Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Candlelight, Dec 5, 2013.
Yasser Arafat would find that statement amusing.
Mandela rose to achieve greatness, but he didn't start out as exactly a saint, which makes his transformational story even more inspirational.
Nation states and governments, whatever their misdeeds, have more innate legitimacy than the criminal/terrorist/guerrilla movements who often lack sprawling court systems and often exacerbate the cycle of violence more than the occupying forces or power elites do (which is why they often eventually branch out and soften their strategy, like the ANC movement did when Nelson Mandela was released from decades of custody and did not make a call to arms).
Whatever the real merits, that was total war against a powerful industrialised nation.
Oh please, fretting over the bad side-effects and misdeeds of the mostly defunct, much mutated British Empire is a futile exercise in unbaking a gigantic cake.
^ Or perhaps, leaving that cake out in the rain because it took so long to bake it, and you'll never have that recipe again.
Whatever the hell that means.
As for Nelson Mandela: The world is a lesser place now that he's gone. I honestly had no idea of his violent past, though.
Well according to this blog entry it links an article states that Mandela did not fully denounce armed guerrilla struggle and shocked Irish media people at a dinner meeting by stating this:
EDIT - While I think the blog poster opened a can of worms when comparing the IRA with the ANC or even the PLA, I agree that the mass media sycophancy (with hypocritical corporate and political slugs piling in) is off putting.
That's pretty amazing that he orchestrated all that from the various isolated prison cells which he was in from 1962-1990. Is he directly responsible for what the organization did when he was no longer its operational leader (and indeed, he only was for one year)?
He founded the MK in 1961 and was arrested shortly thereafter in 1962, and during his very brief tenure their attacks were limited to sabotage of government buildings and infrastructure, mostly at night, and with deliberate efforts made to avoid civilian casualties, which is the precise opposite of the goals of terrorism, which seeks to capitalize on civilian casualties in order to spread... wait for it... terror among a populace.
Meanwhile, this is a very small sample of the kind of totally not terrorism type stuff the apartheid government was doing before, during, and after that time:
He was absolutely an advocate for violent resistance against oppression, but so was Malcolm X during the civil rights movement, the Founding Fathers in the American Revolution, and the French Resistance in WWII to name a few.
Regardless of his earlier violent tactics and what the militant arm of the ANC that he founded went on to do after he was imprisoned, he brought legal equality to the black majority of South Africa while preaching forgiveness and coexistence with the white minority who dominated the country during his incarceration and once he was freed from prison. And any guerrilla, sabotage, or "terrorist" tactics he used during his brief stint as head of the MK before being arrested were desperate, last resort acts that they were forced to use to address the massive military and logistical power imbalance in South Africa, and pale in scope and intent to the massacres and terrorist acts ordered by the South African government and perpetrated by their military and police forces.
The man deserves respect for his actions in promoting equality in South Africa, the rest of Africa, and indeed the rest of the world.
Mandela was no Gandhi. Mandela did support violence at one point but Gandhi never supported violence. Gandhi was the better man. Mandela did forgive his captors after he was released. That was one good redeeming aspect of him.
Well that puts him in great company then, namely the US government who is currently bombing innocent women and children from drones.
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.
R.I.P. I'll let someone else judge. I'm certainly not qualified.
It is all well and good for us, in the comfort of our homes, to have abstract debates about the morality of this tactic or that. But faced with a struggle against such an inherently immoral regime as apartheid, the question isn't what tactics are justified, but what tactics aren't. But my feeling is that the worse Mandela was, the more powerful his ultimate growth and redemption.
(By the way, I feel that a program of drone strikes, properly executed, is a moral response to terrorism of the sort practiced by the likes of Al Quida because it is undeniably less messy than the alternative of actual war and, again properly executed, because it can limit casualties to actual enemies.)
Mandela didn't use violence against a peaceful, democratic regime. He used violence against a violent, repressive regime that used violence first. Responding to violence with violence can be appropriate, especially in the measured, targeted way Mandela did it.
... who successfully became the father of a nation and was embraced by the same Boers who had once reviled him, all without renouncing the principle of armed struggle. It's almost like "terrorist" is a largely meaningless nonsense term trotted out when the clueless want to demonize someone they don't remotely understand. The same kinds of clueless who mysteriously rarely have similar criteria for the likes of, say, George Washington.
George Washington won a conventional war against the world's superpower, and the British rate him the most competent enemy commander they ever faced, and they faced pretty much all of them. Mandela's genius was spending his time in prison learning about such men, and how you win, and how you unify a people after you win, and how there is no place for bitterness and hatred, but neither is there a place for weakness. Had he not made such leaps, he might have turned out like Robert Mugabe. That is not a pleasant outcome for blacks or whites.
... actually he was famous for unconventional tactics and did not flinch from the killing of civilians. His Seneca nickname was "town burner" after his incineration of several dozen Iroquois villages during the Revolutionary War. But it's funny how people with a purely tactical admiration of pacifism generally and Gandhi specifically -- which basically boils down to violence being evil if it is used by nonwhites to defend themselves from whites -- will not tend to get hung up on such details in reference to men like Washington.
(Mandela's use of armed force was of course far closer to being symbolic by comparison, and you are entirely correct that a great part of his genius was in rising above -- in particular in learning about the Boers and thus how to out-maneuver the Apartheid regime politically. Nevertheless the reeking hypocrisy of people who are suddenly pacifists-of-convenience when contemplating the supposedly awesome tide of bloodshed unleashed by the mighty MK under Mandela's ruthless command is worth commenting upon.)
Yep, in the end even the people he fought against saw him as a freedom fighter, freeing S.-Africa from the shackles of apartheid...
Contrary to any Israeli politician he had at least a sense of humour. He also coined the phrase: "pick your friends with care. Your enemies will find you anyway."
I guess it all boils down to this. White people using violence to fight injustice: awesome! (I happy face) Non-white people using violence to fight injustice: oh noes the evilz! (I worried face)
Yeah, pretty much.
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