Monday 23 December 2013

Chavez, Mandela and Thatcher - the deaths in 2013

2013 saw the passing of some of the world's most notable people, including Peter O'toole, James Gandolfini, David Frost and Lou Reed. However, it is the deaths of three politicians that history will ultimately be concerned with: Thatcher, Mandela and Chavez.

Thatcher's death was a celebration to many, but not so for me. Her legacy of privatisation and individualism is now so prevalent in society, that it hardly feels that she is gone at all. It is hard to 'party' at a old woman's grave, when her ideals and policies are still destroying lives throughout the world. Her legacy is one that we have yet to bury.

Mandela's legacy will also be enduring, but for much nobler reasons. He stood for justice and hope, and was a freedom fighter till the last. Unlike Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Bonhoeffer, Romero, Che, Jara - finally we have a great hero who was prepared to die for the cause - but ended up an old and happy man! I am convinced that his life will give people throughout the world inspiration for thousands of years to come. Long live Madiba!

Hugo Chavez also turned the tide of history, during 14 years as president of Venezuela, he not only brought millions of people out of poverty in his own country, but he managed to rebuild the socialist project throughout almost the whole of Latin America - something that his hero Simon Bolivar would be proud of. Though attacked by the capitalist media at home and abroad, his charisma and achievements in life will have a lasting impact on world history.

All three, in both good ways and bad, had a huge impact on my life and political development. Two were lives of progressive stands on behalf of humanity and will be celebrated forever. The other, I hope, will eventually be consigned to the dustbin of horrible histories.

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