Tag Archives: Mandela


The premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, says anti-Semitism in his country is increasing from two directions: the far right and Muslim migrants. Police clash with right-wing protesters in Chemnitz, Germany. Credit: AFP

DW news (German news) highlighted the fact that anti-semitic acts in the Federal Republic increased by over 60% last year.   They added that France was worse, with a 70% increase.

At the same time, right-wing parties are expected to make significant gains in the election for the European Parliament, set for May.   It should be emphasized that most people in these parties are simply concerned about immigration.   But this could change.



“BHL (Bernard Henri Levy) … is a philosopher given to interpreting the world’s maladies.   He is in New York for the publication on Feb 12 of his latest book, elegantly provocative, “The Empire and the Five Kings.”   It describes “the new geopolitical order which is designing itself before our eyes” as a result of “America’s abdication” of global leadership.

“You have America going back,” he says, “retreating and lowering its flag, both on military and ideological terms.”   In Mr. Levy’s thesis,“ five former empires which we all thought to be dead and buried, are waking up again – Russia, China, Turkey, Sunni radical Islamism and Persia  (Iran).   We thought they were pure ghosts but no, they are moving again; they are dancing again on the floor of the world.”  They are rushing unchecked, he says, into the voids left everywhere by the retreat of the West, most notably under Donald Trump.”   (“The French philosopher who loves America,” by Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, 2/9)



“Last week offered fresh evidence that the most consequential historical shift of the last 100 years continues:   the decline of Europe as a force in world affairs.   As Deutsche Bank warned of a German recession, the European Commission cut the 2019 eurozone growth forecast from an already anaemic 1.9 % to1.3 %.   Economic output in the eurozone was lower in 2017 than it was in 2009; over that same period, gross domestic product grew 139% in China, 96% in India, and 34% in the US, according to the World Bank.”   (“Incredible Shrinking Europe”, by Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, 12th February).


DEJA VU – socialism (again)

“If you’re not a socialist by age 20, you’ve got no heart; if you’re still a socialist by age 40, you’ve got no head.”   So said Winston Churchill.   It explains Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, at 29, very well.   But how do you explain Elizabeth Warren, aged 69?   Or Bernie Sanders, who’s 8 years older!

50 years ago, it was all the rage.   Students across the world wanted socialism, government control of the means of production (and everything else).   It didn’t work.   It made a much bigger mess of the world.   Thirty years later, people realized that instead of government solving the problem, the reality was that government IS the problem!

But now, thanks to young voters, we’re back to socialism being the solution to everything.

This year, a number of socialists are in the US Congress.   And they all have expensive ideas.   Medicare for all; the Green New Deal; a guaranteed job for all; a new system for corporate control; vastly higher taxes.   These are all part of the program.   The cost to the tax-payer would be horrendous.     A guaranteed job for all would make government even more inefficient.

That isn’t to say it won’t happen.


Democracy in Africa?  What democracy in Africa?

Note from The Editor:   Branko Brkic, Daily Maverick, 20 January 2019

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Constitutional Court in the early hours of 20 January upheld the victory of Felix Tshisekedi by rejecting appeals by his rival, Martin Fayulu.   Fayulu has rejected the court ruling and called on his supporters to organize non-violent protests.

It is becoming increasingly clear for everyone to see:   Democracy in Africa is an idea to which almost nobody is subscribing.   Once more, another country’s clear majority chose its president, only for the land that was once Mandela’s to accept the clearly fake presidential and parliamentary results, people’s will be damned.   This time, it’s Congo’s turn.   So, why have elections at all?   The polls in Congo have come and gone, another one in the wall of denying the people’s true will.   The “results,” if they could be even considered that, have clearly been cooked.   (Daily Maverick, South Africa, January 2019)



Recently, I’ve read four books on the American Revolution.   All four books were written by Americans — and all four describe the Revolutionary War as “America’s first civil war.”   Indeed it was.

Most of the battles did not involve any British troops.   And for two years after the British defeat at Yorktown, fighting continued between Americans.   The conflict was between American Tories (Loyalists) and American Patriots (Rebels).   In some areas (notably South Carolina) 80% of the citizenry supported the Crown.   In fact, at one point the Patriots were ready to give up on the South as they were solidly loyal.

One thing is clear – the more conservative you are now, the more likely you are to have been a Loyalist!

Out of the war came three nations, the United States, Canada and Sierra Leone.   (The latter was established for slaves freed by the British Army.)   The war was not between America and England. Note the last three paragraphs of “Tories:   Fighting for the King in America’s First Civil War,” by Thomas B Allen:

“Within a year after the war ended, about 100,000 Americans left their homes.   Most of them went to Canada.   The rest chose England, Scotland or British possessions in the West Indies.   Within a generation the new Canadians had spread across the vast British dominion, taking with them the virtues and the visions that they and their ancestors had had as American colonists.   Granted large tracts of land, they transformed a wilderness into a vibrant nation.   Many became prosperous farmers or started mercantile dynasties. “Seldom had a people done so well by losing a war,” a Canadian historian wrote.

“Today, four to six million Canadians – about one fifth of the population – claim a Tory ancestor.   Many Canadians believe that their nation’s traditional devotion to law and civility, the very essence of being a Canadian, traces back to being loyal, as in Loyalist.

“Below the border live the people who started another country, built by Rebels.

Within a generation, those Rebels would begin to forgive – and forget – the Tories.   They would call the Revolution a war between Americans and the British, losing from their collective memory the fact that much of the fighting had been between Americans and Americans.”   (“Tories,” Thomas B. Allen, page 333).

This obscures the fact that the war saw brother fight brother, that neighbors fought each other.   We have seen this twice in our history.  Now, we are dividing again.  Could history repeat itself?

(The other three books are “Redcoats and Partisans,” by Walter Edgar; “Frontier Rebels,” by Patrick Spero; and “Scars of Independence,” by Holger Hoock.)


Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was not imprisoned for his opposition to apartheid!

This has been repeatedly mentioned on television news programs during Mr. Mandela’s current stay in the hospital.

If people were imprisoned for opposing apartheid, millions of South Africans of all races would have spent decades in prison.  Apartheid institutionalized “separate development” (or segregation), which separated the various races of South Africa under white rule from 1948-1994.

A significant percentage of white voters were against apartheid.  While the ruling National Party had enough seats in the all-white parliament to enforce apartheid, they were opposed by the United Party, led by Sir de Villiers Graaff.  From 1977 the more liberal Progressive Federal Party was a constant thorn in the flesh for the government.   Helen Suzman of the PFP was the most vocal critic of apartheid in parliament.   Throughout the apartheid years, the freedom to speak out against the system, without the fear of imprisonment, was a constant.  The English language press was against apartheid during this time.

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for committing terrorist acts that killed people during a period when he felt that the only way forward was through violence.  Wikipedia says this of Mandela:

“Although initially committed to non-violent protest, in association with the South African Communist Party he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in 1961, leading a bombing campaign against government targets.  In 1962 he was arrested, convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment.”  In other African countries, he would have received the death penalty.”

Mr. Mandela was to spend 27 years in prison.  While people in the West are appalled at this, people across Africa marvel that anybody could walk out of an African prison alive after such a long time.  It’s almost certain it would not have happened elsewhere on the continent.

Having set the record straight, it should be noted that Mandela is a great man and South Africans of all races are thankful that he was the first post-apartheid president and remains a major influence in the country.  All races will mourn his loss when the time comes.

The reason for this is the widely held belief that, without Mandela, there would have been no peaceful transition from apartheid (white rule) to African majority rule.  The country could have easily gone through a civil war, leaving nobody as the clear victor.

And that remains the constant fear – a bloodbath, which might be triggered off by Mandela’s death.  Nelson Mandela is still seen as a restraining influence.

Although it has been almost twenty years since the end of apartheid, the average black South African is no better off now than he was under white rule.  Those high up in government have done extremely well, as evidenced by the high number of Mercedes Benz vehicles being driven around the country and the many newly built mansions in gated communities.

The whites are still seen as the wealthiest members of society, although there are many whites begging at intersections and on street corners in cities across the country.

White farmers are fearful of another Rhodesia/Zimbabwe taking place after Mandela’s death.  Rhodesian farmers had their land taken off them two decades after independence, an executive act that devastated the economy.  Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) was able to import food from South Africa.  What will South Africans do if the whites lose their farms?  The white farmers are commercial farmers like their British and American cousins – Africans are subsistence farmers, only growing what they need for the coming months.  Forcibly taking land off the white farmers would cause famine and a collapse of the economy.

Certainly, South Africa has a burgeoning black middle class that has a vested interest in maintaining the financial status quo.  The country remains the most developed and best run nation in Africa.  But, like many other nations, it has a major problem to address – the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots.

How South Africa manages this problem will determine its future more than anything else.

Nelson Mandela certainly helped in the transition from white domination to African rule but his successors must deliver on the promises made to voters two decades ago – they have waited long enough to see improvements in their lives and are now increasingly impatient.