Where's Nelson?


There is much for which we can praise Nelson Mandela, a man instrumental in liberating his country from the yoke of Apartheid. During Mandela's presidency, the country established the Truth and Reconciliation Committee to expose the crimes of both the racist government of PW Botha (and his predecessors) and the more extremist elements in the ANC. The Mandela government wasn't bent on vengeance, instead offering amnesty to a series of murderers and thugs in exchange for detailed testimony of their crimes. But there is much for which Mandela deserves criticism. Despite being imprisoned—and brutalized—for 27 years, Mandela frequently praises prison warden Fidel Castro. Nauseating sample quote: "The Cuban revolution has been a source of inspiration to all freedom-loving people." And his chummy relationship with Colonel Qaddafi is deeply troubling. (The Libyan dictator was the last official guest of the Mandela government; he referred effusively to the Colonel as "one of the revolutionary icons of our time.") And in recent years, he has been relatively silent on human rights violations in his own backyard. Today in Slate, Christopher Hitchens advises Mandela to utilize his moral authority on behalf of the victims of Robert Mugabe:

It is the silence of Mandela, much more than anything else, that bruises the soul. It appears to make a mockery of all the brave talk about international standards for human rights, about the need for internationalist solidarity and the brotherhood of man, and all that. There is perhaps only one person in the world who symbolizes that spirit, and he has chosen to betray it. Or is it possible, before the grisly travesty of the runoff of June 27, that the old lion will summon one last powerful growl?

Well, don't hold your breath. As Hitchens surely knows, and as I pointed out above, Mandela is pretty forgiving of human rights abusers who self-identify as "anti-imperialist."

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  1. How does Fidel gather so much support worldwide? I’m quite literally baffled.

  2. I think Nelson Muntz will criticize Mugabe before Nelson Mandela does.

  3. Well, don’t hold your breath. As Hitchens surely knows, and as I pointed out above, Mandela is pretty forgiving of human rights abusers who self-identify as “anti-imperialist.”

    Whereas we, here, sitting astride the Great Empire, know better of these things.

    The view is far clearer from up here.

  4. Not only is Hitchens a warmongering, alcoholic, atheist, obese, mean neocon, but he’s a…smoker!!!!!!!!! We better not listen to a word he says.

  5. This Fidel love reminds me of this

  6. Damn link didn’t show up. Sorry everyone.

  7. Well shit, I outsmarted myself trying to show how to post an html link. That’s the last time I try to use my brain.

  8. There is much for which we can praise Nelson Mandela . . .

    Mr. Moynihan, I think you left out jailing his wife. Or am I thinking of someone else?

  9. How does Fidel gather so much support worldwide? I’m quite literally baffled.

    He’s (a) anti-American and (b) living out the fantasies of leftists/authoritarians everywhere.

    I mean, who wouldn’t want to be absolute ruler of a tropical island full of hot women and awesome cigars?

  10. Warty, you can test out your links in oreview to avoid embarrassing errors while attempting HTML literacy.

    I learned how to do it from this tutorial

  11. Make that preview vice oreview. Obviously a corollary of joe’s law (talks about preview and neglects to proofread).

  12. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be absolute ruler of a tropical island full of hot women and awesome cigars?


    Where do I turn in my card?

  13. Michael, I’m not holding my breath for you or Hitchens to comment on the lack of minority rights for ethnic Macedonians in Greece.

    I think it was part of Hitchens divorce settlement from Ms. Greek Cypriot to never disparage racist Greek policy against Greece as it continually violates the human rights of the Macedonians and Turks in Greece?

    Hey! … Chris, can you send to me the article that you wrote for “The European” see below.

    Thanks and don’t be a stranger!

    April 7, 1993

    To: The European “Letters to the Editor”
    Re: “Not Just Paranoid about Macedonia” by Christopher Hitchens, April 1-7,

    Mr. Hitchens is incorrect when he stated the title of “King of the Hellenes” was forced upon the newly crowned Greek King George “in deference to Ottoman objections to the original formulation ‘King of the Greeks'”. In the same way that Germans call their country Deutchland in their language, Greeks call themselves Hellenes and their country Hellas in their language. The word “Greece” like the word “Germany” is based on ancient Roman usage.

    The rest of the article is similarly flawed. It reminds me of a lecture on sexual technique that is given by a virgin. Although some of the facts may be right, the insight that one might gain from a more intimate knowledge and direct experience is missing.

    Please no more “if this is Tuesday, this must be Macedonia (or is it Moldova?)” type of articles.



  14. Oh, I’m usually pretty good about it. I was trying to post < a href=”http://”>link text< /a> to show how it’s done, only without the extra spaces. You know, & lt and all that.

  15. Let people promote whichever leaders they want to, especially when they’re so willing to back it up. I mean thousands flock to Cuba every year in order to get the chance to live in their ideal society, why should we stop them? Oh wait…

  16. Now that South Africa is free from the yoke of Apartheid, it must be a great place to live and visit.

    Or is it…?

  17. Mandela’s 89 years old. How’s his health?

  18. it must be a great place to live and visit.

    As a matter of fact….

    Well you have to consider where all those refugees coming into South Africa are coming from.

  19. Mandela’s 89 years old. How’s his health?

    10 bucks says that when he dies at 102 that some asshole environmentalist will say that earths declining ecosystem killed him.

  20. If I remember correctly Castro and Qadafi provided support for Mandela and the ANC when we and much of the world were condemning them as dangerous communists. That probably explains why Mandela likes them and excuses them. People tend to remember those who were with them when the chips were down.

    I’m not saying the ANC wasn’t either communist or dangerous (I will say that our anti-communism put us on troubling sides of many an African conflict) or that it justifies Mandela’s failure to speak out on Cuba or Libya’s abuses. But why he doesn’t come down on those who gave him aid when he needed it to please the likes of right wing folks like MM who were not favorable towards the ANC (in MM’s case probably “would not have been” is correct).

    I remember when right wing types kept telling us the ANC were terrorists. Now Reason’s resident right wing meat tosser has to start a post on him with “there is much to praise about Nelson Mandela.”

  21. Whoops. Supposed to have put “is not a mystery” on that last sentence of paragraph 2.

  22. It’s not just Mandela. Where’s Thabo Mbeki, and where are all the other so-called enlightened leaders of post-colonial Africa? Seems like there isn’t ANYONE on the world stage supporting Tsvangirai — even in the U.S. or Europe. Why?

  23. Quite frankly, my views are mixed on the history of South Africa. I think there were many who supported apartheid and its related evils not out of an animus towards blacks but from judging events elsewhere in Africa (for reference, look just about anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa besides South Africa. And there were just as many (such as Qadafi and Castro) who opposed it in hopes of creating a leftwing dictatorship.

  24. Don’t expect Mandela to do or say much. He is too close to the killer in Zimbabwe personally. And stop praising this man so much. His much vaunted Truth & Reconciliation Committee did very little when it came to the murders that Winnie Mandela committed. They held a hearing where Winnie brought her hired thugs into the room. They intimidated witnesses who suddensly had memory loss and the TRC refused to stop the intimidation, go into private session where it couldn’t take place, or offer witnesses protection. When everyone suddenly forgot that what they knew about the murders that Winnie Mandela was involved with the TRC thanked them for trying to remember and ended everything.

    Nelson arranged for witnesses like Cebekhulu Katiza to be arrested by the police and then sent to prison outside South Africa (long before Bush came up with the idea) so he could be prevented from witnessing against Winnie in her sham trial. The police “lost” vital evidence, witnesses disappeared, and others were intimidated openly. Nelson knew what she did and helped cover up her crimes.

    For a look at the rule of South Africa under Nelson Mandeal read Die, the Beloved Country? which is available from Laissez Faire Books. It can be ordeeed at 1 800 326 0996.

  25. But, they have “free” “health care” in Cuba! And probably in Libya, too!

    And Che is so cool and sexy!

  26. Seems like there isn’t ANYONE on the world stage supporting Tsvangirai — even in the U.S. or Europe. Why?

    US or European support is the last thing that the guy needs in a battle with someone who constantly portrays himself as a warrior against western colonists who want to install puppet governments. Especially when a nontrivial part of said country’s population believes him.

  27. It’s much easier to rally support against something that for it. Lots of people could agree that Apartheid was bad.

    But Mandela is a socialist. So he loves the current figureheads of socialism. Locally, that’s Mugabe, I guess.

    He’s wrong. But I’m hard pressed to begrudge him the privilege of sitting this one out.

    That said, Mandela’s wife was a classic thug.

    Africa really sucks.

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