Fahamu (Oxford)

South Africa: Deception and Double Standards At Mandela Funeral

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analysis

UK Prime Minister David Cameron was not to be left behind when it comes to two-facedness. He said: "A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death - a true global hero... Meeting him was one of the great honours of my life."

He ended his accolade with: "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God."

And on Twitter he said: "A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time."

Yet in 1989, when Mandela was still in prison, David Cameron, then a: promising young celebrity in the Conservative Research Department unreservedly accepted an excursion to apartheid South Africa, paid by a firm that lobbied against the UN sanction on the apartheid regime.

This is the Conservative Party of David Cameron whose fellow members used to wear 'Hang Nelson Mandela' badges at university. Their leader at the time, Margaret Thatcher, described Mandela as a terrorist.

Former UK premier Tony Blair also took his turn to pay homage to Mandela, who was once so disgusted by Blair's decision to join the US-led invasion of Iraq that he unleashed a fiery diatribe against him by saying: "He is the foreign minister of the United States. He is no longer prime minister of Britain."

Notable no-shows at Mandela's memorial ceremony were Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and his president Shimon Peres.

It was too costly, claimed Netanyahu, at estimated $ 2 million just for transport and security. Peres pulled out a bout of strong 'flu as his reason, yet he appeared publicly later free of any symptom.

It was hardly surprising that they were the odd men out, given their frosty relations with South African people who have not forgotten nor forgiven the fact that Israel was a close collaborator and main arms supplier of the apartheid regime.

Israel profited extensively from arms exports to apartheid South Africa, while South Africa gained access to advanced military arsenal at a time when the rest of the world had turned against the pariah apartheid state.

Worse yet, Israel allowed South Africa to develop advanced nuclear arms technology South Africa in turn provided Israel with the raw material and testing ground it needed to develop its arsenal of missiles and nuclear weapons.

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