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Old December 7 2013, 01:55 PM   #30
Locutus of Bored
I Don't Need Your Civil War
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Location: Huntington Beach, California
Re: Nelson Mandela has died

EmoBorg wrote: View Post
Mandela was no Gandhi.
Gandhi was no Gandhi, at least not the idealized image most people build up of him. Amidst all the good he did, he had some pretty heinous personal activities and questionable beliefs. The same goes for Mother Theresa, who so many people unquestioningly venerate. While Martin Luther King Jr. didn't do some of the more questionable things they did, he was far from perfect either. The Founding Fathers --who many of the conservatives who consider Mandela nothing more than a terrorist (like Dick Cheney) deify to an unhealthy degree and treat as infallible-- were slave holding white supremacists.

I'm not saying these people should be idealized and their human faults be overlooked, but at the same time it takes a huge amount of cynicism (or other, more sinister "isms," as the anti-Mandela threads at the Stormfront boards are geared to, among others) to completely dismiss all the good that someone like Mandela did to focus on the relatively small amount of violence he perpetuated, especially without comparing it against the cruel and unjust regime he was fighting, and the complete imbalance of power he was facing that caused him to have to resort to those tactics. He wasn't capable of fielding his own equally well-equipped army to face the apartheid forces down one-to-one on the field of battle, he had to improvise and turn his weaknesses into strengths (small size and logistical needs means stealth and mobility and being part of the oppressed majority gave them the ability to blend into the populace) and the enemy's strengths into weaknesses (fixed bases and infrastructure of a sitting government make easy targets, and having exclusive power over the majority builds resentment).

I know a lot of the objection to Mandela getting praise in death is just your typical overdone internet cynicism and misanthropy mixed with the ability to be outrageously offensive and judgmental that anonymity affords, plus no shortage of trolling, but I just have to call into question the motives when so many white, conservative-leaning people get so up at arms over Mandela's legacy, when his alleged "crimes" simply don't come anywhere close to the immense positive legal and inspirational influence he had on the affairs of South Africa and by extension the world. There are certainly legitimate criticisms that can be leveled at the man, and he shouldn't be considered perfect, but if all you see him as is a negative force in the world, then there's something really wrong with you (general you, not anyone here personally) and your outlook on life.
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