BSC Address

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Nelson Mandela

Mandela is unsurprisingly one of my heroes. But I am surprised how often the media have sought to excuse his long silence on Robert Mugabe, only recently broken. As a child I remember being taught that none of our Biblical heroes are without flaws, that the very greatest men and women are inevitably human. It was argued that even Moses was prevented from entering the Promised Land because he displayed a flash of pride. Mandela is as near to Moses as any human being in our lifetime, but surely this is a case where we can legitimately question the great man’s long held silence on the crisis. Mandela makes clear in Long Walk to Freedom the immense value he places in loyalty and one senses it is this indestructible, misplaced loyalty to old supporters that has prevented him speaking out. The Daily Telegraph's political editor recently reached the bizarre conclusion that Mandela’s silence could have been because he felt “entitled to a few years rest and retirement”, which is surely as wide of the mark as it is possible to be. Is it not more likely that Mandela has made one of his very few mistakes, when his unique influence could have helped to rescue an entire country from the catastophe that has unfolded.


At 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neal, wake up real fast and come into the real world. The great man refused until now to condemn Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe because he understood the intricacies involve in this conflicts. Go back into your history books to the negotiation of Zimbabwean's independence. The most contentious issue in the negotiation was land and how it would be redistributed to benefit the original owners to the satisfaction of everybody including the white folks. Britain expressly agreed to pay compensation to white the farmers but reneged on this famous agreement under succeeding government prompting the good Robert Mugabe to forcibly repossess the lands of his fore-fathers. These facts are available to Mr. Nelson Mandela and the whole world except people of your ilk who only see what they want to see. I am sure you must kicking your self, pumping champagne and sing hallujah to the highest that Britain has succeeded in bringing Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe to its knees. Kudos to you again that you have even coerced the great man to finally condemn but listen to his words again,'a failure of leadership' does not necessarily apply to Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe alone but to all people and nations that allowed this continous tragic patch of unfolding history.

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Neal Foster said...

I wholly concur with the history you've outlined concering the distribution of land. But "Britain has succeeded in bringing Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe to its knees"? So it's Britain's fault? And Mugabe is the victim of this catastrophe? That's a view of history that I don't recognise except as we hear it from supporters of Zanu PF, who declare that the only people who are commiting violence are from the MDC. When this sorry saga comes to its inevitable conclusion, and Mugabe goes, the real history of this situation will become horrifically clear. Until then, we must agree to disagree.

At 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neal, You are a genuis and I must commend you for finally figuring it out. Britain not only reneged but by reneging triggered off this terribly scenario. The situation in Zimbabwe is unacceptable as the action or inaction of Britain served as a catalyst that helped transformed this sorry state of things. The argument here Neal, is that Britain should have respected the agreement. Mugabe and the people of Zimbabwe, as you are reluctant to accept are clearly the victims here. If there is no cause, there won't be effects or actions. When this whole saga has gone its full course, Zimbabwe and its people are the only ones that would count their loses and what a teribly tragedy visited on a nation and its people by the arrogance of a fading colonial power fully supported by a certain Mr. Neal Foster.

At 5:38 PM, Blogger Neal Foster said...

Frankly it still wrankles that we lost America, but that's us colonials all over!


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