Nelson Mandela on the US invasion of Iraq
This is the Mandela that I mourn not the white-washed, sanitized version of a revolutionary figure that aligned with Communists, was part of a group branded as terrorists by Reagan, who continued to voice his opposition to Israel’s apartheid regime and illegal occupation of the West Bank and used armed resistance to fight apartheid in South Africa.
The way white people are exalting him across the political spectrum globally based on his national reconciliation work in South Africa post-apartheid (which did have major pitfalls for non-whites in particular) and erasing his revolutionary past and fight for equality across the globe shows just how ignorant of history they are and how incredibly myopic they are too.
White people are doing to Mandela what they’ve already done to Martin Luther King, Jr., and it makes me sick. If I see one more racist white liberal lionizing Mandela in a way that erases his revolutionary past so their facebook status about his death can serve as their “feel-good” justification of the day for their “liberalism,” I’m going to be sick. And don’t even get me started on the white American conservatives who are now lauding him even as Reagan demonized the ANC and Dick Cheney voted against a resolution that would have urged the South African apartheid government to remove Mandela from prison.
Don’t sanitize Mandela for your white comfort. He’s a hero in many regards, but maybe not for the reasons you might think based on the whitewashing he’s receiving in the media to hollow him out and make him into a puppet figure for racist white liberals and conservatives alike, just like MLK.
I studied South Africa the year after Mandela left office. I’ve been making sure to note on FB that the man we revere and celebrate was once labeled a terrorist, and that the government that imprisoned him was seen as an ally against communism.
The first 75 years of his life matter, too, and we learn nothing if we only study Mandela in prison, out of prison, as leader of the country, etc.