Chief Theresa Spence’s Heroism Already Eclipses Nelson Mandela’s

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Chief Theresa Spence’s Heroism Already Eclipses Nelson Mandela’s

by: Obert Madondo | Originally published on Huffington Post Blog | Posted Jan 7, 2013

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/obert-madondo/chief-theresa-spences-her_b_2408049.html

Hunger-striking Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence is the reincarnation of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. She is becoming the greatest moral and political leader of our time. In fact, Chief Theresa Spence’s courage and sacrifice already eclipses that of South Africa’s globally-celebrated anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela.

Mandela came to us pre-packaged. Challenging the narrative of his heroism is mission impossible. Chief Spence’s narrative is unveiling right before the world’s eyes. It’s impossible to embellish.

I met Chief Spence on Parliament Hill on December 11 as she started her hunger protest. I felt an instant a kinship with her. I felt our shared humanity, and our common love for justice for the downtrodden, which spurred me to undertake an 85-day hunger strike protesting the Conservatives’ New Jim Crow-style crime Bill C-10 earlier this year. The brief meeting gave me the courage to challenge the hypocrisy and tyranny that accompanies the unadulterated Mandela-worship.

Criticism of Mandela often solicited angry reminders of the brutality and racism of both apartheid South Africa and colonial Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where I spent the first nine years of my life. African friends often try to silence me with reminders that Madiba is the gift we black Africans gave to the world. Really?

Explain to me the overwhelming presence of white males in Mandela’s key moments? British journalist Anthony Sampson helped Mandela craft his famously ringing statement in the 1964 Rivonia sabotage trial. He wrote Mandela’s “definitive biography”. George Bizos is Mandela’s longtime lawyer. In 1993 Mandela jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize with FW de Klerk, South Africa’s last white ruler. What remains of the icon if we remove these white males and their self-interested constructions?

Until now, I lacked the courage to publicly say that I never subscribed to the general hagiography surrounding Mandela. I never felt Mandela. I secretly doubted that freedom from apartheid was an ideal he was willing to die for. I doubt that he’d have chosen to go to prison, let alone languish therein for 27 years.

Chief Spence is the essence of a true hero. She’s gone where very few dare to go. She’s sacrificing her own life to liberate an oppressed people — and enlighten the rest — from what former prime minister Paul Martin recently confirmed with his statement: “we were, and still are, a colonial power”.

Chief Spence’s life is now in serious danger. After five weeks of my hunger strike, my body entered the “starvation mode” — a critical phase where the body starts mining vital organs for nourishment. The risks include: a) failure of internal organs b) brain damage c) dementia d) hallucinations e) damage to body tissue f) weakening of bones, and g) death.

But Chief Spence is also slowly dying a symbolic death that articulates the Aboriginal experience in Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada recently confirmed that colonialism, displacement, and the residential school system continue to “translate into lower educational attainment, lower incomes, higher unemployment, higher rates of substance abuse and suicide, and … higher levels of incarceration” for Aboriginal peoples.

A true hero emerges from among the oppressed. Chief Spence is hunger-protesting from a teepee on Victoria Island, right in the middle of the unforgiving Canadian winter. She arrived on the island from a tortured past. She was born into the open prison that is the life of many an Aboriginal in Canada. Like an estimated 150 000 Aboriginals, she lived and survived the genocidal residential school experience. Chief Spence and the Idle No More movement are protesting the Conservative government’s final pull at the tightening noose around First Nations.

Mandela arrived on Robben Island, where he spent 18 years, from an aristocratic upbringing in a royal family of South Africa’s Xhosa tribe. He and other prisoners were locked up only at night. During the day, they roamed freely. He spent his last few years in comfort at a warden’s house at Victor Verster prison. For most of the year, the warm African sun smiles on both prisons.

Mandela liberated many but himself and most of Africa’s blacks. Until 2008, he was still on theinfamous US terror watch list. I can understand why prisoner Mandela was designated a terrorist. That’s what colonial and apartheid regimes called our armed freedom fighters. But I can’t bear the image of Mandela, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, first black president of South Africa, international icon and personal friend of former US President Bill Clinton, requiring special certification from the US secretary of state every time he visited the US. Mandela ceased to be a terrorist when American politicians finally felt guilty enough and pressured then President George Bush to sign Bill H.R. 5690, which removed him from the list.

Mandela’s failure to challenge his terrorist designation confirms the fact that far too many black Africans still simultaneously adore and fear their former conquerors. It betrays what Mandela himself has described as a “permanent state of inferiority”, which inspires hatred and violence, and follows many out of Africa.

As recently as 2012, South Africa’s ruling ANC party defended the infamous “kill the Boer” (kill the farmer or white man) song. Recently, Zimbabweans gave up on the fine art of democratic conversation over the thorny issue of land ownership, and resorted to savage racist violence. Fellow Africans in Canada always warn me about the inevitable consequences of challenging Mr. Harper and the Conservatives.

Chief Spence is the epitome of courage. She’s publicly challenging Mr. Harper, arguably the most powerful leader in the western world today. She’s challenging the Crown to come to the table and discuss the oppressive Canada-First Nations treaty relationship.

Mandela and I never questioned the double standards that underpinned the west’s relationship with Robert Mugabe, the genocidal dictator of Zimbabwe, before he became the pariah that he is today. In the early 1980s, Mugabe engaged in a “systematic campaign of terror and repression against the minority Ndebele-speaking people”, which killed an estimated ten thousand innocent black villagers. One of the survivors would become my step-mom.

After the massacres, he received honorary degrees from Scotland’s Edinburgh University (1984), the University of Massachusetts (1986) and Michigan State University (1990). In 1994, Queen Elizabeth II made Mugabe a Knight Commander of the Order of Bath. The accolades were withdrawn after the violence of 2000-2003, when Mugabe confiscated white-owned farms, and murdered about 300 opposition supporters, about a dozen whites. The Queen annulled Mugabe’s knighthood in 2008.

Mandela too eagerly embraced violence. He co-founded Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the ANC. During 46 years of apartheid rule, at least 18,000 people died due to violence by MK freedom fighters, the police, the army and rioters.

In his statement made from the dock on April 20, 1964, at the opening of his trial on charges of sabotage in the Supreme Court of South Africa, Mandela explained that he embraced violence “as result of a calm and sober assessment” of the “tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by the whites.” He declared that “without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy.”

First Nations in Canada are living the predicament Mandela articulated. But, from the onset, Chief Spence encouraged peaceful solidarity protests. In fact, a hunger strike itself is a peaceful protest.

Originally published on The Huffington Post

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Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter.com/Obiemad 

 Chief Theresa Spences Heroism Already Eclipses Nelson Mandelas
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based activist and progressive political blogger. He’s the founder and publisher of The Canadian Progressive, a hard-hitting, provocative, unapologetic, activism-oriented political blog.
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28 comments on “Chief Theresa Spence’s Heroism Already Eclipses Nelson Mandela’s
  1. “Hunger-striking Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence is the reincarnation of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. She is becoming the greatest moral and political leader of our time. In fact, Chief Theresa Spence’s courage and sacrifice already eclipses that of South Africa’s globally-celebrated anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela.” – Obert Madondo.

    if this is not ill informed and reaching for straws, then i dont know what is

  2. "Hunger-striking Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence is the reincarnation of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. She is becoming the greatest moral and political leader of our time. In fact, Chief Theresa Spence’s courage and sacrifice already eclipses that of South Africa’s globally-celebrated anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela." – Obert Madondo.

    wow, just wow. how in the hell did those words enter your brain, you are worse than a used car salesman. this is embarrassing coming from someone who claims to be a "journalist".

  3. Without the Indigeneous people in Canada..You would have no Canada.. all the money extracted from resouces keeps Canada alive but still Indigenous are the poorest in the WORLD..Tell me? something is not right…If you don't like it! pack up and leave the country.. Canada is stolen land..I don't have to be judge to figure this one out.

    • sure, your aboriginal armies can vanquish us from canada. that wont be happening ever. Aboriginals are some of the poorest in the world? really? many aborigional tribes have multiple levels of bureaucracy of highly paid chiefs and council members. numbers don't lie, and if they are wrong, prove them wrong. how they spend the money is why they, and by they, i mean some, are poor. the problem is with the leadership within first. Refusal to even acknowledge there is a problem is stubborn and only proves people right when they say intervention is needed. it becomes other people problem when the money being wasted is tax payer money. if it was money generated from the reserve than it not an issue. you blindly support a system that has failed your people. like a sheep.

    • Actually your tax dollars came from Indigenous territory from Canada resources "the stolen land"…..This is our land Canada we call it TURTLE ISLAND..you will continue to pay taxes..This is the TREATY that was signed by our ANCESTORS for you to live in Canada..The TREATY is still legal.. so go to St.Francis XU library study hard find out how and where your people came from… I heard your Ancestors were criminals exile from the country.

    • I came from eastern europe. but regardless of that, you have avoided the elephant in the room. The fact that chiefs and council control the money that tax payer pay to the aboriginal reserves and spend it with poor foresight. you claim autonomy and that you are nations but cant even create a budget, or properly document financial expenditures. A nation must act like one, and small reserves of a few thousand people are NOT a nation in any sense nor do they have the capacity to function as such. Aboriginal people were here first, but others are here now, this is as much their home as yours and they will not be going anywhere. Throughout history, all over the world, there was migratory waves of people and indigenous peoples were displaced as a result, this is how it works everywhere on earth, you do not own this land as your people came to north america as well. You can trace aboriginal populations in north america to migratory shifts from north eastern Asia. look it up if you think i am wrong. you were here before us but that does not mean you own this land. Too many first nations rely on govt tax aid and still have the nerve to proclaim themselves to be nations when they cant even function without tax dollars.We wont be leaving, we will be coming more and more. In fact, overtime, you will find that the opposite will happen, we are here to stay for the long haul. you want to be a nation, stop asking for other peoples money to support yourselves. you want us to leave canada? make us. use your huge First nations army to drive us from these lands. we are the thieves and criminals that pay your leadership billions of dollars a year so you can squander it and then blame us. it is never even considered that aboriginals have to take responsibility for the problems in their communities. the white man is always the one to be blamed. Its hilarious that chief spence and her council mismanaged so much money and have the nerve to try and stage a hungerstrike to get more money. the problem is not the lack of money but the lack of proper leadership. you can keep playing the victim card all you want. you are a small minority of canada and a fraction of the population. for every person that sides with you blindly there are a 1000 that do not. There is more support against theresa spence than there is for her, because she is dishonest.

    • I guess the courts will decide who's land is it.. We might be small but we are powerful..Enjoy life while you living in Canada..keep paying your taxes..just like me..I dont waste my time on ignorants..I don't need to educate you about Canada.

    • John Smith When TREATIES were signed it was signed Nation to Nation each RESERVE signed the TREATY individually regardless how may people were there,, check, how many FN RESERVES are there in Canada? They are still legal documents.. too bad eh!

    • so you are trying to tell me that within canada there are 600+ autonomous nations, who all happen to get tax payer money from canada? I dont think so, those are not nations. Nations function as a nation, this is a welfare sub-state at best. there are no nations in north america other than the usa, canada, mexico. sorry to burst your bubble, nations do not rely on welfare from other nations, people do, not nations. you cant have it both ways, to want to be self governed and independent but to still receive payments from canada. the treaty will eventually be abolished as it does not help the first nations help themselves. treaties change and so do laws, and eventually the welfare social safety net that holds back the fn people will be gone, then all of us will be on equal ground. i know the idea of losing handout is threatening to some, but it is the only way to break the cycle of dependency on welfare, and encourage self preservation.say what you want a nation is not a few hundred people or a reserve, you define what makes a nation in different terms than i do or anyone else does in a modern world. the courts will never and i mean never, decide that these lands are aboriginal land only. there are other people who live here besides aboriginal people and judges know this very clearly, those other people happen to pay the salaries of those judges and also your chiefs and band leaders. some manage their welfare well and prosper, but too many chiefs and band elders embezzle and steal from the funds designed to help their very own people. sad , sad, sad..

    • the way you speak and write.. you have no clue about indigenous history in canada and usa.. Just wait Harper government is in trouble… keep paying you taxes while I'm enjoying life …so quit dreaming :)

    • Ronnie Beaver, enjoy life. free money must be nice, I can see you used it to build a nice little shack in Sioux falls, you should stay there. Also, I have read about aboriginal history, would you care to quiz me on it? the indigenous population in north america migrated to the continent thousands of years ago from asia. science confirms this. If i am indeed wrong, then show me the proof then? I hear a lots of rhetoric from you but nothing to back up your words. you already have your mind made up and refuse to consider that you my be wrong. you have not once countered me with any factual information, just vague accusations of me "not" knowing and you cant even tell me why. you are not very good at articulating your position on the matter.

    • Ronnie Beaver I have not spoken once, so how do you know? I write what I feel is correct and I can back up what I say with facts and examples, can you? show me where im wrong, post the right information and I will review it. You haven't told me what i am wrong about, not even an idea. I do not support harper but for this issue with first nations I am 100% behind him, something needs to change. Theresa Spence has done more to bring canadians together in support of harper than anyone could have ever done. She threw herself in the spotlight and now cowers from it because it is exposing her as an inept leader who cant run a reserve of less than 2000 people, yet want to be considered a nation, yet this nation has to economy or means of generating revenue other than hand outs from canada. that is not an economy, to ask for handout does not drive industry. this lady is delusional and so are many of the poorly-informed supporters of her, like the author of this article and you. you stand behind a womon who is doing more to damage aboriginal relations with canada than anybody in recent history. the biggest mistake was using her as a figure when she is mired in such controversy, she has done more to discredit the idle no more movement and anyone could have imagined. she is a fraud and you know it. Canada has a population of 35,000,000, of that, maybe 2,000,000 identify as aboriginal, or 5.7% of the population is aboriginal. should 94.3% of the population bow down to 5.7% of the population and allow them to receive billions of dollars in tax payer money and provide no paper trail or accountability? If the roles were reversed would you not want to know where and how your money is being spent. be realistic Beaver, your bias clouds your ability to be rational. You need to educate yourself about the issues before flapping your mouth off with no facts or information to back up your argument. how can anyone take you seriously when you cant formulate a valid attack against what i say and instead choose to take personal jabs and compliments this with vague allusions that im wrong. well, once again. how am i wrong? show me? where are the facts? you have nothing? i thought so. enjoy the free money, the money that you did not earn but feel entitled to because you are aboriginal. the same money that someone else worked for so you and your "wife" can live for free in that nice little shack in the middle of nowhere. enjoy your free money and enjoy your shack, heated with tax payer money im sure. must be nice to have the responsibilities of a child, not having to worry about having a career or providing for you family or kids, because the taxpayer will do it for you. you speak volumes of what needs to change in canada.

  4. this is one of the stupidest and most ill conceived articles I have ever read in my life. comparing Mandela to Spence is and insult to Mandela and just goes to show your bias, and how far your head is up your anus. you are not a journalist, you are a liar, a hype man, and blinded by stupidity. I sincerely hope you retract this insulting article and think before you write something so stupid. what a joke. wow. just wow.

    • It's unfortunate that most commenters here are articulating their racist prejudice against Theresa Spence and Aboriginal peoples in Canada. The rest are simply in denial; they refuse to imagine that Mandela could have ever erred before he was sainted. Both conveniently chose to ignore my main argument – that Mandela, the international icon of peace and reconciliation, embraced violence a "necessary and justified means of resolving conflict". He plunged South Africa into the cycle of violence the African country finds itself in today. By contrast, "emerging hero" Chief Spence has completely rejected violence. Her hunger strike is a huge statement of non-violence. A hunger strike is a peaceful protest.

      The article also articulates my position against all forms of violence. As a black person born and raised in African, I'm sickened by black African leaders like Mandela and Robert Mugabe, who embrace violence as a "necessary and justified means of resolving conflict". I'm sickened by westerners who patronize these thugs with honorary degrees, Nobel Peace Prizes, monuments and other accolades. I prefer to have the courage to acknowledge the impact of these leaders' words and deeds on the African psyche. In virtually every African country today, politics and elections are plagued by violence. Then there's the scourge of ethnic violence and civil strife. Frankly, it's time to get the violence out of the African. That process starts with mustering the courage to put Mandela, his manufactured legacy and patronizing worshipers on the stand.

      As a young man, Mandela boxed for sport. Then he co-founded Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC). In his statement made from the dock on April 20, 1964, at the opening of his trial on charges of sabotage in the Supreme Court of South Africa, Mandela eerily explained that he embraced violence "as result of a calm and sober assessment" of the "tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by the whites." He declared that "without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy." During 46 years of apartheid rule, at least 18,000 people died due to violence by MK "freedom fighters", the apartheid police and army, and rioters. In the mid-80s, the apartheid regime offered to release Mandela on condition that he renounce violence. Madiba rejected the offer.

      Who exactly did Nelson Mandela liberate then? Is South Africa better off now? NO. Most black South Africans are materially worse off now than they were under Apartheid. The white minority in South Africa is even better off now than it was under Apartheid. What became of the ruling ANC's Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), the "integrated, coherent socio-economic policy framework" which Mandela touted as "the end of one process and the beginning of another" in 1994? What became of the so-called Black Economic Empowerment (BEE)? What became of the spirit of reconciliation?

      Let's take a look at the scourge of post-apartheid violence, which has its roots in Apartheid-era statements like Mandela's.

      In 1993, this senseless violence claimed the life of Chris Hani, the man who would have been the successor to Mandela. Using apartheid-style violence, the South African police massacred 34 people at Lonmin mine in Marikana last year. According to the UN Office on Crimes and Drugs for the period 1998–2000, South Africa was ranked first for rapes per capita. According to the BBC News, 50 people are murdered in South Africa every day. Each year, the country records an average of 18,000 murders, and "another 18,000 attempted murders" every year. Since 1994, black South Africans have murdered over 3 000 white farmers. Compared that figure with the 12 or so white farmers black Zimbabweans killed recently, causing the country to become the international pariah it is today.

      And, as I posited in the article, the majority of Africans "still simultaneously adore and fear their former conquerors". Due to what Mandela himself has described as a “permanent state of inferiority”, which is a direct result of white colonial domination, many Africans lack the courage to engage whites peacefully and from a position of strength. To insist on being treated an equal. That's why decisions by westerners, such as the Queen's knighting of Robert Mugabe in 1994, after he killed 10 000 blacks, are never questioned.

      The article also articulates my righteous indignation at the way Mandela's original message, whatever it is, has been severely tarnished by capitalism and commercialism. Mandela has become a corporate brand, used to raise millions of dollars through opportunistic foundations, charitable fundraising initiatives, and souvenirs and mementos sold all over the world. Life-sized monuments in London and other western capitals. Blockbuster Hollywood movies like Invictus. Western politicians and – stars flocking to South Africa to pose for a photograph with the ailing Mandela.

    • Obert Madondo Okay. Let's not put another down so we can raise another up. This "journalism" does not equal truth. It is also not a vehicle to raise the issues that Chief Spence has raised. It also is another article on a select few when so many other issues plague the First Nation's people. Nobody is saying, "Get out of Canada" or that Aboriginal issues are trivial, or that there are not major problems. Instead why does this article not focus on the amount of time and energy that the hypocritical Chief Spence has taken away from real issues. The major one is accountability. Firstly on the part of the Federal Government to be transparent to the whole country about the problems of the People. Take the Government to task for not only broken promises but also the lack of National and International publicity about said problems. Secondly, Chief Spence and her smoke and mirrors campaign. "See how I do not eat with my right hand, not the food I have taken off my Peoples' plates with my left". We all must raise the issues into the light so that all can see the injustice on both sides. Then, and only then, may we move on to the future and not the past. Gandhi indeed. For shame Mr. Madondo, for shame.

  5. harper spends $90,000 a day ok. They represent the whole country. Spence represents less than 2000 people. A nation? hardly, I tribe, sure. under 2000 people does not make a nation in any way. but aside from that, the government is still a much more reliable and transparent entity than the band councils are to their people. if canada was run by band elders we would be worse off than mexico. Numbers don't lie and if they do, I would like chief spence and her council to point out what specifically is wrong with the audit and why. not one counter to that effect, but instead she refuses to talk to the media or answer any questions relating to an audit that is not new to her in any way. With all that time she could have formed an argument if there was one. while the audit I coined as a distraction by her, the same can be said about the "hunger" strike. I am still unclear as to what exactly she is trying to achieve with this, as no clear purpose has been outlined other than treaty rights. what treaty rights soecifically does she want addressed? more specifics are needed. It is unacceptable for anyone, native or non native, to expect to ask for millions of dollars, then spend it with barely any form of documentation, and ask for more. There is clearly mismanagement occurring on attawapiskat and she needs to be held accountable to her people. if the numbers lie, prove it with fact, don't just argue without any grounds to defend your position. Also, the other of this article should be ashamed of himself. how dare you compare a woman mired in such controversy to a person like Nelson Mandela. The author is so full of bs that any credibility he may have had is gone. What is going on in his mind, that he would compare Mandela to a person who is not even close to accomplishing even a fraction of what Mandela has accomplished and has not endured even close to what Mandela had to endure. this article is badly written, the argument it makes is wrong, idiotic, and reaching for straws. I am embarrassed for the author and I sincerely hope this buffoon never ends up writing for any popular news agency. this is propaganda, misinformation, and an insult to the apartheid movement. what a total moron.

  6. Ridiculous to compare this woman to Nelson Mandela. What were you thinking? This woman and her gold-bricking partner are a travesty in leadership. Bilking their own people of millions of dollars. Leadership is about setting an example. Such an example starts with sharing funds equitably and transparently. Native leadership must embrace this policy before any headway can be made for their cause.

    • Do some reseach before saying something.. get the facts first.. Harper government spends $90,000 a day to consultants..your tax dollars..if this is your concern

    • harper govt does not represent less than 2000 people. and spending was high under ndp and libs aswell. regardless of how they spend, that does not make it ok nor justify what is going on in attawapiskat. to say that the govt does it to is not in anyway a defense to the mismanagement occurring in attawapiskat. they need oversight until they can properly keep records. until that time, they should not be in direct control of any money that is given to them by the taxpayer. if you cant handle the money, get someone who can, seems like a no-brainer. you want tax payer money, show where it is and how it is spend. If i went and asked for millions of dollars of aid for programs and years later conditions did not improve, I would expect to have a detailed numbers and an explanation as to why it failed. If you give your kid $50.00 to get books and he comes back with no books and the money is spend. Would you give him $50 more, or would you expect an answer for what happened before breaking out the wallet again?

    • It's unfortunate that most commenters here are articulating their racist prejudice against Theresa Spence and Aboriginal peoples in Canada. The rest are simply in denial; they refuse to imagine that Mandela could have ever erred before he was sainted. Both conveniently chose to ignore my main argument – that Mandela, the international icon of peace and reconciliation, embraced violence a "necessary and justified means of resolving conflict". He plunged South Africa into the cycle of violence the African country finds itself in today. By contrast, "emerging hero" Chief Spence has completely rejected violence. Her hunger strike is a huge statement of non-violence. A hunger strike is a peaceful protest.

      The article also articulates my position against all forms of violence. As a black person born and raised in African, I'm sickened by black African leaders like Mandela and Robert Mugabe, who embrace violence as a "necessary and justified means of resolving conflict". I'm sickened by westerners who patronize these thugs with honorary degrees, Nobel Peace Prizes, monuments and other accolades. I prefer to have the courage to acknowledge the impact of these leaders' words and deeds on the African psyche. In virtually every African country today, politics and elections are plagued by violence. Then there's the scourge of ethnic violence and civil strife. Frankly, it's time to get the violence out of the African. That process starts with mustering the courage to put Mandela, his manufactured legacy and patronizing worshipers on the stand.

      As a young man, Mandela boxed for sport. Then he co-founded Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC). In his statement made from the dock on April 20, 1964, at the opening of his trial on charges of sabotage in the Supreme Court of South Africa, Mandela eerily explained that he embraced violence "as result of a calm and sober assessment" of the "tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by the whites." He declared that "without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy." During 46 years of apartheid rule, at least 18,000 people died due to violence by MK "freedom fighters", the apartheid police and army, and rioters. In the mid-80s, the apartheid regime offered to release Mandela on condition that he renounce violence. Madiba rejected the offer.

      Who exactly did Nelson Mandela liberate then? Is South Africa better off now? NO. Most black South Africans are materially worse off now than they were under Apartheid. The white minority in South Africa is even better off now than it was under Apartheid. What became of the ruling ANC's Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), the "integrated, coherent socio-economic policy framework" which Mandela touted as "the end of one process and the beginning of another" in 1994? What became of the so-called Black Economic Empowerment (BEE)? What became of the spirit of reconciliation?

      Let's take a look at the scourge of post-apartheid violence, which has its roots in Apartheid-era statements like Mandela's.

      In 1993, this senseless violence claimed the life of Chris Hani, the man who would have been the successor to Mandela. Using apartheid-style violence, the South African police massacred 34 people at Lonmin mine in Marikana last year. According to the UN Office on Crimes and Drugs for the period 1998–2000, South Africa was ranked first for rapes per capita. According to the BBC News, 50 people are murdered in South Africa every day. Each year, the country records an average of 18,000 murders, and "another 18,000 attempted murders" every year. Since 1994, black South Africans have murdered over 3 000 white farmers. Compared that figure with the 12 or so white farmers black Zimbabweans killed recently, causing the country to become the international pariah it is today.

      And, as I posited in the article, the majority of Africans "still simultaneously adore and fear their former conquerors". Due to what Mandela himself has described as a “permanent state of inferiority”, which is a direct result of white colonial domination, many Africans lack the courage to engage whites peacefully and from a position of strength. To insist on being treated an equal. That's why decisions by westerners, such as the Queen's knighting of Robert Mugabe in 1994, after he killed 10 000 blacks, are never questioned.

      The article also articulates my righteous indignation at the way Mandela's original message, whatever it is, has been severely tarnished by capitalism and commercialism. Mandela has become a corporate brand, used to raise millions of dollars through opportunistic foundations, charitable fundraising initiatives, and souvenirs and mementos sold all over the world. Life-sized monuments in London and other western capitals. Blockbuster Hollywood movies like Invictus. Western politicians and – stars flocking to South Africa to pose for a photograph with the ailing Mandela.

    • Obert Madondo , the issue is not that Mandela is good or bad. which to some people it depends, the issue is that you are elevating theresa spence and her "hunger" strike to the stratosphere of a person who has had a much greater impact on his people than chief spence. to put things into perspective, you have placed the chief on a podium while omitting certain thruths.the mismanagement of her town and the lack of accountability do not factor into your argument which praises her efforts for her struggle, when she has yet to even declare what specifically she is protesting, miring her intentions within a veil of ambigouity. She has since banned all media from her camp and refuses to answer and questions related to a scathing audit that paints a bad picture of her leadership. The only media she wants is the one who will push her cause without addressing the fundamental problems plaguing attawapiskat. the audit is not new to her, the leak is new, since the audit was made she has been unable to answer even the most basic questions relating to it. The fact that you omit so much valuable information while trying to praise her is saddening, bias, and misguided. she is no hero, she is no saint, you have not let the pieces of information fall into place before praising her and as a journalist that is irresponsible of you. she tried to manipulate the media to embarrass the harper govt into submission to continue funding a black hole of accountability. when the media began to question the numbers, she kicked them out. some hero. She wanted the meeting with the prime minister, she got it, she refused the governor general meeting with her 3 times, now after all that huffing and puffing, she will not even go the the meeting with the prime minister this Friday. Why? because she knows that questions will be asked that she can not answer without revealing herself to be inept. the truth will come out and when it does, the article will serve as a reminder of why you should not praise someone before knowing the truth. this article will be here after the dust settles to prove your misguided attempt to praise a fraud was a failure from the get-go

    • You can identify the amount and expenditure of the Harper government, but cannot apply the same metric to the Spence government. Admit it, you are biased out of the gate. Some objectivity.

    • Absolutely! It’s unfortunate that most commenters here are articulating their racist prejudice against Theresa Spence and Aboriginal peoples in Canada. The rest are simply in denial; they refuse to imagine that Mandela could have ever erred before he was sainted. Both conveniently chose to ignore my main argument – that Mandela, the international icon of peace and reconciliation, embraced violence a “necessary and justified means of resolving conflict”. He plunged South Africa into the cycle of violence the African country finds itself in today. By contrast, “emerging hero” Chief Spence has completely rejected violence. Her hunger strike is a huge statement of non-violence. A hunger strike is a peaceful protest.

      The article also articulates my position against all forms of violence. As a black person born and raised in African, I’m sickened by black African leaders like Mandela and Robert Mugabe, who embrace violence as a “necessary and justified means of resolving conflict”. I’m sickened by westerners who patronize these thugs with honorary degrees, Nobel Peace Prizes, monuments and other accolades. I prefer to have the courage to acknowledge the impact of these leaders’ words and deeds on the African psyche. In virtually every African country today, politics and elections are plagued by violence. Then there’s the scourge of ethnic violence and civil strife. Frankly, it’s time to get the violence out of the African. That process starts with mustering the courage to put Mandela, his manufactured legacy and patronizing worshipers on the stand.

      As a young man, Mandela boxed for sport. Then he co-founded Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC). In his statement made from the dock on April 20, 1964, at the opening of his trial on charges of sabotage in the Supreme Court of South Africa, Mandela eerily explained that he embraced violence “as result of a calm and sober assessment” of the “tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by the whites.” He declared that “without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy.” During 46 years of apartheid rule, at least 18,000 people died due to violence by MK “freedom fighters”, the apartheid police and army, and rioters. In the mid-80s, the apartheid regime offered to release Mandela on condition that he renounce violence. Madiba rejected the offer.

      Who exactly did Nelson Mandela liberate then? Is South Africa better off now? NO. Most black South Africans are materially worse off now than they were under Apartheid. The white minority in South Africa is even better off now than it was under Apartheid. What became of the ruling ANC’s Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), the “integrated, coherent socio-economic policy framework” which Mandela touted as “the end of one process and the beginning of another” in 1994? What became of the so-called Black Economic Empowerment (BEE)? What became of the spirit of reconciliation?

      Let’s take a look at the scourge of post-apartheid violence, which has its roots in Apartheid-era statements like Mandela’s.

      In 1993, this senseless violence claimed the life of Chris Hani, the man who would have been the successor to Mandela. Using apartheid-style violence, the South African police massacred 34 people at Lonmin mine in Marikana last year. According to the UN Office on Crimes and Drugs for the period 1998–2000, South Africa was ranked first for rapes per capita. According to the BBC News, 50 people are murdered in South Africa every day. Each year, the country records an average of 18,000 murders, and “another 18,000 attempted murders” every year. Since 1994, black South Africans have murdered over 3 000 white farmers. Compared that figure with the 12 or so white farmers black Zimbabweans killed recently, causing the country to become the international pariah it is today.

      And, as I posited in the article, the majority of Africans “still simultaneously adore and fear their former conquerors”. Due to what Mandela himself has described as a “permanent state of inferiority”, which is a direct result of white colonial domination, many Africans lack the courage to engage whites peacefully and from a position of strength. To insist on being treated an equal. That’s why decisions by westerners, such as the Queen’s knighting of Robert Mugabe in 1994, after he killed 10 000 blacks, are never questioned.

      The article also articulates my righteous indignation at the way Mandela’s original message, whatever it is, has been severely tarnished by capitalism and commercialism. Mandela has become a corporate brand, used to raise millions of dollars through opportunistic foundations, charitable fundraising initiatives, and souvenirs and mementos sold all over the world. Life-sized monuments in London and other western capitals. Blockbuster Hollywood movies like Invictus. Western politicians and – stars flocking to South Africa to pose for a photograph with the ailing Mandela.

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