07 December 2013


Thank you again, Michael Leunig, for saying what I was trying to say in words, but the picture says it better!

The caption reads: Traditional Scene: bullies, liars and hypocrites weeping over the dead saint
(From The Age newspaper, 10 December 2013)


Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95 after a long illness.

After all the tortures and difficulties he lived through over all those years, it is phenomenal that he lived to such a ripe old age.

And, in all the eulogies and stories about his life and struggles and political activities, those who worked and fought with him should not be forgotten. I refer to Cecil Williams who was in the car that Mandela was driving when he was arrested. The CIA had helped the apartheid regime track them down, and we get back to the tangled web that all of them were busy weaving - and are weaving - in the pernicious political climates of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The blather and bullshit and hypocrisy started on ABC1 television news on the night of Friday 6 December 2013. Bob Hawke was interviewed by Leigh Sales and Hawke stated about human rights and equality and how the blacks suffered in South Africa under the white apartheid regime.

These people don't hear themselves and don't see themselves in the context of apartheid in Australia and Australia's treatment of the Aboriginal communties in Australia.

Hawkes' next item of breathtaking hypocrisy was over economic sanctions to be applied to apartheid South Africa - Hawke stated that apartheid was evil and sanctions were necessary and helped bring the end of the apartheid South African state. However, Hawke is totally - and angrily - opposed to BDS - or economic sanctions - against the apartheid Israeli state - after all Israel is our great ally!

Barak Obama was also holding forth about Mandela and his achievements, but Obama is guilty of some of the biggest crimes we have seen in our lifetimes and we are in our late 80s! Mandela was in jail for 27 years and Private Manning has been jailed for 35 years for being a whistleblower on the crimes of the United States government - only ever increasing daily perpetrated by the Obama administration - just think about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreements being attempted by 12 governments - at the moment!

The following is a post on Mondoweiss on 7 December 2013:

Obama’s Mandela eulogy — moving, and hypocritical
Dec 06, 2013 07:50 am | Matthew Taylor
“My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was a protest against apartheid,” President Obama said in his eloquent, moving, and hypocritical eulogy of Nelson Mandela. As a citizen activist Obama opposed apartheid, and today as president he is presiding over billions of dollars in military aid to an Israeli regime that, by any reading of international law, is committing the Crime of Apartheid against the Palestinian people.
“Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians,” Mandela famously said in 1997, and he favorably characterized the UN’s stance as “recognition that injustice and gross human rights violations were being perpetrated in Palestine” going as far back as 1977. Archbishop Demond Tutu and other South African leaders have equated Israel’s regime to Apartheid or worse, calling for boycott, divestment, and sanctions.
If Obama withheld aid to Israel conditional on Israel respecting international law, human rights, equality, and the relevant U.N. resolutions, his eulogy of Mandela would be delivered by a leader worthy of the stage. As it is, Obama is doing what so many other Presidents have done: co-opting a revolutionary to hide his own shame. It’s reminiscent of those in the U.S. government (including Obama) who glorify Dr. King’s “I have a dream speech” and the movement for racial equality, entirely eliding King’s criticism of the Vietnam War, his strident insistence on nonviolence as the basis for a just society, and his indictment of the U.S. Empire as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.”
Perhaps Obama feels he can do no better than he’s done, that he’s tied to the mat by the Israel lobby and any move to confront the Israelis on colonization, human rights violations, and so forth would be political suicide. However, in a second term with no re-election around the corner, could he not at least be as courageous as Bush Senior and condition some of the aid on a change in behavior? As ex-President, freed of political constraints, will he recover the courage he had as a citizen activist, and join today’s struggle against apartheid?

The following item is from Nation of Change, posted on 7 December 2013:

From Freedom Fighter to Political Prisoner to South African President

Juan Gonzalez
Democracy Now! / Video Feature
Published: Friday 6 December 2013

Democracy Now! air highlights of Mandela in his own words over the years including a rare TV interview from the eraly 1960s.

Former South African president and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95. South African President Jacob Zuma announced Mandela's death Thursday saying, "Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost their father." Mandela was held as a political prisoner for 27 years from 1962 to 1990. In 1994, four years after his release from prison, Mandela became South Africa's first black president. We air highlights of Mandela in his own words over the years including a rare tv interview from the early 1960s.

The following is from Mondoweiss on 8 December 2013:


Israeli military attacks Palestinian commemorations of Nelson Mandela
Dec 07, 2013 09:55 am | Kate

(Photo via Twitter)
Israeli forces attack protests commemorating Mandela across West Bank
[photos] RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 Dec — Dozens of Palestinians were injured and one detained as Israeli forces opened fire to disperse protests against the Israeli occupation and commemorating Nelson Mandela’s death across the West Bank on Friday afternoon. Protests against the Israeli occupation and separation wall took place in villages across the West Bank, including in Bil‘in, al-Ma‘sara, Kafr Qaddum, and Nabi Saleh. Demonstrators raised slogans and posters of South African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela in many villages, commemorating the legacy of the “freedom fighter” who passed away on Thursday … In Nabi Saleh, Israeli forces dispersed demonstrators who marched throughout the village raising Palestinian flags as well as photographs of Mustafa Tamimi, who was shot dead by Israeli forces at a similar rally in 2011. Israeli forces opened fire on the demonstrations throughout the day with tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets. [details from all these villages]
link to www.maannews.net

........and this also from Mondoweiss on 6 December 2013 with Israeli hypocrisy and distortions shining through:

Shimon Peres on Mandela and Apartheid: Now & Then


The world lost a great leader who changed the course of history. On behalf of the citizens of Israel we mourn alongside the nations of the world and the people of South Africa, who lost an exceptional leader. Nelson Mandela was a fighter for human rights who left an indelible mark on the struggle against racism and discrimination. He was a passionate advocate for democracy, a respected mediator, a Nobel peace prize laureate and above all a builder of bridges of peace and dialogue who paid a heavy personal price for his struggle in the years he spent in prison and fighting for his people. Nelson Mandela’s legacy for his people and for the world will forever remain engraved in the pages of history and the hearts of all those who were touched by him. He will be remembered forever.


In November 1974, Shimon Peres came to Pretoria to meet secretly with South African leaders. After the trip he wrote to his hosts thanking them for helping to establish a “vitally important” link between the two governments. Peres — who routinely denounced apartheid in public — went on to stress that “this cooperation is based not only on common interests and on the determination to resist equally our enemies, but also on the unshakeable foundations of our common hatred of injustice and out refusal to submit to it.” Peres predicted that “the new links which you have helped to forge between our two countries will develop into a close identity of aspirations and interests which will turn out to be of longstanding benefit to our countries.” Over the next two decades Peres’s prediction would prove to be remarkably accurate.
He met South African defense minister P.W. Botha the following year in Switzerland, and it was there that the two ministers laid the foundation for an enduring military relationship.
 p. 80.

From Antony Loewenstein, 10 December 2013:

What Mandela teaches Israel (but she isn’t listening)

The great Gideon Levy in Haaretz (and one of the finest columns on the death of the great South African, though Jonathan Cook’s dis­sent­ing view is vital):
South African Pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela, in his ad­dress for In­ter­na­tional Sol­i­dar­ity Day with the Pales­tin­ian Peo­ple on De­cem­ber 4, 1997, said: “We know too well that our free­dom is in­com­plete with­out the free­dom of the Pales­tini­ans.” And Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu said after Man­dela’s death: “Nel­son Man­dela was among the great­est fig­ures of our time … a man of vi­sion and … a moral leader of the high­est order.”

The sharp-eyed surely no­ticed the pic­ture in the back­ground when Ne­tanyahu de­liv­ered his state­ment: an Is­raeli flag and the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. There he was, eu­lo­giz­ing the “moral leader” against the back­ground of the oc­cu­pied city, whose Pales­tin­ian res­i­dents are op­pressed and dis­pos­sessed. It’s a city where a sep­a­ra­tion regime pre­vails – an ex­am­ple of Is­raeli apartheid, even if it’s not the worst ex­am­ple. The sharp-eared must have no­ticed how false his flow­ery words sounded.

Pres­i­dent Shi­mon Peres also of­fered high praise for the “leader of im­mense stature,” and his words were no less hyp­o­crit­i­cal. The man who was in­volved up to his neck in the dis­grace­ful co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Is­rael and apartheid South Africa, who hosted its prime min­is­ters with pomp and cir­cum­stance while Man­dela lan­guished in prison, is sud­denly ad­mir­ing the man who sym­bol­ized the strug­gle with that regime.

Nei­ther Peres nor Ne­tanyahu have any right to eu­lo­gize Man­dela; both are re­spon­si­ble, more than any other states­men in the free world, for un­der­min­ing his legacy and es­tab­lish­ing the (non­iden­ti­cal) twin of the regime he bat­tled. They’re eu­lo­giz­ing him? Man­dela will turn in his grave and his­tory will laugh bit­terly.

Is­raeli pub­lic opin­ion tol­er­ates every­thing, even in­tol­er­a­ble, two-faced eu­lo­gies. But Is­raeli co­op­er­a­tion with the apartheid regime, and the con­tin­u­a­tion of its legacy in the oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries, cry out be­yond the gloomy skies of a griev­ing South Africa.

The world’s mourn­ing should in­spire some pointed ques­tions here as well. Why was Is­rael vir­tu­ally the only coun­try that col­lab­o­rated with that evil regime? Why are so many good peo­ple con­vinced that Is­rael is an apartheid state? While it may not pay to dwell on past shame – even Man­dela for­gave Is­rael – ques­tions about the pre­sent should dis­turb us greatly.

In April I vis­ited the new South Africa that Man­dela had forged as a guest of its For­eign Min­istry. The visit was etched deeply in my heart, as com­par­isons to the Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion regime cried out from every stone, and with them also hope for change.

For ex­am­ple, there was the Supreme Court in Jo­han­nes­burg, built on the ruins of the prison where blacks were thrown when they dared enter for­bid­den areas to find work. And in Soweto I vis­ited Man­dela’s home, where you can still see the bul­let holes of a failed at­tempt at a “tar­geted killing.”

The com­par­isons echoed, as did the lessons. Roelf Meyer – a de­fense min­is­ter, con­sti­tu­tion min­is­ter and deputy min­is­ter of law and order dur­ing apartheid, and later chief ne­go­tia­tor with the African Na­tional Con­gress – told me: “If we had started a few years ear­lier, we could have pre­vented a lot of blood­shed and got­ten a bet­ter deal.” After beat­ing his breast over many sins, Meyer is now part of the new regime, like many whites.

An un­just state be­comes a just state; dis­crim­i­na­tion and dis­pos­ses­sion are re­placed by equal­ity and democ­racy. The scowl­ing faces tell of South Africa’s back­ward­ness and ris­ing crime, which are se­ri­ous prob­lems. But they don’t re­duce the enor­mity of the his­toric achieve­ment and its les­son for Is­rael: When a coun­try turns from un­just to just, every­thing else is dwarfed in com­par­i­son.

Man­dela proved that the dream is re­al­is­tic, that what seemed like a fan­tasy only 20 years ago is achiev­able, and with­out much blood­shed. He showed that en­e­mies of the past can live to­gether in one coun­try and even have equal­ity; that a new chap­ter can be opened against all odds.

Man­dela said he was not lib­er­ated as long as the Pales­tini­ans were not free. Those in Is­rael who seek to eu­lo­gize him can’t con­tinue to ig­nore this.

From Jonathan Cook's blog, 6 December 2013:

A dissenting opinion on Nelson Mandela

6 December 2013

What I am going to write here will doubtless make me unpopular with some readers, even if only because they will assume that what follows about Nelson Mandela is disrespectful. It is not.
So let me start by recognising Mandela’s huge achievement in helping to bring down South African apartheid, and make clear my enormous respect for the great personal sacrifices he made, including spending so many years caged up for his part in the struggle to liberate his people. These are things impossible to forget or ignore when assessing someone’s life.

Nonetheless it is important to pause during the general acclamation of his legacy, mostly by people who have never demonstrated a fraction of his integrity, to consider a lesson that most observers want to overlook.

Perhaps the best way to make my point is to highlight a mock memo written in 2001 by Arjan el-Fassed, from Nelson Mandela to the NYT’s columnist Thomas Friedman. It is a wonderful, humane denunciation of Friedman’s hypocrisy and a demand for justice for the Palestinians that Mandela should have written.

Soon afterwards, the memo spread online, stripped of el-Fassed’s closing byline. Many people, including a few senior journalists, assumed it was written by Mandela and published it as such. It seemed they wanted to believe that Mandela had written something as morally clear-sighted as this about another apartheid system, one at least the equal of that imposed for decades on black South Africans.

However, the reality is that it was not written by Mandela, and his staff even went so far as to threaten legal action against the author.

Mandela spent most his adult life treated as a “terrorist”. There was a price to be paid for his long walk to freedom, and the end of South Africa’s system of racial apartheid. Mandela was rehabilitated into an “elder statesman” in return for South Africa being rapidly transformed into an outpost of neoliberalism, prioritising the kind of economic apartheid most of us in the west are getting a strong dose of now.

In my view, Mandela suffered a double tragedy in his post-prison years.

First, he was reinvented as a bloodless icon, one that other leaders could appropriate to legitimise their own claims, as the figureheads of the “democratic west”, to integrity and moral superiority. After finally being allowed to join the western “club”, he could be regularly paraded as proof of the club’s democratic credentials and its ethical sensibility.

Cameron meets Nelson Mandela

Second, and even more tragically, this very status as icon became a trap in which he was forced to act the “responsible” elder statesman, careful in what he said and which causes he was seen to espouse. He was forced to become a kind of Princess Diana, someone we could be allowed to love because he rarely said anything too threatening to the interests of the corporate elite who run the planet.

It is an indication of what Mandela was up against that the man who fought so hard and long against a brutal apartheid regime was so completely defeated when he took power in South Africa. That was because he was no longer struggling against a rogue regime but against the existing order, a global corporate system of power that he had no hope of challenging alone.

It is for that reason, rather than simply to be contrarian, that I raise these failings. Or rather, they were not Mandela’s failings, but ours. Because, as I suspect Mandela realised only too well, one cannot lead a revolution when there are no followers.

For too long we have slumbered through the theft and pillage of our planet and the erosion of our democratic rights, preferring to wake only for the release of the next iPad or smart phone.

The very outpouring of grief from our leaders for Mandela’s loss helps to feed our slumber. Our willingness to suspend our anger this week, to listen respectfully to those leaders who forced Mandela to reform from a fighter into a notable, keeps us in our slumber. Next week there will be another reason not to struggle for our rights and our grandchildren’s rights to a decent life and a sustainable planet. There will always be a reason to worship at the feet of those who have no real power but are there to distract us from what truly matters.

No one, not even a Mandela, can change things by him or herself. There are no Messiahs on their way, but there are many false gods designed to keep us pacified, divided and weak.

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90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm