By LENNOX FARRELL
The heart of a dying lion is still the heart of a lion.
Today, the world waits at the feet of Nelson Mandela as he trods the way of all flesh. As someone who casts such a vast global silhouette, what must he and others think of his life and legacy?
Has he been a failure or success? And in the European scheme for global domination and of Africa in particular, what niche was he allowed to occupy?
For the latter, Europe has, if anything, the capacity to publicly oppose the perfidy it privately practices. Therefore litanies of phrases like “Charter of Rights, Rule of Law, Democracy,” etc., are part of an alphabet of “Europeanisms” unfortunately used to legitimate the illegitimate.
For example, after Europeans “ended slavery in Africa” in the mid-18th century, they set about with the 1885 Berlin Conference to colonize and divide up the continent, as the Belgian emperor described it, “getting their share of the African cake”.
Later, and following two world wars that devastated Europe, colonies from Vietnam to Venezuela demanded fundamental changes in international relations between all nations, great and small. One change was the Right of Universal Adult Suffrage, or the right by citizens of a country to elect their representatives.
Second was the right to be free from invasion by other countries. Vietnam and Iraq are examples of how, without facing consequences, the powerful easily flout these universal principles. When Nelson Mandela was born in 1918, these were not yet universal guarantees between nations. They would be, by the time he grew to manhood, among some of the global expectations.
However, what occurred in his early years was that Europe, recovered somewhat from the diseases of their global warfare for the resources of others, had special treatments for the continent of Africa and African leadership. In African countries demanding independence, but whose territories also contained minerals necessary for European industry, African patriots had four choices. In his 2004 autobiography, Confessions of An Economic Hit Man, John Perkins, a former employee of a U.S. agency, the National Security Agency, describes these options given to political representatives of Third World Countries.
One, like that had by an uncooperative Kwame Nkrumah, first president of an independent Ghana was to be sent into exile, away from his country. A second option, like Mandela’s, was to face imprisonment, long, harsh and crippling. A third option was that suffered by Samora Machel of Mozambique and Steve Biko of South Africa: death by murder.
There was a fourth option. It was to be corrupted. Today, the international drug cartels use this drill, corrupted you live, or if not, you die: “as choosing either gold or lead”. Mandela lived, but spent the most productive years of his life – 26 – imprisoned and released with tuberculosis, that like Bishop Tutu’s, would also leave him afflicted to the death.
However, in his time, Mandela had lived to become, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the universal moral voice. Several decades before and against yet another unjust American war against a small country, Vietnam; Dr. King was the first national leader to publicly condemn the conflict. The U.S., King charged, had violated the Charter of the United Nations against unwarranted invasions.
Nelson Mandela, in 2003, following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, also became the first international leader to condemn America. On the BBC, Mandela, like Harry Bellefonte on CNN, openly called George Bush a “war criminal”. A decade later, on Bush’s first visit to Africa, Mandela refused to meet him.
In 2009, the UN declared November 18 Nelson Mandela International Day. The first in its history, a date named after a person. Mandela was also the first person not a citizen to address the Parliament of Canada. However, with economic apartheid gone global, have the hyenas of history been able to eat his heart?
To be continued