Rob Ford's Nelson Mandela Day and other historical ironies - 2013-07-17

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F185.png Rob Ford's Nelson Mandela Day and other historical ironies July 17, 2013, Chris Webb, rabble.ca

It came as something of a surprise to hear that Mayor Rob Ford had declared July 18, 2013 'Nelson Mandela Day' in Toronto. But then again perhaps our dear mayor is in fact a fan of South Africa's elder statesman. Few people aren't these days, and to question him or is legacy is the closest thing one can get to secular blasphemy. It is a remarkable irony of history that many of those who, at the height of the anti-apartheid struggle, denounced him as a communist and a terrorist will soon remember him with heartfelt speeches.

In 2010 Prime Minister Stephen Harper released a statement on the twentieth anniversary of Mandela's release from prison, which read: "It is a time for us to pause and reflect on the accomplishments of this great statesman who became a unifying symbol of resistance to the racism, intolerance and injustice that characterized South Africa's system of apartheid."

Nine years earlier, when MPs voted to make Mandela an honorary Canadian citizen Conservative MP Rob Anders jumped to his feet and shouted 'No,' in the House of Commons, proceeding to call Mandela a communist and a terrorist -- a popular catchphrase of 80s Thatcherites. We now know what Rob Ford was up to in the 1980s, and it wasn't picketing the South African embassy, but during this decade a host of other conservative Canadian politicians were active in denouncing Mandela, the African National Congress (ANC) and newly independent African nations.

Wikipedia cite:
{{cite news | first = Chris | last = Webb | title = Rob Ford's Nelson Mandela Day and other historical ironies | url = https://rabble.ca/news/2013/07/rob-fords-nelson-mandela-day-and-other-historical-ironies | work = rabble.ca | date = July 17, 2013 | accessdate = September 18, 2021 }}