As the World Mourns, Mandela's Message is Already Being Sanitized and Co-opted

The world mourns the end of a great life today, Nelson Mandela was an inspiration in life, he will be a symbol long after all of us are gone. As Desmond Tutu said earlier, "The sun will rise tomorrow. It will not be as bright as yesterday." Hopefully the outline of Mandela's long shadow will remain true to the revolutionary who cast it.

The historic Nelson Mandela was labeled a terrorist and a communist, his African National Congress (ANC) was branded as a terrorist organization for decades by both South Africa and the United States. His severest right-wing critics painted him as an unrepentant terrorist and a communist sympathizer.

On Dec. 15th the body of Nelson Mandela will be laid to rest in his tiny rural hometown. The whole world will be watching, every world leader, past and present, will be there. Perhaps there'll be pictures of the Chinese leaders greeting the Dalai Lama graciously, of the Pakistanis and Indians embracing, of Obama and Evo Morales side by side or Putin. The Pope, Fidel [if he's well], the Queen...imagine. The world will be paying tribute to a great life lived but also to that life and to the principles that Mandela never abandoned throughout.

Mandela was a revolutionary. Remembering him and his message truthfully is our duty.

Today Common Dreams published '12 Mandela Quotes That Won't Be In the Corporate Media Obituaries', saying in part, "Nelson Mandela was a powerful and inspirational leader who eloquently and forcefully spoke truth to power. As tributes are published over the coming days, the corporate media will paint a sanitized portrait of Mandela that leaves out much of who he was." Below are a dozen quotes by Nelson Mandela that won't appear in the corporate media.

"A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens."

"If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don't care for human beings."

"The current world financial crisis also starkly reminds us that many of the concepts that guided our sense of how the world and its affairs are best ordered, have suddenly been shown to be wanting.”

"Gandhi rejects the Adam Smith notion of human nature as motivated by self-interest and brute needs and returns us to our spiritual dimension with its impulses for nonviolence, justice and equality. He exposes the fallacy of the claim that everyone can be rich and successful provided they work hard. He points to the millions who work themselves to the bone and still remain hungry."

"There is no doubt that the United States now feels that they are the only superpower in the world and they can do what they like."

“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

“No single person can liberate a country. You can only liberate a country if you act as a collective.”

"If the United States of America or Britain is having elections, they don't ask for observers from Africa or from Asia. But when we have elections, they want observers."

“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”

On Gandhi: "From his understanding of wealth and poverty came his understanding of labor and capital, which led him to the solution of trusteeship based on the belief that there is no private ownership of capital; it is given in trust for redistribution and equalization. Similarly, while recognizing differential aptitudes and talents, he holds that these are gifts from God to be used for the collective good."