What Would Rosa Parks Say?

Guest writer David MacSweeney with a piece prompted by responses to the death of Nelson Mandela.


In the years building up to the Stormont Deal/GFA a delegation of Unionists, Nationalists, Republicans and “Process” hangers on visited South Africa.

Martin McGuinness represented Sinn Fein on the trip. The purpose of the trip was to travel to various parts of South Africa to learn from the defeat of the apartheid philosophy of that country, which was to be the springboard for partial reconciliation and a certain form of peace in the African nation.

On his return I was at a Sinn Fein meeting in which McGuinness regaled the assembled with the hilarity the trip had exposed him to. Mr McGuinness explained how there was a main bus for the majority of the party and a minibus for the Sinn Fein people, because the Unionists would not travel on the same bus as the Shinners.

Mr McGuinness accepted this humiliation, happy to traipse around after the main bus relegated to second class citizenship. The irony of this taking place during the death phase of apartheid in South Africa seems to have escaped McGuinness, or maybe not.

It was just the Unionists being consistent, Stormont regime father figure Ian Paisley had referred to Nelson Mandela as a “black Sinn Feiner”. Again simple consistency, Paisley had gained his “Dr” title from the racist Bob Jones University in the state of South Carolina. It was only in 2000 the University lifted its ban on inter-racial dating. It was an honorary doctorate, birds of a feather and all that.

Nelson Mandela spoke often of his support for the Irish Republican Army. He also expressed the fact that the Irish peoples struggle against the British state was a source of deep inspiration to him. Indeed Mandela commentated on proposed PIRA decommissioning on a visit to Dublin in 2000. He stated ‘my position is that you don’t hand over your weapons until you get what you want.’ Simple consistency. Mandela was not going to betray his support of Irish resistance for political expediency.

If Mandela were to appear on the streets of Belfast tomorrow in the guise of a young student visiting, let’s say, there is a good chance he would end up sharing a cell next to Martin Corey if he expressed his political opinions on Britain’s occupation of part of Ireland.

Nelson Mandela was proud of the ANC/Umkhonto we Sizwe struggle to the end of his life, he praised his former comrades, indeed spoke with a great amount of love for them. That is what being honourable and consistent is about, isn’t it?

The military organisation Umkhonto We Sizwe was co founded by Mandela, at the trial which led to his years of imprisonment he pleaded guilty to serial charges. These charges included planning a bombing campaign on railway stations and shopping complexes. Indeed the ANC economic targeting of shopping centres lasted well into the 1980s. An example of this strategy was the targeting of the Pick and Pay Shopping centre in Durban in 1986.

Peter Robinson, Stormont regime kingpin today and protégé of the Rev Paisley was also active in 1986. At the launch in the Ulster Hall of Ulster Resistance that year, Robinson gave the keynote address. Ulster Resistance a paramilitary organisation was collaboration between the UDA, UVF and Unionist politicians.  Ulster Resistance went on to collude with agents of the apartheid state, mainly a South African diplomat called Daniel Storm in arms deals. The basis of the conspiracy was to deliver a Javelin generation surface to air missile to the apartheid regime. A successful delivery to Pretoria would have emboldened and possibly prolonged the Racist state

The Union Jack stood in the centre of the old apartheid regime flag in South Africa.  The recent protests over the same Union Jack in Belfast were sparked by a call to arms from leaflets distributed by Mr Robinson’s party machine. It is interesting that those protests were backboned by the UVF. Consistency across time I suppose.

To ask for an investigation of the First Ministers connections with the UVF and apartheid regime wouldn’t be unreasonable or inconsistent would it? The “bad character” legal card recently used against Seamus Kearney in the 6 counties could come into play for Robinson. Peter has after all led an attack on a police station in his past.  Robinson also wore a paramilitary uniform and red beret at the launch of Ulster Resistance. Given that Stephen Murney has spent over a year interned based mainly on the presence of a band uniform and pictures dating back to the 1960s in his home, it is proper that Robinson be held responsible for his actions. Or would that be anti-process consistency?

 Time is not an issue as the case of Seamus Kearney dated back to 1981.

I expect a statement any day now from Mairtin O Muilleoir calling on people not to lose sight of the fact that Nelson Mandela was a “micro” character with “no support” in Ireland or abroad. The statement may continue:

if you want to pay homage to the fallen come to next year’s Poppy Day in Belfast where you can show your respect to the MRF, the Parachute regiment and the Force Research Unit.

The Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin put it well when he said in tribute to Mr Mandela ‘he was a father figure for the world.’ May he rest in Peace.


  1. I wonder indeed what Rossa Parks would make of Mandela and his cronies in the ANC,I wonder would it be akin to thinking that these latter day Nero,s fiddle while Soweto burns,
    Instead of heaping unwarranted praise on this man who sold out his principles and countrymen/women,we should look at a real socialist revolutionary president.
    José Mujica. Pepe,the seventy eight year old president of Uruguary,this man leads by example ,he lives in a one bedroom cottage ,drives an old VW Beetle.he has fought as a member of the Tupameros guerrilla group,who distributed the proceeds of robberies to the poor unlike the ANC and PRM. he was shot six times and spent 14 years in jail in horrific conditions.and yet his name is not one many of us would be familiar with, why is that? surely he compares with Mandela in every way,well apart from the country,s natural resources and wealth of course.or maybe its because he has,nt bent the knee like the recently departed Mandela or the lying toerag that presides over quisling $inn £einds,we could all learn a lot from this man Pepe a true socialist revolutionary not an uncle Tom Mandela or plastic Paddy Adams.

  2. A chara, I don"t where to start with your article to be honest. The furore over Mandela death is staggering. How his former enemies line up to hijack his passing is nauseating. The same folk who called for him to be hanged are now playing the race card lovely talking about his courage in ending apartheid all the while supporting apartheid on other parts of the globe. Mandela up to1991 was a revolutionary icon after that i am afraid he was used as a mascot by the true global elite. Truth and reconciliation only works if everyone is committed not if you incorporate an elite into existing corrupt power structure.
    As for Mcguiness if i seen him on camera saying " please let me come i will go on the mini bus please let me sit at the big table i will sing the sash" i would not be surprised

  3. Good post. Since Mandela died. FB and Twitter has been a torch of hatred from unionists who have called him a terrorist, IRA scum lover and others even used the word N***er to describe him. All the while moaning on about their perceived human rights. Apparently human rights and opinion are only for those of a far right loyalist.
    As exposed by the likes of LAD. Loyalists have also compared themselves to the treatment suffered by the African-American community during the civil rights era in the USA. My wife and I near died laughing watching the PUP and flag protesters singing " something inside so strong". Irony is lost on some.

  4. " What would Rosa Parks say? "

    Well we will have to form our own opinions because David The sicic/psyhic refuses to answer his own question-

    " That you don't hand over your weapons until you get what you want "

    And no Provo weapons were handed over-old Mandala knew the media idiots who were at that dinner table when he said that and he knew they would swallow up his words-only the LVF-UFF handed weapons over to the police-

    Somebody would need to sit David
    down and tell him that the UVF have decommissioned-facts seemed to have been missed out in his yarn-

  5. Rossa Parkers was an inspirational figure as was Nelson Mandela.
    Twenty seven years in a shit hole for challenging blatant racism.
    Many of those who condemn him wouldn't have endured what he did for twenty seven minutes never mind years.
    So how did it all go so wrong for the people who could have had so much more?
    As John Pilger rightly claims, the old apartheid has simply being replaced by a new apartheid.
    Did Mandela believe that in overturning racist legislation they had gone far enough?
    Did he think just as Sinn Fein think, that political power is the end that justifies the means, even if those who now own that power are similar to their predecessors in all but name?

    Michael Henry,
    Those who collaborated in the decommissioning of weapons handed them in, of course they did!
    Decommissioned, means just that. They took part in the decommissioning process as a final act of humiliation and betrayal.
    Sealed dumps that are overseen and constantly inspected, don't differ from weapons rotting in some Army or police arsenal.
    Out of use behind ten feet of concrete is as out of use as it gets!

  6. You couldnt make it up lol.Gerrys doing guard of honour at sabumbas wake.then big ears prince charles is going to the planting.Wonder will there be a handshake .lol

  7. Nuala

    Jamie Bryson lasted 3 hours on hunger strike before getting a curry. After hiding for several days after telling others to hand themselves in as victims who only crime was loyalty. Must have been a very tempting curry.

  8. Fionnuala-

    " Sealed dumps that are overseen-
    constantly inspected "-

    " out of use behind ten feet of concrete "-

    Its one or the other-it can't be both-
    Did you read some Army statement that the rest of us never seen-
    Mandela knew what he was saying-he never let the side down-seen Gerry Adams standing to attention
    at Mandala's wake whilst most of the media want to pretend it never happened-

  9. I doubt the fanfare of the photo-opportunists would be there if Mandela had not been pacified and I don’t just mean that in the militant sense.
    Dignitary’s nauseating brimming with false accolades coming out of their mouths but quiet smiles in their smug minds as people Like Mandela are not to be honoured they are to be broken and re-molded.
    Then and only then will they earn the respect of the elite however false that respect is it makes for good publicity.

    Adams will come out of it with a rise in popularity even though I believe he held sincere respect for the man I am sure he is relieved that some good news inadvertently came his way.

    The more noticeable lack of media attention is the opposite side of the coin as I am sure there have been plenty of SA partying it up and happy that the man is gone. As we are being blindsided by the coverage of the elite purposely to infer that great chances have taken place post apartheid.
    In essence that is true as the rich got richer and the poor get poorer.

    It is difficult to be critical of a man who spent 27 years in a hellhole though 27 years of little to do but think and watch the spirit of youth fade as life becomes a routine on prison time endless by design.

    The man who broke apartheid was more than aware that it would still live and breathe and those in control had no problem with hyping his media image as sadly he appeared to become more of a Barnum and Bailey sideshow which presented him in pop star fame and disposed of his revolutionary iconic image.

    In the end the west tamed another savage and the elitists are proud standing above a man they once called a terrorist showing the world they are the ultimate deciders of good and evil.


    what would Rosa Parks say?

    She would say I paid for my ticket and should be entitled to sit on any empty seat there is available!
    One thing she would not say is “I surrender” sometimes it is the very ordinary that create extraordinary change.


    what else should we expect from bigots only extremist outdated ramblings not based in any truth but expressed as pure hatred of something they either fear or don’t understand or something they can’t come to terms with as the face of the globe is changing?
    The WASP world is crumbling and multi-cultural-ism in Europe will be on par with the USA where ironically they refer to non-whites as minorities a little redundant as globally whites are a minority.

  10. Tain Bo

    Yes i noticed the sheer racism towards Mexicans whilst I lived in America.Racism there is very much in your face. I went through a ton myself as an Irish immigrant. Not in the likes of New York but in the mid west and certainly in the military. I had famine comments all the time. Officers asking why i never joined the IRA and threatning to have the FBI look into my family and loads of other racial abuse.

  11. Maitiu,
    It's hard to know what you would do yourself when placed in certain situations.
    Jamie is a now becoming more and more a figure of fun and that's without the curry yarn.
    Mandela on the other hand was someone we all wanted to believe in. We wanted him to fulfil The Freedom Charter.
    When the ANC came to power two important aspects of the Freedom Charter were left out, the nationalization of industry and the redistribution of land.
    John Pilger cites, that the fact that they were omitted has created a very different apartheid
    an economic apartheid.
    A few years back Dr Jason Hickle wrote a piece on how liberated South Africa is today. He concluded, 'No society can claim to be truly liberated that is so beleaguered by hate and fear that it spends a whopping 40billion a year on private security to sooth its nervous soul....... There is nothing liberating about freedom to amass wealth if that wealth comes off the backs of the poor.

  12. Michael Henry
    It isn't one or the other, it is both.
    The arms are in sealed dumps. de Chastelain and two churchmen overseen the dumping i.e. decommissioning.
    The IRA many of whom now run Sinn Fein leadership and the financial departments, agreed that the dumps would be regularly inspected.
    They may have been spared the visual spectacle of physically handing the arms over but that's it. The IRA arsenal was still handed it over, they destroyed their own weapons.
    Why else would Blair state, 'The true importance of this gesture is these weapons can never again be used'.
    While else would Bertie Ahern state, 'The weapons of the IRA are gone and they are gone in a man which is verified and witnessed'
    They were handed over and all the spiel will not change it.
    I read and observed it just as everyone else did.

  13. Nuala
    Tom 'Nailbomb' Mc Feely did as nearly as long time as Mendela in prison and arguably under more severe conditions at one particular stage at least and he went on to do 53 days on hunger strike as well. Nobody took greater delight than me when every so often he felled a prison officer or two along the way.

    In later years he went on to literally shit on ordinary working class people from the Dublin area.

    Are you saying we are not to condemn him for so shitting on those Dublin people because he did some time?

    At the risk of being labelled as being rigid by yourself or AM for that matter, I without any reservation do condemn Tom McFeely. Would you not?

    It would seem to me, at least, that Mendela surpassed Christ and took turning the other cheek to another level.

    For reasons we might never know he seemed more concerned about the white population in general than the Black people in the Townships. And even though he was elderly and done his bit, and towards the end was a merely a figure head, there was nothing to stop him at any point, over a ten year period at least, standing up and highlighting that nothing had changed for those in the South African townships.

    For whatever else he done, in the end, Mendela like McFeely, shafted the poor people and in that I have absolutley no concern about condemning either of them.

    Whats really depressing is that some people who claim to be enlightened cant see the reality of Mendela or McFeely and would rather wallow in 'what was' or to be be more exact their own perception of what was. Recently for example, I seen TV coverage were Pik Bootha and De Klerk seemed to be overcome with emotion respect of Mendela's passing. These two, for many years, oversaw the slaughter of men, women and children in South Africa's township's and we are now expected to take in that they are capable of having feelings of sadness at the passing of one black man? I dont believe their 'sorrow'. More, I think they are giving a lead to others and with a view to protecting the status quo, ie their own narrow interests

    Probably my view will be viewed as too rigid by you. Hopefully not, and you will review your take on the matter

  14. When Mandela was released the first head of state he visited was Fidel Castro. This was in acknowledgment of the important role played by the Cubans in assisting the South African people's struggle to achieve an end to apartheid. Cuba sent thousands of doctors, teachers and technicians to South Africa to aid the countries development and to tackle the endemic poverty and deprivation.

  15. Loved the Comical Marty story David. It's a classic example of the slavish mentality of the man.

    I agree that Mandela did give a large chunk of his life for the struggle but in the end he became nothing more than a figurehead for the new South Africa. Nothing has changed for his people but what the hell the ANC are in government aren't they?

    Just like the Shinners over here.

    And while Mandela spent almost 30 years in prison Marty didn't spend that many weeks inside. In fact up here he spent 3 weeks on remand before he got out after The Crown Prosecutor was 'Instructed' not to proceed with the prosecution.

    And michaelhenry still believes - the silly fellow - that decommissioning was about handing over weapons to be destoried.

    It was a symbolic act of surrender, just like the handing over of swords in the past.

    The Brits didn't care if they held on to weapons, silly michaelhenry, as long as they were using them to kill Republicans. Meaning to do their dirty work instead of the loyalists.

  16. Maitiu,

    I am a little surprised you got treated that way I suppose being a foreigner amongst locals was reason enough for them to put the proverbial boot in.

  17. Eddie,
    Hardly one for turning the proverbial 'other cheek' yourself.
    Anyway I didn't ask people to condemn or not to condemn Mandela, I should imagine as should you that's up to people.
    What I was trying to figure out was how revolutionary people depart from those principles.
    In relation to your views being rigid as I said before that's a matter for yourself.
    However, if you are quering something I said let it be about the piece not one that is over and done with.

  18. Fionnuala-

    You are at it again-

    " The arms are in a sealed dump "
    " The IRA arsenal was still handed over "
    " They destroyed their own weapons "-

    It would be hard to inspect weapons regular if weapons were destroyed-and the Dixie gunslinger is saying that the Provos still kill for Peace-unlike the war monger dissos this year who refuse to kill brits-whom the PSNI still call hardcore-jesus wept-even the media have fallen for that line again-

  19. Eddie,

    I don’t see the correlation between Mc Feely and Mandela apart from they both served time.
    One would go on to international recognition the other remained relatively in obscurity.
    Mandela went from having his cell door closed for him to having people open doors from convicted “terrorist” to president from a concrete cell to living the highlife.
    Making the leap from prisoner to president would prove confusing to anyone.

    The man no matter how intelligent he was was no savvy long term politicians and his downfall would have been he was surrounded by very astute advisors that persuaded him what was best.
    They intentionally cultivated his new image of that along the lines of a super star and parceled him of as the ambassador of change in SA.

    Ironically for those in power the man they despised would be the man that would change the stigma of apartheid and international business no longer had the barriers of sanctions to deal with.
    I am sure there were times he knew little had changed and wished he was back in his cell.
    The ending of visible apartheid did bring about change it brought international legitimacy to SA governments and widened the gap between rich and poor.

    I would agree with you that he was in position to bring about social change but was blindsided by the simple formula that dictates so much of the world being if investors bring more money and jobs to the country eventually the new wealth will trickle down and aid the poor and impoverished.

    On paper that plan works well in reality not so well. I am sure he loved his people as they loved him but love does not eliminate poverty.

    Mc Feely on the other hand intentionally took advantage of the poor and financially stiffed anyone who entered his personal space becoming a glorified hood. Although Mandela enjoyed the highlife it was cast upon him Mc Feely also enjoyed the highlife but made his way there through unscrupulous dealings and an attitude that he was building for the poor so what if they ended up living in a building that should have never passed inspection for human habitation.

    He may have knockout a few screws in his time but he certainly had no qualms when it came to knocking out the poor as long as the cash was rolling in.
    Perhaps it was the fact that he did hard time that in his mind entitled him to shit on the poor?

  20. “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”

    ― Abraham Lincoln

    Perhaps this applies to Mandela too but it certainly characterises McFeely. I wasn't surprised at much of the stuff that came out after the Priory Hall debacle. An old friend who had billeted him on occasions in the early days and who subsequently had to relocate south approached Tom for some light work (my mate did have some health issues). The way he tells it McFeely was aggressive abusive and rude.
    I know Tom did a lot of hard time but I wonder if as Lincoln suggests, did power get the better of him?

  21. Michael Henry,
    It was your leadership who were at it again not me!
    The inspectors inspect that the dumps remain sealed.
    I don't know about 'Jesus weeping'
    But he's the only one who could get through that type of cement and get the guns.

  22. Henry JoY

    I don’t think it could be argued to the contrary power and greed are corruptible forces and certainly played a major role with Mc Feely who had no regrets about stiffing tenants and those he employed.

  23. The moderators asleep!

    I know it's alleged Big Tom might have 'stiffed' a few Brits in his time but surely to god Tain Bo he never 'stiffed' tenants or employees?

  24. Henry JoY

    Touché my friend thanks for the laugh on my poor choice of word I don’t mind the alleged stiffing of Brits but I am sure he left a few employees with an empty pay packet and the residents paying rent to live in a dodgy building.

  25. HJ,

    the moderator was asleep, literally. I wasn't moderating at the time but it would have made no difference had I been at the screen. I would have read it in the context of Tain Bo's earlier comment 'financially stiffed.'

    This blog has no intention (fully accept that you point is about protecting accuracy) of protecting McFeely or anyone else from criticism. Tom is a chronic bully. He won't be facilitated here.

  26. TB & AM,

    Essentially we're in agreement!
    On review it's clear Tain Bo's comments (which as a rule are considered and informative) were indeed contextualised by his earlier one.

    For those interested in how power affects the brain I'd recommend Professor Ian Robertson's, 'The Winner Effect'.
    Explains in an accessible way what happens at a neurological level to the brains of people like McFeely, Adams et al.

  27. HJ,

    there is something very cruel about this, telling us there is something else good to read. An old one I feel the need to endlessly retell is that at John McGuffin's cremation Eamonn McCann told of a conversation he had with McGuffin before he died. McGuffin said he had so many good books to read 'but still there's bastards writing more.'

    I am off to access it now

  28. HJ,

    at 4 and half quid on Kindle it looks very tempting

  29. 'Even in his 87th year, the great Italian renaissance artist Michelangelo, creator of such masterpieces as the Sistine Chapel and the sculpture of David; is quoted as saying "Ancora Imparo" (I'm still learning). Given the scope of his achievements in painting, sculpture, poetry and architecture, this humility is striking and strongly reminiscent of the Greek philosopher Socrates.

    "The wise man knows that he knows nothing."'

    All taken from a little plaque "I'm still learning" that hangs above my book shelf.

    There's more addictions than drink Jack!

  30. It seems rather daft to have filled in arms dumps in concrete and have people have to monitor them. If the weapons are not able to be used, then why not just melt them down?

  31. Anthony,

    I took Henry JoYs line as well placed sarcasm and not offensive or pulling me up.
    I agree with what you said but I forget there are other readers not so well versed who could construe my using stiffed in the literal sense.
    My mistake for leaving out the “financially” stiffed people and didn’t give a toss about the problems and hardships he caused in his wake.