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Hamas: They Are Not Bad, They’re Just Drawn That Way


Posted on July 21, 2011 by Marivel Guzman


I choose to re-post this article because express very clearly the way the collective conscientiousness  get sway away from the reality, the facts, the Truth. Part of this article is Originally Posted on October 19, 2009 By Mary Rizzo on Sabbah Report

Read in its entirely and think what is written in here, what resonate with your ideas, ideals and inner thoughts.

What is really that you think of the resistance movements around the world, not only Hamas, but every movement of resistance that you know about it, that you have heard on the NEWS.
After reading this article I invite you to go and read about any country that has any sort of conflict and read on their history, their struggles to survive, their patrons, their exploitators, their dictators.

Pick up few articles from diverse news outlets leaving out the Big Media and if possible pick some books on the subject, make sure they are not ‘Best Sellers’, (Leave out Oprah’s Picks), as they tend to be tools of propaganda,  at the end of 3 months of reading and making analysis of what you have read, I want you to to make your conclusions and write down what you thought of that country.

Now open CNN, FOX, BBC or any three  Big News Outlets and find their stories on the country you have studied and make again conclusions and feel the notion of liberation from poisonous social entertaining Business News.

You will see the world with different eyes, you will ‘feel’ the world from your perspective. Take it as a mental experiment, to see how soaked you are with lies, dis-information and debunking information.  I know that after you go to this process of cleansing, you too will be part of the invisible revolution that has overtaken our world, and welcome to the New World Order, our New World Order.

I know for some of you will find almost incredible that I picked this article from this author, happen to be that 2 years ago, she  wrote what she felt was right. And given credit to her authorship is just right. Bear in mind that I do not agree with everything that she write in this article but I do agree with some points she mentions regarding resistance movements. Her article is very extensive and I don’t doubt that she research extensively to created such a lengthy piece, never forgetting that the source of our research is what sometimes makes our state of mind.
I know Hamas subject is very touchy but is very good example of what we need to explore and understand. The reality on the ground is very far from what we imagine, even if we get the pictures of the day, we can not even phantom the fear of war, the moments of terror that the children live day by day. The responsibility of their appointed leaders is enormous, so this is an invitation to see their side of their story, thru the eyes of the independent media and the story portrayed by the PAID MEDIA, and at the end will be their story, vs our story, or the official story, in one word His story/history.

“The Media and the Use of Propaganda in WarIn researching the existing literature pertaining to the issue of the media and propaganda, there must first be proper definitions for the terms ‘propaganda’ and ‘media’ in the context of politics and war. Next follows an analysis of the different articles and works already undertaken on the subject of the media’s role (as a propaganda tool) and the effectiveness of this specific form of propaganda. Thereby also concerns several pending questions regarding the different human perspectives of propaganda that is spread by the media. Lastly, there is the review of literature in relation to propaganda as a whole. Definitions of the media and propagandaIn identifying the topic scope, the term ‘media’ refers to the plural of the word ‘medium’ (Pearsall 1999). In this context, the ‘media’ is defined as ‘the main means of mass communication in forms of television, newspapers and the radio.’ (1999: 884).Petley states, that the term ‘propaganda’ refers to ‘the deliberate use of newspapers, television and other media to influence people’s attitudes (2000:26). Petley also states that propaganda is ‘[used] often [by] employing lies and distortion’.”

hamas-flags-at-sunset

In many parts of the West, certain political parties or movements are treated as if they come from the Moon or are alien to any body politic. Their existence among the people is always scrutinized as negative, transitory and something created in a boardroom or a backroom, imposed upon an unsophisticated public that is unable to differentiate a true political programme from empty and simplistic rhetoric. These parties or movements are depicted as if they only address the margins of society who are disenfranchised from any “normal” democratic bodies, and thus, are ramshackle bands that represent a minority constituency. Given their oppositional nature to pre-existing parties, they are outfitted with the label that will serve to keep them isolated from the structures that are already in operation. All of this is to destroy the party or movement by propaganda work rather than analysis of reality.

An entire mythology has been built around the Palestinian resistance movement (which morphed into a party) Hamas. This construct has actually taken on more legitimacy as a factual interpretation of Hamas than the facts themselves. In most of the Western media, no matter if it is on the right or the left, and in some of the “moderate” media in Arab countries, the very name of the party is coupled with terms such as “fundamentalist”, “radical” or “terrorist”. Clearly, this serves to create a fear trigger that will remove the word from being critically and honestly evaluated. The listener will immediately identify Hamas with a negative connotation and is removed from responsibility for understanding that this is a manipulation of reality. The listener is expected to accept the claims that Hamas is “anti-democratic” and “fanatical”. It is child’s play to then convince the listener that Hamas is Bad, that it is the Enemy of all We represent (in our own eyes, tolerance, democracy, Goodness itself). It is possible to then extend that reading to the belief that action must be taken against them, that they are a “cancer that must be gotten rid of”, as quoted by the institutional peacenik.  How does one eradicate a cancer, once it has been diagnosed? By extirpation or bombardment. With cancer treatment, one “bombards” even the healthy parts of the body with toxic agents, waiting to see if after the battle there were enough healthy parts remaining to allow the organism to continue to exist. Once you have set into the minds of millions of people the idea that destruction is good, because the enemy is just so damaging and evil if allowed to exist, the risk of bringing the entire organism to its grave by weakening it dramatically is taken as a viable risk to run. This is a way to make them justify actions that their own eyes don’t see as therapeutic, but are pure horror and evil.

How did it work that the world was so fooled and allowed Israel to destroy Gaza to “get rid of Hamas”? It was quite simple, and it’s always the same answer: Israel and its allies keep people dis-informed. Those who actually will go slightly below the screaming headlines of the newspapers might find out a few facts buried that that will contradict the spin, but not that many people will go that far, given that they are exposed to something with an element of truth buried deep within. If that were not problematic enough, even the “progressives” have done meritorious services to rendering Hamas untouchable. They might accept them as a “resistance movement” but they won’t allow their personal ideological bias to see Hamas as a progressive force for their own people’s advancement. This may be out of conviction, convenience or even lack of research or a blind spot that does not allow variations on the theme of the class struggle, where everything is “international” and the same type of rules and ideals should be considered applicable and necessary for all, going so far in some cases to “import democracy” under various more or less aggressive forms.

These people, many of whom are armed with good intentions, have chewed, swallowed, and are spitting back quite a few of the outright lies and distortions that are part of the mythology created by opponents of Hamas, created in Israel and the West, primarily.

What are the components of that mythology?
1) Hamas was created by the Israeli Mossad.
2) Hamas represents a marginal portion of the Palestinians.
3) Hamas turned democratic enough just to be able to obtain some legitimacy to later take over and turn the Palestinian Territories into an Islamic State.
4) Their victory in the polls was nothing more than a protest vote against the corruption of Fatah.
5) Hamas is comprised of a bunch of illiterates and their electors are sucked in by their own ignorance.
6) Hamas is a fundamentalist group and therefore inflexible and incapable of any modification or evolution. The oft cited Charter is used against them to stress that they are simply a radical, destructive group poised for Holy War.
7) Hamas does not seek any kind of compromise with other Palestinian political parties or factions, and are therefore the divisionary element that prohibits of the unity of the people.
8 ) Hamas operates to indoctrinate their people with hate propaganda in order to utilize them as cannon fodder.
9) Hamas is a terrorist group that exists only thanks to financing by “fundamentalist regimes”.

That Hamas is merely a resistance movement has been thoroughly disproved by the elections, but this seems to be the safe place that activists can cluster in order to allow themselves to be able to tolerate Hamas, while wishing for their quick demise. They are not viewed then as having a true heritage as a political party that can be compared to those of “democratic nations” of the “international community”, and thus, analysis of them can remain at an elementary level, lending itself to hasty generalizations.

I ask my readers to kindly forgive all the inverted quotation marks, but these words do become ironic and empty of true meaning when they are applied to the objects indicated by the spin doctors, whose task it is to do the bidding of the hegemonic powers. How can a minority of a handful of nations that always pits itself against the will of the remainder of the world community in the UN be considered as the “international community”? It’s a boy’s club that excludes practically everyone. How can a country that puts in office the candidate who obtains the lesser amount of votes be called a “democracy”? It is when we start to question our own foundations that we can detect that there is a lot of convenience in presenting any opposition as being an enemy and outside of paradigms that we consider to be core to our expectations of how to establish a just and equitable world.

It’s time to debunk a few of these myths with facts.

1) Hamas was not created by Mossad. Although Israel does like to claim credit for many things, this one is not their doing. Political Islam in Palestine has had a presence since the early 40s in Mandate Palestine, and Hamas was born as part of the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan), with many of its early leaders formally affiliated. It was the experience of refugeehood that turned Hamas into a more autonomous element with a particular nationalist basis to it, a natural result of the urgent and real human situation of displacement and loss of their cultural and national identity.

There were close relations of this group with the Egyptian base, and the first offices of the Ikhwan in Palestine were created in Gaza in 1945, led by a member of one of the most important families of the zone, Sheykh Zafer al Shawwa. During the first Arab-Israeli war, Islamist volunteers reinforced the ranks, coming primarily from Jordan and Syria, and this support showed the refugees that the Ikhwan had the courage to defend itself, even during the “Israeli War of Independence”. The growing number of refugees gave a stronger identity and sense of purpose to the Islamist movement in Palestine. Therefore, in the civil society and in the population in general, a motivation from any other source was not required to be able to pledge: “I promise to be a good Muslim in defending Islam and the lost land of Palestine. I promise to be a good example for the community and for others.” These were the words spoken by those who swore their loyalty to the Ikhwan in Palestine (source: Beverly Milton Edwards, “Islamic Politics in Palestine”, p. 43). The local Ikhwan had its own agenda, defending its lost land. It didn’t require fanaticism, outside influence or even propaganda. The refugees themselves were living proof of the horrors of deportation and suffering. The identification as part of an international movement was concomitant with the recognition of the particularity of the Palestinian experience. The official foundation, dating 9 December 1987, was only the culmination of an organization in the works for decades. Organized Islamic resistance was further utilized when the situation precipitated dramatically in 1967 and a new generation was born as refugees. For this generation, a return to Islam was considered as a necessity for the moral and political future of a people that was being literally destroyed. The cause of the Nakba was seen by many as the result of the distancing from a normal society, the Palestinian one, in which the ethical, religious, cultural and traditional values had been devastated by the occupation, and the descent into further degradation, poverty, disenfranchisement and social instability was seen not only as the result of the occupation, but part of its cause.

The “international community” would not come to the rescue of these people, the rest of the Ummah was not caught up in their national struggle, largely because they were not directly involved or were even prohibited from involvement. The extreme pain and disgrace of losing one’s land at that time was a new element to the area, where previous colonization avoided expelling the indigenous inhabitants, and throwing off the usurpers was not complicated with the total loss of roots and a base. The basis for the formal dimension of Hamas was thus present for decades prior to its official birth. In order to operate, being under the thumb of the occupation, these organized groups that existed had established charities and benefit organizations for their people. These institutions were tolerated by Israel in the Occupied Territories. Israel conceded some operating space through granting of licenses. As General Yitzhak Sager said in an interview to the International Herald Tribune in 1981, the Israeli government “…gave money that the military governor allocated to the mosques […] the sums were used both by the mosques and the religious schools, with the purpose of reinforcing a subject that would contrast that of the Left that was in favour of the PLO.” If there was some motivation for Israel to be involved, it was really as an act of ‘divide and rule’, a bit of tolerance, a bit of economic support to the various religious associations in order to see if an opposition to the nationalists of the PLO could develop. They really were only looking for a way to see the weakening of the PLO, which was gaining some support in the West, and they did not found, provide major financing or in any way influence a movement that they would in some way infiltrate or control. That is pure mythology. Why give Israel credit where none is due?

2) That Hamas represents only a marginal portion of Palestinians is another myth to debunk. It is indeed true that all Palestinians are not refugees, and it is also true that virtually all of the leaders of Hamas were born in exile or at some point were subjected to the experience of expulsion and loss of their homes and possessions. This is a core Palestinian experience, and it is true that even those (few) Palestinians who were not uprooted can identify with the loss of their cultural and national identity, and all of them know that their national aspirations and cohesion as a group have been destroyed by Israel. Thus, even a movement or party that has its own identity in the refugee camps and in exile or in religious roots, is recognised as an intrinsic, legitimate and natural representative of Palestinians as a whole. They even obtained the majority vote in areas of the West Bank that were not considered as Hamas strongholds, as well as obtaining votes from many Christian areas.

3) The myth that Hamas turned “democratic enough” just to get its foot in the door as the first step of forcing an Islamic State upon the entirety of Palestine is a very widespread one, especially in the progressive circles that do not recognize the popularity of the movement or who have an ideological prejudice against any religious movement. There is much to be said in favour of separation of church and state, but this of course is something that cannot be imposed from afar, and furthermore, there are many levels of separation to take into consideration. Those who subscribe to this position of “Hamas buying time before introducing the Sharia” tend to deny that a democracy has certain characteristics, and it is not necessarily a synonym of “secularism”. When the word “democracy” is applied correctly, it has certain characteristics, and Hamas meets these. Hamas has popular consensus. It has an internal structure that is autonomous and recognized as legitimate by its constituency. It follows the rules of elections, meeting the requirements for participation. Once elected, it assumes its role within the existing system, not having overthrown or staged coups against established structures. It is a political movement with several factions (some of them armed, as is true of many parties in areas under occupation, Fatah included) with a history and an organization. There is widespread discussion among its constituencies, including those who are political prisoners, prior to making decisions, and the majority decides the actions to be undertaken. If one thing must be said about it to set it apart from parties that Westerners are familiar with, highest level leaders generally do not assume the governing roles. This is understandable in a party where a great quantity of the leaders are routinely assassinated by Israel. That the current political director, Khaled Meshaal, must live in exile after having once been victim of an attempted assassination says more about this anomalous situation than a thousand words can.

4) That Hamas’s victory in the Legislative Council election was nothing more than a protest vote (another pet theory of the left) was brilliantly illustrated as false by Paola Caridi in her very good book (despite the sensationalist subtitle) “Hamas, What it is and what the Radical Palestinian Movement Wants”, published by Feltrinelli and only available in Italian at this time. I am translating a few paragraphs that deal with this question.

“There is a precise political reason for which the majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas. It is a reason that concerns the decision made by the Islamist movement formally on 23 January 2005. (translator’s note, a year prior to the Legislative elections): a unilateral truce, reached together with the Islamic Jihad (that had instead broken it on several occasions), which had turned words into facts: that there would be the end of the season of terrorist attacks made by Hamas inside Israel as indicated within the confines of the 1949 armistice, the Israel within the Green Line, in other words. The ending of suicide attacks in Israeli cities, substantially bringing an end to the Intifada as well as (Hamas’s) participative choice is interpreted by the Palestinian population as a precise political proposal: an alternative to those who had governed and controlled them, holding the hegemony up to that moment. A proposal that poses at the same time new de facto limits to Hamas’s resistance strategy. The Islamist movement has not been, therefore, chosen only as a protest against the corruption, patronage and inefficiency of Fatah, which as a party is often confused with the PA. Corruption, patronage and inefficiency that are related, at least from a temporal point of view, with the failure of the Oslo Accords and the “facts on the ground” realized by the Israelis.

“The people of Hamas were considered people who are serious, who did not enrich themselves at the expense of the population, in fact, they continued to live in normal neighborhoods and in the refugee camps.” (Caridi, p. 171).

5) An extremely offensive smear, oft repeated, is that Hamas’s followers and its leaders are a “bunch of illiterates” or “religious fanatics”. Almost all the leaders are (or were, given the number of assassinations within their ranks, the past tense is de rigueur) university graduates in fields ranging from medicine and physics to jurisprudence, economics and theology, is testament itself that this smear is merely to throw dirt on them and paint them as having read only religious texts and therefore “under-developed” when compared to other movements. Education has always been one of the pillars of Hamas and its charity work. The people of Palestine don’t need to be told this, it is a reality for them, where in many cases without this foundation, Palestinians would be left wanting in this area.

6) The inflexibility of Hamas is another myth, especially yanked out when speaking of the 1988 Charter (Mithaq). Shiekh Hamed Bitauri, “religious authority of Nablus, president of the Union of the Palestinian Ulemas, known for his radical positions had no problem confirming that ‘the Charter is not the Qu’ran. We can change it. It is only the synthesis of the positions of the Islamist movement in its relations with the other factions, and its politics.’ Aziz Dweik, founder of the Department of Geography of the University of Nablus, later to become the spokesman of the Palestinian Parliament after the 2006 elections, and imprisoned in Israeli jails since the summer of that year, went even further, declaring the political and pragmatic necessity of distancing from the Mithaq of 1988 to Khalid Amayreh, Palestinian journalist that is sensitive to Islamist positions, he said that ‘Hamas would not remain as a hostage to rhetorical slogans of the past like those of the ‘destruction of Israel’.” (Khalid Amayreh, Hamas Debates the Future: Palestine’s Islamic Resistance Movement Attempts to Reconcile Ideological Purity and Political Realism, in “Conflicts Forum”, Nov. 2007, p.4) (Caridi p. 90).

Haniyeh has mentioned on many occasions that the Charter has been surpassed in its substance by the other official documents, the most important of which, the Electoral Programme of the Reform and Change List (the list in which Hamas ran for office). This programme is structured like a document that goes far beyond the needs of a political campaign, according to the leader of Hamas, and it indicates the policy of the movement. It was not written in the heat of the revolution of the Intifada, and reflects the evolution of the party. The changes present are not ideological so much as ones of a strategic and political nature. The positions have been reiterated so many times in interviews and public interventions, it seems incredible that the complexity and maturity of Hamas should by now not be apparent to everyone. It is clear that they are still dedicated to the liberation of Palestine, but they are attempting to achieve it through reaffirmation of the rights of the people, knowing full well that as a party, Hamas is not equipped to overthrow the occupation in any practical way or to destroy what they recognize as a reality.

Many of us who follow events in the Middle East hope that they do not surrender to pragmatism so far as to recognize Israel not only as a reality, but as a “Jewish State”, however, we must watch from the sidelines and evaluate facts. The people of Palestine will be vigil about what rights are being surrendered, if any, and many of us believe that backs to the wall, they will not capitulate and lose what they know is theirs for reasons of political expediency. Hamas too is aware of this fact.

7) Hamas has been far less divisionary than its principle counterpart, Fatah. The Gaza “coup” that shocked and saddened the world was actually a preventive measure to the thwart the planned takeover by the Fatah forces faithful to Dahlan (in collaboration with Israel). That Hamas was the party that was awarded victory by its own people has never been recognized by the “international community” that nevertheless pushed for elections and insisted that this was the necessity for Palestinians, because this would mean that the resistance had been granted legitimacy and would become policy within the governing body, the rejection of negotiations as sub-alternates with Israel, which was Fatah policy, had been officially sanctioned by the populace and it would only be a matter of time before the programme would become policy. So, any steps by the Fatah “Security Forces” to overtake Gaza would actually have been the coup. But in the backwards way of viewing events, fueled by disinformation, the tragic bloodbath between Palestinians prevented the real overthrow of democracy that would have taken place had Dahlan had the chance. Again and again, Hamas has sought to work together with the opposition party, and this is something they would not tolerate in the vain hope that their economic advantage and political nulla osta from the boy’s club would allow them to command even in absence of the popular mandate to do so.

8 ) It’s not necessary to use propaganda to show to Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and in exile, and even to many within Israel, the ongoing destruction of the Palestinian civilization and people. Blockades, bombardments, assassinations, war, checkpoint humiliations, restrictions, separation of families, imprisonment and further abuses are not isolated incidents, but they are the daily bread and water of Palestinian life. No one needs to invent a rage over a phantasmagoric enemy. There is a real one that is subjecting the people of all ages and conditions to humiliation, deprivation and death. Showing a man in a mouse costume to insist that children are being indoctrinated in hate might go down well with the uninformed masses, but a glimpse into the reality makes Farfur look like the sweetest kind of way for a child to assimilate and tolerate that he or she is a prisoner doomed for life to suffer in the most atrocious way for being born as a lesser being in the oppressors’ eyes.

9) The worst smear against Hamas is the one to keep them as the symbol of evil: that they are a terrorist group, financed by “rogue States in the axis of evil”. Bearing in mind that their financing is abysmally inferior to the gigantic economic and “military aid” package given to Israel by America, Canada and many other nations in the “international community” in an official way, why should the claim of foreign financing be considered as unacceptable when it is simply the way the that Israel keeps afloat through billions of dollars annually, up front, and heaven only knows what other financing comes in through the thousands of “charities” that are really little more than fronts for mass immigration to Israel to curtail Arab growth? If Zionism and its charities are considered as legitimate and noble, why are Islamic ones put on blacklists and the donors treated as if they are financing terrorism? There is a double standard here.

That Hamas has rejected terror operations against civilians and did its best to do so in the service of achieving a realistic improvement for the life conditions of its people is an authenticated fact, corroborated by none other than the USA Congressional Research Service, a Think Tank that basically presents its conservative and Israel-friendly positions to the Congress so that they become policy. In fact, in the document coordinated by Jim Zanotti http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/R40101.pdf Israel and Hamas, Conflict in Gaza (2008-2009), we see that the quoted “reason” for the onslaught of Gaza to “cleanse it of Hamas”, the rockets fired into Israeli territory, was nothing but an excuse that the West drank down with gusto as if it were cherry juice. The extremely rudimentary rockets were recognised as NOT having been launched by Hamas, and not only that, Hamas was viewed as being able and willing to suppress the attacks. It is significant that the first victims of the Israeli attacks in Gaza were the regular police forces who had just been trained, perhaps also for this purpose. Zanotti writes:

For the first five months, the cease-fire held relatively well. Some rockets were fired into Israel, but most were attributed to non-Hamas militant groups, and, progressively, Hamas appeared increasingly able and willing to suppress even these attacks. No Israeli deaths were reported (although there were injuries and property damage), and Israel refrained from retaliation.

Nevertheless, each party felt as though the other was violating the terms of the unwritten ceasefire. Hamas demanded€”unsuccessfully€”that Israel lift its economic blockade of Gaza, while Israel demanded€”also unsuccessfully€”a full end to rocket fire and progress on the release of Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit from Hamas’s captivity.

Israel cited the sporadic rocket fire as justification for keeping the border crossings and Gaza’s seaport closed to nearly everything but basic humanitarian supplies. Hamas, other Arab leaders, and some international and non-governmental organizations involved in aiding Gazan civilians complained that Israel was reneging on its promises under the unwritten cease-fire agreement.

If that were not enough, the author, certainly not sympathetic in any way to Hamas, makes statements about the aftermath of the war where even Israel admits that Hamas was not responsible for the rockets:

Since Israel’s unilateral ceasefire began on January 18, 2009, there have been about 40 sporadic rocket launches into southern Israel, far fewer than occurred on average per day just before Operation Cast Lead. Moreover, Israeli officials believe that smaller militant groups, such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, and not Hamas, have fired the rockets, as they did during the cease-fire (although it is possible that Hamas is enabling or acquiescing to these attacks while preserving denialability).

So, Israel used the excuse of Hamas rocket launches to justify the elimination of Hamas (by means of destruction of the entirety of Gaza) through what they call “military operations” but the rest of humanity knows is war, while they were aware that Hamas was neither the author nor the facilitator of the rockets, any kind of excuse they pull out of the magic hat to justify their actions should fall on deaf ears. Complaints about arms smuggling through the most rudimentary of tunnels should stink to high heaven when we see the Defense Budget Appropriations for US-Israeli Missile Defense Programs in that same Congressional Report. Iron Dome, David’s Sling and other “military aid” costing the American people billions of dollars are described briefly. For every five ineffective bottle rockets that are smuggled through a tunnel, the USA is flying in full cargoes of arms and cases of cash to be spent by Israel for their military “needs”. The double standards here also draw innocent blood in violation of international law at the expense of your hard-earned money. Again, from the Congressional report:

Israel may have used weapons platforms and munitions purchased from the United States in its military operations in Gaza, reportedly including, among others, F-15 and F-16 aircraft, Apache helicopters, and, according to Israeli press reports, GBU-39 small diameter guided bombs approved for sale by the 110th Congress following notification in September 2008.

Additionally, all unilateral truces between Israel and Hamas (called by Hamas, not by Israel) were broken in every case by Israel. In many cases, making incursions into the Occupied Territories, which legally they are prohibited from doing, as civilian populations under occupation (even if the “settlers” have left, Gaza is kept under siege by Israel) are required to be protected by the occupier, not attacked. Israel, using weapons and planes supplied for them by the good graces of the people of the United States, bombarded streets where their targets (politicians and clerics that Israel terms as “militants” if not worse) were located, killing in an indiscriminate way anyone in the range, children included. If that’s not terrorism, the word has no meaning.

These are only a few of the myths in circulation. They represent just a portion of the lies, disinformation and hasbara that circulates about one of the major Palestinian parties, born from within, developing as all parties do, from below, and legitimized by fair and legal elections. Debunking these lies is a duty. One doesn’t need to agree to the entire programme of Hamas, but one is obligated to recognise that they are entirely different from the image that they have been straitjacketed into. What Jessica Rabbit said in the film, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” could very well apply to Hamas: “I’m not bad, they just draw me that way.”


* Mary Rizzo is an art restorer, translator and writer living in Italy. 

In A Blink Of An Eye


Posted on July 20, 2011   by Marivel Guzman


The world is changing rapidly and most of us were taken by surprise, as if we were swallowed by a black hole and come from the side of reality and started to behave in ways never thought we could.
For years we were the passive spectators of a never ending show full of horror spiced with wars and conflicts that we were feed in the TV sets, for years we took the Evening NEWS as a the source of information, tuning the channel just to change the faces and the spiciness of the narrative, never we imagine that all the events since the most insignificant to the  most important were all scripted in some government office and shaped and colorized to feed the various audiences; believe or not categorized by skin color, social status and income cap.

The religious denominations and educational institutions  were also part of this Global Truman Show, where the Latino,  black, and low classes sectors were given different flavors to their commercials and invitational educational advertisement options, cleverly planting the seeds of apathy for political and social interest, and more importantly emphasizing in army careers and short college degrees.
Don’t get surprise to find out that even your local grocery market was full of low or high quality products depending in which side of the block you were in.

Remember we are lead by a Elitist Group based in Capitalists Ideas where supply and demand rule the world. And in this world managed by ‘Marketing Groups’ ‘Insurance Companies’ ‘Lobbyist Groups’ is just understandable that Profit is the motto to the Global Enterprise of Capitalism, and War is a very profitable business so their marketing groups and strategists start early their job, starting with our youth.

Why will the governments which are the front offices and Public Relations desks of the Multi National Corporations will be interested in investing in education?;  if War  render more dividends to the pockets of their investors ?,
When have you seen that Any Government will invest billions of dollars in Education?
Will never happen, because an educated country is difficult to manage, so the governments are  forced to under fund education and give not billions but trillions of dollars to the War Complex Machine.
They feed patriotism in the tender minds of our youth so when they are ripe with fake nationalism and they  become easy pray for the War Industry, they are lured with college grants and other incentives to join the killer machine of the war. Their reality it is blur, with no visible options, and on the other side the army recruiters show them the benefits of the army.

No until recently that our population was drugged with the TV propaganda, giving no attention to what was happenning to their neighbors, too busy surviving. But in a blink of an eye, millions of people have awaken to our reality and more and more every day feel the urgency to awaken others.
We want to teach our children first,  what feeds the war, and let it be clear, is not the necessity to defend nobody’s country, but to feed that insatiable monster with money, and our children become the soldiers or free workers for their empire.
Our taxes pay for the soldiers salaries and the War Complex Enterprise gets the profits of the War. The Department of Defense is the front office of the Enterprise. The Congress is the back up assistance of the Enterprise where the “requests” of the Enterprise are fill, they called BILLS. Nothing but an stamped paper that over ruled our rights as a citizens given to us by our Constitution.

“I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in the country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.” Thomas Babington Macaulay 1838

Muslims are not to be blamed for mismanaging India’s economy from 1200 AD onwards. On the contrary, they allowed it to prosper. They took their share and kept away from the intricacies of trade, commerce, finance and ownership. Prosperity was all around. The British inherited a strong and prosperous nation.

Never forget these Statements

Peace is the enemy # 1 of Profits

An Educated Society is an Intelligent Society

Hunger is the best weapon to keep the population at bay. Designed exclusively to entertain the masses in its survival.

War is the worse weapon ever created against humanity, with the solely purpose to create Profits and Division.

And Never Ever Think for a moment that PEACE is Opposite to WAR.

Be The Opinion Maker of your Own Reality, Think Before You Make A choice.

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Gaza Sea Peace


Article By Omar Karem Gaza
Posted and Edited by Marivel Guzman

Back in 2010 Victtorio Arrigoni the Italian Activist that all Gaza loved was witness and victim of Israel assault, he went with the Gaza Local Fishermen as a human shield to protect them and monitor Israel activities. According to who knows who’s law, Israel got himself name the patron of Gaza territorial waters and has imposed a maritime siege of less than 3 miles. Not enough waters to contain any big size fish to fill the fisherman nets.

Gaza is a port in the Mediterranean sea, warm waters known for their rich maritime life. Gaza waters should not be the exception was not for Israel blockade. A combination of damage to fishing resources caused by the Israeli offensive, and a restriction on the zone in which Gazans are allowed to fish is reducing catches and adversely affecting people’s diets in Gaza, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

http://www.cpsgaza.org/2011/07/cps-gaza-crew-attacked-by-israeli.html

http://www.cpsgaza.org/2011/07/cps-gaza-responds-to-israeli-naval.html

The Israeli navy attacked Civil Peace Service Gaza volunteers along with international press and Palestinian fishermen today. One of the Israeli ships targeted the boats with high pressure water cannons.

Meanwhile, a small naval boat approached the Oliva and hit it from behind, stopping the boat and causing serious damage to the engine. The crew aboard the Oliva was evacuated to other boats and all the boats at sea were forced to turn back.

Joe Catron, an American human rights worker aboard the Oliva, stated, “Israel has been regularly attacking Palestinian fishermen within the purported 3 nautical mile fishing limit. The livelihood of many Gazans relies on fishing and Israel has been using live ammunition and water cannons to prevent fishermen from doing their work. We will continue to go out with the Palestinians and document human rights violations, despite the powerful threats we and Gazan fishermen face.”

This is the fourth attack on Oliva in less than two week. To watch and read recent reports in the news media about CPS Gaza, visit Al Jazeera and The Guardian.

Journalists and TV Crews are invited to join the CPSGaza boat. The Oliva will be sailing again on Thursday at 8:30am and Friday at 7:30 am. Contact Nathan Stuckey, a US human rights worker with CPS Gaza, for more details 059-765-0864.

Civil Peace Service Gaza is an international, third party, non-violent initiative to monitor potential human rights violations in Gazan territorial waters.
Posted by Civil Peace Service Gaza at 22:53
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Labels: Reports
In tweets: an encounter between Gaza fishermen and Israeli patrol boats
Harriet Sherwood | The Guardian

Harriet Sherwood went out with Gaza fishing boats to check claims they were coming under attack from the Israeli military

She used Twitter to report what happened next:

“On boat heading out from Gaza port. Fishermen regularly fired on by Israeli military. Going to check” July 20, 2011 at 0:08

“Getting close to 3 mile limit for fishing. Israeli gunboat speeding towards us”
July 20, 2011 at 0:18

“There are 7 boats in our group. 4 fishing boats, 2 press boats, 1 human rights group boat” July 20, 2011 at 0:20

“Israeli gunboat circling around. Siren sounding. Machine gun mounted at rear” July 20, 2011 at 0:21

“IDF coming very close. Sirens. Banking hard causing a lot of backwash for our small motor” July 20, 2011 at 0:25

“6 or 7 troops on bridge, all armed. We have cut our engines” July 20, 2011 at 0:28

“We are 2 or 2 and a half miles from shore so within fishing zone. IDF preventing us going further” July 20, 2011 at 0:32

“Phone signal going in and out. A 2nd IDF boat heading towards us” July 20, 2011 at 0:33

“Fishing boats are throwing lines. But very few fish this close to shore.” July 20, 2011 at 0:35

“Now 2 gunboats stopping us going further” July 20, 2011 at 0:37

“This is our GPS location: N31.5727176 and E034.37703. Can someone work out exactly how far we are from Gaza City?” July 20, 2011 at 0:39

“Fishermen saying there are no fish. They want to go out another 50 metres. But that could provoke reaction. No boat willing to go first” July 20, 2011 at 0:43

“One fishing boat heading further out. But the guys are asking us (Guardian) to go in front for protection” July 20, 2011 at 0:47

“One IDF boat just circling our boats about 50m away. Other boat a bit further away” July 20, 2011 at 0:50

“A lot of resources devoted to a few tiny fishing boats” July 20, 2011 at 0:53

“Sea is calm today – except our little bit. Backwash creating lot of waves. They keep sounding siren. But we have all cut engines” July 20, 2011 at 0:59

“I’m told that the point of the IDF continually circling us is to create continuous waves and noise. Makes fishing harder” July 20, 2011 at 1:08

“One fishing boat just been swamped by backwash. They are giving up and going back to port” July 20, 2011 at 1:09

“One IDF boat appears to be heading away. The other coming closer” July 20, 2011 at 1:11

“Water canon military boat in distance. Maybe heading towards us. Hope not” July 20, 2011 at 1:14

“Both gunboats have moved off as water canon boat approaches” July 20, 2011 at 1:14

“Water canon boat maybe 200m away. Heading straight towards us. May have to put comms away forbit” July 20, 2011 at 1:19

“Was mini hi-speed boat chase as we cut and run and the IDF chase” July 20, 2011 at 1:23

“IDF still firing on Oliva the human rights boat. They are trying to drown it says my translator” July 20, 2011 at 1:24

CPSGAZA: CIVIL PEACE SERVICE GAZA

In the Mist of Deception The blind throw Punches to the Wind


Posted on July 13, 2011 by Marivel Guzman

Israel is finding enemies in every citizen of the world. The New Non-Violent Movement is causing a roar in Israel Intelligence and logistic centers, they do not know how to proceed with this “New Thread”. Peace Activists around the world are holding Israel by the horns.

Now finally the rest of the world is noticing the true colors of Israel, those hues of madness never seen before. For years Israel managed to escape the public opinion using all type of Propaganda money can buy.

Are they a thread for Israel? Millions of peace activists changing minds and hearts regarding Israel, for years even the activists were shy away from the Palestine-Israel conflict as the news coming from Israel were seldom and vague and the tourists from around the world only destination was Jerusalem and the Israel controlled side of Palestine. No one really could know what was really happening inside the military zone of Gaza.

For years Israel have controlled every bit of information and the minds were set for years against Palestinians. “Terrorists Militants” were the common terms used in the news, no one will wonder, now the perception have completely changed, now we know that close to 10 thousands Palestinians are inside Israel jails for opposing the occupation, more than 600 of those are children as young as 12. Now we know the nightly incursions inside the occupied territories, the IOF’s braking doors and arresting dissenters.

The panorama inside an occupied land is not easy to picture if you are not living in. But now with the internet, the cell phones, cameras and easy access to public forums and the social networks the obscurity of the oppression has been exposed. Now we see how ugly the mentality of the occupier really is, they can not deny their true colors.

The flotillas fiasco has giving the world the Truth.

The detention of more of 100 peace activists in the last couple days has shown the world the reach of the dirty hand of Israel.

The bending of the government of Greece to the wishes of Israel.

The theater can not be seen any other way.

Like the fronts used during the WWII for the Red Cross, where the occupier forces will presented a rosy picture for the cameras and they will leave behind the horror of the prisoners camps.

Well, Israel insists in showing the rosy pictures, but she can not control the flow of Real pictures coming out of Palestine. Now we all know and we are acting upon, and she can not stop us all.

Jazz Concert For Gazans


Article by Omar Karem Gaza
Posted by Marivel Guzman

Gaza this beautiful port in the Mediterranean Sea does not lose his hope to be a normal city, the German Jazz Orchestra was performing in Gaza while Israel was shelling the North and Central side of Gaza. Their spirit is amazingly optimist. They do not know if the next missile will drop in their heads, all they know is that life goes on and they live it the best they can.

The stage in a simple medium-sized cafe shop, where all-women German jazz orchestra performed live music. This kinds of events are rare in Gaza, specially for the restrictions place in the Rafah border that recently has been open for more traffic after the Egyptian Revolution, some easiness at the crossing is been felt. This is a great example of the cooperation of the New Egyptian Government that is little by little getting more flexible at the border.

It is the first time ever in the history of the Gaza Strip that a jazz band plays western-style music. The colorful laser disco lights dancing around the stage added more western flavor to the concert.
The concert had been unexpectedly widely attended by hundreds of Gazans who seek some solace out of the post-war traumatic conditions they have been suffering from.

The place where the concert was held only has dim lights and humid weather conditions. However, the happy faces of the audience showed excitement for this unique show in Gaza, during Israel assault in the other part of the city, where more than 4 people were reportedly being killed.

For many this type of entertainment might sound extravagant as the reports in the Western News deliberately disperse rumors that the Government of Hamas does not allow music to be play. Another of the false News about Gaza, Gazans are just regular ordinary people that love music and they show their enthusiasm in the one-hour long performance that drew a burst of applause as the orchestra began playing. For audience, such music is a healer of the war wound and alleviator of the siege pains they have been suffering on daily basis.

They have enjoyed the very special atmosphere of the party where music composed by the band leader Angelika Niescier was played professionally.

“This is really fantastic. It has been a long time since such a concert took place in Gaza and I find it great to have such a group coming to Gaza and to have such a great performance,” said Suhail Tarazi, who came with his family to watch the performance.

The Gaza concert was held under the auspices of the German Goethe-Institute in cooperation with Deutsche Welle and the Heinrich Boll Foundation.

George Schumacher, director of Goethe-Institut, said basically the concert is to render the message that it is possible to have a female jazz orchestra and a female jazz concert in Gaza.

“This is the message and we are very happy to be here. We did not know if we have audience in Gaza who appreciate music like this and when you look around you will see hundreds of people who came and were happy about it.”

Categories: News

Israel is a Case of Political Failure, Predictable as its Tactics


Posted on July 16, 2011 by Marivel Guzman
Omar Karem

Palestinians survey a structure targeted by Israeli air strikes, that locals say is a car maintenance facility and the Israeli military says is a weapons manufacturing site in Gaza City July 13, 2011. [Photo/Agencies

GAZA, PALESTINE- When the heat is turning on Israel ‘Events’ start to happen, that turn the attention of the world to another issue. The recent rocket attacks according to Israel to be the excuse for the last missile launching inside Gaza. Israel long history of deceptive practices to gain support for their cause is well known, black opts that show up always right on target, at the right moment, at the precise time never fail.

When Palestinians Christians started showing support for the Palestinian cause, a number of Christian Churches were targeted around the world by “Muslim Mob”, when Ortodox Jews started supporting Palestine and speaking in that regard, Synagogues around the world were targeted by “Muslim Mobs”. It is obvious for us that have been following the conflict more closely that this “attacks” are purposely done by Israel or her supporters. And off course these attacks are never are claimed by Palestinians factions or Palestinians supporters.

We know that the resistance factions inside Palestine have their own agenda and work very much on their own. The elected government of Gaza, Hamas does not control those factions. The same way that the IOF forces can not control the radical actions of the settlers that continuously harass Palestinians inside the occupied territories.

There is something well known in the world of World News, when an attack is successfully or unsuccessfully done by any Palestinian Resistance Groups inside Israel or the Palestinian Occupied Territories, there is a sort of pride of telling the world who perpetrated the attack, even if they did not achieve their goal, which ever it could have been. They feel that standing against this powerful Entity and her army is a duty because they are fighting against an entity that have stolen their land and is continuously murdering their love ones. They tell the world that they did it, that they try. There has never been an attack from the Palestinian resistance that was not been claim, except if that attack was not from one of them.

There are rumors that some of the groups working inside Gaza and West Bank are undercover Israeli agents pretending to be Palestinians and they live inside Palestine and work against Palestine, those rumors can not be confirm, but who will say “Yes I m Spy”, Israel collaborators are usually put to death, so is unlike it that we will ever know if they really exist. But we know that some groups act against Palestine long term interest, even thought they think to serve a purpose.

The resistance groups inside Palestine usually do not agree with most of the agreements signed by their respective leaders, they feel betrayed by their leaders that most of the times end up being pressure by the US or the European Union to suppress their own people. Not that they have any other choice, their hands seems to be tied up most of the time.

An ordinary Palestinian sees the conflict with their simple mind and their struggles transpire in their everyday life. The people of Gaza are being targeted by missiles, sonar bombs, an strangulating economy that is asphyxiating them, a social infrastructure destroyed, Israel drones do not distinguish between a school, a mosque or a home, their drinking water is polluted, dirty waters running in front of their houses, high incidence of radiation from Israel bombs, cancer related to radiation, psychological trauma in most of the population, high unemployment rate, youth lost to uncertain future that engage in violent acts and drugs. I mean we can go on and on and lay out all the deficiencies of their everyday life and they see it as simple as ‘End Up the Occupation’, do not sign agreements with the enemy, because in their mind Israel is the enemy, they do not understand the Game of Politics that always goes against their simple well being, their future, their bare necessities never meet, their human rights violated, how could they understand or accept that their leader is not acting in Palestinians behalf? But who in their right mind will accept to be exiled, starved, make refugee, make homeless, murdered and not complain about it? Who Would?

Israel recent attacks in Gaza seems to follow the same pattern of the 2009-2010 massacre, where more than 1500 Palestinians got killed. The attacks never really ended since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 they only got more vicious. They have better war technology than they did in 2005, their experiments are being perfected. The damages are more lethal, and what the UN Club is doing? Nothing, absolutely nothing. What the US is doing? they are making more difficult for Palestine to survive another year, but even against all the odds, the international community of peace and social activists and Palestinians are getting ready for September, the big date for the drafted resolution to be presented In the UN, for Palestine to be finally recognized as a Free Nation.

Nelson Mandela’s Legacy


Posted on July 11, 2011 by Akashma Online News

by John Carlin
The Cairo Review

Nelson Mandela after his release from twenty-seven years in prison, Soweto, South Africa, Feb. 17, 1990. Photograph by Louise Gubb

Nelson Mandela after his release from twenty-seven years in prison, Soweto, South Africa, Feb. 17, 1990. Photograph by Louise Gubb

Ever since Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa after winning his country’s first democratic elections in April 1994, the national anthem has consisted of two songs spliced—not particularly mellifluously—together. One is “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika,” or “God Bless Africa,” sung at black protest rallies during the forty-six years between the rise and fall of apartheid. The other is “Die Stem,” (“The Call”), the old white anthem, a celebration of the European settlers’ conquest of Africa’s southern tip. It was Mandela’s idea to juxtapose the two, his purpose being to forge from the rival tunes’ discordant notes a powerfully symbolic message of national harmony.

Not everyone in Mandela’s party, the African National Congress, was convinced when he first proposed the plan. In fact, the entirety of the ANC’s national executive committee initially pushed to scrap “Die Stem” and replace it with “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.” Mandela won the argument by doing what defined his leadership: reconciling generosity with pragmatism, finding common ground between humanity’s higher values and the politician’s aspiration to power.

The chief task the ANC would have upon taking over government, Mandela reminded his colleagues at the meeting, would be to cement the foundations of the hard-won new democracy. The main threat to peace and stability came from right-wing terrorism. The way to deprive the extremists of popular support, and therefore to disarm them, was by convincing the white population as a whole that they belonged fully in ‘the new South Africa,’ that a black-led government would not treat them the way previous white rulers had treated blacks. In a political context so delicate, Mandela pointed out, you had to be very careful with the messages you put out. Strike a false note and you risked undermining the nation’s stability; make the right gesture and national unity would be reinforced. The matter of the anthem offered a case in point, Mandela said: the short term satisfaction of banning the despised old song might come at a dangerously high price, whereas the magnanimous act of retaining it could yield mightily valuable returns.

And so it proved. Mandela’s wisdom in reaching out to the old enemy, repressing any vengeful impulses he might have accumulated during his twenty-seven years in prison, is the principal reason why South Africa has consolidated its transition from tyranny to democracy, and done so not, in the time-honored style of revolutions, through repression, but by persuasion. The triumphant expression of Mandela’s life’s work is seen in a political system that, seventeen years after he took power, remains as stable as it is authentically democratic. The rule of law, freedom of speech, free and fair elections: these are the gifts Mandela has bequeathed his nation.

Flaws, nevertheless, abound today, stemming from corruption in all its creeping manifestations. These could in time destroy the edifice Mandela built. But they will not undermine Mandela’s place in history, which is more durable than any political construct. As with Abraham Lincoln, his deeper legacy lies in the example he has left for succeeding generations.

Mandela is Africa’s Lincoln. You don’t do Lincoln too many favors if you scrutinize the detail of what came after him: he fought against slavery, yet black Americans would remain second-class citizens for more than one hundred more years; he appealed to “the better angels of our nature,” yet genocidal massacres of American Indians continued for some time after his death. It would be as unfair to tarnish Lincoln’s memory with the shortcomings of those that followed him as it would be to question Mandela’s lasting value by pointing to the mediocrity or venality of his successors.

The big truth is that Mandela, like Lincoln, achieved the historically rare feat of uniting a fiercely divided country. The feat is rare because what ordinary politicians have always done is seek power by highlighting difference and fueling antagonism. Mandela sought it by appealing to people’s common humanity.

It was behind bars that he learnt his most valuable lessons in leadership. As he himself has acknowledged, prison shaped him. He went in angry, convinced that the only way of achieving his people’s freedom was by force of arms. This was neither an original nor a morally opprobrious approach back then, in 1962, given every attempt to negotiate with successive white governments over the previous half century had been contemptuously rebutted; and given, too, the enormity of the injustice to which the eighty-five percent of the population who were not white had been subjected since the arrival of the first European mariners in 1652.

What the experience of prison did was elevate Mandela to a higher political plain, setting him apart from the great mass of ordinarily brave, ordinarily principled freedom fighters within his country and beyond. He learnt that succumbing to the vengeful passions brought fleeting joys at the cost of lasting benefits; he learnt, through studying his jailers closely, that black and white people had far more in common, at bottom, than they had points of difference; he learnt that forgiveness and generosity and, above all, respect were weapons of political persuasion as powerful as any gun.

When his time came, he deployed these lessons to devastating political effect—through countless small gestures in the same spirit of the big one he made on the national anthem, and, equally important, in the critical encounters he held, one on one, with figures from the white establishment whose influence on South Africa’s political destiny was almost as great as his own. During Mandela’s last four years in prison, he held secret talks about talks with the minister of justice of South Africa and the country’s top spy, and—once—with the president himself, the iron-fisted and (by reputation) ogreish P. W. Botha. The outcome of these meetings was that he was released from prison and the process of negotiations began that led to his people’s freedom and his rise to the highest political office in the land.

How did he convince his enemies to succumb to his will? First, by treating them individually with respect, by showing them trust, and by making it clear that he had a core set of values from which he would never be persuaded to depart. The human foundations having been laid, his sincerity having been established, he set about rationally persuading them that violent confrontation would only lead to the peace of the cemeteries, to everybody losing out, and that the only hope for all parties lay in negotiation.

I have talked at length to two of those three men with whom Mandela met secretly when he was still in prison, the minister of justice, Kobie Coetsee, (Interview:  He was South Africa’s Minister of Justice under South Africa Apartheid).

In 1986 he initiated secret talks with the imprisoned Mandela.and the intelligence chief, Niel Barnard. Coetsee wept while describing Mandela to me as “the incarnation of the great Roman virtues, gravitas, honestas, dignitas.” Barnard referred to him continually as “the old man,” as if he were talking about his own father.

Mandela had the same effect on practically everyone he met. Take the case of General Constand Viljoen, who in 1993, with the path set for multiracial elections a year later, was anointed leader of South Africa’s far right, charged with heading “the white freedom struggle.” Viljoen, who had been head of the South African Defence Force between 1980 and 1985, travelled the country organising what he called armed resistance units, others called terrorist cells. Mandela reached out to him through intermediaries and the two men met in secret at his home. Viljoen, with whom I have talked about this encounter, was almost instantly disarmed. Expecting a monster, having conditioned himself to regard Mandela as a fearsome Communist with little regard for human life, Viljoen was dumbstruck by Mandela’s big, warm smile, by his courteous attentiveness to detail (“Do you take sugar in your tea, General?”), by his keen knowledge of the history of white South Africa and his sensitivity to the apprehensions and fears white South Africans were feeling at that time. When the two men began discussing matters of substance, Mandela put it to him that, yes, he could go to war and, yes, his people were more skilled in the military arts than black South Africans; but against that, if it came to race war, black South Africa had the numbers, as well as the guaranteed support of practically the entire international community. There could be no winners, Mandela said. The general did not disagree.

That first meeting led to another, then another. Viljoen succumbed to Mandela’s lethally effective political cocktail of charm, respect, integrity, pragmatism and hard-nosed sense. He called off the planned “armed struggle” and, to the amazement of the South African political world, he agreed to take part in the all-race elections of April 1994, thereby giving his blessing to the political transformation Mandela had engineered, agreeing to the peaceful hand over of power from the white minority to the totality of the population. Viljoen won a parliamentary seat in representation of his freshly formed right wing Freedom Front and I remember watching him on the day the new, all race parliament was inaugurated. Mandela was the last to enter the chamber and, as he walked in, Viljoen’s eyes settled on his new black president. His face wore an expression that could only be described, I thought at the time, as adoration. I asked him when we talked some years later whether I had been right in that description and he said I had been. The retired general also reminded me that before taking his seat on that inaugural parliamentary occasion Mandela had broken protocol by crossing the floor to shake hands with him. What had Mandela said to him? “He said, ‘I am very happy to see you here, general’.” And what did the general reply? “I said nothing. I am a military man and he was my president. I shook his hand and I stood to attention.”

Viljoen, who has had many encounters with Mandela since then, told me that one left his company feeling as if one were a better, more virtuous person. Viljoen was not alone. Mandela did appeal, and with uncanny success, to the better angels of people’s natures. But he did so—and this is very important—not primarily out of a desire to win a place in heaven, or to be well-liked. Mandela was the quintessential political animal: he did everything he did with a clear political purpose.  Not to understand this—to insist only on his admirable ‘lack of bitterness’ and his spirit of forgiveness—is to miss the bigger point that Mandela’s widely applauded saintliness was the instrument he judged to be most effective in the achievement of his political goals. Had he calculated, as he once did, that violence was the way to liberate his people, he would not have hesitated to pursue that route. Luckily for South Africa, he reached the conclusion that there could be no democracy without reconciliation, no justice without peace.

He acted wholeheartedly on this understanding, investing every last drop of his boundless charm, his political cunning, and his farsightedness in achieving his life’s goal by following the only strategy he knew could realistically work. Mandela’s legacy, the imperishable lesson he holds for the ages, and the reason why he stands head and shoulders above every leader of his generation, or practically every leader there has ever been, is that he showed it is possible to be a great human being and a great politician at the same time; that showing respect to friends and enemies alike can get you a long, long way; and that nothing beats the combination—in Mandela’s case, the seamless convergence—of magnanimity and power.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————

John Carlin is a senior international writer for El Pais,the world’s leading Spanish language newspaper, and a former correspondent in South Africa for the London Independent. He has written for theTimes of London, the Observer, the BBC, the New York Times and TIME, among other media outlets. He is the author of Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, the basis for the film Invictus directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.

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