Jonathan Cook: Mandela was forced to serve the New World Order

This remarkable essay echoes the Lendman critique, but situates it within a more complex, even multidimensional perspective. Imagining that Mandela knew what he was up against (the economic/political stranglehold of the galloping neoliberal New World Order), rather than blame him for not following through on his promises, he recognizes Mandela as a tragic figure, who, despite his personal integrity and because he found himself so alone, was forced into the position of puppet icon to distract the masses.

Mandela: a Dissenting Opinion

Victorious Over Apartheid, Defeated by Neoliberalism

December 6-8, 2013
by JONATHAN COOK

counterpunch via opednews

Offering a dissenting opinion at this moment of a general outpouring of grief at Nelson Mandela’s death is not likely to court popularity. It is also likely to be misunderstood.

So let me start by recognising Mandela’s huge achievement in helping to bring down South African apartheid, and make clear my enormous respect for the great personal sacrifices he made, including spending so many years caged up for his part in the struggle to liberate his people. These are things impossible to forget or ignore when assessing someone’s life.

Nonetheless, it is important to pause during the widespread acclamation of his legacy, mostly by people who have never demonstrated a fraction of his integrity, to consider a lesson that most observers want to overlook.

Perhaps the best way to make my point is to highlight a mock memo written in 2001 by Arjan el-Fassed, from Nelson Mandela to the NYT’s columnist Thomas Friedman. It is a wonderful, humane denunciation of Friedman’s hypocrisy and a demand for justice for the Palestinians that Mandela should have written. [http://www.keghart.com/Mandela-Palestine]

Soon afterwards, the memo spread online, stripped of el-Fassed’s closing byline. Many people, including a few senior journalists, assumed it was written by Mandela and published it as such. It seemed they wanted to believe that Mandela had written something as morally clear-sighted as this about another apartheid system, an Israeli one that is at least the equal of that imposed for decades on black South Africans.

However, the reality is that it was not written by Mandela, and his staff even went so far as to threaten legal action against the author.

Mandela spent most his adult life treated as a “terrorist”. There was a price to be paid for his long walk to freedom, and the end of South Africa’s system of racial apartheid. Mandela was rehabilitated into an “elder statesman” in return for South Africa being rapidly transformed into an outpost of neoliberalism, prioritising the kind of economic apartheid most of us in the west are getting a strong dose of now.

In my view, Mandela suffered a double tragedy in his post-prison years.

First, he was reinvented as a bloodless icon, one that other leaders could appropriate to legitimise their own claims, as the figureheads of the “democratic west”, to integrity and moral superiority. After finally being allowed to join the western “club”, he could be regularly paraded as proof of the club’s democratic credentials and its ethical sensibility.

Second, and even more tragically, this very status as icon became a trap in which he was required to act the “responsible” elder statesman, careful in what he said and which causes he was seen to espouse. He was forced to become a kind of Princess Diana, someone we could be allowed to love because he rarely said anything too threatening to the interests of the corporate elite who run the planet.

It is an indication of what Mandela was up against that the man who fought so hard and long against a brutal apartheid regime was so completely defeated when he took power in South Africa. That was because he was no longer struggling against a rogue regime but against the existing order, a global corporate system of power that he had no hope of challenging alone.

It is for that reason, rather simply to be contrarian, that I raise these failings. Or rather, they were not Mandela’s failings, but ours. Because, as I suspect Mandela realised only too well, one cannot lead a revolution when there are no followers.

For too long we have slumbered through the theft and pillage of our planet and the erosion of our democratic rights, preferring to wake only for the release of the next iPad or smart phone.

The very outpouring of grief from our leaders for Mandela’s loss helps to feed our slumber. Our willingness to suspend our anger this week, to listen respectfully to those watery-eyed leaders who forced Mandela to reform from a fighter into a notable, keeps us in our slumber. Next week there will be another reason not to struggle for our rights and our grandchildren’s rights to a decent life and a sustainable planet. There will always be a reason to worship at the feet of those who have no real power but are there to distract us from what truly matters.

No one, not even a Mandela, can change things by him or herself. There are no Messiahs on their way, but there are many false gods designed to keep us pacified, divided and weak.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His new website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

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0 Responses to Jonathan Cook: Mandela was forced to serve the New World Order

  1. laurabruno says:

    The massive emphasis on Mandela’s forgiveness of those who oppressed him and imprisoned him — Mandela as saint — has also been a very clear (to me) ploy to get the masses to swallow whole the idea that when the “leaders” are caught doing awful things, they should be forgiven and even put into as high a position as, say, vice president. At a time when the global “elite” are trying to negotiate complete forgiveness and a get out of jail free card without even going to jail — in “exchange” for “voluntarily relinquishing power” is just so very obvious, listening to what the hypnotized people in my life are taking away as general talking points from the media.

    Not to disparage Mandela in any way … but just noting that the media and the world “leaders” are pushing a clear agenda to get people to “turn the other cheek,” “forgive and forget,” and to have a pretend revolution instead of a true EVolution or Love-o-lution. “All you need is love” falls into this same meme with Russell Brand charming everyone like the Beatles. Love is NOT all you need when you are dealing with sociopaths and psychopaths. It’s a pretty story, but if you have ever dealt with a true sociopath or psychopath, or have ever known people directly affected by them, it becomes crystal clear that one also needs courage, inner strength and CLARITY in addition to amorphous, often misplaced love.

    Ditto on all the emphasis on Kennedy getting murdered … the continued refrain whether through “channeled” material, religion, media or other controllers is to find ever stickier ways to disempower humanity into willingly sticking itself to the fly paper. Shame, that! Because there IS great power and beauty in love and forgiveness — but only when done with a level of consciousness quite rare in today’s world.

  2. Mandella may have been a cronie for the elites (though why we call a gang of murdering, raping pedophiles elite is beyond me) but he is still a genocidal war criminal responsible for the deaths of more than 65,000 Boer farmers. He authorized bombings that killed hundreds of innocent men, women and children. This man should not be celebrated, but condemned. We must not make him into another Christopher Columbus, another villain-turned-hero by the media.

    • jamie says:

      Exactly. This is why people, such as Mandela, Gandhi ( the wife beater ) Mother Theresa ( the publicity seeker ), and their ilk, get lots of face time before the public. This is part and parcel of the “elite” conditioning of the human through emotional manipulation and memes.
      I have seen image after image of Mandela shaking hands with one despot after another and this tells me something very important. This tells me that this was a manipulated scenario ( by the entrenched powers ) in which “photo journalists” would snap image after image of these two diametrically opposed value systems ( for this is what we are actually talking about ) coming together to “agree to disagree”.

      Mandela, and all of the other socially accepted ‘paragons of virtual virtue’, perhaps should be purged from our minds so that we can begin to re-evaluate what it truly means to be courageous and incorruptible.

      This entire social structure is an egregious lie.

  3. rose day says:

    Laura Bruno’s comments pretty much sum it up. Thanks for running Jonathon Cook’s article…
    discernment is possible when we see both sides of the coin.

  4. I would like to make one point about the title of Jonathan Cook’s essay on Mandela;’ Mandela was forced to serve the New World Order’. One cannot make someone do something that goes against their inherent nature…unless threatened with death, but, there have been examples of those who have chosen death over the relinquishing of their souls. If one’s nature is truly repelled by pedophilia and the murder of babies and mothers then one does not shake hands with the unnatural, and, to be unnatural is to be mentally unstable.

    I have to give a great deal of credit to my therapist, Linda Fitch. If she had not asked me, “Jamie, what is real” I would still be struggling to just call things like my soul sees them. Not as my eyes sees this world but as my higher self sees the world, and, what my soul is aware of is the inherent dysfunction and flaw of the elitist value system; It has none.

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