Imagine your mind has been wiped: memories, knowledge, experiences, language - every word you ever spoke, has vanished. If eventually you found the words, what would you say? For Edwyn Collins, 'The Possibilities Are Endless'.
This is the untold story behind History, a well-kept secret behind the world-wide icon: Nelson Mandela's release was a Plot for Peace. For the first time, heads of state, generals, diplomats, master spies and anti-apartheid fighters reveal how Africa's front line states helped end apartheid. Their improbable key to Mandela's prison cell was a mysterious French businessman, dubbed "Monsieur Jacques" in classified correspondence. His trade secret was trust. Written by
Profile of the Mysterious 'Fixer' Who Made a Significant Contribution Towards Forging Peace and the End of Apartheid in South Africa
PLOT FOR PEACE profiles Jean-Yves Olivier, aka "Monsieur Jacques," a French business person who helped bring about peace in Africa during the Eighties as well as hastening the move towards the end of apartheid in South Africa in the mid-Nineties. Growing up in Algeria at the end of French colonial rule, Olivier understood the importance of negotiation rather than war as a means to solve disputes, if only to ensure the survival of different peoples; this was especially important in South Africa if the white community was going to survive in the post-apartheid era. Although not a politician, Olivier's greatest gift was the ability to be able to talk to the leaders of different political factions in Africa - in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia as well as South Africa - and persuade them to enter into negotiations, in which they would all achieve their aims, but would also work towards peace without losing face. Olivier acts as our narrator, talking direct to camera, with the help of reminiscences from many of the major players involved, including Winnie Mandela, and former South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha. To be honest, the plot does get a little complicated at times - it is often difficult to identify all the leaders and the factions they represent. But Olivier comes across as someone prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to secure peace: many of his trips criss-crossing the African continent were undertaken at his own expense. With hindsight it is perhaps sad that no similar person took responsibility for trying to end long-standing conflicts in other parts of the world - for example in Israel and Palestine. Although they might not have succeeded, they would have at least deserved some credit for trying.
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