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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  • Flaming June

    Phil People may not like me but in addition some do not like what I have to say and to report. 😉

  • Dreoilin

    “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… ”

    It appears that quite a lot got “purged” last night on the Work for the UN thread. And some people are very unhappy about it.

  • Bert

    Re Mandela, I remember, in the 1980’s, the re-naming of St Georges Place in Glasgow to Nelson Mandela Place (the South African consulate was located there), & also the brilliant record by Jerry Dammers.

    But, as other commenter above have said, there was something not quite right about Mandela hobnobbin’ with Bono, Naomi Campbell & also policial leaders (what was the deal?) & also the business with his wife Winnie?

    I am sure that there are a lot of deeper reasons behind. In addition, in the spirit of truth & reconcilliation, I think we should be told about the British involvement with Wouter Basson & Project Coast, the top-secret chemical and biological weapons program of the South African government during the apartheid era.

    Andrew MacKinley tried to get some answers, but with not much luck.

  • Komodo

    I’ll repost Jon on that very topic, Dreoilin:

    Hi all – ceasefire please!

    As I may have mentioned in the past, moderation here is very light, at Craig’s request. However the dynamic has changed over the last year or so, and the genesis of why is quite often hard to untangle. Could I put in a request for people to accept that, in the past, some discussions have gotten out of hand, and harsh words have been spoken. That need not provoke a tit-for-tat exchange, since that will only keep it going.

    Reluctantly, I will have to zap posts that are for the exclusive purpose of provocation. I should be most grateful if on old threads someone would pick a topic and invite civil discussion, or offer their thoughts on newer ones. I am sure we can get back to the old, enquiring, liberal spirit that we used to have here!

    Best wishes to all.

    I note who was doing the objecting. Suffice it to say.

  • Phil

    “..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.”

    Yes that’s true. I am not a big commentator on blogs and I seem to recall someone here saying they used to comment somewhere else which had to close comments because of trolls (maybe even Mary on DV?). That would be terrible to happen here. Perhaps there is nothing Craig and Jon can do. In which case it falls on us to not join in with his games.

  • Phil

    Sorry to talk about the disruption here – I didn’t realise it was being addressed on another thread.

  • pilip t

    Only 9,000 +/- ‘domestic extremists’ in ukgbni? ! – what a sorry showing for brits and irish allies

  • pilip t

    P/b 25 jun 12,33
    The work-shy – and those too bashfilled to brethlessly breath the gnomes of the hoarse whisperers of whom’s knames we are too fear phil’d 2 speak play filly – might yet find ways of subverting the prevailing …

  • Vronsky

    “the much-censored Grauniad’s CiF was not a desirable model”

    There are other models short of censorship. For example the nationalist blog ‘Wings Over Scotland’ has a no-moderation policy, but comments deemed to be malicious, irrelevant or abusive are moved to a ‘Quarantine’ thread. If you want to read them or engage with the poster you can go there. The creation of another sock puppet is an easily spotted ruse, and in any case if a new poster is clearly malicious he goes to quarantine anyway.

    There is some precedent for this here – Craig banished all discussion of ix/xi to its own thread some time ago.

    All philosophical discussions of free speech recognise that a line must be drawn somewhere. I’d suggest that the troll’s mindless attacks on a wholly imagined anti-semitism cross a line and, perversely, may tend to stimulate anti-semitism. Ergo, send him to quarantine for anti-semitism.

  • pilip t

    Philosophical discussions of free speech …
    Starting points might include …
    Nazis in nasty Germany did indeed murder (less than the stock figure of …).

  • Cryptonym

    Well I don’t know what his spiritual beliefs are but when he does die someday, it then surely and finally could be said that he is free. It is an unreasonable assumption to assume that SA must inevitably thereafter unravel into greater chaos; apartheid, and this late post-apartheid period are as a blink of an eye in the history of that place. I word though on diamonds, gold etc. these things infact have no intrinsic worth, beyond for each of us a few moments curiosity and inquiry, after which they are just more unexceptional clutter, I’m assured too that they’re inedible. The market, the prices paid for these items has no basis in logic, common-sense or real value, they are classic bubbles, irrational obsessions, crude futile attempts at storing wealth. Extracting them is a huge Keynsian job-creation program, even more jobs could be created by paying another set of people to bury them again.

  • pilip t

    Craig with his painful spur (geeing up the GGs) in africa … and other ‘white niggers’ ($ic -please pradonmyfreespeech & …)

  • pilip t

    And then i $hut the fuck up and left the rest of you to get on with (your essentially careerist selfserving ‘agendas’ …)

  • nevermind

    Did Nelson Mandela know about, or was he informed over Dr. kelly’s SA escapades and DCs help in shifting these nukes?

    What will his death mean to SA and its neighbours, all those who were involved in past struggles of the ANC and have now seen how derailed it has become with corruption and infighting.

    With social strife and a split ANC, can we expect Mandela’s death to give rise to a new ANC, cleansed with new aims and objectives that are distinctive African and involve the nationalisation of all foreign owned mines and companies, why should a more African orientated faction not do the same Mugabe has done?

    This very likely will result in struggle and polarisation of opinions, pitching the have’s against the have nots, inside the party and in the wider public. Powerful interest can be expected to pay for their own security and other arrangements, they will support/sponsor Zuma and those who will follow him, with all the lavishing that can be done, in order to carry on exploiting SA.

  • pilip t

    Nevermind …
    Did Nelson … know … ?
    Once you get in a position of mainstream power, you …

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    This from Flaming June/Mary :

    “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”

    You are completely wrong. It has been noticed, or at least inferred.

    I think it is fairly clear to most people that the risk of someone from Africa, or the Indian sub-continent, or parts of Asia wishing to ‘overstay’ (in other words, get round immigration controls and stay in the UK to work) is greater – mainly for economic reasons – than it is from someone from Western Europen the USA and the white Commonwealth. Prevention of an offence has to be risk-focussed, I’m sure you’d agree.

    Furthermore, this has nothing to do with an ‘anti-Muslim’ agenda, as many of the potential overstayers are not Muslim but of other religions including the Christian one.

    If you accept that the state is entitled to take such measures as it sees fit to uphold the law but do not like the proposed arrangements, perhaps you would share with us your ideas on other measures which the govt should introduce in order to achieve this aim. You do not need to answer, of course, if you believe that there should be no controls on immigration an, specifically, overstaying.

    I look forward to engaging with you on this subject.

  • Villager

    “Furthermore, this has nothing to do with an ‘anti-Muslim’ agenda, as many of the potential overstayers are not Muslim but of other religions including the Christian one.”

    How can one rebut that as a FACT. Mary as usual getting carried away in her crusade, charging at the windmills?!

  • Phil

    Telling him you will not engage is of course an engagement. Maybe now is a time to actually not engage. Do us all a favour. Just ignore it and let Jon act if Hab continues.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Flaming June,

    “Wrong thread. S/be on Pandering to Racism. The day I ‘engage’ with you it will snow blue ink. Nearly everybody has moved on.”

    You are right – I posted here, in response to your post, before I noticed that a new, more appropriate thread had been started.

    But that doesn’t matter, surely. Please feel free to discuss with me (and others) and advance our examination of the subject in a constructive and friendly manner on that new thread.

    (I assume you are posting on this blog in order to discuss, debate with fellow contributors?)

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Phil

    Telling him you will not engage is of course an engagement.”

    With great respect, Phil, I don’t think that’s quite correct. My inclination would be to read it literally, as meaning that Flaming June has made a number of points which have been queried but declines, without explanation, to engage in further discussion on the subject she herself raised.

  • pilip t

    To repeat (abrv): why do they/we call – the free spireted/thinker h. – A troll on this site/$ight?

  • pilip t

    Re h (etc) do not respond to him, because it only encouraged further … (in other words, when debate is truly ‘free’ youdo not need to censor because …)

  • doug scorgie

    Flaming June
    26 Jun, 2013 – 3:42 pm

    Someone in reply seemed to think it was a perfectly reasonable move!

    It was he:

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)
    26 Jun, 2013 – 7:49 am

    “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?”

    “…to expect THEM (?)…to respect the terms under which they were granted entry…”

    THEM and US eh HB?

    What is unreasonable is to single out certain nationalities for disproportionate treatment in visa applications; that smacks of racism for political advantage.

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