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Capt_Cavman

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Mandela is so deified by the Left, the talisman for the anti-apartheid movement- which, probably rightly, is very much seen as a victory for the campaining from the left in the West. So we have a remarkable man for his conversion from the politics of hate to the one of mutual respect and co-operation. But 'The greatest figure of the 20th Century'? No, not for me he isn't.

The thing that really bugs me is the way the BBC tell the people providing the view from a South African perspective what to say, e.g. "Tell me how much Mandela was loved and respected by the people of South Africa." Clearly scared witless that someone will go off-message unless led by the nose.

Anyway, may he rest in peace and may those that profess their sorrow at his passing be inspired to make South Africa the country he wanted it to be.
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  • Francois the Postman

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    He had his flaws, and kept loyal to some strange bedfellows in both political and private life. I suspect he had a hard time not forgiving when he shouldn't turn a blind eye, if people had meant something to him in the past.

    But something tells me that if we had more folk like him, and more leaders like him, we'd all be in a better place than we are. And forums didn't need to have mods.

    Whilst I can understand the discussion about 'greatest', and the natural dislike that that conjures up in some, it's also a lot of nonsense, to me, to suggest that if people really admire the man for how he walked through his life, and the path he shepherd his country on, you fall victim to a cult of personality, or that people forget the fact that that didn't happen in isolation, or that others were heavily involved.

    That goes for any human accomplishment.

    Some people do actually earn that level of admiration.

    If you want to argue, you'll find that anybody 'up there' will have had the opportunity to get 'up there' over the back of others, helped by others, along with others, because of opportunity, rotten luck, and random events. And exposure.

    It doesn't remove the fact that he stood on many crossroads where he could have picked several far more 'human' paths for himself and others, with sacks full of excuses to take hatred, bitterness and personal ambition with him. Or even forget who you are or where you come from, when suddenly a planet is willing to fall at your starry feet.

    On the most significant crossroads, he made choices I admire deeply, stood with his convictions with a determination and consistency that is well above average, and took others with him when arguments weren't settled, and history could have gone in all sorts of directions.

    One of our truly great elders has passed. You don't luck yourself into the heartfelt pandemic admiration and tribute that is on display just now.

    He wasn't flawless, he's not god, nor superhuman. He did show what we can become as humans though, even when we face very tricky choices. Arguably even more so by having to wrestle with hard choices and finding the right thing too tough too, sometimes. He didn't fake any of that, although he too was a politician and superb tactician too. A lot of it was 'politics' meeting steely and stubborn conviction.

    I haven't met everyone, I have no idea if he was the greatest of the 20th century. I find it a nonsense argument tbh, all the more since it would have been the last thing on his mind, in all the choices he made.

    If we get weighted at the end, I think he has tipped his scales in a way that reminds (most of) us of that we have still some room left to become better People, as a whole.

    For whatever reason, he became a visual reminder that Humanity occasionally gets to beat the bad guys. He is not the only one who left others in a better place than they were found in. He'd be the first to point that out to us too, before heading over to the guy who made the tea.

    This also isn't about Left vs Right, that's just our current argument of the Times. It's a petty, and utterly nonsensical obsession, doing more harm than good.

    He wasn't "the Left's" either.

    He was all of ours, that's kinda the point, and because of that he probably talked and resonated with the better bits in all of us. Evidently he resonated with many on this little rock in space.

    I am usually utterly reluctant to pay tribute to any popular public figure, all the more if they could have made even bigger contributions if they had influence on areas and didn't use it (Libya anyone). For Mandela, I make a happy exception.

    He was good folk, and I count myself lucky that I was made aware of him, as it probably helped me too, to be bigger sometimes than I really am, as one of the grains of sand that tipped the balance.

    His story is a significant reminder to all of us, that we are a one people, and we are best if we work towards a common goal together.

    The planet we have right now is rapidly losing compassion and a true interest in the plight of others. Society is being ripped apart because a stronger desire to serve the self and an decreasing willingness to consider the good to others if it comes at a cost to us. Our growing unwillingness to make sacrifices for less clear-cut cases. We are starting to show ourselves at our most petty,  and although it might be understandable, there are alternatives too. There always are.

    The way we go about leaving our planet behind us, polarizing and diversionary, is unhealthy. I also think we are blind to the true price of that. It is a toll to be paid somewhere on the road ahead of us. Probably by others.

    Folk like him helped us making better choices when it mattered. We certainly have not lost the need for more good folk like him, or leaders to act a bit more like him.

    He's done more than his bit, and ought to have lived a different life. Folk like him deserve a family life, without the weight of the world on his shoulders.

    He only got some of that towards the very end, and the plonkers in charge of South Africa now forced him out of a well-deserved retirement, to remind the people around him to use condoms, and that raping virgins or showering doesn't cure you.  It graces him he made that sacrifice, again.

    I guess he's found peace now, as they say, even if I am not sure what that actually means. But his life seems to have been about finding a better peace for others. And that story has still some chapters to go. I guess we all have work to do.

    Thanks to him (and others), we also know that when it comes to ambitions for all, most reasons given to aim low are mostly excuses for the wrong reasons.

    It's been a sorry parade of leaders paying tribute. I can think of few that will evoke the same response on their demise. I'd rather have them all walking in bigger boots themselves, and if they meant what they said, they would.

    Mandela and De Klerk, Khrushchev and Kennedy. Sometimes we really have lucked into folk who could rise above themselves, I think.

    As humans, we keep running into crossroads that matter, small and big. When it comes to the big ones, I guess we can only hope that we have someone at that table with the ability to persuade people to be a bit bigger than they really are, at a crossroads that matters.

    We can influence those odds, day in day out. You wanna pay tribute today? Make someone else's day end better than it started. Then do the same tomorrow.
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  • Echoes

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    (on the other forum, I've been censored twice for speaking my mind and I hope to find more comprehension on this one)

    I've long been an admirer of Mandela's, until very recently actually. He was an idol of mine when I was a teen, I wrote a dissertation about him. Even with the years, I still kept the respect that I had for the man despite the socio-economic assessment of presidency not being great, to say the least.

    However I actually discovered that Mandela was one of the driving forces behind the two Rwandese/Ugandese invasions of the Congo. South Africa under his presidency supplied weapons and ammunition to these countries. The first Congo War (1996/97) was to some extent legitimate. Helping the rebels to overthrow Mobutu but we realized that the Rwandese and Ugandese had different objectives: killing the Hutu refugees in Eastern Congo and get their grip on its huge wealth. After he took power Kabila kindly asked them to get back home and they refused, leading to the 2nd Congo War (1998-2002), which this time had no legitimacy at all. It was a foreign invasion. Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe supported Kabila. Only South Africa supported Uganda/Rwanda.

    As a Belgian, I have a lot of ties with the Congo and this can't pass ...

     http://therisingcontinent.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/tribute-to-nelson-mandela-on-his-93rd-birthday-on-july-18-2011/
    Even his ex-wife Winnie publicly stated in the past that her famous ex-husband had sold out Black Africans to the White South Africa. Changes that were supposed to happen with the abolition of Apartheid haven’t materialised for the majority of South Africans, nearly two decades after. Congolese activist Patrick Mbeko goes even farther to declare that it’s not only South Africans that Mandela betrayed, but also populations from the Great Lakes region, where his government has sided with the criminal leaders of Rwanda and Uganda in killing millions of people and exploiting illegally Congolese resources.  He explains that ‘in 1996, while Rwanda actively prepared to invade Congo, South Africa was busy supplying ammunitions and other military equipment to the Rwandan regime. South Africa was in fact the first country to supply weapons to Rwanda immediately after the UN lifting of military embargo, following the 1994 genocide.’

    Patrick Mbeko adds that as well ‘In August 1998, when the second Rwandan and Ugandan invasion of Congo was underway, South Africa again supplied quantities of military equipment the invaders used. When the countries members of SADC  intervened to support Laurent Desire Kabila, [the then president of Democratic Republic of Congo], to stop the invaders, South Africa was the only country from the community of countries of Southern Africa not to join others in that coalition which included Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola. Seeing the position adopted by South Africa, Robert Mugabe went on treating Mandela of hypocrite.’ In that respect, it’s not hard to conclude that South Africa of Nelson Mandela has so far behaved as all Western countries and others involved in Congolese wars and which continue fuelling instability for now more than fifteen years to gain access to rare and strategic minerals.



    When I first heard about Winnie's accusation, I thought she was insane. Now I think we might take her seriously. What did Mandela do to fight poverty among Black South Africans? Well there was the Reconstruction and Development Programme that provided electricity and portable water to millions of people, that's true but still other millions do not have access to it and in the mid-nineties, 50% of the population were defined as poor: http://www.dpmf.org/images/south-africa-devt-policy-chikulo.html

    The true measures to help the poor (like nationalizing the banking system) were systematically let aside though on the ANC agenda.

    The libertarians usually love to demote Mandela as a terrorist. Usually I would reply that I approve of terrorism if it's about fighting for a just cause. Resistants between 1940/1944 can also  considered terrorists (acts of sabotage, etc.). That is not what I would blame Mandela for. As Bernard Lugan said, he was a fighter. That there were other fighters is obvious but there were also rivalries between them. We may for instance wonder who was responsible for Steve Biko's murder ...



    I also found Invictus pretty poor as a film (the fact Holly-/Eastwood endorsed Mandela, is a negative sign in itself), focusing on a pretty bad aspect of Mandela's presidency, for me: media communication. Even though it might be that the Rugby World Cup helped pacifying the country, I heard a lot of rumours about corruption around that event, with blatant umpires' mistake. Everything seemed to have been done in order for the boks to win. Though since I am not a rugby specialist, I can't judge myself.
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    Francois the Postman

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    I'm gonna ignore comments about movies or Hollywood or sports-corruption a decade on, in a discussion about the contribution Mandela himself made.

    Personally I find it very hard to unpick the regional conflicts along national borders in that part of the world. Strong and persistent tribal traditions, deep scars from colonial and cold war meddling, wide-spread corruption and poverty... it isn't always easy to pick the good guys there. 

    So with clearer ties to an ex-colony than I have Echoes, can you give a short explanation for the motivation for Mandela himself to support one side and the motivation for others like Mugabe to put their weight behind the others? Historical context is of interest there. A bit more detail of things 'under the hood' before jumping to a conclusion are all the more wise when folk like Mugabe are quoted as objectors, so if you can give the motivation that Mandela must have had for putting his weight on the other side, that would be ace. Also, your depiction of the 2nd Congo War as if it was purely against outside aggressors isn't what I understood to be the actual situation on the ground, so if you can guide me to what I am missing, thanks.

    I'm no export on the ins and outs here, so I'm up for better info if you have it.

    As for the last part, that I think I do actually have an issue with, as it seems to suggest that rivalry was a motivation for the ANC to actually betray Biko without giving anything specific: what are your sources here? My answer to the rhetorical question you posed is, in a nutshell "Craig Williamson and an informer, the police officers, the doctors who treated him, and the apartheid regime, and to some extent those that supported the regime when they should have acted differently."  You seem to suggest that the ANC (or even Mandela himself, for all I know) were really to blame. Really? We know quite a bit about what happened there, and what didn't happen there thanks to the T&R process, personal testimonies of the various parties directly involved, and research into a variety of allegations by the TRC. So I am curious what you have that they have missed? The Biko family itself was very keen to see the guilty parties brought to trial, and it was firmly aiming at the police, no the ANC. It's a stern allegation, so I am curious what you have dug up. I have never heard anything beyond speculation about informants, which is a long way removed from active and willing participation of those betrayed (too).

    As for the politics now, I am no defender of the ANC or its leaders. You don't need to look far to find rotten eggs and efforts to keep the hide the dirty laundry.

    But at the same time, there is no easy transition to get from a situation where 75% of the wealth is in the hands of 20% of the people, if you opt for a bloodless power transition that pretty much accepts that people's property is theirs to keep. With no infrastructure to combat poverty, and a serious lack in skills and education levels amongst the group you are trying to kick into the 21st century to boot. On top, for a while, the people will vote for their liberators, political capable to solve the nation's problems or not, and probably turn a blind eye to their shortcomings to boot.

    Of course you'll get prominent voices who say that it was a betrayal by Mandela, that 20 years on, it isn't the land they were promised or depicted. If it was that easy to eradicate and catch up. It is good that there is dissatisfaction with what happened after the ANC took power. When black people stop voting for their own (and only) tribal option "because", that's when they will have become truly free, and there will arguably be a chance for better politicians and genuine stewards to emerge.

    But to blame Mandela personally for 2 decades of mixed results, when he retired after 5 years, in which his main task was to keep the peace and the country faced a colossal task of figuring out 'what next'....  and (re-)establishing international relations when it all was pretty fragile and young experiment, that's a bit too rich for my liking.

    Should he/they have gone for a better deal?

    I have no(!) idea. I have no idea what was possible, what was negotiated, what the deals were behind the scenes with other stakeholders (which might well have been the acceptance that the bank would not be nationalised), etc. You probably know more than I do.

    Could they have done better? Probably. But also a lot worse. Sometimes it just plays out in a certain way before the trappings of the past are really out of the way on all sides. Given where they are, and what everyone expected before the transition... it's easy for me to demand more.

    Should the majority of blacks left behind demand better? Most certainly yes. By the time they get better options to vote for, we know that the post-transformation process has matured, and South Africa will have a brighter future still.

    It doesn't look like the black population is blaming Mandela in specific for ruining their chances for a better tomorrow though, is it?
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  • Joachim

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    Sometimes, a virtual godhead figure does good just by being a virtual godhead figure.

    So much about the struggle in SA was about maintaining hope, and in that respect I don't think the idolisation of Mandela was a bad thing.

    On a completely unrelated note, his longevity does prove that a restricted diet and plenty of physical exercise is a good thing.

    I'll get my coat.
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  • "You can't handle the truth"

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    froome19

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    What stands out for me when looking back at Mandela is the way in which he was capable of forgiving the Afrikaaners for the way in which they treated him. He cast aside all personal enmity for the sake of the betterment of the state.

    The situation in South Africa is immensely complicated, fixing the poverty isn't very simple to say the least. Did Mandela do the best he could to alleviate the poverty, probably not. But that does not detract to me from his morals and immense qualities as a leader and person.

    Anyways I have also seen the topic raised in other places and personally I believe that a person's death should be, in most cases, cause for people to discuss their qualities and what they gave to the world, rather than how they ruined it. That is just my opinion though and I can understand how people think differently.
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  • RIP Keith

    Slow Rider

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    Anyways I have also seen the topic raised in other places and personally I believe that a person's death should be, in most cases, cause for people to discuss their qualities and what they gave to the world, rather than how they ruined it. That is just my opinion though and I can understand how people think differently.

    An open discussion is more in Mandela's spirit than censoring his opponents though ;) Besides, I find it quite interesting.

    But as for Echoes' points, as Francois said, I simply don't know enough about the Congo conflicts to judge. What I can give a little more informed opinion about are the economic circumstances of South Africa's post-Apartheid era. It is easy to state that Mandela should have nationalised the banks and perhaps the mines too, but the situation is far more complicated than that. Post-Apartheid, the country had suffered from years of economic sanctions. In order to overcome those issues, foreign aid was needed. As always, that aid was provided by the IMF, Europe and the US. But aid never comes free: as was often the case, the donors demanded liberalisation of the market in return for their aid as that was (and still is) the dominant ideology on how to jump-start a country's economy. Had Mandela not done that, then much less foreign investments would have taken place and SA's economy would have suffered more. Furthermore, Mandela needed to shake off the communist mark his opponents had branded him with. For the foreign credibility of his new government - which, again, was a requirement for getting money in - he had no choice.

    It's easy to judge that Mandela made a wrong choice there, but there really never was one. No matter whether you agree with the neo-liberal ideology (which back then was not yet stigmatised as it is now), in the political reality it was the only option Mandela had.

    Then the wider economic progress South Africa did or did not make. Mandela inherited the country in an impossible situation. There were many issues to be addressed, with many sensitivities to take account of. Re-distributing the wealth sounds easy, it is anything but. As was seen in Kenya a few years ago (a case I know much more about), an ineffective re-distribution of wealth and especially land can lead to a highly volatile situation. Radical action may have seemed appropriate, but that would have been very risky. Mandela and his government had to balance between giving the black population a larger share, preventing an uprising from the white population, and keeping support from both western and African countries. I have no doubt Mandela wanted to go much further in combatting inequality, but his first priority was preventing widespread conflict. That, also, is his greatest accomplishment in my view: looking at the size of the task ahead of him, it is amazing he managed to get through those years without major conflicts erupting in the country.

    But of course, inequality persists. Perhaps as dangerously, high unemployment also persists. But there is also improvements: better education, a lot of foreign investment, social grants. South Africa is still the best performing of all of Africa's country's - there's a reason for it being included in the BRICS group. Viewing the situation the country was in after 1994, I don't think any leader would have done better than Mandela. Now it's up to his successors to continue on that path and keep making steps into the right direction.
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  • Echoes

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    Quickly on Steve Biko, I just asked an open question. Things are being said on the net but I honestly did not have the answer. I'm not that well informed about it. So if you say it's unlikely that the ANC had any responsibility in his murder, I accept it.

    And about the film, well what made me talk about it is the link posted by Froome19, above though I don't want to get upset with him because the poem is nice in itself and I remember that he told us he has South African roots and I understand he's got a different viewpoint than me.

    With regards to the Congo, I know that both wars involved Congolese rebels but the foreign forces (Rwandese and Ugandese) didn't aim at "liberating" their neighbours from authoritarian dictators. We should face it, that is never the aim for any foreign forces in any wars, whatsoever. During Congo War I the excuse given by Rwanda and relayed by South Africa among others was tracking the last Hutu genociders but eventually they massacred many Hutu refugees who weren't involved in the genocide. Why did Mandela side the Rwandese? Well sadly, it's now known that Mandela was representing the big multinational companies that had interest in the region (De Beers, American Mineral Field, Lundin Group, Gencor, Iscor...).  In 1997 during the peace negotiations between Kabila and Mobutu, Mandela put pressure on Kabila in order for him to give mining concessions to these companies, sadly ! Kabila refused but the rebellion (War II) gave these concessions to AMFi. Sorry but the Congo's mineral resources belongs to the Congolese and to nobody else.

    The other countries in the region might also have had their interest in supporting Kabila (during War II) but they also were linked to Congo by a military alliance (SADC: Southern African Development Community), which means that those countries (including Zimbabwe's Mugabe) respected the agreement while South Africa did not (Under Mandela's presidency).

    I don't deny the fact Mandela did a great job at pacifying his country from all ethnical tensions after having fought the apartheid for décades but how did those tensions prevent the government from taking the necessary measures? In Europe we nationalized our central banks just after WWII when there was a lot of tensions between resistants and collabos and the socio-economic situation was at its lowest, not exactly comparable to 1994 South Africa but still a very hard situation and the following decades were our most prosperous in history. The Communists, do not have the Monopoly on nationalizations. Western Europe has never been communist. Nationalizing the banking system does not prevent any kind of private initiatives.

    SR, do you really mean what you're saying when you say South Africa would have suffered even more without development aid ??? Seriously, the whole continent has been receiving development aid for 50 years now, and for what results ??? In the 1950's Africa was eating its fill and now it's by far no longer the case... On other forums, I've seen so many Westerners stating that Africa improved with Western aid. So shameless... It's obviously the opposite, precisely because of what you're saying: it does not come for free. Aid = Debt ! The "aid" is getting back North as quickly as it got South. A people should primarily rely on its own to develop, not on foreign aid, certainly when you think South Africa is rich on mineral resources. Besides you are saying that there's improvement while acknowledging that there's a high unemployment rate, would you really trade employment for better education? I mean before 1994 there was a 25% unemployment rate among black people (which was already very high), now it's 40% ...




    Post Merge: December 09, 2013, 20:47
    Anyways I have also seen the topic raised in other places and personally I believe that a person's death should be, in most cases, cause for people to discuss their qualities and what they gave to the world, rather than how they ruined it. That is just my opinion though and I can understand how people think differently.

    I guess there must be some cultural influences at work for this. I often remain emotionless when a celebrity passes away, though sometimes I may feel sadness but in any case it wouldn't really cange my own life and it's nothing compared to losing a relative or a friend.

    A few years ago I was already frequenting some Internet forums and I saw a poster provocatively stating: "The Tsunami's victims, I don't give a damn". At first I found it shocking, but after all I realize that I got a point. We are probably a little hypocrite about it. If I weren't too emotionl about Coyot's death, that's a bit the same thing. We are cycling fans, so we build up some sort of a collective identity but basically none of us really knew the man. His friends were shocked and sad, that's normal but we didn't know him personally and his life as a cycling rider was a dream, compared to a factory worker who got kill on his workplace because a beam fell on his head...

    But that's a little off topic ...
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  • « Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 20:47 by Echoes, Reason: Merged DoublePost »

    froome19

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    I guess there must be some cultural influences at work for this. I often remain emotionless when a celebrity passes away, though sometimes I may feel sadness but in any case it wouldn't really cange my own life and it's nothing compared to losing a relative or a friend.
    I wouldn't say emotion, rather respect. I see it as a suitable time when respect should be shown to that person and by demeaning the person logically respect isn't really shown. But indeed I have seen hugely varying opinions on this idea and I think a lot of it is due to external influences as you rightly say.
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  • Slow Rider

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    I don't deny the fact Mandela did a great job at pacifying his country from all ethnical tensions after having fought the apartheid for décades but how did those tensions prevent the government from taking the necessary measures? In Europe we nationalized our central banks just after WWII when there was a lot of tensions between resistants and collabos and the socio-economic situation was at its lowest, not exactly comparable to 1994 South Africa but still a very hard situation and the following decades were our most prosperous in history. The Communists, do not have the Monopoly on nationalizations. Western Europe has never been communist. Nationalizing the banking system does not prevent any kind of private initiatives.

    I'm not saying nationalising would have been the wrong thing to do. It is quite possible that if Mandela had done that, SA would have profited economically. However, it was simply not possible. The pressure was on from the western countries as well as the IMF not to do so, and as a new president of a still unstable country Mandela had no way to resist pressures like that. In the neo-liberal ideology of the time, a move to nationalise the banks would not only have aggravated Europe and the US, but also the white population. He needed to keep the peace first and foremost, for which he needed foreign support.

    It is easy to say that he should have done it differently, but in reality many more factors come into play. In politics, the decisions that are taken are rarely the ones that would be optimal. That's the very reason there are politics really, because people disagree what the optimal choice is. Mandela and his government kept the country from civil war, which in and of itself is a huge accomplishment. In that proces, liberalisation was - depending on your perspective - either an unfortunate necessity or a step in the right direction.

    Quote
    SR, do you really mean what you're saying when you say South Africa would have suffered even more without development aid ??? Seriously, the whole continent has been receiving development aid for 50 years now, and for what results ??? In the 1950's Africa was eating its fill and now it's by far no longer the case... On other forums, I've seen so many Westerners stating that Africa improved with Western aid. So shameless... It's obviously the opposite, precisely because of what you're saying: it does not come for free. Aid = Debt ! The "aid" is getting back North as quickly as it got South. A people should primarily rely on its own to develop, not on foreign aid, certainly when you think South Africa is rich on mineral resources. Besides you are saying that there's improvement while acknowledging that there's a high unemployment rate, would you really trade employment for better education? I mean before 1994 there was a 25% unemployment rate among black people (which was already very high), now it's 40% ...

    Looking back at my post, I did make the mistake of using foreign aid and foreign investment almost interchangably. Aid is a touchy subject I know, and while I agree that there is a lot wrong with development aid it is not the huge evil people make it out to be either. However, whatever their opinion about aid, most do agree that a country in our modern economy needs foreign investment to develop.

    About unemployment, yes that is a problem. But do keep in mind that we're currently in the middle of a crisis, which at the very least skews those data a bit. Using figures from 5 years back already gives a different picture. Plus, extracting natural resources is much less work-intensive than it used to be so naturally there are jobs lost there too. And as SA is too expensive for labour-intensive work, education really is the only way forward.

    I'd write a more extensive response, but don't have the time at the moment. Maybe later ;)
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  • Echoes

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    I wouldn't say emotion, rather respect. I see it as a suitable time when respect should be shown to that person and by demeaning the person logically respect isn't really shown.

    I'd feel uneasy if you think I am (deliberately?) lacking respect to a dead man. If it's about my having a little bit of fun on the other forum, it's strictly for the sake of black humor (typically British, I guess, though I know that Americans don't like it and I discovered it on those boards) and to take the opposite of the hypocritical World leaders' condolence parade that most of us despise, I think. But again if my post has been taken seriously, I'm really embarrassed.

    If it's about talking about the negative aspects of his actions, there are several reasons for my doing it but first you probably noticed that I talked about the positive aspects of it, too, I think he's been a courageous combattant for most of his life and should be respected as such but then he was elected President... I talked about his stance on the Congo wars because it's not known to many of us (I was long ignorant about it and I still don't know everything) in the North and I feel a bit strongly about it, since it's our former colony. Wars in Africa are never really covered by mainstream media here.

    I talked about the domestic issues in South Africa because if Mandela is gone, his people is still there and suffers a lot, and that he might have had his responsability in it (not just him, of course) [it may at least be debated]. I think you may agree that the priority is to care for the living. Then for the dead...

    Post Merge: December 12, 2013, 15:22
    I'm not saying nationalising would have been the wrong thing to do. It is quite possible that if Mandela had done that, SA would have profited economically. However, it was simply not possible. The pressure was on from the western countries as well as the IMF not to do so, and as a new president of a still unstable country Mandela had no way to resist pressures like that. In the neo-liberal ideology of the time, a move to nationalise the banks would not only have aggravated Europe and the US, but also the white population. He needed to keep the peace first and foremost, for which he needed foreign support.

    It is easy to say that he should have done it differently, but in reality many more factors come into play. In politics, the decisions that are taken are rarely the ones that would be optimal. That's the very reason there are politics really, because people disagree what the optimal choice is. Mandela and his government kept the country from civil war, which in and of itself is a huge accomplishment. In that proces, liberalisation was - depending on your perspective - either an unfortunate necessity or a step in the right direction.

    Sorry, SR but your 'fatalism' is unacceptable. A people's destiny is to fight for independence, that is my own subjective belief but I strongly believe it and many of my ancestors fought for this ideal. No foreign forces can impose its views on it, whether military or financial forces. Resisting might be going the hard way but it's the most honourable one (even if it also means rejecting some sort of easy confort and facilities). If the IMF compels a country to enter the debt logic, then it places it in a state of dependence.** The saddest thing about Mandela is that he was a real combattant for many years and a hard negociator. He could have done it. Since the news of his passing I've read a handful of articles that were much harsher than mine. I mean Patrick Mbeko that I quoted , talks about the Stockholm Syndrome. That is a serious accusation that I would never dare to make myself.

    ** You know the quote by Napoleon Buonaparte:
    “When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain." (though he wasn't the best man to say it, lol)

    Looking back at my post, I did make the mistake of using foreign aid and foreign investment almost interchangably. Aid is a touchy subject I know, and while I agree that there is a lot wrong with development aid it is not the huge evil people make it out to be either. However, whatever their opinion about aid, most do agree that a country in our modern economy needs foreign investment to develop.

    Foreign investments is something else. I might have a discussion about it but not on South Africa because I'm not informed about it but about Europe, certainly. In any case, I'm not against but they should still be controlled by public authorities, as they've always been until recently. By the way when I hear about the idea of a "modern economy", I'm grabbing my baseball bat.  :D
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  • « Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 11:50 by Echoes »

    Capt_Cavman

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    Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand Money, Currency, Banking and Wealth in today's economy.

    It's by those crazy internet bloggers, the Bank of England (link) so be warned.
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  • Echoes

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    Remembering President Habyarimana of Rwanda and President Ntaryamira of Burundi ...





    20 years ago the plane carrying Rwandese President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundese President Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down killing all passengers and sparking a horrible genocide for the next 3 months, in which more than a million Rwandese were savagely killed. The Rwandese Joint Chief of Staff, two military advisors to Haby, and two Burundese ministers were also in the plane crash along with the two pilots and a mechanics, the last three being French.

    So many lies, manipulations, false witnesses are hanging around this attack and the whole official version of the genocide is being re-written.

    [I'm reading two great books on the Rwandese crisis: Black Furies White Liars by Pierre Péan: http://hungryoftruth.blogspot.be/2010/12/book-blacks-furies-whites-liars-rwanda.html

    and "Rwanda: un génocide en question" by Bernard Lugan (not yet translated into English)]

    One of the lies being that the distinction between Hutu and Tutsi was invented by the Belgian settlers. As a matter of fact, the Tutsi invaded the country in the 12th century and set up a monarchy which the Germans and then the Belgians based their colony on. But between 1959 and 1961, the Belgians and the Catholic Church started to promote democracy in Rwanda, which ultimately gave the power to the greater ethnic (in population), the Hutu (so called Social Revolution).

    At that time, some Tutsis escaped to Uganda and others stayed in Rwanda. Those who stayed suffered massacres for the next decade until the coup by General Habyarimana in 1973. By then, there were still ethnic tensions but no more massacres. But in 1986, the descendants from the Tutsis who had escaped to Uganda supported the coup by Museveni in Uganda. In 1988 the RPF was created, Ugandan Tutsi movement, led by Kagame, supported by Museveni and eager to conquer Rwanda back.

    They started on October 1 1990 but were stopped by the Rwandese army (FAR) and their then allies, French, Belgians and Zairians. They will try again in 1991, 1992 and 1993. Each times, it caused, massacres, exiles, rapes, etc but also retaliation from the Hutu power against the local Tutsi population, which Kagame did not care about, he despised the local Tutsis whom he considered colloaborationists.

    On August 3 1993 the 4th Arusha agreement said that the RPF should control 40% of the force of the new Rwandese army and 50% of commanding posts. It was an outrageously favourable agreement to the RPF. Yet it was also only temporary because elections were planned before two years and elections would give the victory to Haby’s party MRND (D).

    In the meantime, at the summit of La Baule, President Mitterrand called for democracy in the former French colonies and Habyarimana accepted multipartism. Even his government was led by the Hutu opposition.

    The attack on Habyarimana’s plane was said to be the act of Hutu extremists who did not accept Arusha IV and who had already planned a genocide. Kagame and the RPF were just the liberators.

    Until the noughties that was the accepted version. But the ICTR cleared all of the presumed genocide planners of the charge of premedition. If the genocide was not premeditated, then it was “spontaneous”. If it was “spontaneous”, an event should have triggered and that event can only be the attack on the President’s plane. But the ICTR never was mandated to investigate the attack, only the genocide… Which is a scandal in itself. Two heads of state were killed in it and there’s no international investigation…

    By 2000 the families of the French victims lodged a complaint about the attack and an investigation is led by French judge Bruguière, who discovered that the plane was shot down by surface-to air missiles – SAM-16 – made in the USSR and sold by the former USSR to Uganda in 1987, which reinforce presumption on the RPF. Since then many former RPF have accused Kagame.

    Many things have been said about the role by the French intervention – Operation Turquoise, while it now seems that Turquoise was strictly a humanitarian operation decided by President Mitterrand and that it did stop the killings, both of Tutsis by the Hutus and of Hutus by Tutsis (at least provisionally). The only thing is that it came much too late.

    Kagame also massacred dozens of Catholic priests. He did not tolerate their support for the Hutus since the end of the monarchy. The Catholic universalism is incompatible with the unegalitarian ethnic distinction of traditional Rwanda.

    Among his victims were Father Claude Simard (Canadian) killed on Oct. 17 1994, 4 Spanish Marist Brothers on Oct. 31 1996, Father Guy Pinard (Canadian) on Oct. 2 1997 or Father Curic Vijeko (Croatian) on Oct. 31 1998. Father Guy Theunis (Belgian) wasn’t killed but was sent to jail in miserable conditions just for saying “a dictatorship has been replaced by another smarter one.” We should also mention the great role played by father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka who hosted some 18,000 refugees (Hutu and Tutsi combined) at the Church of the Sainte-Famille in Kigali and made sure that all got enough to eat etc. He’s subsequently been accused of the most outrageous acts by the RPF and its false witnesses.

    After the genocide the war extended to neighbouring Zaire/Congo – 1997 - when Kagame’s Rwanda and Uganda set up an army behind Laurent-Désiré Kabila to overthrow Mobutu and in the meantime, creating another genocide in Hutu refugee camps in Zaire (2 million dead in 1997), while raping women (which is still a plague in Eastern Congo) and also getting grip on the Congo mineral resources like the coltan with which mobile phones, tv flat screen, etc. Kagame was sponsored by Clinton’s US administration for his war (up to 1M$ it’s been said) and also directly by giant companies like American Mineral Field or Barrick Gold or the South-African De Beers …

    When Kabila got the power, he thanked his patrons and asked them to get back home and that is why Museveni and Kagame started a second rebellion. That was in 1998 but they could not overthrow him (he found allies in Angola and Zimbabwe) until he was assassinated in mysterious circumstances in 2001 and it’s very likely that Rwanda played a role in the assassination. While Kabila’s son Joseph, now still in power, is much more tolerant to Anglophone interest in Eastern Congo than his father was …
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  • « Last Edit: April 06, 2014, 13:03 by Echoes »

    Echoes

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    Sorry to bother you about this but it matters a lot to me.

    The testimony by Michael Hourigan, Australian investigator for the ICTR, who past away last year (God Bless Him), accusing Kagame of ordering the attack is on YT:



    Great doco in French:



    At 11.18, interview of Kagame for the BBC (English with French subs) in which he clearly implied that he ordered it and that he shouldn't be ashamed of it.  :-x
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  • DB-Coop

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    The game Spent is an interesting game illustrating the struggles that poor Americans go through everyday
    http://playspent.org/
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    Guess what words like motile, sebacious and eiderdown mean & donate rice to poor folks. I think I almost got to level 39 once.
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  • L'arri

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    Australian commercial radio does it again...

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/ashley-madison-hack-australian-radio-station-tells-woman-live-on-air-that-her-husband-has-an-account-on-infidelity-site-10463135.html

    Some of you may already be aware of the story surrounding Ashley Madison, a dating website for people interested in extramarital affairs, which had been hacked with the details of millions of users leaked.

    Today DJs on Sydney radio station Nova FM apparently told one listener that her husband was on the list and only afterwards worried about what they had done.

    This immediately recalled the 2012 stunt by another Sydney station 2FM which indirectly led to the suicide of an Indian nurse working in the UK.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Jacintha_Saldanha

    The hacking story suggests that, in the era of the so-called Internet of Things, privacy is dead. Meanwhile these self-publicising, boundary-busting imbeciles prove that the consequences are very real.
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  • Cycling is a Europe thing only and I only watch from Omloop on cause I am cool and sh*t
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    The hacking story suggests that, in the era of the so-called Internet of Things, privacy is dead. Meanwhile these self-publicising, boundary-busting imbeciles prove that the consequences are very real.
    In this era, the importance of actual vetting, good judgement and (my pet peeve) proper journalism instead of mere headline-hunting is bigger than ever.

    Unfortunately, these skills appear less and less frequently among those who need them the most.
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