Thursday, August 26, 2004
This from Sports Illustrated, regarding the International Olympic Committee's objection to a new Bush campaign ad:
'[quote from the tv ad] "In 1972, there were 40 democracies in the world. Today, 120," an announcer says. "Freedom is spreading throughout the world like a sunrise. And this Olympics there will be two more free nations. And two fewer terrorist regimes."'
'Some of the players on the Iraqi Olympic soccer team have complained about the ad appearing as part of a political campaign.'
'Campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel said last week there were no plans to pull the ad.'
'"We are on firm legal ground to mention the Olympics and make a factual point in a political advertisement," Stanzel said.'
We'd like to consider for a moment a bit of history:
'When Rep. Dick Cheney voted against a 1986 resolution calling for the release of Nelson Mandela and recognition of the African National Congress, Americans did know this man had been waiting decades for his freedom. In a larger sense, so had all black South Africans. The tenets of American democracy -- one man, one vote -- were denied to the majority of citizens, along with the most basic economic and educational needs.'
'Yet Republican vice presidential candidate Cheney still defends his vote, saying on ABC's "This Week" that "the ANC was then viewed as a terrorist organization [emphasis mine]. . . . I don't have any problems at all with the vote I cast 20 years ago." What, then, does this tell us about what information Cheney considers before he takes a decision? And what the long-term consequences are likely to be, and on whom?'
'By no means were Mandela or the ANC universally viewed as "terrorists," evidenced by the fact that the vote on the resolution was 245-177 in favor, but still shy of the two-thirds needed to override President Ronald Reagan's veto.'
'Mandela and his longtime friend and colleague, ANC Secretary General Oliver Tambo, reflected deeply before advocating violence as even a limited tactic of the ANC. In a 1958 conversation with economist Winifred Armstrong, they reflected on their belief that "if you sow violence, you reap violence." Armstrong, who has lived, traveled and written extensively about Africa, noted that "Mandela and colleagues thought ahead, and considered the impacts on all of the players, not just the home team."'
'As South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has revealed, much to the consternation of all involved, the ANC's armed wing committed acts of violence, including bombings -- as did the government. In fact, while the United States maintained diplomatic ties with South Africa, former President P.W. Botha ordered the 1988 bombing of the South African Council of Churches in Johannesburg. Twenty-three people were injured. For decades, other government operatives did far worse, killing and maiming everyone from political activists to infants.'
'Mandela made choices no man should ever have to make about whether to lead a people into bloodshed for a just cause. In an interview with Time magazine shortly before he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, Mandela said Chief Albert Luthuli, former ANC president and Nobel winner, "believed in nonviolence as a way of life. But we who were in touch with the grass-roots persuaded the chief that if we did not begin the armed struggle, then people would proceed without guidance."'
Aside from the issues of who is and who isn't a terrorist, we point out that the United States under various presidents did quite a bit to suppress freedom in Africa during the 1970's and 1980's because many of the organizations pushing for that freedom were viewed as both "terrorist" and "communist". The ANC, FRELIMO, SWAPO, UNITA, and a whole host of other organizations in Africa were actively opposed by the U.S. government, either through covert operations or overt support for their counterparts (the apartheid government in South Africa (which included Namibia at the time), UNITA, and RENAMO). I'm working on a project now to ressurect some of the more interesting tidbits from this period in U.S. history with respect to Africa and U.S. policy. Needless to say, the U.S. actively opposed freedom for a long time, labeling those who fought for it as "terrorists". This was true of both Democrats and Republicans (all were caught up in anti-communism). However the greatest amount of support came from a small group, on the right politically, who siezed on the anti-communism theme to promote their views and fund their operations. More to come...
Andrew 9:00 AM : |
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