Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Discovery of One’s Dignity in the German Democratic Republic (GDR)

Sathyandranath Ragunanan“Mac” Maharaj interrupted his hard-won studies at the London School of Economics and left his wife behind in 1961 (‘It would be the story of my marriage. I was either gone or going somewhere.’) because the Communist Party wanted to send him to the German Democratic Republic (GDR) for military training. The SACP had taken “the first step toward an armed struggle in 1961,” with the ANC following suit soon thereafter. The Party and the ANC merged the “armed wing” of their respective organizations as Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) (Spear of the Nation), the military “pillar” of the ANC. As Nelson Mandela has explained, MK was from that point forward one of the “four pillars of the struggle,” the other three being mass mobilization and (above ground) political action, the construction of a “sustainable political underground,” and international solidarity efforts aimed at isolating the apartheid regime. In a summary of Mac’s time in the GDR, O’Malley states that “For the first time in his life, his color was not an issue, at least overtly. He discovered his dignity as a human being.” In his own words, Mac recalls that his

“experiences in Germany were favorable and complemented my theoretical commitment to Marxism. For example, it was the first country where I did not feel that I was being discriminated against because I was a black man—unlike London, where I had gone to look for accommodation advertised in newspapers and had been turned away. [….] I was never refused accommodation in the GDR because I was black or looked at askance in a restaurant. Nor was I ever insulted in the streets.”  


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home