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Reply #45: This "memo" was not written by Nelson Mandela, it was by a founder of Electronic Intifada [View All]

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furman Donating Member (363 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-08-07 02:20 PM
Response to Reply #42
45. This "memo" was not written by Nelson Mandela, it was by a founder of Electronic Intifada
The Mandela memo you linked and quoted was not written by Nelson Mandela.

It was written by Arjan El Fassed, a co-founder of The Electronic Intifada
On 27 March 2001, after reading Friedman's 'mock memo' I wrote a letter entitled Mandela's first memo to Thomas Friedman to the op-ed editor of The New York Times and I posted the memo on the Thomas Friedman Discussion Board of the New York Times, hoping that Thomas Friedman would read it and that the New York Times would publish it. However, after two days, I came to the conclusion that the New York Times would not dare publishing this piece and I sent it on March 30, 2001 to Media Monitors, "a Platform for Serious Media Contributors", an online daily, which regularly published my contributions.

Soon, however, I found the 'mock memo' I wrote and which clearly indicated that I wrote it, on various listservers and websites. For example, I found my 'mock memo' on the website of Houston Peace and Justice Center, Progressive Activism in Austin, TX, and listservers such as soc.culture and Indymedia and in different languages, for example German (in which it was claimed that the author is from South Africa) or Spanish. Later, I even found it on the website of the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Information. Again, without mentioning the original author.

The main purpose of the Mandela-memo was to respond in a satirical way to Thomas Friedman using the exact same style and even phrases he uses in his columns. Obviously, the 'mock memo' had been forwarded to several e-mail lists containing the memo, which originally included the title "Mandela's First Memo to Thomas Friedman" and a byline "by Arjan El Fassed", but eventually was forwarded without my name and sometimes without title.

The original piece can be found here:

Mandela's First Memo to Thomas Friedman

by Arjan El Fassed

Memo to: Thomas L. Friedman (columnist New York Times)
From: Nelson Mandela (former President South Africa)

Dear Thomas,

I know that you and I long for peace in the Middle East, but before you continue to talk about necessary conditions from an Israeli perspective, you need to know what's on my mind. Where to begin? How about 1964. Let me quote my own words during my trial. They are true today as they were then:
The author is a Dutch-Palestinian political scientist, human rights activist and is affiliated to the the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (Al-Awda) and
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