Better late than never.
The US Senate has approved a bill to remove former South African president Nelson Mandela and his African National Congress from the US terror watch list…
The bill now heads to the White House, where it is expected to be signed by President George W. Bush in time for the anti-apartheid leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner’s 90th birthday on July 18.
So what were they doing on the terror watch list in the first place?
Well, the legislation designating the African National Congress a terrorist organization was passed during the 1980s while Ronald Reagan was president. While the rest of the world was banning the apartheid regime from the Olympics and otherwise designating them a global pariah, the Gipper was involved in “constructive engagement” with those very pariahs — and making sure that those who struggled for freedom were labled terrorists, as far as the U S of A was concerned.
And we who supported and worked for an end to apartheid, well, we were just a bunch of fellow travelers with communists. So insisted, for example, Reagan acolyte and public “intellectual” cleric Richard John Neuhaus on CBS and in the Reader’s Digest. You see, South Africa not only was oppressing its own people, it was also illegally occupying neighboring Namibia, residents of which resisted by forming the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO).
SWAPO had a problem buying guns and such from the West, so they had to turn to the Eastern Bloc of nations for self-defense items such as AK-47s. Meanwhile the World and National Councils of Churches were engaged in coordinating humanitarian aid to the people of Namibia, because food wasn’t all that easy to come by either.
These factoids were enough for Neuhaus to build his case. Because SWAPO bought their arms from the Eastern Bloc, that made them “communist supported.” And because the Councils of Churches were supplying SWAPO with humanitarian aid, that enabled the latter to buy guns instead of food. Thus were the churches supporting violent commmunist-backed international terrorism.
SWAPO was a terrorist organization also, I suppose, because they happened to shoot at white people. Never mind that the South African Army did such things as murder every single attendee at a church camp (except for one kid who hid under the bodies of his friends until the troops left and thus was able to bear witness). Never mind that the South African Army decorated its vehicles with the bodies of fallen SWAPO fighters. The Reaganistas knew who deserved “constructive engagement” and who deserved to be called terrorists. Even if they had read “Heart of Darkness” in college.
It’s about freaking time the ANC was taken off the terror watch list. And to all those presidential candidates of a certain persuasion who fell over themselves seeing who could lionize old Ronnie the most, this is the Ronnie I remember. This is the Ronnie history should remember.