons in all fires. And it’s not just Tomlinson, btw. One might – charitably – say that it makes sense from most points of view to develop relationships, keep open channels of communication, with potential post-colonial leaders. But we know what SIS is about, don’t we, and so ought we to adopt the charitable interpretation wrt their activities relating to Mandela? When might ‘channels of communication’ turn into long-term ‘agent (of influence) running’?

    The economics was/is the main problem with the new South Africa. It didn’t have to be that way. It’s sad that one of the main reasons why South Africa got freedom (this is why the USA/UK decided it was time and told De Klerk so) when it did was the imminent collapse of the USSR (the so-called – ludicrously-termed, ‘end of history’), the end, for a time, of the bi-polar world, and of course the new Latin American bloc had not yet come into being. Otherwise, South Africa could’ve formed a bloc with Venezuela, Brazil et al. The current Lula-onwards Brazil model would be esp. pertinent. It could still do that – but won’t, as the leadership snouts are deep in the trough.

  • Jay

    The hope for South Africa remains, whether the continution of independace remains, the power of the corporations and international markets with out doubt shape the demographics. Excellence can be achieved there in South Africa and. the human rights of all should dignify these changes.

    Some responsive ideas and mass market intervention may better the sometimes wayward decisions of the individual. All the tools for manipulation are available, where are the directives to promote excellence in such an exciting country as Africa.

    Let’s hope Bilderbergers are in touch with historical town and country planning.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    “There is a strong reaction from Nigeria and India on the ConDem plan (which copies the Australian model) by taking £3,000 from visitors to this country which would be confiscated if they overstay……Shut all the doors. Close down the ports and airports. We don’t want any foreigners here unless they are war criminals or rich oligarchs”
    _______________

    No, it’s not a question of closing down anything. Foreigners of all kinds continue to be welcome but it is not unreasonable to expect them to respect the terms under which they were granted entry, is it? Therefore any govt action towards that end is surely to be welcomed.

  • Komodo

    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.

    That may have been intended for me. Not guilty. Check the link!

    For the record: I think our resident stalker’s relentless trolling of F.J. is deplorable, particularly as most of the substance* of most of his posts consists of criticism of other posters’ efforts while the rest of it generally attempts to justify his own breaches of the rules he applies to the rest of us. All unsubstantiated by anything other than his own opinion. Unfortunately he is the beneficiary of Craig’s commitment to free speech and must be endured or skipped lightly past.

    It is unfortunately impossible to ensure that all my opinions are in direct conflict with the stalker’s, however. If he says something sensible, I am not about to deny it on principle. This should not be interpreted as support for his activities.

    *wrong word.

  • Phil

    Komodo
    “That may have been intended for me. Not guilty.”

    No it wasn’t intended for you. I certainly don’t think you run with the crowd. However, I disagree with your approach to the stalker. One shouldn’t be nice to a stalker just because he takes a quick break and brown noses one. One should only be nice to a stalker when he stops stalking.

  • Komodo

    Phil – thanks for clarifying. But I’m not saying anyone should be nice to it. I’m saying that they should ignore it, and perhaps with special care when it starts brown-nosing. What it craves is attention. And it’s got more than it deserves from me!

  • Phil

    Komodo
    “Unfortunately he is the beneficiary of Craig’s commitment to free speech and must be endured or skipped lightly past.”

    Has Craig actually said this?

    It is totally misplaced sentiment. The stalker’s behaviour is akin to a representative from shell gatecrashing a greens meeting and endlessly shouting shite through a megaphone. Worse, the representative from shell is following one person screasming abuse in her ear. You wouldn’t have it. You would kick him out.

    To tolerate such behaviour is not defending a principle of free speech. Even if free speech were the issue how about the right of us the talk without endless obvious professional disruption.

    To tolerate such behaviour is failing to confront propaganda. It is a weakness that devalues this blog.

    I am amazed regulars are falling for a divide and disrupt tactic that they almost certainly condemn in other situations. Sure you might not like Mary but to join in with the stalkers assault on her is despicable. Don’t humour him. Don’t, from a deep seated need to be liked, think “ooh he said something nice so perhaps if I am nice we can all get on”. It won’t happen. He/they are here to disrupt. You fall for his game if you do anything except challenge his behaviour.

    Craig and Jon need to deal with this.

    Again, this isn’t aimed at you K.

  • Phil

    Phil
    “The stalker’s behaviour is akin to a representative from shell gatecrashing a greens meeting and endlessly shouting shite through a megaphone.”

    Until it gets to the stage where any visitor to the meeting only hears some prick screaming shit down a megaphone with a few people shouting back. Exactly like I am. And so the issues are lost. Which is exactly what the man from shell wants.

    Craig and Jon need to deal with this.

  • nevermind

    Thanks for that last link Mark Golding, a good point is being made. Whilst we are all concentrating on and feeling for Ed Snowden, The western powers are shifting arms into Syria at an unprecedented rate.

    Labours Ed Milliband and his ballsy sidekick, Mr. ‘yes we will meet the goading spending round announcements of the Tory’s’, even if a spending cuts review is not due have been to a COBRA briefing with the Cons. They are preparing for war.

    Now those who would have seen the picture June posted here of Obama and Putin totally ignoring each other, would have seen that communications have already broken down seriously.

    As the western NSA stooges are being berated over their all out spy programs by their populations and Governments like Germany, the leaders and string pullers have decided to call Putins bluff.

    I don’t think that Putin would like to be seen as a stooge of the west, bending over to accommodate the criminals that are being sold to us as rebel’s, Saudi and Quatari mercenaries that have destroyed Syria and its past historical fabric, an ancient civilisation turned to rubble by a western agenda that is trying hard to divert attention from its unsustainable and flagging economies.

    If Syria is attacked and the conflict spreads from Lebanon to Egypt and further, then we have WW3 with all its pre planned thermonuclear exchanges on our doorstep, indeed some say its already here.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10140767/John-Hutton-Arm-the-Syrian-rebels.html

    We should watch out and inquire whether they are equipping nuclear shelters, usually situated near county councils, in order to save those who got us to this point in time.

  • nevermind

    I concur with Phil, Komodo, there comes a time when perfidious nonchalance comes second to grating away and personalised attacks and its not for everyone to ignore insult and personalised stalking.

    Craig has indulged it, for whatever reason and this socio opera has and will carry on.

    Personally I think that it is well known to Craig and that he is an ex employee of the FO, playing footsie, but being not very clever at it.

  • Flaming June

    It has not been noted that the intended £3,000 bond which visitors to this country will have to pay, and then lose if they overstay, is aimed at people with predominantly brown skin. They are described as ‘high risk’ countries.

    This engenders the growing racist atmosphere being directed at Muslims. Overnight swastikas have been sprayed on a mosque under construction which follows the small bomb left at another, the fire which destroyed another and the attempted arson at a Muslim boarding school.

    It is a nasty move by May and her cohort. Trust her Minister for Immigration is recovering from his fall.

  • Komodo

    It is totally misplaced sentiment. The stalker’s behaviour is akin to a representative from shell gatecrashing a greens meeting and endlessly shouting shite through a megaphone. Worse, the representative from shell is following one person screasming abuse in her ear. You wouldn’t have it. You would kick him out.

    To tolerate such behaviour is not defending a principle of free speech. Even if free speech were the issue how about the right of us the talk without endless obvious professional disruption.

    To tolerate such behaviour is failing to confront propaganda. It is a weakness that devalues this blog.

    I completely agree. But it isn’t my blog. I’m just a commentator. If Craig wants drunks at his party, that’s entirely up to him.

    Past comments from Craig, Jon and Clark – can’t point to them, sorry, but if my memory serves – pretty firmly stated that something like the much-censored Grauniad’s CiF was not a desirable model, and with the exception of (sensu stricto) antisemitism, and extended rants of interest only to the close acquaintances of the ranter, not a lot gets purged. This is a rare policy on the web and I support it as a matter of principle, not logic…

    Also, if our chum were given the boot, it’s pretty certain he’d return with a new email address and a proxy IP, as he’s definitely on a mission.

    His typical response to Mary is along the lines of “there you are again, slagging off the Jews” when she mentions one, perfectly illustrating where he is coming from. My preferred response is to post a link or two to the detriment of Israel when he does this. Such links, up-to-date and from reliable – often Israeli – sources, are never hard to find. And usually damning.

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