Nelson Mandela is reported to have said, “The temptation is to speak in muffled tones about an issue such as the right of the people of
… yet we would
be less than human if we did so.” Palestine
Let us be clear, Mandela never spoke “in muffled tones” when it came to human rights and suffering for oppressed people all over the world.
All over the media, politicians and newscasters are jumping on the band wagon to sing the praises of Nelson Mandela, and rightly so. He was one of the outstanding leaders of the world during the past century. Yet, how many leaders, political and religious, tell us the whole of his greatness. To do so would be embarrassing.
Some of his most significant sayings that are being “muffled” are:
But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinian people.
People of conscience cringe with pain when the thought of what a difference it would make in the suffering of so many people if just one major TV news anchor would emphasize this aspect of Mandela’s struggle for peace.
I believe there are many similarities between our struggle and that of the PLO. We live under a unique form of colonialism in
as well as in ,
and a lot flows from that. Israel
When challenged by Ted Koppel on ABC, Mandela responded,
We identify with the PLO because, just like ourselves, they are fighting for the right of self determination.
He told an Australian news media:
We agree with the United Nations that international disputes should be settled by peaceful means. The belligerent attitude which is adopted by the Israeli government is to us unacceptable.
Mandela went on to say that the ANC does not consider the PLO a terrorist group:
If one has to refer to any of the parties as a terrorist state, one might refer to the Israeli government, because they are the people who are slaughtering defenseless and innocent Arabs in the occupied territories, and we don’t regard this as acceptable.
Western leaders, who until 2008, called him a terrorist are now falling all over themselves to call him a great leader. Obama puts him in the class with Lincoln, Roosevelt, Gandhi and King. Joe Biden eulogies, “The most remarkable man I have ever known in my entire life.” I agree. But my fear is that many of those world leaders gathered to bury Mandela are hoping to bury his principles of freedom from oppression along with him.
Mazin Qumsiyeh, human rights activist and well known professor, having taught at
, Duke and
Yale, writes: University
In this week’s compilation from occupied
Today, a 14 year old child shot by Israeli sniper in the back in Jalazour
Refugee Camp. A Palestine
young man was shot by the Israeli apartheid soldier using live ammunition
yesterday. Another lost his life after being in a coma for 7 months from an
Israeli bullet. The apartheid state of Bethlehem exonerated itself from the
murder of Mustafa Tamimi of Nebi Selah so today we join with the Nebi Saleh
community to protest and also to commemorate Nelson Mandela. Our friend Ashraf
from Bili’n was Mendela. We faced a barrage of rubber-coated steel bullets,
tear gas, and stun grenades. Mustafa’ younger brother Udai Tamimi was shot in
the face and is now in a Ramallah hospital.
Christian communities throughout Israel
will hold special services tomorrow… Sunday December 8 in honor of Mendela. Palestine
A comment of William Slone Coffin comes to mind; “Peace will come when those who are not victims of injustice feel as keenly about it as those who are.”
Mandela lived in an apartheid state in “homelands” with no power, no military, no real economy and no control over its land, labor or resources”. No surprise that he would identify with the Palestinians who suffer every day under the oppression of
. He knew what it felt like to be labeled a
terrorist because he stood up for democracy and equality. His moral authority
forces us to admit that democracy and racism can never be happily married. Speaking loud and clear, Nelson Mandela said
that the world can only work from a position of truth. It is
time for our political and religious leaders to stop muffling the tone of his voice. Israel
Thomas AreDecember 12, 2013
 President Nelson Mandela at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. December 4, 1997,
 Article in JTA, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Global Jewish News Source, South African and the
Leaders Dismayed over Mandela’s Remarks. March 2, 1990. U.S.
 JTA article, Mandela
Australian Jews with Fresh Anti-Israel Rhetoric. October 25, 1990. Angers
 Mazin Qumsiyeh, Israeli Apartheid Gift to Mandela: Myrters and Injuries. Popular Resistance, December 7, 2013.