Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oh now this is just wrong

From the BBC:

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has asked for "embarrassing" travel restrictions on Nelson Mandela and South African leaders to be lifted.

A bill has been introduced in the US Congress to remove from databases any reference to South Africa's governing party and its leaders as terrorists.

The African National Congress (ANC) was designated as a terrorist organisation by South Africa's old apartheid regime.

At present a waiver is needed for any ANC leaders to enter the country.

"It is frankly a rather embarrassing matter that I still have to waive in my own counterparts - the foreign minister of South Africa, not to mention the great leader, Nelson Mandela," Ms Rice told lawmakers in Washington.

Last week, Howard Berman, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, who introduced the bill said it was "shameful" that the United States still treated the ANC this way.

"Amazingly, Nelson Mandela still needs to get a special waiver to enter the United States based on his courageous leadership of the ANC. What an indignity. This legislation will wipe it away," he said.

South Africa's apartheid government banned the ANC in 1960, imprisoning or forcing into exile its leaders.

Mr Mandela, who turns 90 this year, was released in 1990 after spending 27 years in prison.

He then became the country's first post-apartheid-era president, before retiring after serving one term in office.

He appears to be in reasonable health, but now makes far fewer public appearances.


As I've written before I visited South Africa in the late 1990's. I visited one of the prisons where Mandela spent 18 of the 27 years in government custody. It is incredulous that 18 years after being released from prison, 9 years after completing his term as the first democratically elected President in an election in which all citizens of South Africa could vote, regardless of his or her race, Nelson Mandela is still on a US Government terrorist watch list.

Shame on us. Shame on the US.

10 comments:

Heather said...

wow.

Goofball said...

The inappropriate quip to use would be "better late than never"

cablegirl said...

Disrespectful and absurd? yes. Surprising? no. After all, this country still seems to think that economic sanctions and embargoes hurt governments not innocent people.

Behind the times and not that logical. That's my point.

cathouse teri said...

I want you to be President.

soccer mom in denial said...

Oh thank you ladies for replying. I love South Africa and the fact that we are such idiots is just mortifying.

And Teri? I would love to be president. Really. I've seen the Oval Office (thanks to Flower Child) and I like the space. If only I didn't have to go through the nonsense leading up to elections. That is what I love about the UK - 6 weeks of campaigning. Then elections.

Flower Child said...

oh, the wheels of bureaucracy turn soooo slowly...

citizen jane said...

You know, while I'd like to say this surprises me, it sadly doesn't. Just another example of misplaced priorities and sheer ineptitude.

Gunfighter said...

Yeah.

Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

That is incredible.

Brillig said...

Oh. Mygosh. I had no idea. Hideousness!!!