The world is mourning the loss of former South African President and anti-apartheid revolution leader Nelson Mandela, who passed away today at the age of 95.
Many would be shocked to know that Mandela was not removed from a U.S. terrorism watch list until five years ago. It wan't until July 2008 when George W. Bush signed a bill that absolved Mandela and other members of the African National Congress, who were added to the list because of their participation in the fight against the apartheid, which finally came to an end in 1994.
According to a 2008 CNN article, South Africa's apartheid government had flagged the ANC as a terrorist organization because of their battle against whites-only rule. Members of the ANC were also banned from receiving U.S. visas without special permission, a provision that the bill finally lifted.
"He had no place on our government's terror watch list, and I'm pleased to see this bill finally become law," Secretary of State John Kerry said when the bill was signed.
So even after Nelson Mandela was recognized as a hero for spending 27 years in prison for challenging apartheid to become the country's first black president upon his release, he was still considered a "threat" until 2008. That's amazingly disappointing.
Mandela's death comes a week after Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, based on his 1994 autobiography, was released.