Nelson Mandela’s Legacy, Obama’s Hypocrisy and the Courage of the Whistleblowers
I refer to Amy Goodman’s “Fighting for justice a fitting tribute to Mandela”, ABQ Journal/Syndicated Columnist, July 20, 2013.
As the world celebrates Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, it is timely to reflect on his life, spent fighting for equality for people of color who long suffered under South Africa’s apartheid regime.
Mandela was arrested in 1962, a year before Martin Luther King Jr. would give his “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C. After 27 years in prison, Mandela was released in 1990. Four years later, he would become the first democratically elected president of South Africa. We should use Mandela’s incredible life to shine a light on injustice in the United States, as George Zimmerman is acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin and as a massive hunger strike envelops the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, where scores of men have been held without charge for more than a decade.
(I invite the public to see my article on Trayvon, “A Mockery of Justice The Trayvon Martin Case: An Open Letter to President Obama”, Exposing The Truth, July 17, 2013)
Indeed, Madiba’s (Mandela’s) incredible life, a life that is molded by his struggle can be used as a guide to shine light on the present injustices that are now happening in the United States of America, and by extension the oppression carrying-out and the massive global violation being committed by one of the most imperialist countries on earth.
If Madiba is well, what do you think would be his reaction to the outlandish trial? He himself faced a lot of kangaroo courts in his life, a series of tramped up charges and spending more than a generation of his life behind bars.
If Madiba is well, what would be his take on the issue of those so-called terrorists undergoing massive hunger strike at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, “where scores of men have been held without charge for more than a decade.”
Adding insult to injury; those who are on hunger strike to register their point are forcefully fed!
Will Madiba remember his own Robben Island? Well, at least Robben Island is Madiba’s land, not like Guantanamo which legitimately belongs to Cuba but until now is still being kept by the US, illegally and indeed, immorality at the expense of its true owner.
Worst yet, the US is using the property to hold, detain, torture and dehumanize people that they consider their enemies.
Here’s what President Obama wrote when he signed the Robben Island guest book:
On behalf of our family we’re deeply humbled to stand where men of such courage faced down injustice and refused to yield. The world is grateful for the heroes of Robben Island, who remind us that no shackles or cells can match the strength of the human spirit.
Wow! I wonder when he spoke of the “strength of the human spirit”, is he also referring to those people who despite the danger, the persecution and backlash of coming out into the open, into the world public to reveal and expose the truth; yet in the end still, they decided to do the right thing even at the expense of losing everything theirs?
Further in South Africa this is what he reportedly said melodramatically in reference to Madiba:
When they tried to silence Mandela, he didn’t give up.
Two hours later, he said that:
We will stop Mr. Snowden and others like him.
I do not know whether Obama is aware that there appears to be no difference between the “they” (pertaining to Madiba’s opponents then) and the “we” (regarding to America’s perceived enemies) that he is talking about or alluding to!
Here’s what Edward Snowden said in a statement through Wikileaks that he released on July 1st:
For decades the United States of America have been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.
In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised – and it should be.
I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.
Does Obama think that Madiba’s act of standing up against the proponent of Apartheid in South Africa is noble, yet it is wrong for a citizen to tell the truth?
The brutal and shocking truth: that the very government itself is spying on its citizens?
Amy Goodman narrated a conversation with Col. Morris, a retired Air Force colonel and the chief military prosecutor then at the Guantanamo Bay (he resigned in 2007) said that:
We don’t need a lecture; we need a leader…
The Colonel refused to use statements obtained through torture.
Further, the former chief military prosecutor added with grim irony that:
When President Obama and his family visited South Africa, he took Sasha and Malia to visit [Robben Island]. And at the same time, he’s operating an island prison in Guantanamo, where the majority have been cleared to be transferred out. There are people that have been there for 11 and a half years that we have cleared to be transferred home, and they still sit in prison.
Obama is engaged in a “Double Face” policy. On one hand, he is proud of Mandela, yet on another he is against those peoples who like to follow the footsteps of the great man, men like Swartz, Manning, Snowden, etc…
Obama condemned the harsh treatment and the long prison sentence of Madiba, but why is he still keeping those prisoners in detention, when they are already cleared to be transferred? How about those detainees that up to now has not been even charge?