Khalid Al Mubarak
The Washington Post has written on 21 September that a statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled in front of the South African Embassy in Washington DC.
The site was the spot where Randal Robinson and other anti-apartheid Americans were arrested when they went to the racist Embassy on 21 November 1984 to protest. A total of 4000 were arrested over the years because the US was very reluctant to boycott the Apartheid regime and considered Mandela and his comrades “terrorists” until 2008 when Condoleeza Rice discovered that and a bill was signed to remove Mandela and others from the “forbidden” list. The US democratic values triumphed in the end and US sanctions in 1986 helped the release of Mandela from Robben Island and the dismantling of the Apartheid regime.
When Nelson Mandela visited Washington DC in 1990 to address a joint session of Congress, he saluted the success of “democracy over tyranny” in his homeland and appreciated the role played by “the millions of people throughout this great land who stood up and engaged the apartheid system”.
The moral is that democracies maker errors of judgement sometimes.
Will the errors of judgement and of lobby activist-driven unfair sanctions against the Sudan be acknowledged some day and “wound down” as the honest American Rt. General Scott Gration said when he was President Obama’s special envoy?
With the anti-Sudan activists embedded in the decision-making echelons of the US administration, the hope for “change” is not very high. Professor Emanuel Derman has written in his assessment of US credibility that “the US was once a great light to humanity during and after World War II, when having helped the allies restore the world, we became the dominant economic power. But those days are long gone”. He says in his Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung article (11 September 13) that the recent record includes Vietnam, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, Iraq and Bank bailouts. He calls for a little self-reflection.
Self-reflection might one day lead to acknowledgement that the unfair policy towards the Sudan and the manner in which it was maintained could be added to the list of policies of which a great democracy could not be proud.