17
Jul
08

On Air: Happy Birthday from Robben Island

Nelson Mandela turns 90 today, and to mark the occasion, WHYS is broadcasting live from Robben Island, where he was imprisoned for 27 years. We’re the first foreign media to ever broadcast live from there. It’s a big coup for us, (and especially Fiona who did the deal !) and a great opportunity for you to talk with his fellow prisoners, former jailers and friends as well as the South African leaders, and young people who’ll be joining Ros live at the former prison.

While the man himself spends a quiet day near his birthdplace at Qunu, along with our colleagues at the SABC, the South African national broadcaster, we’ll be reflecting on Mandela’s life and achievements Section B, the part of the Robben Island jail where anti-apartheid prisoners were held.

The people who spent some of those long years with Mandela will tell us about their experiences and their thoughts, and they’ve already told us they’re very excited about the chance to talk to the rest of the world. So send us your questions for the people who were imprisoned on Robben Island, and Nelson Mandela’s friends. Do you want to know how they got through every day? What were the worst times? How they reflect now on those long years? No question to big or too small.

While Nelson Mandela’s birthday is a time for celebration, for a lot of people, it’s also a time for reflection. Is he put on a pedestal? This South African land rights activist thinks he is. Does your country have a statesmen celebrated on the scale he is, and is it always a good thing? Or is he the last global hero?

Does South Africa lean too much on the strength of Mandela, and blame its turbulent history too often for the problems of today? Do you think it’s time to move on? And what about where the country is heading? Are young South Africans let the stalwarts of apartheid down with the current problems of xenophobia and recent levels of violence and crime?

It’s also a good opportunity to reflect on the struggle against apartheid. Do you think the ANC was right to take up arms in their fight? Would the country still be a white-ruled enclave if they hadn’t, or was it a dangerous precedent to set? Are we right to celebrate a man who did once advocate violence and terrorist acts?


98 Responses to “On Air: Happy Birthday from Robben Island”


  1. 1 Dennis
    July 18, 2008 at 00:36

    Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela…

    Love,
    Hugs and Kisses….

    Dennis
    Syracuse, New York

  2. 2 Shirley
    July 18, 2008 at 00:46

    If Nelson Mandela is on a pedestal, then he has earned his pedestal. He fought against one of the world’s evils and won; and now he serves as a shining example that it is possible to topple racist and apartheid regimes which seek to annihilate entire peoples and their potential for self-rule. May Nelson Mandela enjoy a long and blessed life.

  3. 3 Pangolin- California
    July 18, 2008 at 00:56

    Nelson Mandela is on a mountain compared to all current heads of state that I am aware of. His sense of compassionate justice allowed South Africa to begin the almost impossible transition from an apartheid state to a nation of free peoples.

    Africa desperately needs a young man to step up with the same strength and compassion to deal with current challenges. I’m praying that such a man exists.

  4. July 18, 2008 at 01:14

    Hi Ros,
    A massive 3 foot long cake has just being carried in“. I hope you can send slices of it to those who will contribute on this page, congratulating Nelson Mandela on his 90th birthday or at least just the picture of this magnificent cake!

    Here is a slideshow to celebrate Mandela’s 90th birthday. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/7507802.stm.

    Nelson is still an inspiration to African generations who sacrificed his youth in prison for the good of his country. During the apartheid era and after stepping down from the presidency, he has remained an icon.

    Because he has continued to stand firm on his principles, he has succeeded to keep his glamour all over the world. From his prison cell, he radiated the spirit of freedom to all oppressed South Africans. Now as a free man, he still inspires those seeking a leader in words and actions.

    African leaders can learn from him. Being powerful doesn’t mean to stay in office for ever. Mandela as a figurehead in his country and in many parts of the world can teach lessons to those who once fought for the freedom of their countries seek to enslave anyone to their regime.

    Mandela can be contrasted to Mugabe for whom relinquishing power is a nightmare. While Mandela enjoys respect all over the world, Mugabe is becoming to be seen to many Zimbabweans as a disgrace and to leaders in South Africa as an embarrassment.

    Happy birthday Nelson Mandela!

  5. 5 Will Rhodes
    July 18, 2008 at 01:44

    Many Happy Returns to Mr Mandela!

    I don’t know how many times I sang the song “Free Nelson Mandela” but it was quite a few!

    We should also remember people like Stephen Bantu Biko!

  6. 6 graceunderfire
    July 18, 2008 at 02:01

    Mr. Mandela is the foundation upon which modern South Africa was built. He is and remains a true African statesman, of whom his nation may be justifiably proud. For his own sake I wish him another decade at least. For the sake of Africa I would wish him another century.
    guf

  7. 7 Mark from kansas
    July 18, 2008 at 03:34

    Happy Birthday Mr. Mendela!

    Your efforts to understand those who would oppose you is truely an example for the rest of the continent, and indeed the world. I admire your strength, wisodm and ability to comprimise. I wish you happy and peaceful years to come, and I hope oher world leaders can follow your shining example.

  8. 8 La Belle Marcelle
    July 18, 2008 at 07:22

    Mr. Mandela, God has kept you as an inspiration to all of us who attempt to be paragons of virtue. May God grant you enough strength to enjoy this blessed day.

    You’ve come this far by faith. You are a living testimony of what waiting on the Lord is all about. Your patience and humility is worth emulating.

    Happy Birthday Sir and enjoy every moment of it.

    La Belle Marcelle
    St. Vincent & the Grenadines

  9. 9 Fred
    July 18, 2008 at 07:25

    God bless you, mr. Mendala hope you live a hundred more years to put more wisdom into african leaders head.

  10. 10 robert tehcoach
    July 18, 2008 at 07:36

    Happy birthday Nelson go git kruunkk

  11. July 18, 2008 at 07:38

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU MR MANDELA!
    He dedicated his life to a political crusade and became South Africa’s first black president, but Nelson Mandela never lost the personal touch..
    read More a bout Nelson Mandela……

    Mandela the Man

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7509288.stm

    The Nations Icon

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7501741.stm

  12. 12 Mohammed Ali
    July 18, 2008 at 08:31

    It will be an extreme joy for me if I were to take part on WHYS On Air just to say happy 90th birthday to the we africans considered the greatest revolutionary of all time. If africa had the opportunity of having two or three more leaders with just half of the traits of Nelson Mandela, the continent will be better off.

  13. July 18, 2008 at 09:18

    In a continent where statemanship and stewardship has lost its core value, it’s my fervent hope that Mandela’s Birthday will rekindle that lost value in today’s leaders. Happy Birthday Madiba!

  14. 14 Doreen Ametowoyona Nudanu
    July 18, 2008 at 09:35

    Happy Birthady Madiba!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ayeekooo as we Ghanaians will say.
    Its been hard work, patience, love for others and towrds people.
    Thank you so much for such a GREAT example for we African Children to emulate.
    Enjoy your DAY.
    LET IT BE a Sress free one.
    ENJOY!!!!!!!!!

  15. 15 Kent Jones from Michigan, USA
    July 18, 2008 at 09:44

    Congratulations Mr. Mandela,

    Your beacon of hope continues to shine bright around the globe and across generations. As you and the world celebrate your 90th birthday we should all be reminded of the power of love and humility. Thank you BBC for your historic coverage from Robben Island.

  16. 16 Mienoo
    July 18, 2008 at 10:44

    Mr. Mandela,

    For me, you most certainly are the greatest human to walk on this Earth. God has two Sons — Jesus Christ and Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. I agree with Peter Gabriel when he said that if the world had to choose one father, it would be Nelson Mandela. If aliens visited our planet and said. “Take us to you leader !”,
    the world would bring them to you. May you live for another 100 years and more : this world NEEDS you.

    May God Bless you……for ever and ever.

  17. July 18, 2008 at 10:54

    Happy birthday Mr. Mandela! You are the greatest man I respect.
    You truly are an icon and an inspiration to our generation.

  18. 18 Virginia Davis
    July 18, 2008 at 11:35

    Reading all these eloquent and loving tributes and wishes to you, Nelson Mandela, has made me weep. Your example will continue to inspire me to also be useful.

    Virginia in Oregon

  19. 19 Katharina in Ghent
    July 18, 2008 at 11:40

    The very best birthday wishes to Mr. Mandela, and may there be many more years ahead!

    It is sooooo difficult to find one decent politician in this big world, but Mr. Mandela is the one who truly stands out as a symbol that it is possible to change the world peacefully and be an honest and straightforward leader. Not just Africa, but the whole world needs more men and women like him, who will not bow to evil and keep their faith.

    Mr. Mandela, I hope that you can enjoy your birthday in peace with those you love around you, celebrating with you. You truly deserved it.

  20. 20 1430a
    July 18, 2008 at 12:12

    happy birthday Mr.Mandela.you have been quite an inspiration for the youngsters of this generationa and you are the one who can make the conditions in Africa better.
    Abhinav

  21. July 18, 2008 at 13:14

    And a happy, happy birthday to you Mr. Mandela!

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  22. 22 Shaun in Halifax
    July 18, 2008 at 13:45

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. MANDELA!!!!

    I will be honored to raise a glass (or three, or four, or twelve) to your name and legacy tonight.

    Enjoy the fruits of your long labours.

    Respect and Admiration,
    Shaun

  23. July 18, 2008 at 13:58

    Hi… Nelson Mandela, a very special happy birthday and many many many many happy returns to you from a fellow Cancerian ! :-)… My dearest Ros, a very big CONGRATULATIONS for this supermarvellous opportunity you guys have been given, and I do have a question for all those very lucky people who have known Mr Mandela personally : During his very long struggle against the apartheid regime, Were there any moments when Mr Mandela had lost his hope and faith in what he had been doing and said to himself “We’ll never win ! We’ll never make it !” ?! What were his secret tools of keeping his hope and faith in what he had been doing alive ?! How did he use to manage to remain optimistic and hopeful most or all of the time ?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  24. 24 Alistair Walker
    July 18, 2008 at 14:00

    Nelson Mandela has a great gift for forgiveness and has never sought revenge against the minority white government in Pretoria. He delivered his country successfully in the transition to majority democratic rule. However he has remained silent since his release in 1990 on the deteriorating situation in neighbouring Zimbabwe. He could have brought pressure to bear on Mugabe. It would be churlish not to wish Nelson Mandela many happy returns on his 90th birthday. I feel the BBC is rather gushing in its tributes though.

  25. 25 nelsoni
    July 18, 2008 at 14:04

    Oh … If only Nelson Mandela could log on to world have your say dot com and read all these messages …

  26. 26 Apenyo - Ogwang
    July 18, 2008 at 14:08

    There are Great men on Earth but few (if any) are as Great as Madiba in this generation.
    Madiba has won the hearts and love of many in the world across race and creed through a campaign that has enabled South Africans of all races to discover humanity in diversity.
    Our Leaders in Africa should always ask their inner self what values they add to their people the way Madiba has done in South Africa

    Happy Birthday Great but Simple Man ….Nelson R. Mandela.God should give you more years to remain an ICON to Humanity

    Uganda

  27. 27 Matthew Godwin
    July 18, 2008 at 14:11

    Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela! If there is someone that deserves to live forever, it is surely you.

    Best wishes as the rest of us continue your fight!

    Matt
    Halifax
    Canada

  28. 28 Darren
    July 18, 2008 at 14:18

    I am a proud black man from Nicaragua; Nelson Mandela has been a long time hero of mine. He is that figure I needed as a young man growing up, the political situations in Nicaragua and more the political situation of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua that for many, many years has received a blind eye and deaf ear from the central government. I thank MADIBA for giving me hope that light is at the end of the tunnel.

    HAPPY, HAPPY B-DAY!!!!!
    Darren

  29. July 18, 2008 at 15:05

    Mandela is the symbol of struggle against apartheid. As a man and a head of state, he initiated a new era for South Africa. The struggle against apartheid is now a matter of the past. The new struggle South Africans have is against their current problems. The black majority have only themselves to blame for what is going on now, as the government is in the hands of the ANC.

    It is ironic that the level of violence against white minority rule has changed into criminal violence. South Africa is one of the most violent countries in the world with the highest rate of murders. There used to be a great divide between blacks and whites during the apartheid era, but now there is a great divide among blacks themselves. There are the have and the have-not.

    Apartheid in South Africa is now a matter of the past. The struggle to end white minority rule is over. The burden now is on the current black leadership to engage in ending social strife. Otherwise, poor Africans will have no means but to attack the unprotected foreigners who they think, rightly or wrongly, behind their current difficult situation.

    Mandela has accomplished his mission as a fighter and head of state. But a country can’t be built just by one man. South Africa still needs a new successful leadership to start a fight against poverty and violence, which still mar its image abroad.

  30. 30 Heather Glenn
    July 18, 2008 at 15:21

    It gives me great pleasure in wishing Mr Nelson Mandela HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
    Listening to all of your broadcast covering his celebration has given me ‘goose bumps”
    He has a very strong shoulder because many of us are standing on him.
    May God continue to bless you and your family and I hope to meet you one day.

  31. 31 Bryan
    July 18, 2008 at 15:35

    Shirley July 18, 2008 at 12:46 am

    “…and now he serves as a shining example that it is possible to topple racist and apartheid regimes which seek to annihilate entire peoples and their potential for self-rule.”

    Let’s not get too carried away here. The white government, as oppressive as it no doubt was, never sought to “annihilate entire peoples.”

    Mandela was a great statesman, sure. But he was also a tribalist, unwilling to intervene to stop the horrific violence between his tribe, the Xhosa, and the Zulu, which raged across the province of Natal and elsewhere in the early nineties. Mandela chose rather to travel and be honoured in the world’s capitals while Natal burned. He also did nothing to stop the barbaric “necklace” killings of the ANC’s political opponents. Silence on the part of a leader of that stature is consent.

    But yes, the man also achieved greatness to a large extent with his forgiving attitude towards those who had treated him so cruelly. In that respect, he is head and shoulders above other African leaders.

    I had a chance to meet Nelson Mandela once. Damn sorry I missed it.

  32. 32 Joseph Kamara
    July 18, 2008 at 16:09

    How i wish other leaders accross africa can learn the benefits of being a good leader. Happy birthday mr Mandela

  33. 33 Mohammed Ali
    July 18, 2008 at 16:34

    Bryan writes
    “Mandela was a great statesman, sure. But he was also a tribalist, unwilling to intervene to stop the horrific violence between his tribe, the Xhosa, and the Zulu, which raged across the province of Natal and elsewhere in the early nineties. Mandela chose rather to travel and be honoured in the world’s capitals while Natal burned. He also did nothing to stop the barbaric “necklace” killings of the ANC’s political opponents. Silence on the part of a leader of that stature is consent.”
    If Mandela were a tribalist as you have asserted here, he would have revenge on those whites that tortured him and degraded others blacks to the extent that they were like sub-humans.
    Why would Mandela want or tacitly consent to the killing of political opponents? Can you please tell me some of the reasons?

  34. July 18, 2008 at 16:35

    Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela
    Thank you for the forgiveness.
    Thank you for the silence.
    Thank you for the patience and faith.
    Bless you Mandela and bless God who made it all possible.

  35. 35 Shaun in Halifax
    July 18, 2008 at 16:44

    @ Joseph Kamara

    Completely agree. There are far too many leaders (you know who you are) in Africa that engage in croney-ism and patronage. They rape the landscape and the resources, and stand gleefully by as atrocious violence is done in their name. And when they DO have a country with some wealth, they spread that wealth only within their tribal/party affiliation, helping those in power get richer while the other 95% can, apparently, get bent.

    And then they have the absolute arrogance and gall to send a representitive on a national program to toe the company line and spew obviously false denials or just outright lie. It reminds me about the Iraqi press secretary that vehemently denied that American forces were in Baghdad while in the background was an American tank on a bridge.

  36. 36 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 18, 2008 at 16:51

    Happy Birthday Mr. Mandela!

  37. 37 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 18, 2008 at 17:13

    I was in 6th grade of elementary school when Nelson Mandela was released from prision. My history teacher told us that day about Apartheid and Mr. Mandela story, it made a great impresion on me.

  38. 38 geeljire
    July 18, 2008 at 17:14

    happy birthday to nelson mandela

    mandela is the hero of africa and also father of africa,please mandela talk aboat the crises of somalia,when aparthied was in south africa and you were in prison,somalia was a member of countries who were talking aboat a partheid,

    geeljire in somaliland

  39. 39 Bryan
    July 18, 2008 at 17:25

    Mohammed Ali July 18, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    I will answer your question. Perhaps you would also like to answer the question I put to you when you said that Hezbollah were fighting for freedom:

    Freedom from what, exactly?

    “If Mandela were a tribalist as you have asserted here, he would have revenge on those whites that tortured him …”

    Mandela was never tortured by the whites, though Robben Island was far from a picnic and involved hard labour. It seems that you get your information from the school of wishful thinking in order to bolster your heroes and make them larger than life.

    Anyway, as I said, there was a side to Mandela that showed statesmanship and forgiveness.

    “Why would Mandela want or tacitly consent to the killing of political opponents? Can you please tell me some of the reasons?”

    Simple really. The drive for power. Mandela was riding a huge wave of worldwide popularity and adulation of the ANC. The Zulus, led by Mangosuthu Buthelezi and also competing for power, were an inconvenient and troublesome thorn in his side. Remember that democracy is not exactly a major consideration in Africa. The strong man with the most supporters takes all.

    I lost a great deal of respect for Mandela over the way he handled Buthelezi and the bloody Xhosa-Zulu conflict.

    Funnily enough, the ANC’s new leader, Jacob Zuma, is a Zulu. So here’s a question for the panel:

    If Jacob Zuma becomes the president of South Africa, will he be able to unify the ANC and, more importantly, unify the country?

  40. 40 nelsoni
    July 18, 2008 at 17:44

    South Africa still have serious issues, the blacks are still at war with themselves, and with the whites, racism is still alive and well in south africa, the gap between the rich and poor shows no sign of decreasing, aparthied may be over but still most south africans are still under the “invisible handcuffs ” of aparthied. most south africans are still very hostile to foreigners, as a visiting foreigner if criminals don’t get you, xenophobia will,(taliking from experience) yet every day we see adverts on CNN, proclaiming south africa as a beautiful haven. I am very confident that the South Africa of today was not what exactly what Nelson Mandela fought for.

    Nelson Mandela is no saint just like every one of us but a lot of people have the “PHD” gene. That is the “PULL HIM DOWN” gene. The moment the world starts to celebrate someone, people with the PHD gene start digging up things to discredit him. If their Intentions were not malicious while not raise the issues of Nelson Mandela’ s Imperfections in January, while wait until his birthday?

    Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela
    from all the bloggers on WHYS

  41. July 18, 2008 at 17:53

    Let’s not forget that the United States helped South Africa’s apartheid government catch Mandela when he was on the run. The CIA apparently knew where he was hiding and informed South Africa, which then arrested him.

  42. 42 Asad Babyl
    July 18, 2008 at 18:04

    The political fate of Nelson Mandella turned out like that of Mikhail Gorbachev: well-intentioned theories do not always manifest soundly in practice.

  43. July 18, 2008 at 18:11

    How credible is still ANC among South Africans in view of the current social problems, including high rate of crime and unemployment, and the huge disparity between the few rich and the so many poor?

    Nelson Mandela spoke about the need to conquer poverty in South Africa. Practically, how can his call be heeded?

  44. 44 Jessica in NYC
    July 18, 2008 at 18:13

    Wishing you a very very happy birthday Mr. Mandella! May you live another 90 years.

  45. July 18, 2008 at 18:15

    ‘ Many Happy Returns Nelson ‘

    Wishing You a Fantastic Day.

    You are a great inspiration to us all.

    I am also thinking of all those innocent people who are being held in prisons or as hostages.

    One case comes to mind is

    Seyed Mahmood Mousavi, who has been held in prison in California on flimsy and trumped-up charges.

    I call the world to help free him

    http://seyedmousavi.com/index.php

    I would also like to say hello to my other hero : Imam Achmad Cassiem who was imprisoned with Nelson Mendela on Robben Island.

    Praying for peace in Zimbabwe. Wishing that leaders of South Africa will take firm action against the oppression being committed on the people of Zimbabwe.

    Best Wishes

  46. 46 mohamed said
    July 18, 2008 at 18:22

    Happy Birth Day Nelson Mandela

    No doubt that you are the king of Africa….

  47. 47 Bryan
    July 18, 2008 at 18:25

    nelsoni July 18, 2008 at 5:44 pm ,

    I am not actively setting out to put Nelson Mandela down, but when I see inaccuracies and views expressed through rose -coloured spectacles I feel it’s necessary to put the matter in perspective.

    For example, Mohammed Ali claimed that Mandela was “tortured by the whites.” This is false. We have just heard from an anonymous ex-prisoner that he was treated courteously by the head of the prison on his arrival.

  48. 48 DEVADAS.V- India
    July 18, 2008 at 18:27

    hello,
    happy birthday nelson mandela .in this turbulent times allaround the world mandela showed us what grit and determination can do in any adverse circumstances against all odds and any opponents .nelson mandela just like a banyan tree grew and grew and with each passing years still gives shade to individuals and nationstates solace just like banyan tree gives shade to everyone.
    a shoulder to rely on when in trouble mandela still makes my jaw wide open in awe ..just like our own father of the nation mahatma gandhi whose deeds inspired nelson mandela in his formative years and to withstand lonliness in isolated jail in robbenislands .the great alberteinstein said about gandhi that “world would never believe that such a man ever walked on this earth in 100years from now ..”
    what that means can be literally seen through by the ways of nelson mandela during ourlifetime .for that i am indebted to mandela and to wash off not seeing gandhji wish i could atleast see or talk to nelson mandela during my lifetime .
    once more wishing mandela and his dear and near a very happy birthday and congrats to WHYS TEAM ESPECIALLY ROS GIVING ME AN OPPURTUNITY TO WISH THIS GREATEST MAN CURRENTLY LIVING ON PLANET EARTH THE ONE ,WHO HAD FOUGHT FOR HUMANRIGHTS AND EQUALITY OF BLACKS IN SOUTHAFRICA ,A VERY HAPPY BIRTHADAY.

  49. July 18, 2008 at 18:28

    Happy Birthday, Brother Nelson, Our Living Legend! Although we don’t celebrate birthdays, we thank Allah for your birth and your Spirit. Our parents struggled here in America while you struggled in South Africa for Justice and Equaity. Because of your strength and courage, we are all inspired to not give up and continue the fight against racism. Thank you for your sacrifices. May Allah be pleased with your works, guide you and give you the highest level of Heaven! Ameen!

  50. 50 Chrispin from Liberia
    July 18, 2008 at 18:29

    Dear BBC,
    Kindly convey my mesage of congratulation to Africa’s Greatest Gaddy on the occassion of his 90th birth anniversary…. I’m so proud to be associated with him. Today happens to be my natal day also. He’s an Icon of peace, non-violence and a perfect example for those who intend to follow the true path of democracy…..
    I salute u Daddy….Happy birthday. may God abundant blessings be with you…..

  51. 51 Albert from Kericho
    July 18, 2008 at 18:31

    Hi I am Albert Kirui from Kericho in western Kenya,East Africa. When South Africa got independence I was just but a grade four going pupil but he has since became our role model to every little growing African child. We love him and we love to see him even for many more years to come. Please BBC pass this well wishes to him. If all our African leaders were like him we perhaps we wouldn’t have seen the post election violence to the scale we saw here in Kenya,Zimbabwe would not have been going through the the turmoil that is going through at this moment,our continent would have been more developed and young people like us would not have been looking to run away from this great continent to else where in the world. I hope all our leaders take an example from you. HAPPY BIRTHDAY NELSON MANDELA WE LOVE YOU AND THANK GOD FOR YOU, GOD BLESS YOU AND GOD BLESS OUR CONTINENT.

  52. 52 Simeon from Malawi
    July 18, 2008 at 18:34

    As Mandela celebrates his 90th birthday, I see in him as a destroyer of apartheid which had remained in power for years with untold brutality against black activitists. We see a multicutural South Africa today, and the man behind this is the very one who stayed in jail at Robben Island for 27 years. Only love can make a person suffer for his country. The world should applaud him for his gesture of forgivenss and professing that revenge has never promoted good relations and development. It is my prayer that African leaders will look at him as a hero worthy admiration and imitation, especially today when Africa is harboring self imposed leaders whose violent led regimes die their people basic human rights of freedom of expression and choosing the party of their choice.
    If Dictators do not look at him, Africa will multiply self imposed leaders who will use intimidation and violence to remain in power. Bravo Mandela, you the pride of Africa. You have told the world that power is like a baton stick in a relay race, after one’s turn is over you hand over to the next runner.

  53. 53 Horace Nyaka
    July 18, 2008 at 18:36

    Happy birthday Nelson. A great man in all things. you have made your contribution towards man kind.

    Ros, as we celebrate Madiba’s 90 birthday, may be we should continue reflecting the problems rocking the Anglican church. I am a Protestant my self but as an African, from whose continent most of the said traditionalists are coming from, I think the Head of the Church would do better to address the problem.

    The Church leadership seems to be avoiding the problem.

    Horace,
    Lilongwe, Malawi

  54. 54 Sarah from Hamburg
    July 18, 2008 at 18:37

    “The world is truly round and seems to start and end with those we love.” Nelson Mandela.

    Thank you, dear Nelson Mandela, for your words, your faith, your hope and your strength. I send you my deepest thoughts for your 90iest Birthday. My deepest whish is that all people can forgive and negociate as you have done. Then we would have peace on earth. For me it is inpossible to imagine that you have stayed in prison and stayed strong as many years as I am on earth now… You are my light in dark times.
    Your are hope for humanity. Please live long, happy and healthy years.

    Thank you BBC for sending live from Robbin Island. Once again you make your listeners connected to the world.

  55. 55 J C Panto - Liberian in USA
    July 18, 2008 at 18:38

    Happy 90iest Birthday Nelson Mandela
    You Resurrected from 27 years of Crucifixion
    You stood as a Pillar of Fire for your people during the dark nights of Apartheid
    You stood as a Pillar of Cloud during its damp, gloomy days
    And you stand 90 Years Young today as one of the Greatest Icon of Peace and Equality in this Millennium!

    J C Panto Campbell, Jr.

    Liberian in USA

  56. 56 Andrew - Australia
    July 18, 2008 at 18:40

    Of course Mandela has been put on a pedestal. He turned out like any other political leader and is no better than in that regard.

    Just one thing sticks in my mind, after all he supposedly stood for as leader of South Africa he promised so much to so many people. Considering the opposition to his ANC party was basically the former white rulers it was a foregone conclusion that he would win the election. Ultimately he did not deliver on the big promises he made to his people and look at South Africa now it is as if he never lead that nation considering the problems still rife within the country.

  57. 57 Shaun in Halifax
    July 18, 2008 at 18:47

    @ Bryan

    “Freedom from what, exactly?” If I am correct, your question is asking what exactly Hezbollah freedom fighters are fighting for.

    Bearing in mind that you support Israel in the conflict (not making a judgement call), I can think of two possibilities.

    1) Freedom from the ever-present threat of a nuclear attack from the only nuclear-armed nation in that part of the world (exceptions are India/Pakistan I suppose), and the knee-jerk support of American foreign policy.

    2) Support for the plight of Palestinians.

    If my history is correct (and it may not be), Israel as a state would not exist if it weren’t for UN Resolution 181
    (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/un/res181.htm) which called for the lands in Palestine to be divided into one for Arabs and one for Jews. Now the plan was rejected by the Arab League (and to be fair, they probably thought that they were there first and who are you to kick us out?), and on the day the British Mandate for Palestine (http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Guide+to+the+Peace+Process/The+Mandate+for+Palestine.htm) expired, somebody declared an Independent Jewish state and it would be called Israel.

    Now as I understand it, those lands were majority Arab before the Jewish state was created, and that is one of the large reasons for the conflict. How do you have a jewish state when the majority of people living there were non-jew? The answer was, kick the Arabs out and call for all Jews to return to their nation. Now unless I’m completely off base, if somebody did that to me in my home, I’d be pretty angry too. And when faced with a more powerful, better equipped, larger enemy the only thing you can do is fight the way Hezbullah and others are doing: using civilian shields, random bombings, rocket/mortar attacks etc. It’s not right, but it is a war and that is a proven military tactic when fighting a larger enemy.

    Of course that’s the bare-bones version and it leaves out a ton of the backroom politics and the 6 day war and everything else that’s so divisive. And the reason I use moral justification (or whatever the term was that you used) is that today, there are both Arabs and Jews being indoctrinated into a conflict they didn’t start, and hardly anybody can make sense of any more. Trying to lay blame at this point is impossible – every new attack on each side is retribution for the previous one.

    Maybe it’s time to call the 60-year experiment in ‘violence solving everything’ a failure and try another tactic. Maybe something similar to the South African plan where if you turn over your arms and confess your crimes, you get pardoned.(something like that happened, didn’t it?) Maybe Mr. Mandela can help.

  58. 58 EKWEGBALU HENRY ( Lagos, Nigeria)
    July 18, 2008 at 18:52

    Dear Mandela,
    The MESSAGE your LIFE brings today to AFRICA / WORLD and the circumstsnces surrounding it, opens a new page on the concept / doctrine of LOVE, ENDURANCE, FORGIVENESS, BLESSING & PREDESTINATION.
    However the debate is resolved in future, YOU will always STAND OUT in GOD’s creation. Your Story may never be repeated in HUMAN history.
    May AFRICA be spared this hard lesson in future.
    You ran your RACE here with EXCELENCE.
    CONGRATULATIONS.
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
    …Ekwegbalu Henry

  59. 59 Lee
    July 18, 2008 at 19:00

    Mandela makes a speach about the rich in SA who should be sharing their wealth with the poorer people. Might I suggest he is not exactly short of a bob or two. but this is the hypocrisy of the rich how they use their positions of power and celebrity to make soapbox speaches and guilt people into feeling bad they have something while they lead the jet-set lifestyle, feted everywhere, preserve their wealth and lifestyle and then make statements like this.

  60. 60 selena
    July 18, 2008 at 19:10

    @Andrew

    Nelson Mandela tried!

    Sadly, Nelson Mandela found that one man cannot do much because cooperation is not what people want.

    The only thing one man can do is destroy.

    To build peace one man needs the cooperation of everyone.

    Peace will not happen as long as revenge (no matter the rhetoric) is really the only game in town!

  61. 61 Shaun in Halifax
    July 18, 2008 at 19:12

    P.S. How do you embed links or add italics or quote from above? Is it standard html tags? Is there a resource I can go to so we don’t clog the blog with this?

  62. 62 Bryan
    July 18, 2008 at 20:22

    Shaun in Halifax July 18, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Thank you for your civil and reasoned comment. It makes a refreshing change from the vitriolic bile of many comments on the Israeli-Arab conflict.

    On Hezbollah, no, they are not fighting for freedom and certainly not for the Palestinians. Mohammed Ali made it seem as if Hezbollah were noble freedom fighters under some sort of oppression. I tried to burst that particular bubble. The entire Arab world callously uses the Palestinians as pawns against Israel. It’s convenient to keep them in refugee camps and keep on stoking up hatred against Israel.

    Hezbollah are fighting for the domination of Shia Islam over all other faiths and for the destruction of Israel. Some “freedom fighters.”

    There is no threat of a nuclear attack from Israel. Hezbollah knows that very well, otherwise it never would have kept on firing sporadically at Israel between 2000 and 2006, after Israel’s complete withdrawal from Lebanon. And it never would have attacked and sparked the war in 2006. Since when do people who fear a nuclear attack from their neighbour initiate hostilities against that neighbour?

    The history of the land is obviously a long and complex one, but due partly to the efforts of the BBC and other pro-Palestinian media outfits many people believe the myth of the Palestinians having been kicked out of their homes and off their land by the invading Jewish settlers. This myth has been so effectively drummed into people worldwide by the Palestinian propaganda machine that people take it as a self-evident truth. However, as I’ve tried to indicate often on this site, since ancient Israel the Jews always maintained a presence in the land between the Jordan River and the sea. Again, the incoming Jews purchased some of the land and developed much unwanted swampland.

    In terms of population, by the time of the 1947 UN partition proposal there were more Arabs than Jews in the Palestine that remained after the majority of the land had been given to Jordan. The propagandists will jump on that fact, but what they will omit is the fact that the areas proposed for the Jewish area under the partition already contained a substantial Jewish majority.

    There are many other inconvenient facts for the propagandists. Like the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who came into Palestine from the surrounding countries, attracted by the economic development initiated by the Jews. These Arabs were not native to Palestine. Yasser Arafat, as an example, was an Egyptian, though he claimed to be born in Jerusalem.

    Also inconvenient is the fact that the British were doing everything they possibly could to limit Jewish immigration and encourage Arab immigration in their efforts to stifle the birth of the nascent state, thereby going against their mandate to facilitate the establishment of Israel.

    Hell, and we wont even talk about the Arabs who fled the newborn state of Israel, convinced by the invading Arab armies that they could return and claim all the land “once the Jews had been driven into the sea.”

    Do we need a South African style resolution to this conflict? Only if you believe in the myth of the Palestinians being dispossessed of their land by Jewish settlers.

  63. 63 nelsoni
    July 18, 2008 at 20:40

    @ Bryan
    July 18, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    I am not actively setting out to put Nelson Mandela down, but when I see inaccuracies and views expressed through rose -coloured spectacles I feel it’s necessary to put the matter in perspective.

    For example, Mohammed Ali claimed that Mandela was “tortured by the whites.” This is false. We have just heard from an anonymous ex-prisoner that he was treated courteously by the head of the prison on his arrival.

    I agree with you. Inaccuracies should be corrected to avoid re writing of history

  64. 64 Bryan
    July 18, 2008 at 20:41

    Lee July 18, 2008 at 7:00 pm,

    That statement is a bit unfair. There is the Nelson Mandela children’s fund, as one example of his commitment to help the less fortunate. But I did find it a bit strange that of all the pressing issues facing Africa today he chose poverty. Rather tackle the endemic corruption and cronyism in the ANC government and their poor leadership. That might create a better environment for ordinary people to pull themselves out of poverty.

  65. 65 Mohammed Ali
    July 18, 2008 at 20:56

    @Bryan, to claimed that Mandela was not torture makes me sick to the stomach and question your balance nature in analyzing issues. Let me make you to understand that to even imprisoned a person for 27 years with no justifiable reason is dehumanizing and torture in itself. To imprisoned a person for 27 years with hard labor for no reason is torture. How come you didn’t realize that?

  66. 66 Shirley
    July 18, 2008 at 20:58

    Shaun,
    Use normal HTML tags. Come to the Blank Page. I’ll try to post more there.

  67. 67 Bryan
    July 18, 2008 at 21:16

    Shaun, I posted a response to you at 8:22 pm but it seems to have got stuck in the system.

    Mohammed Ali July 18, 2008 at 8:56 pm,

    Relax. You are letting your hero-worship of Mandela cloud your judgement. When you use specific words like “torture” in the context of imprisonment you should realise that it means, specifically, that he was tortured. Nelson Mandela was NOT tortured by his jailers in prison.

    It is important that you understand this. You have made an extremely serious allegation against his jailers and you should retract it. Imprisonment is one thing, hard labour is another and torture is most certainly something else entirely.

    Also, Mandela was not “jailed for no reason.” Google him to find out what he did.

  68. 68 Larry Koskela
    July 18, 2008 at 21:18

    A simple incident stands out in my memory that won me to Nelson: He was visiting India, it was time to leave in order to catch a plane, and Nelson was missing. His entourage was in a dither. He was found saying good-bye and thanking the woman who had been the maid during his stay.

  69. 69 Bryan
    July 18, 2008 at 22:00

    This comment got stuck. I’m trying it again here:

    Shaun in Halifax July 18, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Thank you for your civil and reasoned comment. It makes a refreshing change from the vitriolic bile of many comments on the Israeli-Arab conflict.

    On Hezbollah, no, they are not fighting for freedom and certainly not for the Palestinians. Mohammed Ali made it seem as if Hezbollah were noble freedom fighters under some sort of oppression. I tried to burst that particular bubble. The entire Arab world callously uses the Palestinians as pawns against Israel. It’s convenient to keep them in refugee camps and keep on stoking up hatred against Israel.

    Hezbollah are fighting for the domination of Shia Islam over all other faiths and for the destruction of Israel. Some “freedom fighters.”

    There is no threat of a nuclear attack from Israel. Hezbollah knows that very well, otherwise it never would have kept on firing sporadically at Israel between 2000 and 2006, after Israel’s complete withdrawal from Lebanon. And it never would have attacked and sparked the war in 2006. Since when do people who fear a nuclear attack from their neighbour initiate hostilities against that neighbour?

    The history of the land is obviously a long and complex one, but due partly to the efforts of the BBC and other pro-Palestinian media outfits many people believe the myth of the Palestinians having been kicked out of their homes and off their land by the invading Jewish settlers. This myth has been so effectively drummed into people worldwide by the Palestinian propaganda machine that people take it as a self-evident truth. However, as I’ve tried to indicate often on this site, since ancient Israel the Jews always maintained a presence in the land between the Jordan River and the sea. Again, the incoming Jews purchased some of the land and developed much unwanted swampland.

    In terms of population, by the time of the 1947 UN partition proposal there were more Arabs than Jews in the Palestine that remained after the majority of the land had been given to Jordan. The propagandists will jump on that fact, but what they will omit is the fact that the areas proposed for the Jewish area under the partition already contained a substantial Jewish majority.

    There are many other inconvenient facts for the propagandists. Like the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who came into Palestine from the surrounding countries, attracted by the economic development initiated by the Jews. These Arabs were not native to Palestine. Yasser Arafat, as an example, was an Egyptian, though he claimed to be born in Jerusalem.

    Also inconvenient is the fact that the British were doing everything they possibly could to limit Jewish immigration and encourage Arab immigration in their efforts to stifle the birth of the nascent state, thereby going against their mandate to facilitate the establishment of Israel.

    Hell, and we wont even talk about the Arabs who fled the newborn state of Israel, convinced by the invading Arab armies that they could return and claim all the land “once the Jews had been driven into the sea.”

    Do we need a South African style resolution to this conflict? Only if you believe in the myth of the Palestinians being dispossessed of their land by Jewish settlers.

  70. 70 Mohammed Ali
    July 18, 2008 at 22:22

    @Bryan, I need not continue this debate because of the bias nature of how you they this matter. Reasons on google are not necessarily the facts. More than that, I said no justifiable reason. The reasons on google are not justified. Apparently I need to inculcate this into your thinking, torture within the context of imprisonment for no justified reason is torture mentally, morally, psychologically, and dehumanizes the person. Imprisonment with hard labor for 27 years, then you say is no torture? I wonder then what is torture?

  71. July 18, 2008 at 22:31

    There have been Three Great Moralist Leaders in our time: Mahatma Ghandhi,Martin Luther King and the still living Nelson Mandela. The world will have been poorer if not for these Greats. The sad part is that depite their lives and moral messages the world has grown more intolerant, violent and even forbidding. At least South Africa had been politically liberated.

    One can but wish Nelson Mandela many more happy and contented after-prison years of life and to help keep shining his moral light.

  72. 72 kpellyhezekiah
    July 18, 2008 at 22:47

    Happy birthday, Madiba. God bless africa. Please hang in there. We’re working hard to make you see the true liberation of africa so that when you get to the other side you can tell Nkrumah,Biko,Lumumba and the other great patriots that they can start rejoicing for the vision has been achieved and the mission accomplished by the grace of God. Rest assured, Madiba, like the small cloud that the servant of Elijah saw which developed into a mighty rain to end the drought, the economic ‘small’ cloud has been formed over africa and the economic rains will soon start. Once again God bless africa.

  73. 73 Bryan
    July 18, 2008 at 23:21

    Mohammed Ali July 18, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Where I am I biased? I have said that Mandela was forgiving and a statesman but also that he was a tribalist. I have provided evidence for my statements. I have said that he was not tortured. You can’t expect me to believe that you don’t know what torture is. Have a look at the deeds of Saddam Hussein if you really need to know what torture is. Or have a look at the Islamic radicals who imprison and torture their “infidel” captives to death. Have a look at what happened to Jews in Egyptian prisons in the sixties.

    Have you considered that some of Mandela’s former jailers, who became his friends, might have found out about the programme tonight and listened to it and might even be reading this blog? How do you think they will feel reading your allegations of torture?

    I haven’t read Nelson Mandela’s biography but I am certain that nowhere will he claim that he was tortured.

    Mandela was convicted of sabotage.

  74. 74 Bryan
    July 18, 2008 at 23:32

    I meant to add that I think the hard labour was for the first five years, not twenty-seven. I seriously doubt that they were making him do hard labour as an elderly man. He was seventy-one when he was released and he was no longer at Robben Island.

    Also, there’s nothing wrong with Googling to find reliable sources to bring you the facts. In the old days, we had to go to the library.

  75. 75 nelsoni
    July 19, 2008 at 00:03

    @ Mohammed Ali and Bryan. Mohammed Ali, I suggest that you cross check your facts before posting. There were alot of inaccuracies in some of your posts about Nelson Mandela’s Prison time. Bryan successful shot down every argument you made about Nelson Mandela’s prison time. I listened to both editions of WHYS today. Alot of the things you raised never happened. No man is an island of knowledge. Cheers.

  76. 76 nelsoni
    July 19, 2008 at 00:06

    @ Mohammed Ali, if you can provide links or books to back up your claims about Nelson Mandela’s tortue in prison et al, pls feel free to post them so we can update our knowledge.

  77. 77 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 19, 2008 at 00:12

    Darn it, I slept through the show this morning! I was thinking of going to Alcatraz to make it an island-prison themed day, but it was not to be. Great idea though, to go to Robben Island for a Mandela tribute. He and the radiant, beautiful Bishop Desmond Tutu are truly heroes.

    Nelson Mandela’s birthday with well-deserved honors and good sentiments is not the day for asking difficutt questions, but I wish someone would, someday soon.

    A close look at condition of South Africa today, in depth, warts and all, is long overdue. Mass media seem unable to portray Africa other than by a collection of tiresome, simplistic fables and stereotypes: whites=bad, blacks=good, people are heroes or villains, movements are oppressive or liberating, etc. After a country is “liberated,” it falls off the map, western moraliizers find another cause, and it’s all good, until one day we’re informed that in fact it’s a horror show.

    An example is of course just across the border: the post-colonial course of Rhodesia to Zimbabwe to Hell, led by another African “liberation hero,” a story was inadequately covered while it was happening, at least not in the US. Possibly in the UK.

    Is the average South African richer or poorer now than under white rule? Safer? Healthier? Better educated?

    South Africa has the world’s worst AIDS epidemic, thanks in part to the dreadful Tavo Mbeke, who resists the use of AIDS medications on the bizarre premise that they were a cause, not a tretament, for the disease. What if anything has Mandela done or said to mitigate that catasrophe?

    Today Mandela condemned “inequality,” blaming the rich for not “sharing” with the poor. In the African context, that sentiment is not just harmless claptrap; it justifies measures to “spread the wealth” which actually just destory it, like the “land reform” that left Zimbabwe a starving basket case.

    Must we wait until Nelson Mandela dies before asking these questions is permitted without seeming rude?

  78. 78 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 19, 2008 at 00:20

    @Shirley,

    Re your note to me on 7/18 talking points:

    Good call, and you’re quite welcome, respecitively.

  79. 79 Mohammed Ali
    July 19, 2008 at 00:58

    @Bryan and nelsoni, i agree that Mandela was not torture in the manner in which the islamic jehadists do and I never asserted that here. But are you denying the facts that there is nothing like mental torture, like psychological torture, moral torture? Was jailing Mandela by a system that is now considered one of the worse human tragedy for sabotage justified? If some of those who jail Mandela are reading this blog tonight, they certainly will have some remorse for what they did. On the issue of Hezbollah, let me firstly make you to understand I’m not from the mid east neither I’m an arab. I didn’t make Hezbollah to appear like a freedom fighting group. The undeniable fact is that the Hezbollah is seen that way to those who support it.

  80. 80 nelsoni
    July 19, 2008 at 01:47

    @ Mohammed Ali.

    I am not denying the fact there is something called mental torture, but Nelson Mandela never told us he was mentally tortured (I stand corrected) so lets not speculate. About Hezbollah, I don’t support them either, neither do I support Israel nor Palestine.

  81. July 19, 2008 at 02:01

    Only the foolish people do their brithday but for wise people like prophets Jeremaih and faithful service of Almighty Creator Job, they cursed their birthdays and they didn’t want to remember them. How can Nelson Mandala becoming happy for one day of his brithday while many people were murdered during that evil period? Above all crimes still high in country and the murderers of neighbouring countries were just few months ago but nobody even Nelson Mandala you loves didn’t condmned those acted of terrors.

  82. 82 nelsoni
    July 19, 2008 at 05:43

    @ David. Since you have well meaning intention, why didnt you raise these issues in January? Why did you have to wait until his birthday to start making all these funny statements. So say that only fools celebrate the birthday shows that you probably don’t have respect for elders. Nelson Mandela is neither Job nor Jeremiah. I wonder why people with “PHD” (pull him down) genes all was wait for special occasion to attempt to spoil the show..

  83. 83 Bryan
    July 19, 2008 at 08:42

    nelsoni July 19, 2008 at 12:03 am

    nelsoni July 19, 2008 at 12:06 am

    Thanks for that input. I appreciate it.

    Mohammed Ali July 19, 2008 at 12:58 am,

    As I said, when you talk about torture in the context of imprisonment people understand that to be physical torture. When Egyptian Jews in Egyptian prisons in the sixties had the soles of their feet beaten so badly and for such sustained periods that they walked with difficulty for the rest of their lives, that was torture. And their ‘crime’? Being Jews at a time when Israel had just soundly thrashed the surrounding Arab armies in six days. When a Iranian prison official puts a noose around the neck of an Iranian Jew and pretends to hang him, that is psychological torture.

    When the apartheid government jailed Nelson Mandela, the intention was not to torture him, physically or otherwise, but to prevent him from overthrowing the government. Yes, apartheid was oppressive and brutal at times but try to imagine what it would have been like jailed as a political opponent of Idi Amin – or any other African dictator.

    Yes, Hezbollah see themselves as “freedom fighters.” This impression is reinforced by media like the BBC, which continually refers to them as “fighters.” When reporting on the release by Israel of Samir Kuntar, the BBC World Service referred to his infiltration into Israel as a “guerrilla attack.” That is just incredible. I always thought that guerrillas were small bands of courageous fighters who took on vastly superior military forces. Maybe I’m missing something here and the BBC knows something I don’t. What did Kuntar, the brave guerrilla, do? He shot and drowned a father in front of his four-year-old daughter and then smashed the crying child’s head in with his rifle butt against a rock. Kuntar and his friends literally had a red carpet rolled out for him by Hezbollah on his return to Lebanon with the enthusiastic celebrations endorsed by the Lebanese government at the highest level, to its eternal shame.

    But Hezbollah made a serious miscalculation here. Any normal human being who saw those celebrations and knows what Kuntar did will now know the true identity of the terror group.

    “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” is a catchy phrase but it misses the point that there is an objective and valid definition of what a terrorist is. It doesn’t matter at all how supporters of Hezbollah “fighters” see them. It’s what they are that matters.

  84. 84 selena
    July 19, 2008 at 09:49

    @Bryan

    But Hezbollah made a serious miscalculation here. Any normal human being who saw those celebrations and knows what Kuntar did will now know the true identity of the terror group.

    “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” is a catchy phrase but it misses the point that there is an objective and valid definition of what a terrorist is. It doesn’t matter at all how supporters of Hezbollah “fighters” see them. It’s what they are that matters.

    And that is how Bryan sees the world on July 19, 2008!

    But because Bryan sees the world that way does not make it so!

    “Normal” human beings see things in vastly different ways. And the majority of “normal” human beings see what happens to their particular group as the worse kind of torture, while totally discounting what is done to any other group.

    Some (a very small number) “normal” human beings see anyone who kills another human as wicked, no matter the means of the killing.

    And some(the same small number) “normal” human beings see simply being imprisoned for one’s beliefs as torture.

    It all boils down to how much compassion there is for human beings, regardless of group.

    There really is no right or wrong here. it is simply a group perspective.

    The world of war will not change until group mentality changes.

  85. 85 Rick
    July 19, 2008 at 10:53

    Gee another israel/palestine debate, i thought this was about Mandela. how about the next topic being Israel/Palistine, then you guys won’t have to work so hard to get the subject round to where you want it!

  86. 86 selena
    July 19, 2008 at 11:14

    @Rick

    Perhaps it needs to be this way! Otherwise, how could we get to understand the way people think. :-)

    There is a 21 year old Canadian in the prison at Quantanamo Bay, who has been there since he was 15. He has been “tortured” for information, according to reports. Some individuals believe, even though he was was a child, he got what he deserved.

    If he had been a member of their own group, they would make up all sorts of excuses for why it it wrong that he is there.

    Isn’t it important to talk about this?

  87. 87 Shakhoor Rehman
    July 19, 2008 at 11:44

    A happy birthday is certainly deserved by Nelson Mandela and no doubt he has much to reflect on the life he has lived. I also remember those who are not alive to celebrate their birthday such as Steve Biko and Chris Hani along with all the nameless others who sacrificed their lives for Azania. I wonder what they all think of the new South Africa as they watch in unfold from the afterlife? In the decades to come at some point I will be joining them there and I am looking forward to the conversations. As they see that it is still the case that the Broederbond still control vaste swathes of South African society including land business police army senior civil service etc perhaps they think there is a long way still to travel on freedom’s journey. And how would they view the prospect of Jacob Zuma as the next president? I shudder to think about that one. Nelson Mandela must not be put on a pedestal like,equally wrongly,other heroes from the past in world history because that can take peoples minds off what is necessary in the here and now and become a sort of false religion to bask in while all around needs attention. A friend of mine recently returned from South Africa and told me of a conversation with an Afrikaaner who was fed up but comfortable and finished the conversation with the following words,” I tell you mate, governments come and governments go but the Broederbond is forever”. I should add that my friend was no “mate” of his but the message was clear. If Nelson Mandela is to match Africa’s finest leader to date, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, then he must start speaking more openly about what is wrong with today’s South Africa and be less the cuddly statesman that is currently being foisted on all and sundry.

  88. 88 Rick
    July 19, 2008 at 12:03

    Selina
    you are right, I can see how the subject of Mandela turned to torture with the mention of him being tortured. It then went to a full on lecture of what torture is and digressed from there. As for gitmo, it is illegal and a moral stain on the American nation. Americans should be asking themselves ‘how have we sunk so low?’.
    Anyone who defends its existence should join the croud inside the fence.
    This world is realy short of leaders with vision and moral fortitude. Mandela was one of those and we are all richer for his existence.

  89. 89 Bryan
    July 19, 2008 at 12:35

    selena July 19, 2008 at 9:49 am

    “” And the majority of “normal” human beings see what happens to their particular group as the worse kind of torture, while totally discounting what is done to any other group.”

    False. That’s not ‘normal’, it’s the most narrow and blind of group loyalties. It’s also how Hezbollah terrorists see the world. Jews, to them, are not human and so they can view the savage murder of a four-year-old girl as a heroic act of “resistance” against the Jews.

    I support Israel but I certainly did not support the killing spree of Baruch Goldstein in a mosque.

    Perhaps I should have expanded a bit on the concept of ‘normal’. I didn’t because I thought it would be generally understood that I was talking about people who see the deliberate, savage murder of a child as abhorrent, whether that child belongs to one’s own group or any other group. This is a normal human reaction across all groups and societies and I like to think that the majority of people on our planet feel this way. If they don’t, we are in real trouble.

    The point I was making is that a normal person faced with the extraordinary incongruity of a child-murderer being given royal treatment will inevitably conclude that the ‘cause’ of both the murderer and those who adore him should be viewed with suspicion, to put it in the mildest possible way.

    “Some (a very small number) “normal” human beings see anyone who kills another human as wicked, no matter the means of the killing.”

    Given the vociferous clamouring of the anti-war crowd, I’m not so sure if it’s a very small number. Anyway, they are misguided. As one example, the killing by the allies of German soldiers under Hitler was the correct thing to do, unless of course you think it would have been a good thing to live under the ‘Thousand year Reich’, free of Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies and everyone else the Nazis decided were not fit to live.

    “There really is no right or wrong here. it is simply a group perspective.”

    False. Here’s a right:

    The Israeli doctors who treat Palestinian terrorists wounded in attacks on Israelis are not concerned about race or political affiliation but simply heal whoever comes through the doors of their hospital.

    And Palestinians playing football with the head of an Israeli soldier killed in the Gaza strip is most definitely a wrong.

    “It all boils down to how much compassion there is for human beings, regardless of group.”

    No argument with that. If Hezbollah can’t bring itself to show any compassion for the Jews, it should at least start to show some compassion for its fellow Lebanese Christians and Sunnis, instead of oppressing and killing them simply because they are not Shia Muslims.

  90. 90 adjei
    July 19, 2008 at 12:58

    MAY LORD GIVE THE MAN WHO WIPE AWAY APARTAY ANOTHER LIFE IN HAVEN. HAPPY BITHDAY MR MANDELA.

  91. 91 selena
    July 19, 2008 at 18:56

    @Bryan

    You have left me speechless. :-)

    But I am keenly interested in persons who are absolutely certain of their rightness because I am never sure I am right. I don’t understand how it is possible to be so sure of your position.

    Would you mind telling me how you know your views are the right ones and all the others are wrong?

    For instance, how did you arrive at your position on Nelson Mandela?

  92. 92 Paul W
    July 19, 2008 at 21:38

    Am I alone in remembering he was a terrorist who believed in planting bombs to kill people ?

    Or should we sing the praises of Gerry Adams & Bin laden now too ?

  93. 93 Bryan
    July 19, 2008 at 21:48

    selena July 19, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    “For instance, how did you arrive at your position on Nelson Mandela?”

    I didn’t know I had a position on Nelson Mandela. I have said he is a tribalist but also a forgiving statesman. I wish he had chosen to lend his voice and authority to the growing criticism of the ANC government with its corruption and poor leadership. That would have been so much more constructive than the standard utterance about poverty.

    “You have left me speechless.”

    I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not or if it’s a compliment.

    I’m not always sure that I am right and I often concede that the other person has a point. But there are certain situations where there is no doubt about which group has right on its side. Hezbollah is under no threat whatsoever from Israel since it withdrew from Lebanon eight years ago and if Hezbollah could overcome its obsessive lust for Jewish blood and the destruction of Israel, there would be peace between Israel and Lebanon. Has Israel attacked Jordan or Egypt since peace was made with those countries? Of course not. Israel is obliged to defend itself against the terror from Hezbollah. What is so difficult to understand about that concept? And why do people on this blog insist that there is a moral equivalence between Arab terrorists and Israelis who combat that terror?

    I find it quite incredible that not one voice among the anti-Israel crew on this blog has been raised against Samir Kuntar. The internet is full of condemnation of Kuntar and Hezbollah from Arab Muslims and Christians, particularly in Lebanon. One Tunisian Muslim wrote on a blog that Kuntar does not represent him and described him as a “pig.” And many in the Arab world are contemptuous of the way Hezbollah handled the ‘prisoner exchange’ and sympathetic towards Israel for receiving two bodies when Hezbollah had cruelly suggested until the last minute that one of the soldiers was still alive.

    Why the silence here? Do people have no opinion on the matter or do they actually support what Kuntar did? The thought makes my blood run cold.

  94. 94 selena
    July 20, 2008 at 09:33

    @Bryan

    OK Maybe I misread but I thought you said the 28 years of prison for Mandela was not torture.

    I thought you said there were degrees of torture and I wondered how you arrived at that conclusion.
    :-) As for speechless, you have to choose if it is a compliment or not. At any rate you achieved the near impossible… you left me with nothing to say.

    @Right and wrong..

    I would still like to know how you can be so supportive of one side. I don’t think I am a “leftie” as my views bother people across the political spectrum, but who knows?

    I do know I am not anti Israel. I am anti oppression, no matter the oppressor. I look at *everything* with a skeptical eye. I am especially cautious when someone is trying to sell me an idea.

    About Kuntar… He is a sad specimen of a human being. The question, and the reason, I suspect, that you don’t hear more condemnation on the blog: is what he did more contemptible than what leaders do when they that drop cluster bombs and plant land mines?

    Is collateral damage less contemptible, when leaders know innocents are not going to escape?

    If you read French, please check out this page. Sorry I couldn’t find an English version.

    http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2008/07/19/des-militants-anti-apartheid-juifs-sud-africains-choques-par-leur-visite-en-cisjordanie-occupee_1075157_3218.html

  95. 95 Concessa
    July 20, 2008 at 23:19

    An extraordinary man. So compassionate, so caring, so loving. Too many great leaders have fallen. Thankfully, Mandela never let his fame get to his head. May God continue to bless him in all areas of his life. Vive Mandela!

  96. 96 Bryan
    July 21, 2008 at 11:48

    selena July 20, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Sorry, French is Greek to me.

    “OK Maybe I misread but I thought you said the 28 years of prison for Mandela was not torture.”

    Nope, I said Mandela was not tortured in prison. In other words, nobody laid a hand on him. The word “torture” in the same sentence as “prison” is very specific. It might make people feel good to build up the image of their hero as having emerged without bitterness from 27 years of torture. But he wasn’t tortured and it is a vile allegation against the prison authorities of the time to claim that he was.

    Sometimes you hear people complain that their job is “torture.” Does that mean that their boss is pulling out their fingernails? Let’s not muddy the waters until we can’t distinguish truth from fiction.

    And let’s not muddy the waters in relation to the Israeli-Arab conflict either and assume that the two sides are equal in motivation and goals. As one example, there are well over a million Israeli Arabs living in freedom in Israel while Palestinians insist on a Jew-free Palestine.

    “I do know I am not anti Israel. I am anti oppression, no matter the oppressor.”

    Are you anti Hamas, who oppress their own brothers, or do you excuse them because they themselves are “oppressed?” In other words, do you make the classic ‘liberal’ error?

    “is what he did more contemptible than what leaders do when they that drop cluster bombs and plant land mines?”

    Yes. There is the matter of motivation. Israel was attacked by Hezbollah from within civilian areas. Israel’s motivation in counter-attacking was obviously not to kill civilians but to stop Hezbollah. Israel tried as far as possible to limit its attacks to Hezbollah strongholds in south Beirut, missile launchers and infrastructure such as bridges.

    Yes, cluster bombs are wrong and I’m sorry that Israel used them. But I would like to know what any other country would have done in Israel’s place. I have never seen anyone answer this question in these internet debates.

    There is also, of course, the small matter of the great pleasure Palestinian terrorists take in killing Jews. Kuntar is a particularly obscene example of that motivation. Israel takes no such delight in killing Palestinians.

    I would still like to know how you can be so supportive of one side.

    Here’s why:

    http://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2008/07/04/blank-page-no-14/#comment-43977

  97. 97 selena
    July 21, 2008 at 12:21

    @Bryan

    I don’t think that we can agree on definitions at this point. :-) Maybe never…

    For instance, to me, having my freedom taken away would be the worse kind of torture. And we really don’t know what was done to Mandela because he turned the other cheek and was not into the blame game.

    And killing a child is killing a child, whether it is done from the safety of not being able to see the whites of his/her eyes or whether one kills one on one. In fact, dropping bombs is a cowardly act, in my opinion.

    There is no justifiable reason for killing to protect land.

    I am not supportive of any side. I don’t take sides in situations where it is impossible to separate the facts from propaganda. Morality is sadly lacking on both sides, although in Israel’s case there is a lot of paper work to say otherwise. Sadly, what is written on paper almost never shows itself in practical application.

  98. 98 Bryan
    July 22, 2008 at 00:03

    selena July 21, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    You can broaden the definition of any word until it becomes meaningless. Mandela was imprisoned, not tortured.

    Again, Israel intends to kill terrorists and inadvertently kills civilians.

    Hezbollah/Hamas/Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade(Fatah)/Islamic Jihad intend to kill anything that moves, so long as it is Jewish. In fact, if you listen to what they themselves say, they don’t differentiate between Israeli soldiers and civilians, women and children, old or young.

    This is the main reason that there is no moral equivalence between the two sides in this conflict. So you can talk about it being “cowardly” to attack from above (rather than being “bold” enough to bash a little girl’s head in with your rifle butt, I assume) but it means nothing because you refuse to put your observations in context.

    You claim to be impartial regarding the conflict, but your orientation is clearly pro-Palestinian. A lot like the BBC.


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