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R.I.P. Nelson Mandela

Yesterday I first read the sad news on Facebook, then on German online news: Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95.

When I was in High School I still learnt about Apartheid in South Africa and Nelson Mandela who had been imprisoned for 27 years. Apartheid was one of the two topics to choose from of my final exam in English.

So who was Nelson Mandela?

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Xhosa pronunciation: [xoˈliːɬaɬa manˈdeːla]) (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary who was imprisoned and then became a politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. Politically an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as the President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1991 to 1997. Internationally, Mandela was the Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.

A Xhosa born to the Thembu royal family, Mandela attended the Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand, where he studied law. Living in Johannesburg, he became involved in anti-colonial politics, joining the ANC and becoming a founding member of its Youth League. After the South African National Party came to power in 1948, he rose to prominence in the ANC’s 1952 Defiance Campaign, was appointed superintendent of the organisation’s Transvaal chapter and presided over the 1955 Congress of the People. Working as a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and, with the ANC leadership, was unsuccessfully prosecuted in the Treason Trial from 1956 to 1961. Although initially committed to non-violent protest, he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in 1961 in association with the South African Communist Party, leading a sabotage campaign against the apartheid government. In 1962 he was arrested, convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial.

Mandela served 27 years in prison, initially on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. An international campaign lobbied for his release, which was granted in 1990 amid escalating civil strife. Mandela published his autobiography and opened negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections in 1994, in which he led the ANC to victory. As South Africa’s first black president Mandela formed a Government of National Unity in an attempt to defuse racial tension. He also promulgated a new constitution and created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses. Continuing the former government’s liberal economic policy, his administration introduced measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty, and expand healthcare services. Internationally, he acted as mediator between Libya and the United Kingdom in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial, and oversaw military intervention in Lesotho. He declined to run for a second term, and was succeeded by his deputy, Thabo Mbeki. Mandela subsequently became an elder statesman, focusing on charitable work in combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Although Mandela was a controversial figure for much of his life, he became widely popular during the last two decades following his release. Despite a minority of critics who continued to denounce him as a communist and/or terrorist, he gained international acclaim for his activism, having received more than 250 honours, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Soviet Order of Lenin and the Bharat Ratna. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name, Madiba, or as Tata (“Father”); he is often described as “the father of the nation”. Mandela died following a long illness on 5 December 2013, aged 95, at his home in Johannesburg.

Source: Wikipedia

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

R.I.P. Nelson Mandela!

Update

This is a nice tribute to Nelson Mandela!

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22. November 1963

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917 - 1963), 35. Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
(1917 – 1963),
35. Präsident
der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika

Heute vor 50 Jahren wurde John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35. Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, bei einem Attentat in Dallas, Texas/USA, getötet.

Auch 50 Jahre nach dem Attentat gibt es wilde Spekulationen und Verschwörungstheorien, ob es wirklich nur einen Schützen, nämlich Lee Harvey Oswald, gegeben hat.

Ursprünglich war von Präsident Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedys Nachfolger, 1964 festgelegt worden, dass alle Akten, die mit den Untersuchungen des Attentats in Zusammenhang standen, für 75 Jahre unter Verschluss bleiben sollten. 75 Jahre bedeutet 2039 würden die Akten der Öffentlichkeit zugänglich gemacht werden.

Aufgrund des Films JFK – Tatort Dallas von Oliver Stone im Jahr 1991 beschloss der US-Kongress 1992, dass die Akten spätestens 2017 der Öffentlichkeit zugänglich gemacht werden sollen. Also schon nach 54 (!) Jahren statt 75 Jahren.

Ob mit Öffnung der Akten alle Spekulationen beendet sein werden oder, ob weitere Fragen aufkommen werden, man wird sehen. Aber egal, was diese Akten beinhalten, nichts wird daran ändern, dass am 22. November 1963 ein Mensch ermordet wurde.

Grabstätte auf dem Arlington National Cemetery)

Grabstätte von JFK auf dem Arlington National Cemetery)

Rest in Peace, John Fitzgerald Kennedy