Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume 3, Number 2 February 9 -15, 2003 Quezon City, Philippines
By RACHEL L. SWARNS
TOWN, Jan. 31 — Former President Nelson Mandela sharply assailed President
Bush this week for pushing the United States to the brink of war with Iraq,
calling him "a president who has no foresight, who cannot think
Mandela, South Africa's first black president, has publicly and repeatedly
opposed the prospect of an American-led war against Iraq. He has spent his
recent years in retirement trying to bring an end to bloody conflicts in Burundi
and the Middle East. His comments on Thursday reflected the deep-seated
opposition here to any decision by the United States and Britain to attack Iraq
without United Nations approval.
to the International Women's Forum in Johannesburg, Mr. Mandela, 84, accused Mr.
Bush of warmongering with the goal of controlling Iraq's oil. He also accused
Mr. Bush of disregarding the United Nations because its secretary general, Kofi
Annan, is black.
is a tragedy what is happening, what Bush is doing in Iraq," he said.
"What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no
foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a
does the United States behave so arrogantly?" Mr. Mandela asked.
"Their friend Israel has got weapons of mass destruction, but because it's
their ally they won't ask the U.N. to get rid of it. They just want the
Mandela said Mr. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain were undermining
the United Nations by threatening to attack without its consensus. "Is this
because the secretary general of the United Nations is now a black man?" he
asked. "They never did that when secretary generals were white."
Mandela, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to bring an end to
apartheid, South Africa's policy of racial separation, was speaking more
stridently than government officials had in recent months.
President Thabo Mbeki and his deputies have also repeatedly questioned American
policy in Iraq and the Middle East. Officials here say they believe that the
Bush administration is unfairly focusing on Iraq, choosing to ignore the
wrongdoing and powerful weapons of its allies in Israel, Pakistan and elsewhere.
November, Aziz Pahad, the deputy foreign minister, led a relief and trade
mission to Iraq, telling President Saddam Hussein that South Africa opposed a
war and urged all parties to resolve their differences through the United
Nations. That same month Mr. Mbeki told a meeting of Asian leaders that he was
concerned about the deepening crisis between the United States and Iraq.
is critically important that the matter of Iraq is resolved peacefully through
the United Nations and its Security Council," Mr. Mbeki said at the meeting
in Cambodia. "We trust that sense will prevail so that no country or
combination of countries take it upon themselves to embark on unilateral action
against Iraq, which should itself cooperate fully with the Security Council to
resolve all outstanding matters."
the governing African National Congress reiterated its strong opposition to war
and called on its supporters to take part in antiwar marches scheduled in
people who pose no threat to the world or the security of the United States
should not be subjected to the kind of suffering an attack would bring,"
the party said in its weekly newsletter.
on Thursday Mr. Mandela took the criticism to a new level. During his speech, he
also criticized the United States for complaining about Iraq's human rights
record. Asserting that the American conscience was far from clean, Mr. Mandela
pointed to the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
during World War II.
they decided to kill innocent people in Japan, who are still suffering from
that, who are they now to pretend that they are the policeman of the
world?" he asked.
of South Africa's smaller predominantly black parties, the United Democratic
Movement and the Pan Africanist Congress, cheered Mr. Mandela's remarks today.
The Inkatha Freedom Party, the second-largest black party, expressed
reservations along with the predominantly white Democratic Party.
Leon, the leader of the Democratic Party, urged Mr. Mandela to "think
again" about his position.
former President Mandela, given his unique moral stature on the world stage,
should communicate with Iraq and persuade its dictatorial regime to follow South
Africa's example of nuclear disarmament," Mr. Leon said. "It is not
simply a question of America's bellicosity. It is a question of Iraq's
decade-long defiance of United Nations resolutions, which has in large part
created this crisis."