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Mandela has been sanitised by hypocrites and apologists | Seumas Milne | Comment is free | The Guardian.

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I have been saddened by the hypocrisy of the British Establishment's celebrations of the life of the late President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. I was horrified when, apparently on instructions from the Football Association (that well known arbiter of political truth), I was subjected to a pre-match 'minute of applause' last week in his honour.
 
Apparently, I am not alone in my exasperation.
Airbrushed out of the Mandela media story has been the man who launched a three-decade-long armed struggle after non-violent avenues had been closed; who declared in his 1964 speech from the dock that the only social system he was tied to was socialism; who was reported by the ANC-allied South African Communist party this week to have been a member of its central committee at the time of his arrest; and whose main international supporters for 30 years were the Soviet Union and Cuba.
It has barely been mentioned in the past few days, but Mandela supported the ANC's armed campaign of sabotage, bombings and attacks on police and military targets throughout his time in prison. Veterans of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the ANC's armed wing, emphasise that the military campaign was always subordinate to the political struggle and that civilians were never targeted (though there were civilian casualties).
But as Ronnie Kasrils, MK's former intelligence chief, told me on Wednesday, Mandela continued to back it after his release in 1990 when Kasrils was running arms into South Africa to defend ANC supporters against violent attacks. And there's no doubt that under today's US and British law, he and other ANC leaders would have been jailed as terrorists for supporting such a campaign.
Thank you Seumas Milne, 'associate editor' of The Guardian for stating the truth. Thank you for doing it in the journal of record of the Leftist British Establishment. Thank you, even though you mysteriously regard it as even greater praise than the dishonest, sickening mush in which we have all been forced to wallow.
 
Thank you also to even-less-read Leftist journal the New Statesman, where in the same spirit Martin Plaut also bruited Mandela's oft-denied membership of the Communist Party.
As we mourn Mandela's death we should not forget and acknowledge the role that communists played in befriending and influencing this great man.
Quite. We should also not forget the many times Britain's leftists scoffed at those who told the truth about Mandela's communist connection. Especially when they deny other such connections in future. 
 

Comments

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Sam Duncan

“We should also not forget the many times Britain's leftists scoffed at those who told the truth about Mandela's communist connection.”

Well, exactly. Who did all this airbrushing in the first place? They were the ones who flatly denied that he was a communist, jailed for conspiracy to murder, for forty years.

And, to be fair, he himself appeared to recognise that there was no hope for the ANC to get their hands on power if they were open about their true nature. The National Party might someday accept some form of black equality outside the political sphere, but as long as the most powerful political force among blacks was hardline revolutionary communism, supported by the USSR, it would never give them the vote. That, I'm convinced, is why he embraced moderation and conciliation. (It's also no coincidence that he was released from prison around the time of the fall of the Soviet empire.)

Hell, it took Mugabe twenty years to really feel confident in showing his true colours, and he had power already. The story isn't over yet.

Moggsy

I think Mandela could well be seen as a terrorist at one time, but so could many politicians in Israel and both Northern and Southern Ireland at various times who later left that behind them. If I am cynical maybe they leave it behind because they realise their goal, but also maybe they see a better way when they mellow.

I think Mandela probably did help make a huge difference in South Africa's transition. Turning his back on any idea of misplaced revenge, apparently considering all the people who live in SA.

The contrast with what happened to Rhodesia and is still happening to it's remains is clear. Not to mention other former colonial nations in Africa.

Zimbabwe could have been as sucessful and powerful and prosperous as SA is today but small minded un-democratic revolutionary politicos with attitudes indistinguishable from racists using fascist tactics like some of it's current leadership dragged it down.

So Mandela and his nature as a person, it could be said, is the difference between the different outcomes. He was not perfect (who is?), but he really tried to be good and right, and that is as good an example as anyone can really expect in this world.

I so can't be asked to carry on and "Princess Diana" him and I don't gloss him, or his past, but there is some real and I figure justified admiration in that mix also.

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