Thursday, 11 April 2013

Update on Nelson Mandela Foundation

Sent: 09 April 2013 03:18 PM
To: Lee Davies
Subject: Re: Why did we march to free nelson mandela when you now stab us in the back?
Dear Mr Davies,
Thank you for responding to my earlier email. I hope you don’t mind but I have consulted with my good friend, Graeme Atkinson, before replying. Graeme is a fellow Sunderland fan of many years and is also the European editor of Hope Not Hate.
Graeme strongly agrees with the sentiments of what I have to say and I have added his name to mine at the bottom. Please treat this letter as therefore coming from both of us. 
I am more than happy to make a telephone call to the Foundation if you can assure me that you will record my views (I am happy to put them in writing) and will make them available on-line to your readers and members. I will do the same at this end and make them as widely available as possible.
I would also like you to approach the call with as open a mind as possible and be willing to explore the possibility that the decision to maintain a link with SAFC may be a wrong one. 
I am aware of Mr Di Canio's statement. I do not trust his word. His history tells me a different story, of a man who admires Mussolini and who just three years ago attended the funeral of a mass murderer/killer/bomber who killed 85 people. In his press conference after the game at Chelsea on Sunday he also made pretty clear why he has opportunistically tried to distance himself from his past. 
To be honest I am at a loss why any organisation would want to have a link with a body that allows such a man to be its most prominent spokesperson/representative. 
You say you want to work with Sunderland on Human Rights and tackling racism. Perhaps I can ask what this work will consist of? Can I ask whether you would consider going back to the club and getting them to include within your work fascism and specifically (especially as it is the talk of the town and the surrounding areas) Mussolini? 
I have been a Sunderland fan since the 1960s - or rather I was a fan as I am not going with a fascist in charge - and during this time I have argued with many fans over racism and fascism. I can recall getting stick for wearing a Free Nelson Mandela t-shirt in the 1980s and being accused of supporting terrorism. I still wore the t-shirt and I supported Mr Mandela in his long battle for freedom. I celebrated wildly when he was released. It meant a lot to me and to other anti-racists in Britain like myself. I cannot recall Sunderland Football Club doing a single thing to help his release and in fact during the 1980s the club was run by a great fan of Margaret Thatcher, who was no friend of black freedom in your country. 
Sunderland Football club appears to have no senior black staff. In a country in which around 1 in 12 people are black or ethnic minority then does this not strike you as a little odd? If you take a look at the club's junior set-up, then are there any black kids involved? Take a look at the coaching staff and those that have gone before them. They will be white. Is the NMF going to ask the club to take on-board its own racism and tackle the fact it has no black staff within the administrative apparatus? 
Why am i putting these things in print? Because I can tell you from my experiences of the last 35-40 years as a Sunderland fan and an anti-racist that you will be giving credibility to fascism and racism if you do not make a stand and withdraw your links with the club. I can assure you that you will be making it more difficult for those (relatively) few of us who are anti-racists to win the arguments with the racists and fascists at the match and in the street. They will say: "Look even the NMF and the likes of Show Racism the Red Card are working with the club." The club needs you more than you need them and that's a fact. 
Mark Metcalf
Graeme Atkinson

From: Lee Davies <>
To: "" <>
Sent: Friday, 5 April 2013, 22:11
Subject: RE: Why did we march to free nelson mandela when you now stab us in the back?
Good evening Mark,
Thank you for your e-mail. Please see the statement we issued earlier this week, as well as the statement issued by Mr. di Canio. Should you subsequently wish to discuss this matter further we will gladly set up a call with Mr. Sello Hatang, Head of our Communications and Outreach programme, on Monday. 
Update on the Centre of Memory’s partnership with Sunderland AFC:

2 April 2013
The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and the management of Sunderland Football Club met in England on Monday, 1 April 2013 to discuss the public debates around Sunderland’s new coach. Mr Di Canio participated in the meeting.
The Centre recently entered into a partnership with the club designed to promote the legacy of our Founder, Nelson Mandela, and to help ensure the future sustainability of the Centre. At the heart of the partnership is a commitment to our Founder’s values with a special focus on human rights and anti-racism.

At the meeting on Monday, Sunderland reaffirmed its commitment to these values and the ethos of the partnership. It must be stressed that the Centre’s relationship is with the club, not with any individual in the club.
Statement from Paolo Di Canio:
Published: 03 April, 2013
by Sunderland AFC
Head coach speaks.
PAOLO DI CANIO, Wednesday 03 April, 2013
“I have clearly stated that I do not wish to speak about matters other than football, however, I have been deeply hurt by the attacks on the football club.
“This is a historic, proud and ethical club and to read and hear some of the vicious and personal accusations is painful. I am an honest man, my values and principles come from my family and my upbringing. 
"I feel that I should not have to continually justify myself to people who do not understand this, however I will say one thing only - I am not the man that some people like to portray.
“I am not political, I do not affiliate myself to any organisation, I am not a racist and I do not support the ideology of fascism. I respect everyone.
“I am a football man and this and my family are my focus.  Now I will speak only of football.” 
Please feel free to contact me.
Kind regards,
Lee Davies
Communication Systems Co-ordinator
Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
at the Nelson Mandela Foundation
Tel: +27 11 547 5600
Fax: +27 11 728 1111

From: Ethel Arends
Sent: 05 April 2013 03:47 PM
To: Lee Davies
Subject: FW: Why did we march to free nelson mandela when you now stab us in the back?
Sent: 02 April 2013 08:12 PM
Subject: Why did we march to free nelson mandela when you now stab us in the back?
Dear Mandela Foundation,
As someone who marched, organised meetings and petitioned to have Nelson Mandela freed from prison can I express my disgust at your decision to retain your connection to the football club I have followed from over forty years.
Did Sunderland Football Club support the demands for Mandela's freedom, did Ellis Short, did Di Canio? No, it was ordinary people, like myself and you should hang your heads in deep shame by your actions which are a deep betrayal of the international struggle against racism and fascism.  
Mark Metcalf
Freelance journalist and author
West Yorkshire NUJ member

No comments:

Post a Comment