Remembering Fatima Meer

One of South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon, Professor Fatima Meer (August 12, 1928 – March 12, 2010), an African National Congress (ANC) leader and biographer of Nelson Mandela, Higher Than Hope, and a former professor at the University of Natal – died on Friday at a hospital in Durban. South African president Jacob Zuma paid rich tribute to her in his official condolence message: “Fatima Meer dedicated all her life to the struggle for freedom and equality among South Africans and worked tirelessly to improve relations between Indians and Africans in Durban.

In addition to be a freedom-fighter, a political prisoner along with her lawyer husband Ismail – Fatima Meer authored more than 40 books and was involved in country’s broadcasting and film industry. She played a major role in making of the film on Mahatma Gandhi, The Making of a Mahatma (watch a trailer at the end of this post).

Fatima Meer was born into a liberal Muslim family of 9 in Durban, where all religions were respected. She boycotted Salman Rushdie’s abortive tour to South africa in 1998 claiming he was blasphemer. She paid a visit to Islamic Republic of Iran in 1984 and praised the Islamic Revolution as the greatest Islamic event of the century.

She gave an interview to Nelson Mandela Foundation on July 13, 2008, in which she stated: “We have not got a leadership who will fight poverty, we have a very corrupt leadership – that’s our tragedy. And the leadership doesn’t have the courage to recognize its own weaknesses; it always pushes things away from itself and puts blame elsewhere.”

“The problem we have is with United States. It is interested in acquiring the oil resources which are in the hands of Muslims. So Middle East is in the mess it’s because, until the US gets control of that oil resources, it’s not going to solve the Middle East problem (by forcing the Zionist entity to act like civilized people). and in the wake of that, we have the intolerance of Muslims. The USA’s enemies were communists before; today the enemies are Muslims.”

“People have said Barack Obama is going to change things, but he will not have the power to change things. He will be manipulated the way the moneyed class wants things to be in America and the rest of the world.”

“Quite diplomacy (non-violence), didn’t succeed, that was what the US pursued in South Africa. The USA did not support us, in fact it opposed the liberation (resistance) movement. I recall, I was in the States when Nelson was about to go there and one morning I was invited to address the Senators. At the end of my official address to them, one Senator requested that I stay behind and talk to him, which I did, and what did he want to talk to me about? He wanted to know if I would be seeing Mandela when he came or before he started his trip to the States. I said I did not know which was the truth. He said if you do see him, warn him that he is not to mention the words “Arafat” or “Gaddafi”. If he does, he will be finished; he will have no sympathy in this country. Imagine it, hey?”

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