By Hameed Abdul Karim –
When Barack Obama visited Africa the people there did not give him the kind of welcome you would expect when a village kid who has made it good in the big city comes a calling. Probably that was what the first black US president had expected, but he was to be disappointed.
Nelson Mandela’s family did not see it fit to allow him a hospital visit as the anti-apartheid icon battled for his life. Before his departure Obama had said he was hoping to see his ‘inspiration’ Nelson Mandela. So the spin was that he did not want to visit the great man because he did not want to disturb his ‘peace and comfort’.
When Obama became the first black president of the U.S, Nelson Mandela, in the first flush of victory, congratulated him with these words. ‘“We wish you strength and fortitude in the challenging days and years that lie ahead. We are sure you will ultimately achieve your dream of making the United States of America a full partner in a community of nations committed to peace and prosperity for all”. It didn’t take long for Obama to disappoint Mandela. After the congratulatory note which contained the message for peace and prosperity for all, there was hardly a word on Obama by Mandela. Perhaps the pithy message from the leading U.S. critic Noam Chomsky stating there will be no change in the U.S. or in its foreign policies with Obama’s entry into the White House because the president is and always will be a prisoner of Wall Street and the gigantic U.S. military machine. This testimonial from a man who knows his onions would have put paid to Mandela’s hopes.
Obama’s movements and ‘dialogue’ while he was in Africa would have given you the impression there was a Hollywood movie director and scriptwriter in his entourage directing his every move. He had the gall to say he was inspired by the icon’s fight and eventual triumph over the racist white rule ‘democracy’ in South Africa. U.S. media releases claimed Obama’s visit to South Africa was a ‘tribute’ to the great man Nelson Mandela and he was quoted as saying ‘If and when he passes from this place, one thing I think we’ll all know is that his legacy is one that will linger on throughout the ages’. Such stirring words must have gone well with the stand by gullible audiences in the world. But he is the same man who is supporting to the hilt the racist Jewish only ‘democracy’ in Occupied Palestine where apartheid reigns supreme according to his democratic party colleague and former president Jimmy Carter. It was his country that backed the white apartheid rule in South Africa to the max just the same way they are backing the Jewish Zionist ‘democracy’ in Israel. The U.S. violated UN sanctions by supplying South Africa anything they wanted from arms to elephants via Israel. Former vice president Dick Cheney (along with Margaret Thatcher) claimed that Mandela’s ANC was a terrorist organisation and that Mandela the ‘terrorist’ should never be released from jail. No apology will ever come from the first black president on that collaboration.
Obama claims to have been inspired by Nelson Mandela and yet that ‘inspiration’ has not stopped him supporting the most inhuman economic blockade on the impoverished population of Gaza who have been held hostage not by Israel alone but by the entire ‘international community’ which is an euphemism for the Western powers. It has not stopped him dropping bombs on children in Afghanistan or Yemen either. All this he does with the Nobel Peace Prize in his pocket.
If you were looking for a bit of drama you wouldn’t have been disappointed. There was plenty of that when he visited Robben Island where Nelson Mandela and other leaders of his party were incarcerated for 27 years. The cameras were rolling as Barack Obama moved around the cell somber faced and all. And you would be forgiven if you thought you were watching a family movie on HBO as he peered through the small opening with misty eyes and a grim face trying to imagine the emotions that would have tormented poor Nelson Mandela as he counted, not so much the days, but the minutes as they ticked by.
And yet this is the same Obama who has his own Robben Island in his backyard called Guantanamo Bay where ‘terrorists’ like Mandela are held without trial or without much hope of being free any day. Many, like Steve Biko, have perished under ‘enhanced interrogation’ – an Orwellian term for torture like water boarding which happened to be a favourite sport of former president George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, et al.
Nelson Mandela and his colleagues have stood against Zionism with the same strength and conviction they stood against apartheid. They see no difference between Zionism and apartheid. Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu is one of the staunchest of supporters of the Palestinian cause. He doesn’t miss an opportunity to condemn Israel’s apartheid practices and policies in Occupied Palestine. On many occasions he has said Israel’s practices against the Arabs in Israel and in Occupied Palestine were worse than that of white South Africa. So if Nelson Mandela is Obama’s ‘inspiration’ how come he is supporting Zionism in Israel? Really, mentioning Nelson Mandela in his PR gimmicks Obama is committing a sacrilege!
Thousands of Palestinians suffer in Israeli dungeons yet Barack Obama has not been ‘inspired’ to give them even a modicum of justice. He continues to back Israel’s apartheid policies without any compunction. Talk of hypocrisy!