Mandela legacy for NI: A real, hard fought and never-ending quest to improve society for all

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Professor Brandon Hamber recalls the day in 1990 when he travelled to Nelson Mandela’s welcome home rally in Soweto and reflects on the relevance of Mandela’s vision of reconciliation to the people of Northern Ireland.

Modern_MandelaDays after Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990 I went to a massive welcome home rally at Soccer City – the stadium on the outskirts of Soweto that would host the World Cup final two decades later.

The day was one of unparalleled elation. I remember people walking for miles to see Mandela. As I neared the stadium in my old Toyota, people started to jump on the car exhausted from walking.

I arrived at the stadium with 6 people in the car, and 10 people on it and with a dented roof.  But I didn’t care. It felt as if the world had shifted on its axis that day.

In many ways, everything has changed in South Africa. Racial legal apartheid is a historic relic. South Africa now has one of the most progressive constitutions and human rights frameworks in the world. Political power has changed irreversibly.

Since the end of apartheid the ANC government has built over 2 million houses, over 90% of people now have running water and 85% an electricity connection. This is remarkable given the low base the apartheid government left behind. Income in black households increased an average 169 percent over 10 years and over 35% of the middle class is now black.

But despite this progress, economically South Africa remains one of the most unequal places on earth. Unemployment is as high as 40%, and millions of black South Africans continue to live in poverty.

With these challenges, it is easy to say Nelson Mandela’s dream of a rainbow nation of equals has failed. But the challenges facing Mandela in 1994 should not be under-estimated. His government was confronted with the legacy of centuries of racism.

Communities were tearing themselves apart because of historic mistrust and state sanctioned violence. During the negotiations of 1990 to 1994, 15,000 people lost their lives in political violence.

In this context, reconciliation in Mandela’s terms was the difficult path to take. It meant quelling angry and fearful groups on all sides. Reconciliation was hardly an easy alternative to war – it was a strategy to change the course of history.

mandela-pienaarMany people will remember when Mandela donned the Springbok Rugby jersey. Often painted as a simple gesture to white South Africa about their inclusion in the new South Africa, it was in reality Mandela recasting a symbol long associated with Afrikaner nationalism.

Yes, he welcomed whites into the new nation but it resulted in the end of the old South Africa flag, the demise of white political power and the creation of a common flag for all. The new South Africa was clearly about give and take.

Mandela’s approach was to adopt peacemaking and reconciliation as ends in themselves, rather than tools to be used to further one’s political aims.

Through this, Mandela created a vision to aspire to: that all South Africans must work towards this dream no matter the odds – a sentiment now deeply entrenched.

In this sense, Mandela’s legacy is of great relevance to Northern Ireland. He has taught us that reconciliation is not a tolerance or basic acceptance of each other.

Rather, it is a real, hard fought and never-ending quest to improve society for all. It is a call to action, a quest to continually challenge ourselves to change our beliefs and practices.

As Mandela himself said: “You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility”.

Mandela’s vision invites us all to rise above the histories that shape us so we can transform the future.

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  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    When Mandela joined the ANC Youth League in 1944 he was an Africanist–committed to black power and black supremacy. But by speaking to older members of the movement, however, he learned of the value of having a commitment to non-racialism. Mandela used his time in prison to good use–he learned Afrikaans, which was not widely spoken in the Eastern Cape where he grew up or in Johannesburg, where he lived before going to prison. South Africa did not, unlike Rhodesia, have a program of university degrees by correspondence for prisoners. Mugabe earned several degrees while he was in detention from 1964 to 1974, but look how he turned out. Mandela spent his time in prison doing three things: learning Afrikaans, educating the younger generation of prisoners from the Soweto Rebellion on the principles of non-racialism, and befriending his guards. When Mandela emerged from prison many of the leaders within the Charterist organizations like the United Democratic Front and the COSATU trade union federation were people that Mandela had educated in prison. When he emerged from prison his former law partner, Oliver Tambo, who was the president of the ANC, was dying. Mandela was able to take over and implement a strategy that Tambo agreed with of forcing majority rule but retaining capitalism.

    In 2004-05 in light of the Northern Bank robbery and the murder of Robert McCartney in a bar, many people compared Adams to Yasir Arafat. They noted that the IRA/Sinn Fein liked to compare itself both to the PLO and the ANC. They thought that the comparison with the PLO was the much more appropriate comparison given the nature of the IRA’s armed struggle. Adams will probably die like Arafat did–being heralded by his followers as a great leader but never having led them into the promised land that he repeatedly spoke of.

  • derrydave

    Hypocrites of the Western World beware: Included in Mandela’s much-heralded speech upon being released:

    ‘The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still continue today. We have no option but to continue.’

    One man’s terrorist……………………

  • derrydave

    Give it 25 years and how will Gerry and Martin be viewed – pretty obvious if you look at history !

  • Charles_Gould

    I suspect that Gerry will be viewed badly by history.

  • Barney

    Its no coincidence that the PLO and the ANC are grouped here, both fought and are fighting apartheid regimes.

  • sean treacy

    tmitch and Charles ,isn’t it great to see so many people lauding Nelson today even if only through gritted teeth in the case of unionists.While most Irish politicians genuinely did oppose apartheid that opposition was expressed verbally and from a safe distance. However when Mandelas ANC needed someone to actually DO something ,who do you think they approached? Mehole Martin? The blueshirts? The Sticks in their various guises from Garland to Gilmore? or Mark Durkan to talk apartheid away? No actually,according to Kader Asmals memoirs they beat a path to the door of the “baddest man in Ireland” ,a man so bad that not even Mick Fealty could find ONE good thing to say about him! The result of all this apparently was the Sasol oil refinery(an economic jewel) going into orbit a short time later.Locals claim to have heard shouts of “tiocfadh ar la combined with the usual “amandla” as the firework display took place.Suffice to say that as NELSON looks down on us all tonight he might be giving a sly wink to a certain Irish man with political clout both sides of the border

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Then there’s Mandela’s other legacy:

    “My position is that you don’t hand over your weapons until you get what you want… “

  • Mick Fealty

    Are you guys all in sixth form still? [only joking!!] Picked this up tonight, and I share it here in the hope we can get off our usual hooks for a short while and re-engage with the professor’s piece above..

    A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “tmitch and Charles ,isn’t it great to see so many people lauding Nelson today even if only through gritted teeth in the case of unionists.”

    @Sean,

    Apparently you think that both I and Charles are unionists. I’m an American and a supporter of the Alliance Party, which is not a unionist party–although those stuck in analog thinking might see it as such simply because it is not nationalist–and Charles is a supporter of the SDLP.

    I supported trade sanctions against South Africa in the 1980s while opposing divestment–because the latter gave away leverage without hurting the government economically. I was not surprised by the way Mandela behaved but was surprised by F.W. de Klerk, whom I expected to repeat the mistakes of Ian Smith. The ANC did turn to the IRA, and also to Moscow. But Mandela was smart enough to ignore the economic prescriptions of the Communists once he got into power. In 1990 the ANC was losing the armed struggle badly because Pretoria had wisely leveraged its position to trade its support of UNITA in Angola for Angola’s support of the ANC. This forced MK guerrillas to transit across hundreds of miles of African countryside to get to South Africa from their military camps in Uganda and Tanzania. De Klerk was wise enough to negotiate from a position of strength rather than wait until South Africa’s economy had been destroyed by decades of trade and financial sanctions and internal unrest.

  • Harry Flashman

    Nelson Mandela was a hugely iconic figure and a role model for people looking to resolve conflict and bring about justice but heaven’s above we haven’t been losing the run of ourselves a wee bit about what he actually achieved have we?

    Mandela and de Klerk negotiated a deal that the world and his aunty knew was the only possible deal and which had been on the cards for years, especially since the peaceful end of the Cold War (much thanks for which goes to that other great liberator of enslaved nations who died this year, Margaret Thatcher RIP – cue the hoots of derision for pointing out obvious but unpalatable truths).

    Mandela did not dream up the idea of a settlement between blacks and whites in South Africa, it had always been ANC policy. It is a huge insult to the blacks of South Africa to somehow suggest that had Nelson Mandela not been such a nice guy the blacks would have descended on the whites in mass Zulu impis and slaughtered them all.

    The whites knew that apartheid was over, all they wanted was a face-saving (and property-saving) way to bring it about, the ANC (as their present day leadership prove) were not anarchists set to destroy the vast wealth of South Africa, they wanted to get their hands on it intact and with as much white expertise as they could keep.

    It was a win-win deal all round and all it needed was the right people to put it in place, step forward FW De Klerk and Nelson Mandela, two shrewd operators who knew how to cut a deal and it was done, nice as pie.

    There was no great magical or mystical formula.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Through this, Mandela created a vision to aspire to: that all South Africans must work towards this dream no matter the odds – a sentiment now deeply entrenched.”

    Perhaps not that deeply entrenched as John Simpson reported earlier this year.

  • SDLP supporter

    This could be a useful thread but it is debased by the puerile asides of and schoolyard insults of Sean-’Mehole’ Martin etc. You can do better than that, ST, and I would expect to be carded by Mick if I continuously referred to ‘Fartin McGuinness or whatever.

    There are two interesting pieces of information to consider. One is a fine op-ed by Noel Doran in this morning’s Irish News where he recalls a dinner party for Mandela hosted by his friend, Tony O’Reilly in the latter’s ‘sumptuous’ house in Merrion Square, Dublin. Yes, I know this will give the vapours to ‘Indo-haters’ but Mandela was consistently supported by arch-capitalists like billionaire diamond king Harry Oppenheimer, who was far too shrewd not to cop on that apartheid was not sustainable in the medium to long term. In the piece Doran is clear that NM was sympathetic to Adams and McGuinness. This disconcerted some of the other guests (the dinner party was around 2001).

    The other piece worth noting were the extracts on BBC last night of NM’s long interview with David Dimbleby. I haven’t transcribed the exact words but NM clearly differentiated between the ANC campaign of sabotage-blowing up pylons and the like-and terrorism, which he defined as inflicting terrorism on ordinary,uninvolved civilians, which NM rejected. It seems to me, as someone who lived through the Provo ‘war’ that it was all about terrorism and never about ‘defending communities’ as Padraig Mac Lochlainn TD tried to suggest the other night. Planting no-warning bombs in pubs and the like is not ‘defensive’. It’s just murder.

    This brings me to another question to which I can’t find an answer. Roughly how many civilians did the ANC kill? Maybe someone can provide the answer.

    Finally, as a democratic Irish nationalist-republican I can assure you that the 26 county state will fight tooth and nail to stop SF equating their campaign with the period 1919-21. Taken in the round the decade 1912-23 was a disaster for the Irish people, North and South and, yes, by far the greatest share of responsibility lies with the British state-Asquith, Lloyd George, Bonar Law, Churchill and the rest of them. Having secured Redmond’s naive acquiescence to recruiting the National Volunteers into the British Army, with resultant unimaginable carnage, the British Government tried to sell the horse twice by making previously-agreed Home Rule conditional on acquiescence to conscription.

    In fact, given the perfidy and sheer bad faith with which the British dealt with democratic Irish nationalist leaders from O’Connell through to Parnell and Redmond, it’s a miracle that a democratic Irish state emerged, however imperfect.

    One last thing: I’ve been searching for the reference but can’t find it. In the Buckingham Palace talks in 1914 over the Home Rule Bill King George V, the present Queen Elizabeth’s grandfather, and a thoroughly decent man (and acknowledged as such by De Valera) was reported to have fixed the politicians present with a hard stare and said ‘Gentlemen, maybe we all should have listened to Mr Gladstone’.

  • tacapall

    “I haven’t transcribed the exact words but NM clearly differentiated between the ANC campaign of sabotage-blowing up pylons and the like-and terrorism, which he defined as inflicting terrorism on ordinary,uninvolved civilians, which NM rejected. It seems to me, as someone who lived through the Provo ‘war’ that it was all about terrorism and never about ‘defending communities’ as Padraig Mac Lochlainn TD tried to suggest the other night. Planting no-warning bombs in pubs and the like is not ‘defensive’. It’s just murder”

    SDLP supporter could you explain how this is any different than planting no warning bombs in pubs and the like and how it is defensive and not murder.

    “On May 20, 1983, Umkhonto we Sizwe (aka “Spear of the Nation”) set off a car bomb near the Nedbank Square building on Church Street in the South African capital of Pretoria. The bomb was timed to go off at the height of rush hour. The attack killed 19 people and wounded 217.

    From the BBC, May 20, 1983:

    A huge pall of smoke rose hundreds of feet into the air as debris and bodies were strewn around the scene of the explosion.

    It is understood the bomb had been placed in a blue Alfa Romeo car outside the multistory building, which houses the South African air force headquarters.

    It exploded at the height of the city’s rush-hour as hundreds of people were leaving work for the weekend.

    Glass and metal were catapulted into the air as shop-fronts and windows were blown out.

    Many passers-by had limbs amputated by the flying debris. Others bled to death”

  • SDLP supporter

    Addendum. No one knows how significant figures will be viewed in the long perspective of history. I was reading somewhere that when Mao Tse Tung died in 1975 100,000 ‘useful idiots’ stood in an all-night vigil in peaceful, democratic, slightly boring Oslo. That was before the fools knew that Mao was the biggest mass-murderer in history, killed more people than Stalin and Hitler combined.

    When I think back to the mid-sixties some quite distinguished academics here were devotees of the said Mao. In fact, I have a copy of his Little Red Book (banal and tedious beyond belief-any offers?) in fact, Paisley’s Commentary on St Paul’s Epistles,written from his prison cell-the Crum) sparkles by comparison.

    Those Maoist dudes in high places. To borrow a phrase from David Ervine, I even knew the colour of their wallpaper!

    What a pity that Lenin, another mass-murderer-once founded a party called ‘the Social Democratic and Labour Party’.

  • sean treacy

    As it now seems to be “get Sean time”on this site ,maybe I would be allowed a right of reply.Firstly tmitch ,I NEVER said that you and Charles were unionists .I merely said that unionists were less than enthusiastic about Mandela.SDLP supporter,the term”Mehole Martin” is a satirical term used on virtually every Irish political website and by journalists on the Phoenix magazine and other satirical publications.If Mehole is prepared to talk nonsense then he can expect ridicule.As for the “good old IRA” nonsense ,the facts are there that Collins,Aiken,Breen Barry,Corry,etc matched anything the Provos ever did.For example it is estimated that as many as 90 people were “disappeared” in co Cork alone.The Free State parties ALL laud these people and in my view are nothing but hypocrites.

  • SDLP supporter

    Yes, Tacapall, that Pretoria bomb fits Mandela’s definition of terrorism all right, and mine. Maybe he was deluding himself in his old age, undertaking false rationalisation. ‘old men forget’ and all that. Maybe he knew very little about the situation in Ireland and never grasped that there was an embodiment of Irish sovereignty. however imperfect, in Leinster House and the other institutions.

    I truly hope you will not try to equate the Provo campaign and the conditions which brought it about with the situation in South Africa.

    Would still like to know how many people the ANC actually killed in the course of their armed campaign.

  • SDLP supporter

    ST, I was in very brief indirect contact with Frank Aiken many decades ago. He wanted Hume to leave Northern politics and succeed him as TD for Louth-partionist?

    I understand that he was haunted by some of the things he had done in his youth (Altnaveagh massacre) but he spend the rest of life trying to expiate for it and was actually a very good and decent Foreign Minister.

    That makes him different from Breen and Corry and, up to the present day, 95 year old Billy McKee, who exulted and still exults in the numbers of people they murdered.

    Some day some is going to write a work on the chaotic, disorganised, brutal home lives of ‘effective’ military leaders. Maybe there’s one already. For example, growing up in Andersonstown, the name of Jimmy Steele was mentioned by some of my relatives with respect (totally unmerited, as I subsequently found out) but Gerry Adams Snr was always muttered about as a ‘bad ‘un’,

    We probably now know the reason why. Similarly, I was reading about Sean Mac Stiofain and how brutally he was treated by his father, which must have had vast unintended consequences for the rest of us. At the risk of having Godwin’s Law invoked, it was the same for Hitler and Stalin and it explains why I (uncharacteristically) launched into a five minute public .tirade in the Westwood Centre against a woman who was punching the ears off her five year, and nearly got myself arrested.

    Some day, when Hume is gone, it’ll be put on record that post-Sunningdale Mac Stiofain ordered Hume’s assassination.

    For the record, I have unalloyed esteem for Adams’s strategic intelligence and organisational skills which exactly were what the SDLP have been so lacking for decades. That doesn’t mean that I agree with Alec Reid that he was ‘sent by God’ but it may be possible that at times he was “doing God’s work”.

  • babyface finlayson

    SDLP supporter
    According to wikipedia (the best I can do at the moment) MK were responsible for roughly 130 deaths between 1976 and 1986 of which 100 were civilians.
    This would seem to be during the bombing campaign. For the earlier sabotage campaign I can see no casualties listed.

  • tacapall

    Im not defending or equating anyone SDLP supporter Im just pointing out the contradictions in your post. Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein like Nelson Mandela and the ANC condemned actions that previously they had supported the Omagh bombing for example or attacks carried out at present by those labelled as dissidents,. Around 21000 people were killed during the 46 year conflict in South Africa, 14000 died during the period 1990 – 1994 it not too hard to get the breakdown of those figures and its not ended yet, heres South Africa and the ANC today -

    http://www.bdlive.co.za/opinion/columnists/2013/08/12/political-assassinations-how-the-anc-is-killing-its-own

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “Around 21000 people were killed during the 46 year conflict in South Africa, 14000 died during the period 1990 – 1994 it not too hard to get the breakdown of those figures and its not ended yet, heres South Africa and the ANC today -”

    @tacapall,

    Most of the 14,000 killed in 1990-94 were killed in interorganizational fighting between supporters of the ANC/UDF and the Inkatha Freedom Party. Mandela in 1990 after his release from prison did tell people in Natal to “throw their weapons into the sea.” Most of the ANC organization in Natal was beyond the direct control of the national leadership as it was controlled by a hardline Stalinist by the name of Harry Gwala. The two organizations were involved in a turf war for power. Inkatha also had many warlords interested in controlling squatter camps–similar to loyalist paramilitaries in the housing estates. Some of the casualties were caused by state agents killing blacks at random in the hope of causing as much chaos as possible–the so-called Third Force.

    Many of those killed in the 1980s were killed by mobs operating in the name of the charterist organizations but beyond their control. Winnie Mandela is much more responsible for this than her husband as she famously declared that “with our matches and tires we will liberate this country” thereby promoting the use of necklacing–the burning of gasoline-soaked tires around the necks of suspected informers or anyone that someone had a grudge against.

  • sean treacy

    The ANC were involved in so called “black on black”conflict in the townships which resulted in the deaths of thousands and that excludes a vast number of informers who got the “necklace”Boys ,if you are all pacifists then fair enough but if not don’t give me any of this “some violence ok “Once you go down the armed route as virtually every party on this island did you are going to have to excuse some very bad stuff.And before any SDLP TYPES say “not us”,several top stoops went south in 69/70 looking for weapons and questions were never answered as to what was got and where it went.They also admitted several people into their ranks over the years with a “colourful” history to say the least

  • SDLP supporter

    Thanks. Babyface Finlayson. So, in a country with 28-30 times the population of the North, the ANC military wing killed 100 civilians or 10 a year? What was the multiple for our own grubby, sordid little conflict?

    How come the ANC were so successful in minimising civilian casualties compared to our own lot of heroes both in and out of uniform?

    Of course, to quote Stalin “one death is a tragedy, one million is a statistic” I presume the overwhelming number of killings 1990-1994 were black-on-black and many originated from Buthelezi’s Zulus?

    Incidentally. was watching that Vincent Browne video of Padraig MacLochlainn repeatedly screaming the names of Ghandi and Martin Luther King. Why? What point was he trying to make, to suggest that they would have supported the Provos?

    Also, I understand that Padraig Mac Lochlainn (himself born in Englnad) is the first person from an Irish Traveller family to make it to the Dail and good luck and due credit to him on that.

    And that his father, Reamonn MacLochlainn got 14 years for a bombing and was absent in jail for the first ten years of Padraig’s life?

    Presumably Padraig’s mother and father went to England because they couldn’t make a go of it and were discriminated against in the own country because they were Irish Travellers?

    How shall I put this without causing offence but was it not, at a minimum, deeply ungracious, ungrateful, downright perverted, nasty and criminal for the father to go around planting bombs in the adopted country which gave him a home and a standard of living?

    If he wanted to plant bombs, it would have been for logical, however, perverted, to plant them in the Twenty Six counties, which had rejected him and his family?

    Or, on the other hand, maybe the father was a sociopath/psychopath and a thoroughly nasty piece of work?

  • SDLP supporter

    Yup, ST, I can recall one former IRA commander joining SDLP and becoming a councillor.

    But the SDLP was founded in August 1970 and, yes, a founding member-Paddy Devlin, had done time for IRA membership 25 years previously.

    But don’t try this hand-wringing “we are all to blame, we are all equally guilty, none of us have clean hands” schtick. It doesn’t wash, you guys had/have the military wing will killed 1,500 or so.

    I can think of only one person/public representative who switched from SDLP and SF and that was Billy Leonard and we all know what happened to him.

    There is a vast, probably unbridgeable gap between SDLP and SF on the use of, the efficacy of and justification for the use of violence.

    Please don’t try to salve your party’s collective bad conscience at the SDLP’s expense.

  • sean treacy

    SDLP supporter,Padraig was making the point that Collins,McKeown,etc were NOT Gandhi or MLK types but like all stoops and stater drones,you twist everything to suit your morally superior agenda.

  • sean treacy

    FACT,several SDLP members went south on an arms procuring mission and don’t try to confuse the issue about sdlp formation in 1970.FACT,SDLP Councillor Tommy Murray defected and stood for SF IN 1985.One of SFs earliest by election victories resulted from an SDLP councillor resigning and urging his supporters to back the SF candidate(Carrickmore 85).SFs Mary Nellis was a former MEMBER of the SDLP and in my own area several SF members are the sons and daughters of former SDLP councillors.So don’t give me any of your “stoops are decent people”guff.

  • SDLP supporter

    ST, so you are implicitly acknowledging that the SDLP might have had a morally consistent position on the use of violence all along and that violence only ever made things worse, especially that inflicted on other Irishmen?

    If you call it a ‘morally superior agenda’, they are your words, not mine.

    Also, do you realise that contemptuous phrases like ‘stater drones’ only increases the deep distrust that the great majority of the people of Ireland have for your party and the deep fear that, like the Nazis, if you ever got your hands on the levers of power you would abolish the democratic institutions? Who are these ‘stater drones’. Are they Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Irish Labour? Does that mean you will never go into coalition with them?

    The Irish Free State ceased to exist in 1937, 76 years ago, three generations, ago, by will of the people of Ireland who were able to vote in a referendum.

    Stop tossing puerile insults around like ‘Free Staters’ around. You are only exposing your intellectual vacuity.

    I have a couple of questions for you -

    -Has the mandate of the first and second Dail (1918 and 1921) now definitively been set aside?

    -Does the vote in 1998 for the Good Friday Agreement extinguish that mandate?

    -Is the IRA Army Council still the true, legitimate sovereign authority of the Irish people?

    -Is the only way to establish the will of the Irish people in a referendum by a similar device to that used in 1998?

    -If you want to get the question of ‘Irish unity’ on the agenda of a referendum , do you accept that you have to get the Irish and British governments to agree to so do?

    -If you want override the will of the people of Ireland as expressed in 1998 in the way that you seem to be implying, then you are risking a civil war?

    If you can’t give straight answers to question like these, you are in effect in the same camp as cult crazies like Francie Mackey, Martin Galvin and their head banger friends who keep on writing to the Irish News, and who would cheerfully extinguish you, if they could. They hate you lot even more than the SDLP.

    Listen, ST, the world changes. Martin McGuinness, who is nowhere near as bright as Adams, now accepts that the EU is a ‘good thing’ and ‘we may have been wrong on that’,

    Suslov-like ideologues like you can just do enormous damage (look him up). To quote JM Keynes:

    “when the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, Sir?”

  • SDLP supporter

    ST, my last contribution. If you have evidence that post August 1970 SDLP people were importing arms, PUT IT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.

    Saying FACT isn’t evidence. I never said “stoops are decent people”. Some people I know in the SDLP are chancers to whom I wouldn’t lend a pound!

    Ah, yes, Mary Nelis, mother of Donkey (we know what happened to him), who claimed to be in the SDLP (no evidence) and who husband was in the UDR. Wonder if that made him a ‘legitimate target’ in her eyes?

  • sean treacy

    SDLP SUPPORTER,or is it Neo Redmondite ,according to “History Ireland” ,on the 16th AUGUST 1969 ,Paddy Devlin ,Paddy Kennedy (then a prodege of Gerry Fitt) and Paddy OHanlon travelled to Dublin “looking for guns”I would assume Fitt wasn’t unaware of this so we have a scenario that the bulk of the leadership of the soon to be formed SDLP were gun runners (successful or not) If your point is “ah but the SDLP hadn’t been formed yet “,then I presume you would allow Gerry Martin et al to form a new party tomorrow and”in one bound our heroes are free” Unfortunately Irish politics are not like that and FF had to endure the”shadow of a gunman” jibe for decades with Lemass conceding that they were “a slightly constitutional party” See once you bring weapons into the equation your moral authority becomes somewhat shakey .With regards to UDR MEMBERSHIP is Councillor OConnor still a card carrying STOOP?

  • SDLP supporter

    Against my very much better judgement, I’ll give one last response and then I’ll sign off. First, the Devlin/O’Hanlon/Kennedy canard. All safely dead and like Pat McGeown and Madge McConville can be fitted up for the Jean McConville murder to save the hide of “the special one”.

    As for Paddy Kennedy, you can assume nothing. He hated the SDLP in every shape and form. Secondly, give your reference, verbatim, from History Ireland,

    Yes, if Gerry, Martin and his mates formed a new party tomorrow, it would change the equation. But they don’t want to do that. They want the best of all worlds. to maintain the association with the Provisional IRA, celebrate their heroic deeds, association with the whiff of cordite etc.

    Yes, De Valera did split in 1927 when he founded Fianna Fail, “leaving my comrades behind in the trenches” and earning the enduring hatred of your lineal predecessors in the IRA of the time.

    Yes, the clowns didn’t believe De Valera was serious about the break with the IRA until he had Charlie Kerins, George Plant and a few others dangling on the end of a noose and the same thing would have happened to Harry White (Danny Morrison’s uncle) only he got lucky.

    Simply, really, Dev had a functioning state in mortal peril to defend and a future Irish state would have a few of your mates metaphorically on the gallows, especially in the context of an ever closer Europe, if you push your luck too far. Europe has too much to lose indulging fu*kwits like you when they have to deal with far more effective killers from the former Yugoslavia and such like places. It’s already happening to Golden Dawn in Greece.

    rom now on in, it’s Big Boys’ Rules.

    And, in effect, the IRA haven’t dared fart in the wrong key as regards shooting Gardaí and Irish Army personnel ever since a few horrible incidents aside (Jerry McCabe comes to mind, no doubt ST you are especially proud of that one),

    ST, I have posed a number of questions. all of which you studiously avoided answering, but I will pose a few more to mull over:

    -Did Sinn Fein have a military wing from 1970, that people know as the Provisional IRA?

    -Did every Sinn Fein elected representative have to pledge ‘unambiguous support for the armed struggle’?

    -For decades at Sinn Fein Ard Fheiseanna did a masked guy in fatigues jump up on the stage and read a message from the IRA Army Council?

    -Are successive Taoisigh right when they have said that the Sinn Fein and the IRA leadership are ‘two sides of the one coin’ and that they are ‘inextricably linked’?

    -Was a serving Taoiseach right when responding to Adams, who said he “would have to go back and consult with the Army Council” that he should “just go to the bathroom and look in the f*ucking mirror”?

    -In March 2005, Mitchell Reiss, the United States special envoy to Northern Ireland, condemned the party’s links to the IRA, saying “it is hard to understand how a European country in the year 2005 can have a private army associated with a political party”. Was he right or was he lying?

    -did the SDLP have a military wing or any association with violence since its foundation in 1970?

    Oh, and Danny O’Connor, a former East Antrim MLA and Larne Councillor, left the SDLP ages ago and is no longer an elected representative. And, no, we in the SDLP wouldn’t have considered him a ‘legitimate target’ because he had served in the UDR.

    “Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and, besides, the pig likes it” (George Bernard Shaw).

  • sean treacy

    Can somebody tell me what that last tirade was all about? Seems SDLP SUPPORTER has inherited the oratorical skills of his founding leader,mr G Fitt whose gems included “we beat them at “football” and”black b#######s! I sincerely hope Sir Alasdair does not use language like you and Fitt.I know for sure that the man that Nelson Mandela referred to as “comrade Gerry” certainly does not!

  • babyface finlayson

    sean treacy
    SDLP supporter asked some quite interesting questions of you at 4.56.
    Any answers?

  • sean treacy

    BF ,I think you would be better off letting us all know what you think of your ally calling me a “f—- wit ,rather than joining in a joint interrogation.For the record I SUPPORT the GFA.I have found by the way that foul mouthed tirades are often the last resort for CHARACTERS like sdlp supporter when they are stripped of the advantage that section 31 and its Northern equivalent provided them for so long

  • http://www.e-consultation.org/ davenewman

    A correction to the the claim by tmich that the South African government’s advance into Angola hindered the ANC. It was the defeat of the SA Army by Cubans that started the process that led to the National Party giving up hope of surviving alone. Very quickly Namibia became independent, ruled by SWAPO.

    At the same time (1980), the Soviet Union sent a destroyer from Vladivostok to Maputo to counter a threat to Mozambique. The SA Army had been coming over the border to attack ANC houses in Matola, a few miles SW of where I was living in Bairo do Jardim, Maputo.

  • babyface finlayson

    sean treacy
    SDLP supporter is not my ally, but he is a very naughty boy for calling you a ‘f…kwit’
    It is hardly an interrogation, his questions are quite reasonable concerns about SF position.
    I would have been interested in your answers but never mind.

  • sean treacy

    BF ,he knows the SF positions.They have been stated often enough by the present leadership.His outburst proves that the Stoops are used to getting an easy ride from the mainstream media and when someone puts it up to them ,they cant take it.In general they regard SF supporters as socially inferior to them and the prospect of being bested in debate by the “lesser breed” causes them to go ballistic.

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “It was the defeat of the SA Army by Cubans that started the process that led to the National Party giving up hope of surviving alone. Very quickly Namibia became independent, ruled by SWAPO.”

    @davenewman,

    The claim by Castro and others that they defeated the SADF stems from the fiction that the SADF was attempting to capture the town of Cuito Cuanavale and that the Cubans prevented this. I researched this question for a chapter in a book about the South African decision to give up Namibia. After reading all the accounts published on the South African side from ordinary national servicemen to the general in charge, I didn’t find anyone who thought that the South African goal was to capture Cuito Cuanavale. It was on the other side of the river from the South African positions. The SADF’s aim was to clear the Angolans and Cubans from the east side of the Cuito River. With the exception of a small bridgehead that was contained by minefields they did this. The political leadership decided to give up Namibia because it was very expensive to hold on to and it no longer served its function as a buffer between South Africa and the ANC/Cubans to the north. The UDF had managed to exploit the political ineptitude of the leadership in Pretoria in introducing a new constitution that excluded Africans, to create unrest throughout South Africa. Botha was strong enough politically to retreat from Namibia and he managed to negotiate the Cubans out of Angola and the ANC camps out of Angola. The decision to then negotiate with the ANC came about AFTER there was a change in leadership at the top of the ruling National Party.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’d like to offer this thread (fascinating and even learned though it be in parts) as evidence that not only do we not have a Mandela, we have very few who even seem to understand the degree to which he fulfilled his own political objective (in the short term of his lifetime, at least) by symbolism and generosity!

  • babyface finlayson

    Yes come on guys. More like Nelson Mandela and less like Nelson McCausland!

  • sean treacy

    Mick,good to see you see nothing wrong with SDLP supporter labelling me a “f—wit and a killer (but apparently not a very effective one.) And please don’t draw any false comparisons with anything I posted .I have railed against the “uncle tommery” revisionism and hypocrisy of establishment commentators and politicians but I have never STOOPED as low as Alasdairs message boy.As far as I see theres one rule for republicans on this site and a fairly elastic set of rules for everyone else.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “not only do we not have a Mandela”

    It depends on which face of Mandela you’re looking at:

    Fanning repeated the question more pointedly: “But what was your position, Mr Mandela, on decommissioning weapons? And what advice would you give Gerry Adams?” Mandela’s mood turned suddenly steely. He looked seriously and sternly at Fanning. “My position, my position… my position is that you don’t hand over your weapons until you get what you want… “ .. source

    The South Africa John Simpson described is also part of the Mandela/ANC legacy – [7 December 2013 at 1:21 pm] – as well as this barbarity.

  • roadnottaken

    “Presumably Padraig’s mother and father went to England because they couldn’t make a go of it and were discriminated against in the own country because they were Irish Travellers?” – SDLP Supporter

    I don’t think you have any right to say anything about why Padraig MacLochlainn was born in England. Just because he’s elected and living in Ireland doesn’t mean you’ve any right to question why he was born in a different country. I, like many others, were born in England… it was economics. What was there economically on this island? (No doubt you’ll blame the IRA for that too). Throwing guff around about someone’s background in order to suit your own agenda (his da should be ashamed blah blah) is unfair to the man in question. If you don’t know, then don’t bother guessing.

    The standard of debate and the quality of some of the articles, and the downright obvious agenda of Slugger O’Toole is realing starting to grate. This site likes to refer to other sites with derision. Somehow SOT should be so proud of it’s higher standards, and it’s quality of debate. Catch a grip. You boys need to re-evaluate.

    *btw, I don’t think every contributor falls into the above rant.

  • Alias

    It is worth noting that the reason Mandela escaped execution at his trial in 1964 was that the Americans and the British advised South Africa’s apartheid government to keep him alive as a man they could one day do business with if the need arose.

    They would present the problem as being the exclusion of the indigenous people from political power rather than the extraction of recourses and wealth from the region by American and British corporations.

    The ‘problem’ could then be resolved by allowing the indigenous people to vote while also allowing the American and British corporations to continue to the extract recourses and wealth from the region.

    And that is how the cookie duly crumbled…

  • Alias

    Typo: “The ‘problem’ could then be resolved by allowing the indigenous people to vote while also allowing the American and British corporations to continue to extract resources and wealth from the region.”

  • Mick Fealty

    Alias, I thinK you’ve been living too long with that same conspiratutorial view of the world. Here’s a little Montaigne for you and others (some of whom seem to think Slugger is some anonymous Shinner bashing circle in Dantes hell):

    For in truth habit is a vioent and treacherous schoolmistress. She establishes in us, little by little, stealthily, the foothold of her authority; but having by this mild and humble beginning settled and planted it with the help of time, she soon uncovers to us a furious and tyrannical face against which we no longer have the liberty of even raising our eyes.

  • Alias

    It’s not a conspiracy when it’s a fact. The British and the Americans did intervene to save Mandela from the gallows.

    The policy of economic sanctions against South African goods was passed by the UN in 1962 (Resolution 1761) but all Western governments ignored the resolution and, indeed, boycotted the committee that proposed it.

    As usual they presented their objection in terms of concern for its effect on South Africans (no concern, of course, for the effects of apartheid on South Africans) when, in actuality, their concern was that a boycott of South African goods would have stopped their extraction of resources and wealth from the country.

    The West was concerned with the economic problem of how to maintain control of South Africa’s wealth rather than political problem of voting rights for blacks. And now the West, which opposed the economic boycott that brought apartheid to an end, loves the man who didn’t bring the West’s control of South Africa’s resources and wealth to an end. Mugabe, who didn’t take the view that his country’s wealth must remain concentrated in white hands is, of course, is the anti-Christ.

    It viewed self-determination for blacks as blacks ruling South Africa in the interest of blacks rather than in the interests of the large foreign corporations on whose behalf whites had ruled South Africa.

    The clear solution was to provide a black leader who would secure political rights for South Africans without challenging the economic interests of the large foreign corporations and their host nations.

    How many black South Africans own shares in De Beers? ;)

  • gendjinn

    Let us remember on the death of Mandela that Reagan and Thatcher supported the Apartheid regime and opposed the ANC.

    Here’s a link to just one piece about the Republicans and American right’s support of Apartheid. One can easily retrieve additional supporting information in Google on Thatcher & Reagan’s actions.

    In this, as in so many things, Reagan & the Republicans, Thatcher & the Conservatives were and are wrong. They were and their political descendents continue to be the evil they accuse their enemies of.

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “The policy of economic sanctions against South African goods was passed by the UN in 1962 (Resolution 1761) but all Western governments ignored the resolution and, indeed, boycotted the committee that proposed it.”

    @Alias,
    What was passed in 1962 by the UN was a voluntary arms embargo against South Africa. It was honored by the U.S. and I believe by Britain as well and ignored by the French who continued to sell Mirages to South Africa.

  • Alias

    Incorrect. It was a fully comprehensive economic and diplomatic boycott of South Africa:

    Requests Member States to take the following measures, separately of collectively, in conformity with the Charter, to bring about the abandonment of those policies;

    a. Breaking off diplomatic relations with the Government of the Republic of South Africa or refraining from establishing such relations;
    b. Closing their ports to all vessels flying the South African flag;
    c. Enacting legislation prohibiting their ships from entering South African ports;
    d. Boycotting all South African goods and refraining from exporting goods, including all arms and ammunition, to South Africa;
    e. Refusing landing and passage facilities to all aircraft belonging to the Government of South Africa and companies registered under the laws of South Africa;

    United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1761

  • Greenflag

    “How many black South Africans own shares in De Beers?”

    The Botswanan Government is the only Government in Southern Africa that has directors on the Board of De Beers .De Beers is in effect a cartel with both Russians /Botswanans and South Africans and others rigging the market for diamonds so that not too many are ‘released ‘ onto the market . There re at least a couple of diamond mines ‘unopened ‘ in Botswana which if opened and loosed on the market would have diamonds competing for price levels with plate glass .

    Anybody who tells you diamonds are an investment is lying . Maybe nice to look at etc but the marketing i.e legalised lying of diamonds was a 1930′s effort which achieved considerable success . Popular culture has however inflated their value .

    Sanctions were a small part of the struggle to overthrow apartheid . In the end ‘apartheid ‘ simply became like the Irish Penal Laws in the late 18th century unworkable and impractical particularly in Joburg and the major cities .

    I recall being on a sales trip to Joburg shortly before Mr Mandela was released . The Hotel I stayed in had been already ignoring the apartheid residency laws for several years . Black South Africans were being registered as Egyptians , Britons etc etc on the books , The Hotel owners wanted rooms filled .

    On the fourth floor of an office building I looked out to see a huge throng of South Africans about a half a mile long and turning the corner beneath the building I was in -chanting loudly and waving flags .There were some white and other ethnic groups also in the crowd .

    I asked my ‘buyer’ what the hell was going on and would I be able to get back to the airport .

    He said no problem -it’s just that there is a bank manager around the corner where the demonstration was headed who still believes that you can’t have a black supervisor in his bank .

    I heard the following week the bank manager was ‘retired ‘ and replaced .

  • Greenflag

    As to the Professor’s belief that the South Africa solution has lessons for Northern Ireland -I’d say he is being more than optimistic .

    The South African constitutional problem has been resolved .Northern Ireland’s is still ongoing even if in theory the GFA is the solution -the opposing sides still look at the GFA as a temporary fix . South Africans of all ethnic groups had nowhere to go and did not look to any other country as model for their solution . Also modern South African history and it’s mix of ethnic groups was barely a century old when President Mandela was released from prison . Northern Ireland /Ulster has had off and on sectarian conflict going back at least to 350 years . Both sides in NI identify with their larger neighbour .The Unionists to the neighbouring island of Britain for final solution whereas Republicans and Nationalists look to the Republic for theirs .

    Despite it’s multi ethnic and multi linguistic and economic challenges South Africa proved ‘easier ‘ to resolve than Northern Ireland .

    Never mind what Alias writes above re sanctions – the fact is South Africa was going to have it’s revolution (largely peaceful ) sanctions or no sanctions . In the end it was the South Africans themselves who boycotted those local and multinational corporations which were supporting the apartheid state who won their ‘political ‘ freedom.

    In their struggle for economic freedom South Africans have the same task ahead of them as the peoples of Europe and the Americas and Latin America as they come to realise that the ‘enemy ‘ is not a white face or a black face or a yellow face but is instead the grasping and avaricious descendants of Bernie Madoff and Co and still found and still wreaking havoc on democracies everywhere from Wall St and the City of London and Frankfurt and Paris .

  • Harry Flashman

    “The South African constitutional problem has been resolved .”

    It was resolved because, contrary to your claim on another thread that the actions of Mandela saved SA from descending into civil war, the situation in South Africa in the early 90s was the easiest bit of conflict resolution on the planet.

    Both sides knew exactly what they wanted, both sides were perfectly happy to give the other side what they wanted and there was practically zero opposition to the agreed settlement.

    Your post above confirms what I suggested in the earlier thread, pulling a deal off in Northern Ireland was a much, much tougher piece of work than the peaceful ending of apartheid, which actually was no big problem at the wind-up.

    Despite the overwrought emoting on the Beeb and other media there really was no threat of civil war in South Africa, it was an easily obtainable win-win solution and Mandela was perfectly situated to sign off on the deal.

  • Greenflag

    @ Harry Flashman ,

    You vastly underestimate the power of individual leaders to make a difference at times of crisis . Nelson Mandela has become a global icon for the people of not just the developing world and Africa but the entire globe . Three American Presidents attending his funeral is enough of an indication that Nelson Mandela was not as you put it merely perfectly situated to sign off on the deal ..

    And it was’nt easy . .

    Spare us your faux above the fray unctiousness Harry – Nothing was easily obtainable for the South Africans . You may even recall they endured half a century of being third class citizens in their own country and another half a century under British imperialism /colonialism .

  • Harry Flashman

    “…global icon…Three American Presidents…above the fray unctiousness…third class citizens in their own country…British imperialism…”

    Yadda, yadda, none of that remotely changes the fact that there was no chance of civil war in South Africa in 1990. Both De Klerk and Mandela were pushing on open doors and both got exactly what their sides wanted, neither faced any serious opposition and the deal was as good as done as soon as Mandela left prison.

    Nelson Mandela was a great man but he didn’t wave some magical wand to make everyone in South Africa love each other, they were all hard-headed realists who knew what they wanted and were happy to make an easy trade to get what they desired.

    You listen to too much moonshine Greenflag, the truth is much more prosaic.

  • Greenflag

    @ HF,

    “none of that remotely changes the fact that there was no chance of civil war in South Africa in 1990″

    I was there Harry – There was every chance of a very uncivil war. The fact that Mandela & De Klerk were both realists and the fact that the USSR was self imploding at the time -all helped to forge a settlement .

    I don’t recall mentioning any ‘magic wand ‘ ? I guess you believe in them . I don’t .

  • Harry Flashman

    Lived in Apartheid South Africa did you Greenie? Shame on you!

    So do tell who was going to fight this war? the Bruderbund(Sp) that bunch of wannabe Nazis who had their arses handed to them the one time they tried anything?

    The whites in the suburbs of Durban and Jo’burg who were all going to leave their nice houses and join some sort of Voortrek into the veldt?

    The ANC who had manged to kill the sum total of 100 people in the entire previous three decades in their war against Apartheid and who most certainly did not want to drive the whites out and bankrupt all those businesses the ANC cadres were licking their lips at the thought of getting their hands on?

    Who? Who was going to fight a civil war when the world and his aunty knew the whites were happy to hand over political power which they knew they couldn’t hold on to anyway in return for keeping their economic power which they knew they could?

    Go on tell us.

  • Greenflag

    @ Harry Flash,

    No I did’nt live there -I visited on business a couple of times at the time South Africa was in the midst of political change -from nearby Botswana -which was part of a customs union with RSA .

    Botswana btw got it’s independence in 1966 and has done very well economically since then . It’s white population btw is about 1 or 2% at most of the total . Its also a democracy and manages to provide universal health insurance for all it’s population and also provides refuge for some 300,000 or so Zimbabwean refugees . It also provided sanctuary for ANC members at the time I was there .

    The world and his aunty also knew that there’d never be any more wars in Europe back in 1900 which is why the Chamberlain family (yes those Chamberlains the former British Prime Minister’s brother in fact ) ) moved their gun cotton factory from Arklow Co Wicklow to Umbogintwini , Natal in the early 1900′s .

    Such perspicacity almost outrivals yours Harry .

    Who was going to fight against the British Empire in 1916 in Ireland ?

    Nobody of any import according to the world and his aunty and Harry Flashman ,

    It happened and it’s effect still reverbetrates politically on this island even today.

    South Africa was lucky to have De Klerk as President and not F.W Botha when Mandela was released from prison .

    As De Klerk said when asked what would have happened had Mandela not been released – De Klerk has a ready answer.

    “To those people I say it is a false comparison to look at what was good in the old South Africa against what is bad today.

    “If we had not changed in the manner we did, South Africa would be completely isolated. The majority of people in the world would be intent on overthrowing the government. Our economy would be non-existent – we would not be exporting a single case of wine and South African planes would not be allowed to land anywhere. Internally, we would have the equivalent of civil war.”

    De Klerk had no illusions about potential ruinous uncivil war nor any about who would fight it . Not the world and his aunty anyway !

  • Harry Flashman

    Still no answer to who was going to fight this “inevitable” civil war you drone on about. De Klerk is referring to what the economic consequences for whites would have been if they hadn’t struck a deal, a deal everyone knew was coming.

    Seriously dude, I can’t believe that for all your pompous Brit- and Yank-bashing, you the fearless poster child of the radical progressives did business with Apartheid South Africa, Jesus, that’s appalling how could you sleep at night?

    What were you buying, blood diamonds? Did they pay you well?

  • Greenflag

    When De Klerk whom I quoted above stated that South Africa would have had the equivalent of a civil war he was as was/is his style understating the obvious . Economic consequences have political consequences and vice versa . South Africa’s

    As for Brit bashing and Yank bashing hardly ? The poor Brits have been bashed more than enough by the City of London during this financial services sector led recession and the Americans have been battered by Wall St for the past 6 years and are still struggling to reform the corrupt banking system which destroyed the lives of tens of millions of Americans . Wall St & City of London bashing NOT Brit or American bashing .- There is a subtle difference there that may be beyond your limited understanding :(

    As to sleeping at night -never had a problem -then or now . Like many other companies who saw the possibility of new markets once South Africa abandoned ‘apartheid ‘ that particular company saw opportunity which in the end proved illusory . Unfortunately like yourself and those who convinced themselves that ‘sanctions ‘ were the tool which brought ‘apartheid ‘ to an end -that particular company discovered late in the day that their hoped for market share -had already been carved out by the Chinese -who were already dumping product on the South African market at prices that no African producers could compete with either then or now . South African businessmen had no no hang ups about buying from Chinese communists nor vice versa .

    As to your ‘blood diamonds ‘ jibe ? You truly are hitting rock bottom . That particular trade has been dominated by the Israeli diamond industry and was run out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo . In a country DRC where 5 million people have lost their lives over the past 20 years due in part to the ‘blood diamond trade ‘ you might care to research those who benefitted financially to the extent of billions and who perhaps should have had trouble sleeping at night -but instead -one at least anyway believed he should have been awarded a Nobel Prize for contributing to the impoverishment of a country with 60 million people .

    Heres just a small excerpt from one of the links below to help educate people like yourself and others who may be interested in how the DRC was looted of it’s diamonds while 5 million died and the Israeli government did nothing .

    From Bloomberg :

    The International Monetary Fund is so disturbed at the mega-corruption that it has suspended loans to the DR Congo. Some 70 percent of the country’s 73 million people are malnourished, and more than 5 million have died since 1998 as a consequence of war.

    The Bloomberg article reports that Gertler flies to Tel Aviv every week to spend the Sabbath with his family, who live there in an ultra-orthodox suburb. When I was in Congo earlier this year, the word on the street was that Gertler had been something of a hell-raiser in his youth, but he had since found religion. So far, his faith does not seem to make room for the Congolese people from whom he is stealing. The article estimates his worth at $2.5 billion — which would be more than one-third of the entire Congolese government budget last year.

    An American suspected of mega-corruption would become the target of investigation at both the federal and state levels. Will Israel’s government start to look into this man’s finances?

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/12/will-israels-government-investigate-the-israeli-billionaire-who-is-looting-the-congo.html

    From the British independent Mr Gertler gets a little less hostility -perhaps because British diamond companies have been financial beneficiaries of his DRC ‘resource ‘ re allocation :(

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/dan-gertler-is-this-the-end-for-congos-diamond-geezer-8406652.html

    In contrast to the above the South African and Botswanan ‘diamond ” industries are highly regulated and their employees are in terms of wages and conditions light years ahead of the DRC . I actually was invited to visit De Beers mining complex at Orapa and it was one of the most interesting business visits I’ve ever made . All I’ll say is that the facility makes Fort Knox look like an open playground .
    De Beers

    Yes Harry some of your ‘Israeli ‘ pals have been carving out vast profits in the midst of 5 million deaths . Not to worry though just like some of the financial services sector sociopaths in Wall St and the City of London they’ll have no difficulty in sleeping at night even if some have found ‘religion’

    As for being a ‘poster child ‘ progressive ? -my politics are on my profile . Where’s yours ?

  • Greenflag

    Corrections to above .

    First paragraph should end :

    ‘South Africa’s transition from an apartheid state to a normal democracy was not a foregone conclusion .

    Second last paragraph :

    De Beers doesn’t lose diamonds from any of it’s facilities in Botswana or South Africa and along with the Russians and others it strictly regulates the supply onto world markets.

  • Harry Flashman

    You have admitted you worked and did business with South Africa when it was still an apartheid state, a state people like me were boycotting while you were happily making money off the backs of enslaved African workers.

    That is truly repellent.

    I will not be lectured by a hypocritical “anti-imperialist” who was happy to profit in the face of international sanctions with the oppressors of the black people of South Africa.

    Your hypocrisy is utterly nauseating, any credibility you might have had as a so-called progressive has been shown to be complete cant and nonsense.

    Disgusting, I never thought I would listen to such two-faced palaver as you weeping crocodile tears over the death of Mandela as you admit you enriched yourself on the blood of millions of South African blacks.

    I hope you sleep well., I know I couldn’t.

  • Greenflag

    @ Harry Flashman,

    “You have admitted you worked and did business with South Africa when it was still an apartheid state,”

    Liar -I didn’t -I refer to the above

    ” Like many other companies who saw the possibility of new markets once South Africa abandoned ‘apartheid ‘

    Note the word ONCE -

    I guess you’re now boycotting your Israeli pals because they profited the most from the Blood Diamond trade and while you are at it don’t forget to boycott Britain and Israel because their diamond companies benefitted the most from Gertler’s ‘diamond ‘ extractions on the backs of 5 million dead Congolese .

    You are Harry what I’ve always suspected you were -a nasty warped little bollix with the mind set of a postage stamp. Perhaps you should consider boycotting yourself and give yourself a much needed break .

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “Yadda, yadda, none of that remotely changes the fact that there was no chance of civil war in South Africa in 1990.”

    @Harry,

    I also was in South Africa in 1990 doing research on the first leader to negotiate on equal terms with blacks–four years before De Klerk had Mandela released. Members of the South Africa Police and other state security agents were running around killing black commuters on trains and doing other bits of random violence in a bid to provoke as much chaos as possible. Throughout 1990 there was fighting in miner hostels and their surroundings in the Transvaal between Inkatha supporters and ANC supporters as the low-boil interorganizational war between the UDF/ANC and Inkatha in Natal spread to the Transvaal.

  • Greenflag

    @ Tmitch57 ,

    There was also the Cuban intervention in Angola which helped secure that country’s independence and the related Namibian winning of independence .

    On a visit to Cuba, Nelson Mandela told the Cuban people that the FAPLA-Cuban success at Cuito and in Lubango was “a turning point for the liberation of our continent and my people” as well as the Angolan civil war and the struggle for Namibian independence.

    US Secretary Chester Crocker brokered the peace at Ruacana which led to n end to hostilities .

    The Cubans eventually withdrew from Angola in 1991

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cuito_Cuanavale .