Posts Tagged ‘Michael Chessum’

The left should focus on the prejudice BAME Brits face instead of playing political football with Mandela’s death

12/12/2013, 12:11:05 PM

by Rene Anjeh

Tuesday was the day of Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. World leaders, politicians, celebrities and ordinary South Africans gathered in Soweto’s FNB stadium.   It is worth remembering that over 37 years ago, in that very town, the Soweto riots took place.  It was not just a day of mourning but a day of celebrating the life of truly magnificent individual.

I remember when I heard the news of Mandela’s death.  I was playing pool with a friend but the game was interrupted by a text. “Apparently Nelson Mandela is dead,” my friend said in disbelief.  I put down the pool cue and checked the BBC website to see for myself.

Tears started to stream down my face as if a close relative, or even a grandfather, had passed away.  Nelson Mandela was a hero who personified the last great struggle for racial equality in the twentieth century.   Mandela set an example to the four black Labour MPs elected in 1987. Mandela arguably paved the way for Barack Obama to become president of the United States almost twenty years after his release.  Mandela reminds everyone – especially the BAME community – that many of the rights that we enjoy have been fought for and won.

Which is why it was saddening to see certain members of the Twitterati play political football with this great man’s death.

One prime example was from Michael Chessum. For those of you who don’t know, Chessum is the president of University of London Union (a fellow London Young Labour comrade too) who has recently been arrested for protesting against the closure of ULU in this academic year.  He tweeted:

Nelson Mandela was made honorary President of ULU when the British government said he was terrorist. He’d be on our side #copsoffcampus

Personally, I could not care less about Chessum’s protests, in fact I am completely unsympathetic as it was he who banned ULU student officials from wearing poppies or attending a remembrance day service.  However, it was his decision to use Mandela’s death to make a petty point that was really annoying.


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