Nelson Mandela, a Terrorist?

Nelson Mandela – recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, first democratically elected black president of South Africa, the man who served 27 years in prison for his efforts to end apartheid – is apparently on the United States terrorist watch list.

Well, not intentionally, says Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. However, Mandela was intentionally put on the list, along with every other members of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC). When the group was classified as a communist and terrorist group in the 1970s and 80s, the group was banned throughout the world, and officially designated as a terrorist group in the US.

This means that when Mandela tries to come into our country, he has to be issued a special waiver by the Department of State. If a waiver were not obtained, Mandela would be treated like any other terrorist. It would be like Osama Bin Laden trying to come to America.

How does a country like the US forget to take a man who is the symbol for international freedom off of a terrorist watch list?

Democratic Rep. Howard Berman, of California is trying to fix this snafu. The chairman of the House International Relations Committee is pushing a bill that would remove the ban on current and former ANC leaders. Supporters are hoping to pass the bill before Mandela’s 90th birthday on July 18.

As recently as 2007 a member of the ANC was denied entrance to the US. Barbara Masekela, South Africa’s ambassador to the United States from 2002 to 2006 was denied a visa to visit a sick cousin. Unfortunately, she did not receive a waiver until after her cousin had died. 

No worries though. If for some reason the bill doesn’t pass, or it gets stuck somewhere along the way, Mandela and his buddies at the ANC can come in through California. We’re pretty laid back here, and we never really follow any of those lame rules the federal government imposes anyway. So come on through Mandela, and we can all get together and smoke some pot, make some stem cell babies and marry some gay people. It’ll be fantastic!

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