July 18 2020 — Nelson Mandela International Day is an annual international day in honour of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on July 18, Mandela’s birthday. The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first UN Mandela Day held on July 18 2010. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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Update (July 18 2021) — Theme Of Nelson Mandela International Day 2021 — Last year’s theme “Take Action, Inspire Change” highlighted the importance of governments and citizens working together to build a peaceful, sustainable and equitable world for all.
The theme for this year is “One Hand Can Feed Another”. The day is celebrated by organisations that work for violence against women, genocide and crimes.
This day is an opportunity for everyone to renew their commitment to the values that inspired Mandela.
END of UPDATE
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
Mandela was the country’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election.
Among his many other achievements, Nelson Mandela played a significant and honorable part in the Lockerbie affair.
Mandela & Lockerbie
On February 11 1990, a person the US Central Intelligence Agency had helped to arrest in 1962, walked as a free man out of a South African prison. This ‘troublemaker’ would soon be running the country.
Nelson Mandela was decided to reveal the truth about Pan Am 103 and the Lion of South Africa was determined to move Heaven and Earth until the US and the UK would accept a Lockerbie trial in a neutral country.
“The same country should not be complainer, prosecutor and judge in this particular matter,” Mandela argued.
In April 1998, Libyan government officials, lawyers and British representatives of the bombing victims – including my friend Dr. Jim Swire – met in Tripoli.
Following their meetings, Libyans authorities confirmed that their government would accept an old plan — devised in 1994 by Pr. Robert Black — whereby the case would be tried in a neutral country, operating under Scottish law.
On January 7 1999, after Tony Blair’s visit to South Africa, President Nelson Mandela launches a diplomatic initiative to bring an end to the impasse over the Lockerbie suspects.
Mandela arranged for a two-man delegation made up of Prince Bandar (the Saudi Ambassador to the United States) and Jakes Gerwell (Mandela’s chief of staff) to meet Colonel Gaddafi.
On March 19 1999, after being granted special permission from the UN, Nelson Mandela flew to Tripoli to speak directly with Colonel Gaddafi.
By the end of their meetings, Mandela announced that the Lockerbie suspects would be surrendered on or before April 6 1999.
And indeed, on April 5 1999, the two Libyan suspects for the Lockerbie Pan Am bombing, Abdelbaset al Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, were taken into Dutch custody after flying from Tripoli to Camp Zeist — an old airbase near The Hague — where they would stand trial in a Scottish court.
As Nelson “The troublemaker” Mandela famously said:
Is the CIA an Intelligence Agency?
Does the CIA collect Intelligence and advise the President, or does the CIA actually write Foreign Policies?
I will tell you a story about Bill Clinton that clearly answers this fundamental question.
In March of 1998, U.S. President Clinton visited President Mandela in Johannesburg.
South African government sources say that after discussing a variety of issues, Mandela asked for Clinton’s aides to leave so that he could speak with the American president privately.
After the doors closed behind the American aides, Prince Bandar unexpectedly dropped in for five minutes to participate in a talk about the Libyan sanctions.
“We were surprised to find how little Clinton knew about this matter,” Gerwel [Mandela’s chief of staff] noted.
“[US National Security Advisor] Sandy Berger almost had a heart attack over having the president talk on something he hadn’t been briefed on before. It was clear he actually knew very little about the matter.” [Strategic Moral Diplomacy]
Obviously, the facts about the Lockerbie negotiations had not been relayed to the US President.
For example, President Clinton was not even aware that Libya had committed in writing to a trial under Scottish law as first suggested by Professor Black in 1994, and to the two accused being imprisoned in Scotland if convicted.
This short anecdote speaks volumes…
Visit to Megrahi in Prison
On Sunday July 24 2011, huge crowds greeted Nelson Mandela as he traveled from South Africa to meet Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
He met the Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing in 2002 on a diplomatic excursion to see how he was being treated.
The former president of South Africa also discussed a campaign for Megrahi to serve his sentence in a Libyan prison.
Everyone who has met Mandela speaks of his kindness, gentleness and good manners.
His visit to Gaddafi’s Cafe, the nickname given to the area of Barlinnie where Megrahi was held, underlined the humanity of the man.
After all, Mandela himself spent 18 of his 27 years in jail on Robben Island after being locked up by the South Africa’s apartheid government.
Most of the crowd hoping to meet him were positioned around the reception and the main gates. Everyone on the staff wanted a glimpse of the great man. The wellwishers were rows deep.
But as he passed through the throng, Mandela stopped, looked to the edge of the crowd and spotted a young prison officer right at the back.
He said: “You sir, step down here.”
When the officer got to the front, Mandela shook his hand, giving him a moment he would never forget.
Mandela remarked that he, too, knew what it was like to be at the back row and not noticed.
The great leader then went inside to meet Megrahi.
But he declined an offer to visit the cell blocks.
Mandela had seen enough to last a lifetime.
PS: This is Sunday, so I will share a joke with you. I know that Rolihlahla — “The troublemaker” — would not mind. In both Colombia and France, there is a popular joke involving Mandela. Question : What is the difference between South Africa and this country? Answer : In South Africa, you first spend time in prison, then you become president. I am not sure that Alvoro Uribe and Nicolas Sarkozy are much amused.
Johnny Clegg with Nelson Mandela – Asimbonanga
Asimbonanga — We have not seen him
Asimbonang’ umandela thina — We have not seen Mandela
Laph’ekhona –Iin the place where he is
Laph’ehleli khona — In the place where he is kept
RIP Nelson Mandela — The Lockerbie Case
On this Day — Nelson Mandela Quits (December 5 2013)
Nelson Mandela International Day (July 18 2020)
Nelson Mandela International Day (July 18 2021) [UPDATE — Theme Of Nelson Mandela International Day 2021]