Global problems today may be even more serious, with inequality and climate change topping the list. But the sense of widespread moral outrage that fired the anti-apartheid movement seems on the decline. Many of us now realize that a new apartheid exists in the global economy, in Israel, and here at home.
At Mandela's funeral, that international movement -- in a way, a successor to a similar international crusade against slavery a century and a half earlier -- was barely referenced. The focus was on the utterings of heads of state where 'the great and the good' invariably make history.
Ironically, the ANC as a people's movement was also pushed aside by all the government dictated protocol and media led deification of Mandela by politicians including President Obama. Only the aging "Arch," Desmond Tutu, criticized the organizers for not inviting leading whites and activists from abroad. He has gone from an ANC booster to trenchant critic.
Even as the globally televised event celebrated the history of South Africa's greatest son and his ''long walk to freedom," it also rewrote that history, leaving out the mass global solidarity movement responsible for generating pressure for sanctions and demands for Mandela's and the people's freedom.
That's why I felt compelled to write this book, to add my small voice to call attention to important, if relatively, now forgotten, contributions to this important history and the fact that South Africans didn't make the change all alone.
Its also essential that we realize how the U.S. as a country supported apartheid for decades, and then used its influence and power to impose a market-based neo-liberalism, assuring the "compromises" on the economic front then that limit their development options now.
As been said many times, the past is never past.
South Africans also need to be reminded of the debt they owe to a world that responded to their call for support, and stood with them in the dark years. In an interdependent world, that movement played a crucial role. When South African politicians ride the "gravy train," they are also betraying their friends abroad.