Saturday, August 05, 2006

In Honour of Nelson Mandela

Today is Saturday, 5 August 2006.

On this day in 1962, Nelson Mandela was captured by the neo-Nazi white supremacist government of South Africa, assisted by the CIA.

(Lest you think “neo-Nazi” is mere rhetoric, consider that the apartheid regime was modeled directly on Hitler’s infamous Nuremberg Laws for the repression of Jewish Germans.)

The African National Congress had struggled nonviolently for years. After the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, declaration of a state of emergency, and the banning of the ANC, the decision was taken that only an armed resistance could force the white supremacists from power. Mandela led the organization established to implement this policy, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation).

At the great trial of ANC leaders in 1964, Mandela ended his opening statement with the following:

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment; he would not be released until 1990.

And became president of South Africa.

I don’t believe in the “Great Male Theory of History”.

I suspect that, from time to time, human endeavor … the hopes and dreams and aspirations and justices of millions unite, and, for brand purposes, one person is held up as the flag, the banner …

When humans have more maturity, if that time is left to us, we won’t have to do the archaic/capitalist personification thing.

What astonishes, is that Mandela was 28 years in prison, and did not emerge full of hate, malice, and violence.

Shall we count the ways, that American presidents, oh so beset by tiny hardships, and never in the prison of neo-Nazis, let alone for 28 years …

Oh the presidents …

Who morally diminished themselves
Without suffering to
At least in part
provide a spurious justification.

Nixon always pretended he grew up impoverished:
He went to college free, tariff paid for by his maternal grandfather,
And, in the Great Depression’s depths, owned two,
not one,
but two,

(As Casey Stengel said: “You could look it up”.)

Measure our “president” against Mandela, and against ourselves.


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