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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 1038 comments Mod
Part 8


message 2: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Blog post for Week 6: UNFORGIVEABLE.
http://www.johnmountford.com/blog/


message 3: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 78 comments Almost to Part 8. This book is making my head spin!


message 4: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 78 comments As the sentencing is handed down, I suddenly realized that this was a mass trial and that none of them were tried individually. I am woefully ignorant of judicial systems anywhere, and when I did a quick search, I saw that the over 600 people who were just sentenced to death in Egypt were also tried en masse. Are mass trials not "normal" in the free world (or even legal?), and are mass trials then a non-democratic practice?


message 5: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) Although they were all tried together there would have been separate and specific charges against each person based on the evidence. That is probably why the prosecution had to redo the initial charge sheet, because it wan't detailed enough. The judge would have had to rule on each charge for each person in his detailed judgement which wasn't read in the court. Also he acquitted Kantor part way through the trial due to lack of evidence and Rusty Bernstein was acquitted at the end for the same reason.

It works like that to this day where for instance you have a number of criminals involved in the same criminal case. They will all appear in the same court, but there will be specific charges against each one and the judge will rule on each charge based on the evidence. We currently have 4 drug producers and sellers facing a total of 550 charges in one of our courts.


message 6: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 78 comments Carolien wrote: "Although they were all tried together there would have been separate and specific charges against each person based on the evidence. That is probably why the prosecution had to redo the initial cha..."

But since they were all tried together, they were not allowed to appeal individually? I know that they were surprised that they were all sentenced to life imprisonment, since several of them were much less involved?


message 7: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) They could appeal individually and their legal counsel felt very strongly that Kathrada, Mlangeni and Mhlaba should appeal. However they decided that they would not appeal in solidarity with their fellow comrades.


message 8: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Carolien wrote: "They could appeal individually and their legal counsel felt very strongly that Kathrada, Mlangeni and Mhlaba should appeal. However they decided that they would not appeal in solidarity with their ..."

The solidarity between them was inspiring - particularly considering that Mandela and Kathrada had crossed swords in the early days over the Indian question.
The unity of the oppressed is always stronger than that of the oppressors. Suffering is good for solidarity, while success eventually breeds division. An odd quirk of human nature. Seems that we were meant to suffer.


message 9: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments I was impressed by Mandela's gratitude and respect for Helen Suzman: "a courageous woman; the 1st and only woman to grace our cells on Robben Island".
After his release Mandela continued to show respect and gratitude to those who had supported the struggle, despite them now being political opponents. This is a far cry from the ANC as the ruling party today, which often insults Helen Suzman's party successors (the DA) as racists intent on bringing apartheid back to South Africa. Mandela was a statesman and politician of integrity and grace - a rare creature indeed!


message 10: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 78 comments I was struck today by the immense isolation the prisoners had, that not only did they know nothing about what was going on in the outside world, but that they were missing out on the very human need to share the celebrations of marriage and birth and the mournings of illness and death. Not knowing who had died, as in Bram's case, and realizing that you might not know anything for years had to be unsettling in the extreme. Nagging worry, no matter how hard you tried to cover it up, had to always be in the back of the brain.


message 11: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 78 comments John wrote: "Carolien wrote: "They could appeal individually and their legal counsel felt very strongly that Kathrada, Mlangeni and Mhlaba should appeal. However they decided that they would not appeal in solid..."

When the Red Cross official said to Mandela that "bread was bad for the teeth", I thought, "Well, isn't that just caring? How nice that we can decide what's good for everyone else!" I thought that in that case the least they could do for the prisoners would be to make sure that they had Milk-Bones every night.

And, since Mandela had high blood pressure in his 40s, we can probably make a case that hard physical exercise and a low-calorie diet were instrumental in allowing him to live into his 90s. So, really, the State did him a favor, right?!?


message 12: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Karlyne wrote: "I was struck today by the immense isolation the prisoners had, that not only did they know nothing about what was going on in the outside world, but that they were missing out on the very human nee..."

Yes - I ask myself whether prisoners need to be punished in this way. They have been deprived of their liberty and every physical comfort - do they need to be subjected to mental and emotional deprivation as well? This is where the sadistic and racist nature of the state must be questioned.


message 13: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Karlyne wrote: "John wrote: "Carolien wrote: "They could appeal individually and their legal counsel felt very strongly that Kathrada, Mlangeni and Mhlaba should appeal. However they decided that they would not ap..."

Again, why should prisoners not receive basic but palatable food? It takes no extra expense and little effort to make sure that the food they are given is in itself not a punishment as well. One gets the impression that the black prisoners were treated like livestock.


message 14: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 78 comments Very expendable livestock, too, John. Most serious ranchers take better care of their cattle than these prisoners had, because they have a huge investment in the well-being of their livestock.


message 15: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 78 comments I am so very impressed with the organization that Mandela and the ANC came up with in prison. I can't even imagine such detail, let alone such patience. The formal "lectures" that they came up with in order to educate each other is simply amazing to me.


message 16: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Karlyne wrote: "I am so very impressed with the organization that Mandela and the ANC came up with in prison. I can't even imagine such detail, let alone such patience. The formal "lectures" that they came up wit..."

They were a special breed of politician - they knew they were a govt. in waiting even during their darkest hours and needed to prepare. SA owes them so much.


message 17: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 78 comments And the studying that went on, for college degrees and not, well, I hate to keep using the same "amazes" and "impresses, but it's true! They seriously impress and amaze me.


message 18: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 155 comments I cannot imagine how Mandela and the other prisoners were able to maintain hope and a will to live despite the oppression that they faced daily. It speaks to the steadfastness of their character and conviction, and I too am thoroughly amazed and impressed!


message 19: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 1038 comments Mod
I'm a bit behind.
I've been to Robben Island (Rob is Dutch for Seal)
Those buildings are all concrete, cold and uncaring. There's nothing forgiving about the prison at all.

I was stunned by the guard's reaction in taking the long trousers back from NM. He didn't want to touch trousers worn by a black man! Where the hell is behavior like that learnt.

The quarry is something else. The white limestone is menacing in the sunlight. The guides however refer to the quarry as 'Robben Island University' as the educated used time in the quarry to teach the uneducated. A guide once mentioned that Sisulu played a big role here.

I did not know that Numbers Gangsters had been thrown in with the political prisoners. What a horrific form of terror!

I'm wondering how many people were affected by the isolation?


message 20: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 1038 comments Mod
Carolien wrote: "Although they were all tried together there would have been separate and specific charges against each person based on the evidence. That is probably why the prosecution had to redo the initial cha..."

Nice to have a lawyer around!


message 21: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 1038 comments Mod
Tshotsholoza lyrics & translation

Shosholoza
Kulezo ntaba
Stimela siphume South Africa
Kulezo ntaba
Stimela siphume South Africa
Wen' uyabaleka
Kulezo ntaba
Stimela siphume South Africa
A rough translation:

Go forward
Go forward
from those mountains
on this train from South Africa
Go forward
Go forward
You are running away
You are running away
from those mountains
on this train from Zimbabwe


message 22: by Leanne (new)

Leanne Hunt (leannehunt) I haven't been very active on this discussion board but I just thought I'd let you all know, I'm still up to date with the reading and have learnt an enormous amount. It is nice to have visited Robben Island and to have a mental picture of where the action took place. My esteem for Nelson Mandela has risen even more as a result of getting insight into his reactions and thoughts while in prison. Thanks for the motivation to acquaint myself with this piece of history.


message 23: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Lisa wrote: "I'm a bit behind.
I've been to Robben Island (Rob is Dutch for Seal)
Those buildings are all concrete, cold and uncaring. There's nothing forgiving about the prison at all.

I was stunned by the gu..."


'Where the hell is behaviour like that learned'.

Lisa, the younger generation in SA have no idea how bad the effects of apartheid were on the white psyche of the time. The doctrine of apartheid as set out by Verwoerd and others was that the black man was not at the same level of humanity as the white man. As the ancient Israelites, and even some faiths today, regarded the 'heathen' as 'unclean' and not to be touched, so did the dyed-in-the-wool Afrikaner. I know many did not and were some of the greatest fighters for the rights of blacks, but many did. And if you were able to be a fly on the wall around many a braai-fire even today, you would be horrified at the attitudes that still exist.


message 24: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments It is sad to see how the ANC leadership has lost its moral compass in the short space of fifteen years since Mandela.
Mandela and Sisulu disapproved of Mac Maharaj blackmailing a warder to get newspapers. They retained, even under the most trying of circumstances, the dignity and integrity that was so typical of their culture.


message 25: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 78 comments "Moral compass", yes, John. Mandela was so sure of right and wrong that although he tried to be as diplomatic as humanly possible in order to attain freedom for South Africa, he never lost sight of what is right. I don't think that he believed that the end ever justifies the means. How many politicians have that kind of integrity? But then, again, there is a difference between "politician" and "freedom fighter" that is rarely bridged into a man of integrity.


message 26: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 78 comments Lisa wrote: "I'm a bit behind.
I've been to Robben Island (Rob is Dutch for Seal)
Those buildings are all concrete, cold and uncaring. There's nothing forgiving about the prison at all.

I was stunned by the gu..."


As Mandela came out of prison and was immediately bombarded by "people", I thought of how so many prisoners are returned to prison because, apparently, they can't handle the freedom, the stress of being "in society", the pure fear that not having walls generates in those who are used to being under lock and key. The fact that Mandela didn't run for the hills but instead stepped right out into masses of demanding people just makes me shrug my shoulders and shake my head; his strength was simply out of my league.


message 27: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) John wrote: "It is sad to see how the ANC leadership has lost its moral compass in the short space of fifteen years since Mandela.
Mandela and Sisulu disapproved of Mac Maharaj blackmailing a warder to get new..."


Yes, well, given Mr Maharaj's current job...

One interesting side comment on the PAC. Given that they were a political force which the ANC feared, their showing in this elections is a sad (probable) end to the party.


message 28: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 1038 comments Mod
This sums up what people were saying: "Strong convictions are the secret of surviving desperation; your spirit can be full even when your stomach is empty."


message 29: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Carolien wrote: "John wrote: "It is sad to see how the ANC leadership has lost its moral compass in the short space of fifteen years since Mandela.
Mandela and Sisulu disapproved of Mac Maharaj blackmailing a ward..."


True. Maharaj is still the go-to man in the ANC.

The demise of the PAC: it shows that to be a political force you need to add structure to ideology. Mandela recognised early on that the PAC were disorganised and opportunist. The ANC might well have gone the same way if they hadn't hitched the Communist Party and the Indian Congress to their revolutionary wagon. You have to hand it to them that they were prepared to think outside the narrow Africanist box in their struggle.


message 30: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Karlyne wrote: ""Moral compass", yes, John. Mandela was so sure of right and wrong that although he tried to be as diplomatic as humanly possible in order to attain freedom for South Africa, he never lost sight o..."

But then, again, there is a difference between "politician" and "freedom fighter" that is rarely bridged into a man of integrity.

Nicely said, Karlyne.


message 31: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) John wrote: "Carolien wrote: "John wrote: "It is sad to see how the ANC leadership has lost its moral compass in the short space of fifteen years since Mandela.
Mandela and Sisulu disapproved of Mac Maharaj bl..."


Completely agree that the ANC's strength has been its ability to maintain the structure. However, it has also stifled some important debates within the party recently.


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