“Mandela was a political activist and agitator… Before and after his release from prison, he embraced an unabashedly progressive and provocative platform.
As the world remembers Mandela, here are some of the things he believed that many will gloss over”:
1. He blasted the Iraq War, seeing it as a greater problem of American imperialism around the world. “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care,” he said.
2. He called freedom from poverty a “fundamental human right”, and one of the greatest evils in the world. “Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times — times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation — that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.”
He considered ending poverty a basic human duty: “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life,” he said. “While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.”
3. He criticised the “War on Terror” and said that the labeling of individuals as terrorists without due process “could also be seen as undermining some of the basic tenets of the rule of law”.
4. He called out racism in America. In 1990, he praised African Americans’ struggles against “the injustices of racist discrimination and economic equality”.
5. He embraced some of America’s biggest political enemies, refusing to denounce Fidel Castro or Muammar Gaddafi, who had lent their support to Mandela against South African apartheid. He also called Yasser Arafat “a comrade in arms”.
He said that “one of the mistakes the Western world makes is to think that their enemies should be our enemies”.
6. He was a die-hard supporter of trade unions.