what began, as i saw it, as an historical storm in a tea-cup became, due to the frantic efforts of a few people, a lesson and rebuttal on rewriting history or the attempt thereof.
my following words and the articles that follow set out my beliefs most clearly.
but like all good tales we need to begin at the beginning.
i, like billions of others around the world, was saddened by the death of nelson mandela. tears came to my eyes when i learnt of his passing. great men and women had died previously but none of the political stature of mandiba. his life was a great gift to the rest of us and we mourned his passing whilst celebrating his life. and his lessons on struggle.
i expected no further involvement and said farewell in my own private way when quite unexpectedly i was asked to attend not one but two memorial services for mandiba. i was, of course, absolutely thrilled and honoured to be asked to participate in such an event. the first invite came from the pitt street uniting church and that was followed by an invite from the unsw organisers to attend that event the following day.
both invites came from areas normally outside of my area of activity. i admit to no great personal involvement during the anti-apartheid demonstrations; my input was through my then trade union activities. i had met with eddie funde and his family and supported as best as my then circumstances allowed. what i did do however is acquaint myself of the facts of the apartheid regime and its supporters. i read, watched and listened, and learnt. and that learning has been supported by further learning.
mandiba, for me, then and now, has completely epitomized my deep understanding of struggle to fight against bad laws and bad governments. nelson and the anc fought against the complete loss of their lands and their humanity. along with their innate human rights. i was as comfortable with the counter-violence used by the anc as being absolutely necessary to winning their war. so too was/is archbishop tutu.
basically i have been an anc/mandiba total supporter since i was made aware of the struggle. hence to receive not one but two invites to talk of my understanding and respect for this man were events not to be missed.
i attended the pitt street uniting church and after renewing some old contacts i became inculcated into the active participants in the process. the four religious leaders, all representing only christian religions, made a comment and lit candles. there were only three speakers following dorothy mcrea-mcmahon, the first the acting high commissioner of south africa, ray sitole, who spoke for 10 minutes, and kolin thumbadoo, an anc activist among other things, and myself on behalf of my association, isja.
my address there was less political than that given at the unsw event but i did raise the fact that mandiba had supported us (aboriginal people) to fight against injustice in all areas. to fight against bad laws and bad governments. i also raised the fact that some religions also had bad laws and we needed to fight against them also. when leaving the church several people made known to me that they had agreed with what i had said. i then renewed my friendship with nsw governor marie bashir and departed for a pending isja public meeting.
at both events i acknowledged that we were meeting on the stolen lands of the gadigal people.
i wanted the unsw address to be similar in some detail to the pitt street uniting church one and believed that i would be able to do so. at no time was i instructed by the organisers that i should not be political in content. during the previous days of his funereal process i was extremely angered by news attempts to white-wash the real history of mandiba. only his tolerance, humanity and forgiveness was highlighted whilst his role of political activist and being released from 27 years of political imprisonment, 25 on robben island and another two on the mainland, was not mentioned. he was disgustingly now measured against such politicians as thatcher and reagan who actively fought against the sanctions against the apartheid government of south africa. i had decided to reraise his activism and leadership and this i did.
i was accompanied to the saturday event by my other-son and -daughter along with my granddaughter. i was either the third or fourth speaker. after acknowledging the stolen gadigal land i began by saying that whilst it was true that mandiba was a colossus of humanity and a tower of tolerance and forgiveness he was much, much more than that and that fact needed to be also recognised when talking of the life of mandiba.
mandiba was not only a fighter for his own people and other africans also fighting against colonialism but he was also, most definitely, an international fighter of great stature. he also supported the struggles of other peoples around the world. three of those struggles he supported were the palestinian struggle against zionist hegemony, the cuban people’s fight against u.s. hegemony and the struggle of the aborigines of australia against colonialist hegemony. but he understood more than that, he knew that those three groups had come forth very early to give support to his struggle.
i also stated that i had been sickened by carrion politicians slinking out of their caves to feast upon the glory of mandiba! when finished, as is my practice, i thanked the audience and returned to my seat. at the mention of zionism i was booed by a small group that i later found out where jewish students. some applause was also given and i waited the speeches of others. including ms. meredith bergmann who was extremely active in the disruption of the springbok tours.
during that time i was approached by a ms. jenny tillman(?) who began by stating that she had fought for 20 years to obtain scholarships at masada college for aboriginal students and i thanked her for her good works. i was then strongly told that i was a disgrace and divisive as i had politicised the day! i was that shocked by her outburst that i inadvertently laughed at her claim that i had in some way not only offended her and the ‘whole’ audience but that i had politicised the event! i told her that mandiba was political and i would retract nothing nor apologise for my statements of fact.
there were other words but they faded as she left in a great huff. others, i was told, who had heard the conversation had apparently had had words with her. i thought no more about it and at the completion of the event i was thanked by the organisers, the south african comrades and some members of the audience. our family unit went to our respective homes.
on the tuesday i was contacted by nitv who informed me that i was to appear in an article in the australian on wednesday about the saturday event. i was stunned! a storm in a teacup had somehow become worthy of becoming national news. absolutely ridiculous! on the wednesday, nicholas leys of the australian sent me a copy of his report after our discussion the previous day. the article is reproduced below. i didn’t know whether to laugh or cry but it most definitely did not amuse others. kolin thumbadoo who had also spoken on the saturday wrote a letter to the editor re the events but it is not known if it was printed, it is too produced below. palestinian and other friends also supported my words.
i assumed that it would now be overtaken by tinsel and xmas cake but i was wrong. on the friday i was contacted by some out-of-breath woman on jwire. jwire is a jewish news service. this was becoming farcical to the point of harassment towards me. she stated that i had to apologise for my words and i told her that i do not apprise for telling truths. she became hysterical that i had used the term, ‘zionist hegemony’ and i should be shamed to the core. the reverse was my reply and so it went on and on until i called a halt to it by telling .her to take me to court if her or jenny or others had been defamed in any way whereby the history of zionism could be discussed in full.
thankfully, silence since then but i am assuming this rebuttal may shake their revisionist policies once more into action.
some readers of this post may not know what zionism is so i include a brief explanation from wikipedia that closest matches my beliefs on that subject. this is followed by a link to an american town hall meeting as it is described. mandiba participated strongly in his support for the palestinian and cuban peoples and finally an article explaining why netanyahu did not attend the great man’s funereal.
i now close my personal explanation and rebuttal of the attacks by the jewish lobby.
Story below. Its on page three of todays Australian.
|The Australian, Edition 1 – All-round Country||WED 18 DEC 2013, Page 003|
`Hateful’ comments in speech on Mandela
– EXCLUSIVE –
By: NICK LEYS
A SPEAKER at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela outraged some guests by referring to the “Palestinian struggle” and “Zionist hegemony”.
Ray Jackson, president of the Indigenous Social Justice Association, was speaking at a University of NSW’s Australian Human Rights Centre tribute event last Saturday, which was attended by more than 200 people including federal Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek. His comments were met with boos in the audience, which included members of the Jewish community. Mr Jackson had made similar comments at a service to commemorate Mandela at the Uniting Church in Sydney the previous day.
He confirmed his comments to The Australian and acknowledged some of the audience were unhappy, but he felt no need to apologise. “One teacher from a local Jewish school accused me of politicising the event but I just laughed at her and said Nelson was a political figure,” Mr Jackson said. “I also mentioned the US hegemony over Cuba and that Madiba had supported the Cubans. I said he had supported the Aboriginal struggle for social justice. I mentioned I was disgusted with the politicians crawling out of their caves to feast on the body of Madiba. But the thing that upset them was my reference to Zionism.”
He said many people in the audience at UNSW had applauded his comments. The chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Vic Alhadeff, who was at the Uniting Church service, said: “It was highly unfortunate that both ceremonies, which were intended to focus on Mandela’s ability to forgive and bridge divides, were sullied by hateful and divisive views.”
A spokesman for Ms Plibersek said she had not been aware of Mr Jackson’s comments as she left the service early.
The Australian Newspaper
The article by Nick Leys (Hateful comments in speech on Mandela) is reminiscent of the role your newspaper played in supporting, sustaining and encouraging Apartheid South Africa. Indeed you carried paid propaganda advertisements for the regime itself. One would have thought that the lavish, unprecedented (thoroughly deserved) praise that the media generally, including the Australian, bestowed on Madiba would be a moment to reflect on the role print media plays on issues of historic international importance.
To include the word hateful alongside that of the name Mandela is nothing short of contemptuous, outrageous and just plain wrong and does nothing to enhance your much vaunted reputation as a serious journal. That this has occurred at the same time as hate speech is to become legitimate once again goes to the very heart of your insidious attempt to brand all those who are apposed to Zionist racism and occupation as anti-Semitic, just remember that the Palestinians are Semites as well. You cannot have it both ways.
As a publically proclaimed torch bearer of Mandelas powerful Legacy I actually attended the University of New South Wales event and witnessed that deplorable, unedifying act of disrespect to an Indigenous elder in Ray Jackson who quite rightly drew the obvious historical connection between dispossessed Indigenous Australians, dispossessed Palestinians and the magnificent peoples of South Africa against racist Apartheid
In keeping with the wonderful gifts of forgiveness and reconciliation, universally acknowledged by the world we (South Africans) and our Jewish, Muslims, Christians, Hindu, believers and non-believers alike will, no MUST fight racist disadvantage and racist oppression here in Australia and abroad as it is in Israel. Should your newspaper want to redeem its tarnished reputation I would gladly recommend that you provide an open platform and coverage of all matters Palestinians/Israeli and liberate yourself from the clutches of hasbara.
Kolin Thumbadoo and 20 others
Steering committee Mandela Legacy Day 21st March 2014
Mob: 0402 894 386
Zionism (Hebrew: ציונות, Tsiyonut; Arabic: صهيونية, Ṣahyūniyya) is a form of nationalism of Jews and Jewish culture that, after debates on the best location for the Jewish nation state, including in East Africa, came to support its creation in the territory defined as the Land of Israel. A religious variety of Zionism supports Jews upholding their Jewish identity, opposes the assimilation of Jews into other societies and has advocated the return of Jews to Israel as a means for Jews to be a majority in their own nation, and to be liberated from antisemitic discrimination, exclusion, and persecution that had historically occurred in the diaspora. Zionism emerged in the late 19th century in central and eastern Europe as a national revival movement, and soon after this most leaders of the movement associated the main goal with creating the desired state in Palestine, then an area controlled by the Ottoman Empire. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state and address threats to its continued existence and security. In a less common usage, the term may also refer to non-political, cultural Zionism, founded and represented most prominently by Ahad Ha’am; and political support for the State of Israel by non-Jews, as in Christian Zionism.
Defenders of Zionism say it is a national liberation movement for the repatriation of a dispersed socio-religious group to what they see as an abandoned homeland millennia before.Critics of Zionism see it as a colonialist or racist ideology that led to the denial of rights, dispossession and expulsion of the “indigenous population of Palestine”.
I thought of you when I saw this wonderful excerpt from the mandela
> the last minute and a half are especially brilliant …
> take care
December 10, 2013, 7:23 pm
Leaders of Israel and Iran Praise Mandela, From a Safe Distance
South Africas president, Jacob Zuma, was greeted with boos when he was introduced at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela on Tuesday.
Updated, Wednesday, 6:08 p.m.
As boos rained down on South Africas president, Jacob Zuma, during the memorial service for Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, and American conservatives reacted with fury over President Obamas handshake with President Raúl Castro of Cuba, it was not hard to imagine sighs of relief being breathed by top officials in Israel and Iran who decided that they were too busy, ill, or frugal to make the trip themselves.
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen showing Secretary of State John Kerry a photograph of President Obama shaking hands with President Raúl Castro of Cuba on Tuesday.
In Israel, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu first said that he would attend the ceremony, but then canceled, saying he could not justify the expense, and President Shimon Peres also declined to travel, citing a recent flu, there was speculation that both men may have wanted to avoid the possibility of an unruly reception, or awkward questions, over Israels security cooperation with South Africas apartheid government during Mr. Mandelas long imprisonment.
As Larry Derfner reported on the Israeli news blog +972, a well-connected columnist for the Tel Aviv daily Yediot Ahronot, Eitan Haber, reminded his readers on Monday that Israel in the 70s and 80s was a full, enthusiastic partner of the apartheid regime. Until this day, millions of South African citizens have not forgotten nor forgiven Israels role. Given that, Mr. Haber wrote:
The cancellation of Netanyahus flight to the ceremony shouldnt have surprised anyone. The leader has not yet been born who will knowingly step into a boiling pot of hatred and contempt. Netanyahu, if he were to go to the funeral, could attract headlines in the world media negative ones. Its a great honor to stand at a funeral alongside the presidents of the United States and other countries, next to kings, prime ministers, princes and the whos who of the world. But its a very small honor indeed to have hundreds of TV cameras aimed at you when you are rejected, ostracized, disgraced.
Instead of speaking at the memorial, Mr. Netanyahu expressed his admiration in a YouTube message saluting Mr. Mandela as one of the stellar figures of our age, who never became proud or haughty.
Remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the death of Nelson Mandela.
Although health concerns for Mr. Peres, who is 90, are hard to dismiss, Mr. Derfner was not alone in suggesting that the presidents decision not to travel could have been related to renewed scrutiny of his central role in forging Israels military alliance with the white-minority rulers of South Africa.
On Sunday, the NBC News correspondent Robert Windrem reported:
In the 1970s, while Mandela was languishing in a damp prison cell on Robben Island, Peres was making deals with South Africas apartheid regime, according to interviews and documents gathered by NBC News, a recent documentary and a book based on Israeli and South African government documents. With the help of an Israeli operative now famed as the Hollywood mogul behind Pretty Woman and Fight Club, Peres traded missiles for money and the uranium needed for atomic bombs.
The fascinating history of the military cooperation between the two countries was brought back into the spotlight in 2010 with the publication of Sasha Polakow-Suranskys book The Unspoken Alliance: Israels Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa. The author, who was an editor at Foreign Affairs at the time, later joined The New York Times, where he now works on the international opinion pages.
After his book was published, Mr. Polakow-Suransky described the documentary evidence he had uncovered showing that Mr. Peres was deeply involved in cultivating the relationship in an interview with Amy Goodman and at a New America Foundation forum.
That alliance proved awkward for Israel when Mr. Mandela visited the country for the first time as South Africas president in 1999. There were, a New York Times report on the trip noted, continuing undercurrents of distrust between Mr. Mandela, a staunch champion of the Palestinian cause, and a country that once helped arm the apartheid Government. The article also explained that Mr. Mandela made an unequivocal call for Israel to withdraw from all the Arab territories it had occupied in 1967.
Before traveling on to Gaza for an afternoon meeting with another good friend Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader Mr. Mandela reiterated his unwavering opposition to Israeli control of Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and southern Lebanon.
Talk of peace will remain hollow if Israel continues to occupy Arab territories, he said, sitting at a conference table in Israels Foreign Ministry, where such sentiments are rarely heard. I understand completely well why Israel occupies these lands. There was a war. But if there is going to be peace, there must be complete withdrawal from all of these areas.
And, leaving little doubt about his lingering resentment of Israels diplomatic and military ties to his former jailers, he tartly noted that upon his release from prison in 1990, he received invitations to visit almost every country in the world, except Israel.
Like Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Peres elected to pay tribute to Mr. Mandela online, in his case on Facebook, and stay home. Israels delegation to the memorial was led by the Parliament speaker and a West Bank settler, Yuli Edelstein, who was himself a political prisoner in the 1980s, before his emigration from the Soviet Union. After the ceremony, Mr. Edelstein posted a photograph of himself speaking with former President Jimmy Carter, a staunch opponent of Israels occupation of the West Bank, which he has compared to South African apartheid.
For Iranians, meanwhile, almost as soon as news of the ceremony broke, anticipation started again over the possibility of a handshake between the presidents of Iran and the United States.
Given that President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are engaged in a delicate balancing act at home trying to pursue talks with the international community over Irans nuclear program without giving ammunition to hard-line conservatives who would like to sabotage the negotiations perhaps neither man wanted to run the risk of encountering Mr. Obamas outstretched hand this week.
Perhaps, too, they recalled the controversy after the funeral of Pope John Paul II, when Israels president at the time, Moshe Katsav, insisted that he had shaken hands with Irans president then, Mohammad Khatami. After Mr. Katsavs account of the greeting was reported in Israel, Mr. Khatami was quoted in Irans state media strongly denying that he had engaged in any meeting with a personality from the Zionist regime.
In the end, they too offered online condolences and dispatched a delegation led by a lower-ranking official.
indigenous social justice association
(m) 0450 651 063
(p) 02 9318 0947
address 1303/200 pitt street waterloo 2017
we live and work on the stolen lands of the gadigal people.
sovereignty treaty social justice