U.S. Government Finally Recognizes that Nelson Mandela Isn’t a Terrorist
Former South African President Nelson Mandela is to be removed from U.S. terrorism watch lists under a bill President Bush signed Tuesday.
Mandela and other members of the African National Congress have been on the list because of their fight against South Africa’s apartheid regime, which gave way to majority rule in 1994.
Apartheid was the nation’s system of legalized racial segregation that was enforced by the National Party government between 1948 and 1994.
The bill gives the State Department and the Homeland Security Department the authority to waive restrictions against ANC members.
“He had no place on our government’s terror watch list, and I’m pleased to see this bill finally become law,” said Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
South Africa’s apartheid government had designated the ANC a terrorist organization during the group’s decades-long struggle against whites-only rule. Its members have been barred from receiving U.S. visas without special permission, and the bill Bush signed will lift that requirement, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.
This demonstrates that greater scrutiny must be placed on the decisions about who gets placed on terrorist watch lists and other government blacklists. It took a long time for Nelson Mandela to get off the list, and I wonder whether anybody who isn’t of Mandela’s stature stands a chance getting off the list. The story also raises questions about just who is designated a terrorist. There must be greater accountability in creating these lists.