I find digesting Obama speech that it was more an indictment of himself. As with all Obama speeches, you can’t fault their delivery. He could read a grocery list and you would sit there hypnotised with the reading but content wise, there is not much to it but a list of items. Although parallels have been drawn by the media between Mandela and Obama, his speech today was most telling. Apart from being the first two black presidents of their respective countries, there is little else to compare. If you want to compare popularity, let me remind you, Barabas was more popular than Jesus and the people buried the Messiah because he was a revolutionary; Barabas was a thief and blood sucker of the poor and a menace to society.
Obama started off building the portrait of Mandela and the difficulty such a task as he stated, “How much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice, and in the process moved billions around the world.” Obama despite his popularity and his initial promises to close down Guantanamo Bay and cut down on military activity has betrayed every promise he made and he has not moved America towards justice. Need I mention the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison? He has proved to be more trigger happy than the cowboy George Bush. Obama’s drone strikes have also shown how he violates the human rights of women and children and has no respect for their right to life as they have often being the target of his strikes. But for Americans, these vulnerable people are just collateral damage. They are not human beings with rights.
America continues to be a war monger and aggressor bullying weaker states and violating the human rights of the citizens of those countries. Mandela himself remarked, “If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace.” I am not sure whose decision it was to headline Obama but it seems to go against the ideals of the old man. Not one African nation that supported Apartheid was given a chance to speak. But those who strongly opposed Apartheid or paid lip service were given room to wax lyrical and lie about how Mandela inspired them. Yawn! Mandela’s funeral lost all its dignity as it became obvious that this was a corporate affair with freemasons, illuminati and Bildersberg representatives in tow.
Celebrities and others who were like ticks preying on the political and social capital of Mandela made an appearance to milk what they could out of his funeral. Even the ANC used the opportunity to gain political capital before the elections in a few months time but the crowd jeered poor Zuma reminding him that he and his ANC are not as popular as they thought. The crestfallen look on his face registered the crowds’ disapproval of his policies.
Obama continued threading Americans into his narrative, pushing the United Snakes of America’s agenda. First was Dr King. Funny though King preached integration and love but the Americans killed him because it wasn’t on their own terms. Barrack said, ‘Like King, he [Mandela] would give potent voice to the claims of the oppressed, and the moral necessity of racial justice.” What racial justice did King achieve? King was talking about sharing hamburger stands and toilets’ he wasn’t addressing economical oppression or talking about reparations for what Black Americans contributed to building the American economy for 400 years. What racial justice did Mandela achieve? Blacks in America and South Africa are still suffering from both racism and institutionalised racism.
Obama continued harping on about American racists and insisted “like Lincoln – hold his country together when it threatened to break apart.” It is a lie and there is no evidence South Africa was going to break up. Anyway, what did Lincoln do for the blacks? Abraham Lincoln didn’t believe in racial equality. Those who are well acquainted with history will be well aware that Lincoln was engineering a plan to ship African Americans to Africa at the same time he was penning the Emancipation Proclamation. Even after signing the Emancipation Proclamation, the blacks didn’t get a single cent for all the centuries that they had laboured for four hundred years in slavery and all that they suffered. Like Mandela, blacks remained stuck in their miserable condition without any compensation or justice after they were “free”.
Obama went on to state: “Like America’s founding fathers, he would erect a constitutional order to preserve freedom for future generations – a commitment to democracy and rule of law ratified not only by his election, but by his willingness to step down from power.” What freedom do the African Americans oppressed by institutional racism have? Mandela himself said it better than anyone else: “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings.” The constitution is meaningless. It can be ratified at will and rights taken away when they please. Bush put that constitution in perspective, “I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.” The Patriot Act enacted by Bush violates the rights of every American constitution. So, the American constitution is just as good as toilet paper. It belongs in the toilet.
Obama went on to overplay the reconciliation card and said, “There are too many of us who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality.” That sounds like he is talking about himself and America and a lot of his allies. The simple fact is that racial reconciliation has been adapted by numerous African leaders like Nyerere, Banda, Kaunda, Mugabe, Kenyatta and the list is endless. Mandela is not the first black president to talk about reconciliation. He follows in the footsteps of others before him. However, the truth is that despite reconciliation, no African has ever gained economically or got justice from reconciliation. It is meaningless to talk about reconciliation where there is no socio-economic justice or reparations. A tiny settler minority, a tiny political elite, the United Snakes of America and the UK have been the biggest benefactors of the policies of reconciliation. This partly accounts for the West’s reverence of Mandela. He was the Joker in their pack and they milked that card to get away with murder.
Not even one of the members of the judiciary or the numerous companies like Nedbank, BMW, Siemens, Mercedes Benz and other state institutions ever faced a Nuremburg or the Truth and Reconciliation Charade. Mandela stated hours after release that it was inconceivable that he would betray the Freedom Charter of the ANC but at the crucial moment, he betrayed the peoples’ revolution as did many other presidents before him. In hindsight, Mandela was no better than all other African and leaders like Obama who come into power and do little or nothing to change the miserable conditions of their own people. They are all black tokens and puppets representing white interests and not the genuine socio-economic and political aspirations of their own people. The Mandela and Obama fans won’t like hearing the truth but someone has to say it. As Public Enemy once said, “Don’t Believe the Hype”.
About the only true thing Obama spoke today was when he said, “And while I will always fall short of Madiba’s example, he makes me want to be better.” However, we don’t expect Obama to follow his words “We, too, must act on behalf of justice. We, too, must act on behalf of peace.” That is simply empty rhetoric and play lip service to a gallery of ignorant Africans who will clap for anything even if they don’t understand what the subtext means or what Obama stands for. He is about promoting himself and doesn’t understand propriety.
He told us “South Africa shows us we can change. We can choose to live in a world defined not by our differences, but by our common hopes. We can choose a world defined not by conflict, but by peace and justice and opportunity.” There isn’t really any change in South Africa. What hope is there for those living in the shanty towns? They didn’t choose to live there or their miserable condition. Choice is a privilege that not everyone has access to. What opportunities do the 60% unemployed in the ghettoes of South Africa have? What justice do the poor have? Where is the justice for those miners shot by police acting as the security arm of imperial property?
Mandela himself said, “While poverty persists, there is no freedom”. Nothing has really changed and Obama’s speech was hollow and as bleak as the weather. What really has changed in South Africa? The old Afrikaner National Party has simply morphed into the African National Congress. Even De Klerk is a member of the ANC and he made his appearance today. The old Afrikaners are still in power and wearing a black face. The whites in South Africa can now travel the world without the stigma of Apartheid South Africa and a few elites connected to the ANC got a few more crumbs from the Afrikaner Broderbonds table. Did you see how fat Cyril Ramphosa is from devouring those crumbs by fronting as the black face for white businesses?
From Obama’s speech, one thing remains obvious. Social and economic justice is not on the platter for Africans. Steve Biko summed it best “Black Man you are on your own”. How potent those words are today.