Saturday, February 11, 2006

Blackuary Eleven - Nelson Mandela

On this day in 1990, Nelson Mandela was released after serving twenty-seven years in a South African prison.

Everyone knows who Mandela is, so I will focus on what you may not know. That seems easy enough because everyone thinks that this guy is a saint. Well, he ain't really that good of a dude. And the fact that his second wife, Winnie, was a murdering thug doesn't help his case too much. (Her jail sentence for murdering a fourteen year old was overturned and she received a fine, justice?)

Before you start calling for my head on a plate, let me just say this in my defense, I am not now, nor have I ever been someone who is a believer in racial oppression. I am a firm believer in equal rights for everyone. Apartheid was wrong, but in the same vein, what is happening on the African continent is equally wrong. On to the Mandela bashing.

You see, Nelson Mandela has long held the idea that Apartheid was wrong, and started out battling the problem as a peaceful protester. His problems began when he began to embrace the ideas of the less-than-happy groups in South Africa. Much to the dismay of the people that actually ran things down there, Nelson began to support an armed uprising. The African National Congress was widely considered to be a terrorist group. So, they locked up a known terrorist. (Just so you know, he was sentenced primarily for treason and the reams of documentation prove this point rather well.)

Upon his release, Mandela saw first hand exactly what the ANC was doing at the request of his wife. They separated and later divorced. After getting elected to the Presidency in 1994, he quickly established ties with some of the most notorious terrorists in the world. One such terrorist Nelson hung out with was the mastermind behind the bombing of a passenger airplane. Guess who?

In 2000, Mandela helped acquit one of the known perpetrators of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that resulted in 270 deaths over Lockerbie, Scotland. The other terrorist was sentenced and this is what Mandela said, "Megrahi is all alone. He has nobody he can talk to. It is psychological persecution that a man must stay for the length of his long sentence all alone. It would be fair if he were transferred to a Muslim country and there are Muslim countries which are trusted by the west. It will make it easier for his family to visit him if he is in a place like the kingdom of Morocco, Tunisia or Egypt." What a great guy, he should instead be protesting Gitmo, oh wait he has!

In 2003, Mandela attacked the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration in a number of speeches, going so far as calling Bush a racist for not following the UN and its secretary-general Kofi Annan (who is African) on the issue of the War in Iraq. "Is it because the secretary-general of the United Nations is now a black man? They never did that when secretary-generals were white."

And if you are still undecided about Nelson Mandela, this photo ends your indecision. Completely.

The vast majority of this post was gleaned from the glowing reviews found on Wikipedia.

Oh, and Burt Reynolds was born on this day in 1936.