Apartheid Promoters Eulogize Mandela
World leaders have been eager to jump on the bandwagon of the mourning of the great man and freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela, since his death on December 5, 2013. Their eulogies, however, reek of self-absorption and propaganda. While a rare few may be sincere, the vast majority of spoken and written words by prominent world leaders revel in their enormous hypocrisy, and their willingness and ability to attempt to manipulate any situation, no matter how grievous, to their advantage. Although these would comprise the vast majority of world leaders, three examples are too hypocritical to ignore.
Obama: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Minutes after brother Mandela’s death was pronounced, United States President Barack Obama was quick to exploit the situation to use a great man’s legacy to further his personal image and ego, as well as his disguise as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and reinforce his imaginary persona of a humanitarian who only takes military action as a last resort and with deep regret.
While Obama offered hollow praises to Mr. Mandela and his ability to “bend the arch of the moral universe towards justice,” he himself was engaged in a war of aggression in Afghanistan, an occupation in Iraq, a siege against Iran, provocations against North Korea, a continuing embargo against Cuba as well as the failure to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, and drone bombing operations that have resulted in thousands of civilian casualties in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia and included the assassination of US citizens abroad.
President Mandela fought for justice and emancipation of oppressed people worldwide, including the Palestinians. By contrast, President Obama is responsible for the oppression and deaths of thousands of innocents worldwide, including Palestinians. The Obama administration is responsible for financially, morally, politically and militarily aiding the rogue state entity that is Israel, and providing Egypt with the military equipment, training and supervision to destroy Gaza’s lifeline to the world – the underground tunnels.
Obama is not alone in the list of US Presidents who have praised the recently deceased South African leader. Bill Clinton, who during both of his presidential terms maintained President Mandela on the US Terrorist list, recently tweeted “I will never forget my friend Madiba.” In a thorough interview, South African activist Father Michael Lapsley revealed the US role in the support of the apartheid government. He noted: “The dominant view is that the U.S. was on the right side in South Africa, that it opposed apartheid. But nothing could be further from the truth, particularly when Reagan was president. Reagan labeled the African National Congress (ANC) a notorious terrorist organization, while continuing Washington’s support for the apartheid regime.”
Cameron: The False Prophet
United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron too has engaged in some hypocritical propagandist appropriation of mourning for a great person’s demise by posting eulogistic tweets boasting that he would order the flag at Number 10 to be flown at half mast. Most of us, many of my acquaintances and I, were not even born then, and so we do not remember that in 1985, while Cameron was one of its top members, the Federation of Conservative students produced the now infamous “Hang Mandela” poster following the rhetoric of Margaret Thatcher that the now world-renowned freedom fighter was a “terrorist” (while insisting that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was a champion of democracy).
Although Cameron has utilized the apology for Thatcher’s support of the South African Apartheid regime, one must remember that he was not merely marginally involved in one incident related to this issue, as it might be misconstrued from the above anecdote. Four years later, in 1989, and towards the end of the apartheid regime, Cameron was an enthusiastic member of an anti-sanction fact-finding mission on behalf of the Tory Policy Unit. The mission was undertaken with the direct participation of a lobby that was directly sponsored by then South African president Pieter Willem “The Big Crocodile” Botha.
Netanyahu: One With a Forked Tongue
Perhaps the most appalling of the insincere eulogies, false praises, and spoken words/written lines in remembrance of Nelson Mandela came from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As the leader of a government that not only has continued but also exacerbated the Israeli military occupation and civilian colonization of Palestine, and the creation of an apartheid state, you would expect Mr. Netanyahu to take the moment to reflect on Mandela’s relentless support of the Palestinian people and their cause for self determination. Not so.
Carefully avoiding any mention of the word “apartheid” in his written message, which would have evoked too many links with the current plight of the Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories, Mr. Netanyahu still managed to manipulate Mandela’s death to his advantage. Referring to him as “He was a father with a vision and many choices [who] gave a personal example with his [visions] as a freedom fighter,” Netanyahu attempts to gift wrap his words as a testament to his adherence to the moral values and principles promulgated by President Mandela, while nothing could be father from the truth. Lest we forget, it was a much younger Nelson Mandela who, on a warm day in Pretoria on December 4, 1997, declared: “I have come to join you today to add our own voice to the universal call for Palestinian self-determination and statehood. We would be beneath our own reason for existence as a government and as a nation, if the resolution of the problems of the Middle East did not feature prominently on our agenda…. We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
Under “Bibi” Netanyahu, Palestine has witnessed an expansion of the illegal Jewish-only settlements into yet more Palestinian soil, an increased fractionalization of the Occupied Palestinian Territories into self-contained and almost inaccessible cul-de-sacs by the Israeli state, the continued construction of a segregation wall, a military offensive against Gaza resulting in over 160 civilian deaths, the routine sabotage of peace negotiations, the ongoing siege of the Gaza strip, and much more.
With wishes of a peaceful rest from the likes of these world leaders, Mandela might well be already turning, although his grave is not yet dug.
Editor’s Note: Photographs one and eight by Active Stills. Photographs three, four, six and seven United Nations Photo archive. Photographs five and nine by What 4. Photograph composite two by Mark Rain and photograph ten by South African Tourism.