Cleaning Up Nelson Mandela

           Nelson Mandela, a man known and respected by hundreds of millions of people all over the world died on Dec. 5, 2013 at the age of 95. Nelson Mandela became a symbol of the struggle against the horribly cruel Apartheid system that existed in South Africa and all other forms of racism. But while people in the U.S.  organized a boycott of goods produced in South Africa, the U.S. government was giving support to the U.S. corporations that were profiting from the exploitation of blacks in South Africa.

People of the United States and the U.S. Government

In 1990 Mandela was invited to give a speech at the United Nations. As his motor entourage worked its way through Manhattan thousands of NYC workers left their offices and lined the sidewalks cheering him on. Those who couldn’t get down to the sidewalks opened their office windows and waved colored banners. People here, like all over the world recognized Mandela as a freedom fighter.

While a hero to the masses, Mandela was not accepted by the US government and the powerful interests that control it. To present his 1990 speech at the UN, Mandela had to receive a visa from the Secretary of State in order to visit the U.S. In 1993 Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace prize. But as late as 2008, Mandela and the African National Congress, which he represented, remained on America’s terrorist watch list. In the 1980’s President Ronald Reagan placed the African National Congress on the official list of terrorists groups.  Reagan called South Africa’s apartheid “essential to the free world.”

Mandela spent over 27 years in South African jails because of his devotion to ending the apartheid system. Many scholars place the capture of Mandela on information provided to the S. African Government by the CIA. The CIA called Mandela “a threat to American security”. The role of the CIA is being pursued through the Freedom of Information Act but to date the CIA has refused to provide the documents.  When President Obama visited Robben Island in 2013, where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years, he did not mention that the CIA helped send Mandela there.  

Because he is so revered around the world, the U.S. government, with the aid of the mass media, has had to scramble to clean up its own image of how our leaders saw Mandela. His quotes about issues such as the Iraq invasion and his support of the rights of the Palestinian people have not been included in many official speeches or press articles. Let us not forget that Mandela said, “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America.  They don’t care for human beings.”

The people of this earth recognized the great leadership of Mandela in the struggle for democracy. We cannot allow history to be rewritten so that his role in the struggle is rewritten.


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