Nelson Mandela was removed from the US terrorist watch list in 2008! In another case of bureaucracy being way behind the times, the US looks like they were about 20 years behind the times with this late removal. However, the removal of Nelson Mandela from the terrorist list raises a couple of questions that must be answered. Firstly, why was he on the list in the first place, and secondly, why did it take so long for the US to remove Nelson Mandela from the terrorist list?
Nelson Mandela was born in South Africa in 1918, and is best known as being a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, and president of the country between 1994 and 1999. He rose to prominence during the 1940’s and 1950’s as a leader of the revolutionary anti-apartheid movement. By 1955 he was of the opinion that the only way the African National Congress (ANC) could succeed in ending the racist institution was by the use of force. But for the time being it would have to wait, but not that long.
In 1961 Nelson Mandela co-founded the militant group “Spear of the Nation, abbreviated MK. It was inspired by Fidel Castro’s success in Cuba. He became chairman of this group and its goal was to sabotage government infrastructure, such as military installations, power plants and telephone lines. The goal was to exert pressure on the government with minimum casualties. The actions were to involve bombings, but only at night when civilians were not present. Look at it any way that you like. If it looks and sounds like terrorism, it is terrorism, and these acts were, even though those perpetrating the actions saw no other way.
From 1964 Nelson Mandela served an extended period of time as a guest of South Africa’s prison system. He spent time in three different prisons until he was released in 1990. But to his credit, and the astonishment of many spectators, he emerged not as an angry, bitter man, but as a forgiving man, who came to symbolize freedom and equality for all.
During his extended time in prison, numerous world leaders, including Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, considered Nelson Mandela an dangerous terrorist. It was his actions and involvement in the MK that saw him listed on the US terrorism watch list. It isn’t uncommon for governments around the world to take precautionary measures when dealing with known or suspected terrorists. But just one question remains unanswered. Why wasn’t Nelson Mandela removed from the terrorism list once he became president of South Africa?
The answer to this question is most probably a slow bureaucracy. In 2008 then US president George W Bush signed a bill removing ANC members, including Nelson Mandela from the terrorism list.
He had no place on our government’s terror watch list, and I’m pleased to see this bill finally become law.
Then Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.
In 1993 Nelson Mandela was deservedly awarded the Nobel Peace prize alongside then South African president F. W. de Klerk.