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article imageOp-Ed: Let us not deify Nelson Mandela

By Alexander Baron     Dec 7, 2013 in Politics
As the world mourns Nelson Mandela, we should step back and take an objective look at the man, and just as importantly some of those with whom he worked.
The plaudits - justified and not so - will be found elsewhere in these pages - here we will be focusing on other things. Like most so-called radicals, Nelson Mandela had anything but working class or peasant roots. Although his father died young, his family were sufficiently well off to send him to university, from which he graduated in 1943, ie during the Second World War. How many blacks even in the wealthy United States attended university at that time?
Although he declared himself a communist, it is clear that Mandela was never truly one, or if he was at some point then he discarded this dreadful inhuman philosophy for more moderate beliefs. Nevertheless, his involvement in a terrorist movement to overthrow the Government of South Africa is not only thoroughly documented but acknowledged, albeit with the usual misleading semantics. For those who are not familiar with the Mandela Trial and the bigger Rivonia Trial, the University of Missouri–Kansas City maintains an impressive dedicated website.
It has become de rigueur to allude to Mandela as a political prisoner. Since his death, the BBC has referred to him as being sentenced to prison for his political beliefs. Nelson Mandela was a terrorist by any definition, and whatever anyone may say about one man's terrorist being another man's freedom fighter, whatever comparisons may be made or analogies drawn with the Founding Fathers, the founders of the Zionist entity, the Palestinians, the Kurds, the IRA or anyone else, the fact remains that he conspired to overthrow the government of his country using terror. The one thing that may be said in Mandela's favour is that like many others in the same organisation, he did not have blood on his hands.
Mandela's sentence may sound harsh, and he served a lot of time, but ask yourself this, how would any black African nation have dealt with him for doing what he did? Almost certainly he would have been sentenced to death and then executed. Certainly that would have been his fate in both the former Soviet Union - the Workers' Paradise - and in then Communist China. He would have fared little better in the West.
Was he forced to take up the armed struggle? It is truly amazing is it not that however oppressed and poor a people may be, they can always afford guns, and in the case of the Operation Mayibuye defendants, a great deal more. It is likely that if he and they had remained at liberty, that he too would have ended up with innocent blood on his hands, but let us not speculate about that.
No speculation is necessary though about the woman he married in 1958, Nomzamo Winfreda Zanyiwe Madikizela. Here she is preaching peaceful resistance out of one side of her mouth for the consumption of the Western media, and murder out of the other side. Be warned, this short video contains explicit footage. Then there was the abduction and murder of the diminutive Stompie Moeketsi in which she was heavily implicated. Slitting the throat of a teenage boy is impossible to reconcile with any genuine movement of non-violent resistance.
On another occasion, Mrs Mandela told a police officer: "Don't touch me; you might have AIDS." Mother Teresa, she ain't.
The violence wreaked by these so-called freedom fighters on especially South African blacks is a matter of record, so naturally its white citizens looked forward to the end of Apartheid with more than a little trepidation, but neither a bloodbath nor a mass exodus happened, and Mandela more than anyone else must be given credit for this.
It is likely that even while isolated from the world on Robben Island, Mandela came to see the true face of uhuru, especially in the former Rhodesia, a once prosperous country that was trashed by the lunatic policies of the Marxist Robert Mugabe.
Curiously, five months after Mandela's ascendancy to the Presidency, the BBC reported that non-resident blacks in South Africa were being rounded up and repatriated. Not only that, the border fence with Mozambique was being quietly extended, not to keep blacks in but to keep them out. If something like that had happened in the UK, the usual suspects would have been rioting in the streets, but curiously there was not a whimper of protest from "anti-racist" organisations.
One might ask if South Africa was always such a terrible place for blacks, why did people from other African countries want to emigrate there? Anyone who knows something about the history of the country - which can't be gleaned readily from the mainstream media - will realise this has always been the case. How many people realise that it was colonised by the Europeans before the arrival of the Bantu, or that even under Apartheid, the Soweto township had its millionaires' row as well as its slums?
Rather than play stupid numbers games with racial statistics - like some self-styled social justice advocates - Mandela was wise enough to realise that more than anything else, South Africa needs investment, not "redistribution" of wealth. Making the country an intolerable place for whites would have been counterproductive. Perhaps he remembered Aesop's fable about freedom without livelihood being no freedom at all.
Since his retirement, the South African Government has lost its way a bit, but it seems unlikely now that the folly that has befallen many black African nations will be repeated. Probably his greatest achievement though was the concept of truth and reconciliation that followed the abolition of Apartheid. This was something that was later exported to Northern Ireland by Bishop Desmond Tutu.
Let us then remember Mandela, but we should not create a personality cult out of him; like all of us he was a flawed human being, in spite of his long years of suffering on Robben Island.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Nelson mandela, Winnie mandela, rivonia trial, Apartheid
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