Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013



N_MandelaOut of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.


In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.


Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.


It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.



Thanks for this.

I admire Mandela's personal sacrifice in refusing to leave prison, ignore his Marxism and even leave aside his support of violent overthrow (though in the end it wasn't necessary).

But I can't reconcile his statesman-like image with his marriage to Winnie, who was a viscious murderess.

Was the Mandela we were presented on TV the real man? Sometimes I'm not sure.

The line between good and evil runs through every human heart. = Alexander Solzhenitsyn, stating his belief about his contemporaries.

even a republican like myself would concede you would have to dig pretty deep to find something negative to say about him

Really? Nelson Mandela was a unrepentant Stalinist who came to power by throwing tires over people's heads and burning them to death. His party burnt more people to death than the Spanish Inquisition - and he was totally silent on the issue.

He went on to be friends with, and defend, the most vile regimes on the planet. Because they were comrades. Gaddafi. Saddam. Castro. The Kims in North Korea. He promoted and supported buffoons in his own party despite the fact that they came up with the most insane ideas like AIDS denial - at the cost of God knows how many lives.

His charitable foundation is, to say the least, untransparent with what it does with the cash it gets and Mandela is noticeably rich for someone who never had a real job. He has also presided over an increasingly corrupt and brutal ruling party without a word of protest.

Nor has he protested over the growing racism in the ANC.

Mandela is a great example of the bigotry of low expectations. Just because he did not turn out to be Idi Amin in the first weeks of his rule, we are expected to believe he is a Statesman. He is not. He is just like that other Marxist Mugabe. As long as the voters returned his party, he was willing to play nice. Let's see what happens when the voters want a change - after all, Mandela presided over a government intolerant of other parties in power in places like the Cape.

The fact is admiring Mandela is a way of proving you're not racist. It has no other useful function. It is not hard to criticize the guy. It is hard to find anything he did that was praiseworthy. Except not immediately slaughter a lot of White people.

Mandela = Mugabe and Idi Amin?

So much for subtlety, indeed.

You take a good point too far. Yeah, Mandela was sainted for not being a murderous lunatic, like his contemporaries. By European standards it is a law bar, but we're talking about Africa. Not being a murderous lunatic is about the best you can do, unless you go back to colonialism. You have to judge men in their proper context. Mandela, in the context of Africa, was an exceptional figure.

But clearly he was objectively worse (for his people and their poseterity) than his enemies whom we denounce as evil.

josh, read "Tropical Gangsters" by Robert Klitgaard. It's complicated.

Because Europe has no experience with murderous lunatics.

If George Washington ordered or turned a blind eye to the murder of Tories by burning, I'm not sure I could revere him as much. At the very least, I'd acknowledge him for his vices and virtues.

And that was in a different era when brutality was commonplace. Slavery was an institution and flogging was not considered "cruel and unusual" punishment.

I can forgive Mandela for violent acts against an oppressive government. I can't forgive war crimes against non-combatants. If a socialist jumped into a river to save the the life of a drowning puppy, I'd pat him on the back for that one deed but I wouldn't venerate him as a patriot. Any friend of North Korea, where they execute people for reading the Bible or watching foreign television, is no one worth honoring. At best, such a person is worth tolerating in mutually beneficial actions.

I remember long ago, I guess in the 90's, that two blond girls took a gap year from our California beach town to go to SA, to fight the apartheid. Someone in SA assume that the blond girls were SA racists, and tired and burned one of them. That the family was immediately understanding shocked me. I am not that good a soul.

It is a triumph of SA and Mandela that they have achieved in historic terms one of the most peaceful revolutions in history, but that doesn't mean it was bloodless or without murders of the innocent.

In america we canonize people who started a war over tea being too expensive. South Africa's situation was much more intolerable for blacks than colonial america's was for white land owners.

The colonies did not start a war of independence because the price of tea was too high.

Your knowledge of American history relies too much on metaphorical principles and propaganda.

Everyone who had "comment 2" in the pool, come and collect your winnings.

Chet, you are superior to the facts. Go back to worshippin the dead.

I wonder if Tyler and Alex feel bad about hosting a forum for these comments.

Libertarians aren't bad in theory, but in practice the roaches are very easy to coax out of the woodwork. Simple as mentioning black people, and they end up in a rabid froth.

Yeah Zephyurs, you are such a paragon of virtue, I don't know how you put up with it. Without your public acts of piety, I don't know what I'd do.

And yet you wonder why people think you hate black people.

Seriously: of all the comments you could have chosen to respond to, you chose to mine? Shows where your priorities lie.

The important thing, of course, is to group people and make sweeping statements about them. Excellent example here.

Having said that, and then read the comments, there are several individuals here that might walk in front of a bus as a service to humanity.

Because they are insufficiently worshipful of a Nelson Mandela?

Yes, josh, that's it exactly. Like when So Much For Cognition says: "I have been perfectly prepared to piss on the man for years." Yeah, that's a smidgen less worshipful than I was hoping for.

So, despite, your sarcasm, you *are* actually agreeing.

Therefore he should commit suicide.

For guys like Brian Donohue it always ends up at the same place. That's where his cult starts murdering those who refuse to go along. Maybe wishing suicide on the inconvenient is a step up from necklacing, but not by much.

Love your blog! You should retitle it "A Tree Falls in the Forest"

didn't even click the blog, so don't know if you're right, but nice burn nonetheless.

FFS are you a 7 year old?

Winnie was a very attractive woman when Mandela married her, considering they were divorced as soon as he got out of prison, one has to be a little forgiving. Nelson Mandela would not be the first great man to be lead by his gonads. She was 22 when they married, he was what 18 yrs older, and he was sent to prison 6 years later. Is it really his fault she became evil in the 27 years before he got out.

One certainly shouldn't condemn someone by their associations, but outside of a court of law, we can certainly be suspicious of someone based on their associations.

If I told you that my wife is or became a member of a neo-Nazi group, would that tell you nothing about me?

Nothing if you had then divorced her. Probably speaks well of you.

"I am a very easy person to get along with, very inspired to find solutions which can bring accord. My wife, man, that wife of mine likes to put gasoline soaked tyres around people's necks and burn them alive, but me? I am a man of peace. So I hope you find it suitably affable to deal with me, because that wife of mine sure does like to burn people alive...if you get what I'm talking about"

Mandela was released from prison in 1990, separated from Winnie in 1992 and divorced her in 1996. Do you have some knowledge that he supported her thuggish actions, or did you just think it would be fun to piss on the man's grave?

Amnesty International refused to support his release from prison because of his associations with violence. In my opinion AI is a pretty reputable organization. So the fact that they didn't consider Mandela to be a "Prisoner of Conscience" to him should certainly weight the scales against the man.

Stompie was tortured to death in 1988. So by your own account, Mandela stood by his wife for eight years after the murder?

He divorced her for cheating on him. Not for torturing people to death. After all, the ANC tortured more of their own members to death than the Apartheid regime did. Mandela was silent about that too. Even Wikipedia admits it and they are hardly a bastion of Republican sentiment:

Despite being on her husband's arm when he was released in 1990, the first time the two had been seen in public for nearly thirty years, the Mandelas' 38-year marriage ended when they separated in April 1992 after it was revealed she had been unfaithful to her husband during his imprisonment.

And Winnie is back in good graces with the ANC. Apparently it doesn't matter to them - it seems because it did not matter to Nelson Mandela. She stood for election the year she was divorced. She has been a government minister. She has been convicted of corruption. None of this bothers Nelson Mandela's party.

And for the record - I have been perfectly prepared to piss on the man for years.

" Even Wikipedia admits..." -- somebody doesn't quite understand how Wikipedia works.

Only 6 years to separate himself necklacing (assuming that was the reason for the separation).

This is the kind of comment that makes me wonder if Mandela was a truly admirable person, or a cypher for our own idea if the ideal man.

If he smiled less, less handsome and unable to seamlessly hobnob with the glitterati would our perception be any different?

I don't know. But generally I'm suspicious of the media lens.

Why is a person obligated to divorce their spouse if they commit murder? Simply being married to someone who has committed murder hardly means you support murder yourself. If Mandela did want to kill enemies, he could have done quite a bit of it after he was released from prison, yet he didn't.

I don't see any argument here why he would have been a better person if he had divorced his wife faster, or slower or not at all.

He had no obligation at all to divorce her.

Support her indictment and imprisonment, yes.

I think there's something to be said for the POV that very, very few great men are also good men. But as for Winnie Mandela, read her autobiography, she was neither.

Why did he have an obligation to suppor her indictment? Last time I checked indictments come from grand juries and prosecutors. Is South Africa different? Are indictments done by popular voting like they do on American Idol? And wasn't there a lot of evil things done in South Africa before the regime fell that weren't prosecuted? That doesn't make them right or excuse the moral transgression but sometimes it's better for a society to agree on a 'clean slate' rather than try to persue all wrongdoers no matter what.

Unless you can show that he actively tried to frustrate and disrupt her trial I don't think you have a case. It's asking a bit much, IMO, to demand that spouses or parents not only submit to the law but actively encourage the prosecution of their loved ones.

A lot of Americans are indirectly complacent in South Africa being racist, since the Cold War was the driving force behind propping up these regimes. When the Cold War ended, so too did reactionary regimes like the Pinochet and Botha regimes, not to mention UNITA's Savimbi. As for Mandela being a Stalinist, communism and socialism are pretty popular outside the USA, as I know from experience. You do believe in democracy? Or do you think that communism is so bad or so seductive to the masses, that, like in South Vietnam and for that matter South Korea after WWII, it should be banned? As for Mandela ordering violence, I doubt he did much of that, probably his followers did, anymore than these fundamentalist preachers do these days (I btw do not support criminal sanctions against so-called hate speech). As for Mandela's wife's crimes, as another poster said she had her own power base not dependent on Mandela. All in all, Mandela was a symbol to the blacks of South Africa that should be respected, unless you believe in slavery still. And I bet some of you still do, in your heart of darkness.

"Or do you think that communism is so bad or so seductive to the masses, that, like in South Vietnam and for that matter South Korea after WWII, it should be banned?"

Was it right for the Allies to prohibit the Nazi party, or its would-be successors, from running in the West German elections. If yes, what is the difference between prohibiting Communist parties in sensitive areas. Both are mass-murdering ideologies, are there no limits to democracy? Should any and all crimes be legitimized simply because a plurality of voters say so?

“Or do you think that communism is so bad or so seductive to the masses, that, like in South Vietnam and for that matter South Korea after WWII, it should be banned?”

Yes, obviously, duh.

In addition the large majority of South Vietnamese strongly opposed Communism. The problem was that the Communists ran thuggish para-military organizations that intimidated voters with violence and coercion. It's not exactly the "will of the people" if one party's threatening to murder your family unless you vote for them.

I think the Vietnamese would have had a civil war without outside influence. Outside influence just make it longer and bloodier, IMO. They missed their chance for reconciliation.

Apartheid pre-dates the Cold War, more or less. So no, Americans are not complicit in it. Even if they were, refugees from the rest of Africa tried to make it to South Africa - under Apartheid South Africa got refugees from as far as Nigeria who preferred racism to African Socialism or whatever. Yes, as long as the ANC was a front for the South African Communist Party, America rightly picked the lesser of two evils. When Communism collapsed and all over the world former Marxists became kleptocrats, America did not care any more. Again, rightly.

Communism might be popular outside the West. Doesn't mean it is a good idea. Is it right to struggle against it? Absolutely. Even at the price of undemocratic authoritarian regimes? Perhaps. After all, South Africa under Apartheid was vastly better than what Mandela wanted. I doubt there were many people in the countries he admired who would not have chosen to be unfree in South Africa than unfree in Cuba or Poland or wherever. Because South Africa was so much more free.

Mandela was convicted of terrorism remember? So he did a little. He could have stopped his followers burning people to death but chose not to. He could have stopped them running torture camps too.

Winnie did not have a power base outside her relationship with Nelson.

It funny you bring up slavery - because that is what Nelson Mandela wanted and what the Blacks of South Africa did not have. They were not as free as Whites, but they were freer than Blacks or Whites in Cuba or Poland or the Soviet Union. Mandela wanted to end that. So the question is how do you relate to slavery, not the rest of us.

Sure he was and is a symbol. White Liberals love the guy as he is a symbol of how much they are not racist. Regardless of what he did. But in the end, the Left cannot criticize Stalin's Cult of Personality or Mao's or even Hitler's. Because they are still engaging in the same irrational, ahistorical, religious worship of a fundamentally flawed human being.

LOL! Doug and So Much: You cannot be serious and it's understood you are trolling for attention. So you'll get mine. Just for fun let's rebut some of your alternative history points:

So much on Ban Communism: " Even at the price of undemocratic authoritarian regimes? Perhaps" - there's no perhaps, it's like 'a bit pregnant'.

Doug: As for Nazis in Post WWII Germany, under the Occupation it's OK to ban them, but if the Germans today want to resurrect the Nazis, I say let them. Just don't give them nuclear weapons.

So much: Mandela was convicted of terrorism remember? So he did a little. He could have stopped his followers burning people to death but chose not to. False. Convicted by his oppressors does not count, and you cannot stop followers from doing stuff--as any Roman general knew. Besides the necklacing you refer to was done by Winnie Mandela not the ANC: " - Winnie Mandela, then-wife of the imprisoned Nelson Mandela and a senior member of the ANC, even made statements that endorsed its use.[2] The ANC officially condemned the practice"

So you have TWO strikes against you. Three strikes and you're out, so let's go for three now...

So Much: "It funny you bring up slavery – because that is what Nelson Mandela wanted and what the Blacks of South Africa did not have. They were not as free as Whites, but they were freer than Blacks or Whites in Cuba or Poland or the Soviet Union. " - STRIKE THREE!!! And you're OUTTA here Bozo(tm)! You seem, like Max Weber, to confuse political freedom with economic freedom. The fact that Greece may have been more prosperous under Turkish rule, prior to their early 19th century revolt, than just after, is not sufficient to deny they had a right to revolt. Similarly, if I keep you as my troll slave and give you a scrap of bread to eat, and if that's more than you would get scrounging on your own as trailer park trash, that's not a sufficient to keep you as my blanco pickanniny. You have a right to be free, if you so choose, even if you starve to death free rather than be fed as a slave. Got it now? Vamos troll!

And it's not clear that South African blacks _were_ freer than Poles or Cubans under Communism.

The explicit policy of the South African state was to confine as many South African non-whites to extraterritorial rural ghettos where they would be deprived of any access to political power, and to further deprive them of the infrastructure, housing, education and medical care that would prevent them from becoming a threat to whites.

Whatever Communism's many faults, one thing it did do a reasonable job at was overthrowing oligarchies and extending the benefits of modernity deeply beyond elites. Even the non-Europeans of the Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union were far better off than the blacks of South Africa, who despite their country's material productivity were more on par with their counterparts in Congo-Brazzaville.

It is clear to anyone who has thought about it.

It is true that it was the policy of the Apartheid regime to confine Blacks to Homelands in the countryside. In Cuba peasants have internal passports and are as tied to their land as Medieval serfs. By no sane measure were Black South Africans as unfree as that.

It is utterly absurd to look at the former Soviet Union and claim it did any sort of decent job of overthrowing oligarchies. As the cliques ruling places like Turkmenistan prove every day.

I would also dispute the idea that Soviet Central Asians were richer than Black South Africans. After all somewhere between 35 and 50 percent of Central Asians lived on less than the official poverty rate of 75 rubles per month in 1980. Which is to say, virtually nothing at all. Black South Africans certainly owned more cars for instance. South Africa produced about half a million cars per year. The Soviet Union produced about 2.5 million - five times as many for a population that was some five times larger. The Central Asian Republics had about 12 cars per hundred families in 1980.

South Africa as a whole had just under 100 phones per 1,000 people when Apartheid collapsed. Presumably not all of them White. The Central Asian Republics had between 38 and 52 phones per 1,000 urban residents.

In fact it would be hard to think of anything that Black South Africans had less of. Which is why they had such a problem with illegal immigration from independent African countries. The comparison with Congo is bizarre - average income in South Africa is some $11,000 by PPP. The Republic Congo, and I would think they are guessing, is less than half that. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a fraction of that - about $400.

"there’s no perhaps, it’s like ‘a bit pregnant’."

I am sorry, I know you are reaching for a point. I just have no idea what it is. Let's say then, if it helps, there is no perhaps. It is vastly better to support an authoritarian regime that does not mass murder than a totalitarian one that does. So what? What is the next point?

"if the Germans today want to resurrect the Nazis, I say let them. Just don’t give them nuclear weapons."

And if they have nuclear weapons like South Africa did?

"False. Convicted by his oppressors does not count, and you cannot stop followers from doing stuff–as any Roman general knew."

Convicted by a properly constituted court of law in a properly legal bound society does count. There is no dispute here. Mandela was a terrorist. You would be better off parroting his line that his terrorism wasn't *real* terrorism because it was against The Man.

"Besides the necklacing you refer to was done by Winnie Mandela not the ANC: “ – Winnie Mandela, then-wife of the imprisoned Nelson Mandela and a senior member of the ANC, even made statements that endorsed its use.[2] The ANC officially condemned the practice”"

Sorry but no. You are quoting Wikipedia in an absurd manner. Winnie Mandela was the only senior leader of the ANC to openly endorse necklacing. That does not mean the rest of them didn't. The ANC *officially* condemned it. But that does not mean they were lying little weasels. Read the article more carefully:

The practice became a common method of lynching among black South Africans during disturbances in South Africa in the 1980s and 1990s. The first recorded instance took place in Uitenhage on 23 March 1985 when black African National Congress (ANC) supporters killed a black councillor who was accused of being a White collaborator.

Necklacing "sentences" were sometimes handed down against alleged criminals by "people's courts" established in black townships as a means of enforcing their own judicial system. Necklacing was also used by the black community to punish members of the black community who were perceived as collaborators with the apartheid government. These included black policemen, town councilors and others, as well as their relatives and associates. The practice was often carried out in the name of the ANC.

People's Courts huh? What do you know. So for the record, while the ANC *says* they did not support them, they were always carried out by their supporters against their enemies. Draw your own conclusions.

"STRIKE THREE!!! And you’re OUTTA here Bozo(tm)!"

You know, as if I care, and as if you're a judge of anything, but on what possible ground? I am not confusing political freedom with economic freedom. Mandela wanted to deprive Black South Africans of both. In the same way Cubans have neither. Black South Africans may not have been able to meet in groups of more than three, but they were free to read any book they liked, they were free to join any political party they liked - even the ANC in thin disguise, they were free to work at most jobs they liked. They were vastly more free than people in Mandela's idealised socialist societies.

"The fact that Greece may have been more prosperous under Turkish rule, prior to their early 19th century revolt, than just after, is not sufficient to deny they had a right to revolt."

No one is saying it is. You have managed to spectacularly miss the point.

So in other words you have failed utterly to dispute, much less dispel, a single historical truth. Like to try again?

" I am not confusing political freedom with economic freedom. Mandela wanted to deprive Black South Africans of both."

Black South Africans had either?

Mandela wanted to deprive them of what little they had of both, if you like.

Although by Soviet standards they had a great deal of both - especially economic freedom.

So Much: "“The fact that Greece may have been more prosperous under Turkish rule, prior to their early 19th century revolt, than just after, is not sufficient to deny they had a right to revolt.” ***No one is saying it is.*** You have managed to spectacularly miss the point. "

What? So you ARE in favor of armed revolt, or not? Or are you just a Philhellene? Or do you just hate Muslims and blacks? You are blowing hot and cold. It's still not clear whether you: (1) distinguish between economic and political freedom, and. (2) support armed insurrection against a system that denies you political (but not economic) liberties. To use the USA as an example: were the American patriots right to oppose England with armed insurrection over something as trivial as a tea tax (inter alia), or not? Economic vs political liberty. To make the point more clear: wars since the late medieval ages almost never pay for themselves (with exceptions, but after the American Civil War clearly not), so there's always a political rather than economic justification for these wars. So, 'give me liberty or death' or not? Tory or rebel? ( Or troll?

Ray, I understand why you want to muddy the issue by changing the subject as much as possible, but I really do not see what it is going to get you. Is there anything in this that is relevant?

We could argue about whether armed revolt is justified or not. It is not important because that is not the topic at hand. Not even if armed revolt against *this* type of racist government is justified or not. The point remains, Mandela climbed to power over a mountain of corpses. If you think lynching people and burning them to death is justified because Black South Africans could not live in suburbs they wanted, well, good for you. It is still important to point out that the ANC's supporters burnt more people to death in the 1980s than the Spanish Inquisition managed in its seven hundred years of existence.

"It’s still not clear whether you: (1) distinguish between economic and political freedom, and. (2) support armed insurrection against a system that denies you political (but not economic) liberties."

It is not clear because it is irrelevant. You are simply trying to change the topic and get away from Mandela's actual record of mass murder.

So the only trolling around here is by you.

They need to get a better forum here...these threads are getting unweldy.

So Much says: "We could argue about whether armed revolt is justified or not. It is not important because that is not the topic at hand"

But no, to the contrary, that is the topic at hand, as well as the issue of economic vs political liberty. As an aside, I don't think violence helped the ANC's international image nor its cause. I think Mandela did, as well as the collapse of the Cold War. That's the value add of N. Mandela.

You're dismissed, dissing So Much (Nothing) along boy.

"South Africa’s GDP growth rate, meanwhile, picked up considerably under Mandela. Economic growth rose from less than 1.5% between 1980 to 1994 to slightly under 3% between 1995 and 2003. Despite the sudden influx of internal migrants with the legal right to compete equally for jobs, average personal incomes for white South Africans increased by 62% between 1993 and 2008, according to University of Cape Town economist Murray Leibbrandt. Average incomes for Africans themselves increased even faster—by 93% over that same period."
SMfS: can we get you on record as saying that you think the apartheid system was better than having Mandela elected?


“South Africa’s GDP growth rate, meanwhile, picked up considerably under Mandela. Economic growth rose from less than 1.5% between 1980 to 1994 to slightly under 3% between 1995 and 2003. Despite the sudden influx of internal migrants with the legal right to compete equally for jobs, average personal incomes for white South Africans increased by 62% between 1993 and 2008, according to University of Cape Town economist Murray Leibbrandt. Average incomes for Africans themselves increased even faster—by 93% over that same period.”

I wonder if the sanctions being lifted had anything to do with that.

Anyways here's a lovely chart showing how much improvement black Africans gained after apartheid

Yes apartheid was better for blacks because they had order, now they have the same or less economic ability but people are raped and murdered with impunity.

C'mon, Ray -- you can do better. You are usually worth reading. Huge numbers of Western Europeans opposed communism in almost all of its incarnations, from the show trials through to the fall of the Wall, even though many intellectuals (professors etc) tried their darnest to convince them to adopt it, AND even though the Soviets spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convert Europeans in some manner or another. I won't discuss E. Europe where communism is merely the last refuge of the Stalinist bureaucrat, and remains highly unpopular.

Even the socialistically inclined social dems of Europe remain committed to private property, investment, being allowed to pass on wealth to one's heirs, and entrepreneurship. That's irrespective of their rhetoric.

Thank you. This is maybe the most embarrassing comment thread ever on this site, which is really saying a lot.

Wait long enough, and maybe it won't be.

The ANC was undoubtedly a terrorist organization from 1961-1994. Even if Mandela didn't directly participate in the violent activities (which is debatable), he still was an active and willing participant in an organization running a campaign of violence.

Imagine a future where we lionize the "non-violent" members of Al-Qaeda for trying to reform the organization. The whole farce is nothing more than a mutt-and-jeff act. The "good" ANC members are given power because the "bad" ANC members have terrified everyone else into doing so.

The Haganah, Irgun and the Stern gang were all considered terrorists by the british, but they won so they became "Freedom Fighters", same deal for the ANC. The same thing would apply to Al-Qaeda, but those guys are not going to win because they have no plans for the future, only resentment for the present and look longingly for a past that never was. That is why they will go down in history as plain murderous reactionaries.

In fairness to the ANC, South Africa at the time was run by a white oligarchy that was actively trying to convert the country's large and growing non-white majority into industrialized helots without any political rights.

Don't think al-Qaeda. Think--oh--of the French Resistance. Yes, there were some Communists and the Resistance did do bad things, but the opponents were so much worse.

And Nelson Mandela wanted to convert them into industralized helots with even fewer rights.

I am not sure the French Resistance analogy works, but if it does, the real comparison was with the Communists. Who were every bit as bad as the Nazis if not worse. As was Mandela - when he went to jail at any rate.

And the South African gov't was undoubtedly a terrorist gov't as well. So what does that do for your argument?

Violent resistance to violent oppression is legitimate and moral.

Reading some of these comments, you'd think that we're living in an alternate universe where the evil communist ANC wrested control from the kind, gentle Boers and destroyed the country in an orgy of bloodletting and revenge, instead of the actual universe where South Africa is a relatively wealthy capitalist parliamentary republic with a truth and reconciliation commission.

Imagine that Laura Bush had participated in a KKK lynching. Assume that not only did George W. stay with her long afterwards, but Laura Bush went on to have a successful career in the Republican party. Furthermore many prominent Republicans have similar backgrounds. What do you think would be the general international media narrative about Republicans? Do you think robust economic growth under a Republican president would redeem the party in the eyes of history?

Mandela is certainly not the worst person on the world stage. Not by a longshot. There's plenty of room in his obituary for many kind words. But the fact that every single news story today is failing to even mention any of his negatives is reprehensible. I can't imagine that when Lee Kuan Yew dies that we'll see such overwhelmingly positive coverage. This despite the fact that Lee did a far superior job defusing racial tensions and building a stable, functioning and successful country than Mandela. It just goes to show the overwhelmingly left-wing bias that the mainstream narrative exhibits.

Lee Kuan Yew spent the prime of his life in political power. Mandela spent the prime of his life in solitary confinement. Isn't that a rather important difference between the two? Also, Mandela oversaw the peaceful transition to full democracy and, unlike Yew and other leaders in similar positions, stepped down after 5 years. Singapore had race riots in the 1960s and yet some people seem to expect that Mandela ought to have cured all racial conflict in South Africa immediately after assuming office for his 5 year term.

I guess, if a "capitalist" country that regularly seizes property from one racial group to distribute to another racial group or to run by the government (which has been a completely failure) and is one of the most corrupt countries in the world... and a "parliamentary republic" is a country whose politics have been dominated by the same party for 20 years since the takeover... and a "truth and reconciliation commission" well I don't know what that is but I don't like the sound of it and South Africa also leads the world in rape and murder and 15% of the population has AIDS and is complicit in genocide of the white residents who have not already fled and has just generally broken down and become the Detroit of countries, so umm yeah it hasn't been all rainbows and unicorns like you and your kind force us to pretend.

Oh and I see now the grammar there was a disaster but if you have a problem with that go read some John McWhorter

and a “truth and reconciliation commission” well I don’t know what that is but I don’t like the sound of it

I love how the minute a famous black man is the topic, this is the sort of thing that crawls out. But mention, say, Sandanistas or tortured nuns near a Reagan shrine, well, that is entirely different. Or people just don't recall.

No attempt to actually dispute the substance then? A tacit acknowledgement the truth of the facts asserted?

Please point to me where I have ever deified Reagan the way Mandela is deified (or at all), and I will address it. Otherwise keep your vague unfalsifiable snark to yourself.

"keep your vague unfalsifiable snark to yourself" I agree mike, a good principle for all of us to follow here.

I thought Alex's tweet "Nelson Mandela, unconquerable soul." struck the right note and is the one mirrored in the poem above. That scarce attribute which allowed Mandela to lead and impact the world is worthy of our respect, especially today, even as we pause to note the deep flaws it fueled too. The world and its people are not black and white.

How is "unconquerable soul" the right note?

It sounds, at best, trite and it avoids the substance of who the man was and what he wanted. It is, if you like, mood affiliation. It is a statement of belonging to the Right Sort of People. No more.

Mandela was able to lead because Marxists all over the world supported him and his supporters placed burning fuel-soaked tires around the necks of anyone who disagreed with him. He came to power on a raft of charred bodies.

Why should anyone respect that?

'He came to power on a raft of charred bodies.'

As compared to the bodies of those killed by the white apartheid government doing its best to stay in power? 'The Sharpeville massacre occurred on 21 March 1960, at the police station in the South African township of Sharpeville in the Transvaal (today part of Gauteng). After a day of demonstrations, a crowd of about 5,000 to 7,000 black protesters went to the police station. The South African police opened fire on the crowd, killing 69 people.'

And for those wondering about South African freedom in the apartheid era - 'Since the 1920s, the movements of black South Africans had been restricted by pass laws. Leading up to the Sharpeville massacre, the apartheid-supporting National Party government under the leadership of Hendrik Verwoerd used these laws to enforce greater segregation[2] and, in 1959-1960, extended them to include women.[3]:pp.14,528 From the 1960s, the pass laws were the primary instrument used by the state to arrest and harass its political opponents. By the same token, it was mainly the popular resistance, mobilised against those pass laws, that kept resistance politics alive during this period.'

This being the best comment site on the web, I'm sure plenty of commenters will leap in to defend a state's right to restrict women from freely travelling in their own country.

Or to shoot children - 'A group of 30 students gathered outside the Phefeni Junior Secondary School singing the traditional Sotho anthem 'Morena Boloka Sechaba Sa Heso'. When the police arrived the crowd became violent, throwing rocks at the police. The police in turn fired tear gas into the crowd in order to disperse them. Before the crowd could be dispersed, the police opened fire on the demonstrators. [4]

There are conflicting accounts of who gave the first command to shoot, but soon children were turning and running in all directions, leaving some children lying wounded on the road.

Although the media often named Hector as the first child to die that fateful day, another boy, Hastings Ndlovu, was actually the first child to be shot. But in the case of Hastings, there were no photographers on the scene, and his name was not immediately known.

More than 400 people died in the uprising.'


"As compared to the bodies of those killed by the white apartheid government doing its best to stay in power?"

Yes. Because there weren't many of them (58 ANC members died in custody of the South African government - fewer than were tortured to death by the ANC itself in their own torture camps). And because the South African government was a government - constrained by laws, held to account in quasi-democratic elections, answerable to the Courts and generally civilized in their behavior.

The ANC on the other hand were a bunch of self-appointed mass murderers who openly said they would do anything to gain power. And did. The comparison is with the Ku Klux Klan. There is a world of difference between a lynching, by the ANC or the KKK, and a State sponsored execution.

"‘The Sharpeville massacre occurred on 21 March 1960, at the police station in the South African township of Sharpeville in the Transvaal (today part of Gauteng)."

So the ANC incites some impressionable young people, and gets them to throw rocks at the police, so that the police will shoot back and create martyrs? And somehow this is the fault of the South African government? Where in Africa do police not shoot back if people throw stones at them? Or for no reason at all?

But then the Left does not care about that do they?

"And for those wondering about South African freedom in the apartheid era – ‘Since the 1920s, the movements of black South Africans had been restricted by pass laws."

Restricted. Not tied to their fields and their job, unable to travel even to the next city without a visa.

"This being the best comment site on the web, I’m sure plenty of commenters will leap in to defend a state’s right to restrict women from freely travelling in their own country."

Only when Nelson Mandela wanted to do it or when the Castro brothers do it.

Pretending that the preceding regime wasn't far more evil than anything Mandela presided over is almost funny. Almost.

That is not the comparison. Communism collapsed before Nelson Mandela got out of prison. So he did not get what he wanted. The comparison is between the Apartheid regime and the sort of Marxist-Leninist state than Mandela wanted when he went in.

Mandela should have got down on his knees and thanked the Lord that none of his youthful prayers were ever answered.

"one of the most corrupt countries in the world"

South Africa ranks 46 out of 177 in Transparency International's corruption perceptions index. And if you don't know what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is, why don't you quit being lazy and do some research?

"if you don’t know what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is"

...then you probably shouldn't be offering a single opinion SA, apartheid or Mandela

Yes. Apartheid-era South Africa was terrible, and created great scars on South African society. The South Africa Mandela helped create has improved probably as much as was imaginable.

"15% of the population has AIDS"

Yes. Considering that, according to Laurie Garrett in _The Coming Plague_, the apartheid government was arguing that blacks in townships were genetically predisposed to tuberculosis, I can easily imagine much worse coming.

Also, the word "genocide" does not mean what you seem to think it means.

I won't give you the entire list of countries where 15%+ of the poopulation has AIDS, but I'll give you one: pre-Mandela South Africa.

I guess the Boer's just bought all the south african property they had in the big auction that was held in 1806.

"I guess, if a “capitalist” country that regularly seizes property from one racial group to distribute to another racial group..."

There's already a separate post on Israel.

No one is defending apartheid.

Just questioning the god-like status given to a man with a long history linked rather brutal violence. And note, the people burned to death weren't members of the regime, but poor black men who crossed the ANC.

"Just questioning the god-like status given to a man with a long history linked rather brutal violence."

In the context of a country that flirted with the idea of genocide against the majority populations, and actually perpetruated wholesale ethnic cleansing, the ANC were pikers.

According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission about 21,000 blacks were killed between 1948 and 1994.

Terrible indeed. But not quite flirting with genocide.

'But not quite flirting with genocide.'

You are familiar with the 'homeland' concept, yes? And why having Bantustans was considered a solution to a certain problem facing the apartheid government?

Here is how it ended -

'In January 1985 State President P. W. Botha declared that blacks in South Africa proper would no longer be deprived of South African citizenship in favor of Bantustan citizenship, and that black citizens within the independent Bantustans could reapply for South African citizenship; F. W. de Klerk stated on behalf of the National Party during the 1987 general election that "every effort to turn the tide [of black workers] streaming into the urban areas failed. It does not help to bluff ourselves about this. The economy demands the permanent presence of the majority of blacks in urban areas. . . They cannot stay in South Africa year after year without political representation."[6] In March 1990 de Klerk, who succeeded Botha in 1989, announced that his government would not grant independence to any more Bantustans.[7]

With the demise of the apartheid regime in South Africa in 1994, the Bantustans were dismantled and their territory reincorporated into the Republic of South Africa. The drive to achieve this was spearheaded by the African National Congress as a central element of its programme of reform. Reincorporation was mostly achieved peacefully, although there was some resistance from the local elites, who stood to lose out on the opportunities for wealth and political power provided by the homelands. The dismantling of the homelands of Bophuthatswana and Ciskei was particularly difficult. In Ciskei, South African security forces had to intervene in March 1994 to defuse a political crisis.'

That being deprived of citizenship is a key note. Care to guess what other governments in other countries have carefully set up special zones in which non-citizens were pushed? I can think of at least two - actually having grown up in one, and living in the successor state of the other - where that previous government was overthrown through violent means.

Apartheid was truly awful, but it's quite telling that people have to inflate its evil and ignore the ANC's violence in order to preserve their image of Mandela.

Lay the facts in the table and you see a courageous man who did much to reconcile post-apartheid SA, but not quite the saint we are often presented with.

"But the fact that every single news story today is failing to even mention any of his negatives is reprehensible."

You're trying too hard to convince yourself that the leftist media is out to get you. Read the 10 page obituary at the NYTimes: "In addition, Mr. Mandela bequeathed his country a virtual one-party system with a circle-the-wagons attitude toward allegations of corruption, a distaste for criticism in the news media and a tendency to treat rival parties as verging on treasonous."

Sorry, this was a reply to Doug above.

Fair enough, good for the NYT. To sample the general attitude though I clicked the top 5 stories about Mandela on Google News:

A fawning fluff piece about how friendly Mandela was:

A human interest piece about what an absolute honor it was to make a documentary about Mandela:

A more serious piece about the ANC after Mandela. Every single statement about Mandela was uncritically positive. The only negative statements were related to the post-Mandela ANC, again reinforcing what a saint Mandela was:

A series of live updates, not a single negative statement:

A serious article. Two sentences about the ANC and Mandela's violent past, no details. Comes at the end of the article after 10+ paragraphs lionizing Mandela:

Again, I'll reiterate the Lee Kuan Yew comparison. When he dies do you think press coverage will be anywhere near as positive? Despite the fact that by any objective measure Lee was a far more effective statesman.

I know the leftoid religion needs its new canon of saints, but I wonder how much Mandela really was responsible for the end of apartheid given the trends of the time and all the international pressure exerted? Obviously they had to put a black face on it, but if I were a sabremetrician I'd be looking at what was the likelihood of the same thing happening with no Mandela, or with any other random black in the "Mandela" role.

Call the stat "regime changes above replacement"

Apartheid could have hung on a lot longer, not for ever, but probably for at least another decade at the cost of ever increasing repression. Crucial to the white regime handing over power was the belief that they were handing over to someone with a) nationalist credibility to keep the hard line africanists at bay but b) someone they could trust. B) was particularly important as the record of post independence black leaders has been almost universally abysmal. Based on the historical record, about the best you could hope for as the former rulers was that when the ruler had confiscated your property and put it into his swiss bank account, he'd leave you alone but there were worse possibilities. And not only did Mandela allow a way out short of full scale civil war, he also delivered on this promise. You don't need to whitewash the ANC's somewhat dodgy past and perhaps murkier present and future to conclude that Mandela was a truly great man.

Interesting take.

I just want to add, though, that the Afrikaners could have kept their first-world society going indefinitely if not for outside pressure. Mandela being the most trustworthy regime change figure to turn the government over to does not change the fact that it was international pressure, not Mandela, that forced them to turn the government over in the first place. It just seems fishy to treat someone as a "truly great man" because he was the least bad option.

Could they have?

You don’t need to whitewash the ANC’s somewhat dodgy past and perhaps murkier present and future to conclude that Mandela was a truly great man.

So, Mandela was a "truly great man" because he turned out not to be a genocidal kleptocrat. In most places it takes more to be called great.

No, that is a sufficient criterion for greatness.

After 27 years in prison and with the end of apartheid, Mandela served a single term as president and then, like Cincinnatus, retired from politics.

What the first leaders of a new order refrain from doing can be more important than what they do.

Wouldn't it have been possible to pay off, in money and power, any other black leader for a compromise?

I don't see that it was noble for Mandela to abandon his aim of a totalitarian regime in exchange for mere constitutional power plus money.

Thank you for this post, Alex, but wow, it certainly opened an opportunity for a lot of people to trample all over the memory of a truly great man. I seriously doubt any of these are South African, although I could be mistaken. This is not to say that Mandela was flawless; he himself declared himself to be flawed, but so were people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. They were all flawed, but they are all three among the greatest people of the last century.

I shall add a personal observation from my only visit to South Africa a bit over a decade ago. I was at a conference at Stellenbosch University in Cape Province, once an old stronghold of the apartheid movement. On the way out my taxi cab driver to the Capetown airport was a white guy who claimed to have been the chauffeur of the last white leader of South Africa, former president F. W. de Klerk. He told me that de Klerk and his close associates were overwhelmingly grateful and respectful of Mandela. They viewed him as the only person who could save the nation from a massive blood bath, which most of us had thought was the nearly certain outcome of the system there, and which would have been a lot more than just a slaughter of whites as some above have so ridiculously said. It would have involved all races and big time. The ranting by some here is profoundly ignorant and naive.

There was every reason to expect that Mandela could have called for it. He had been in prison for 27 years, much of that in solitary confinement without a toilet and isolated from the world. The idea that somehow he should have been controlling the ANC or his wife Winnie or anybody else during that period are completely out of it. That he led the nation to a reconciliation and peaceful transition to democracy is a magnificent achievement that nobody should sneer at. Those doing so here should be ashamed of themselves.

"I seriously doubt any of these are South African, although I could be mistaken."

"my only visit to South Africa a bit over a decade ago."

Oh, so you are some Voortrekker farmer who was used to beating blacks when they misbehaved in the old days and cannot do it anymore?

So, you're saying he wasn't Mugabe and therefore a great man.

Incidentally, Gandhi believed the Jews should have gone to the gas chambers quietly and without a fuss.

Another example of misplaced hero worship.

Luther King chose non-violence and was an incredibly effective leader for his time.

MLK was open to criticism as well. J. Edgar Hoover told every president he served when MLK was around about how he was cheating on his wife and had advisers who had belonged to the Communist Party USA. Was it appropriate to drag this stuff up and make a big deal about when King was assassinated?

Oh, and quite aside from his view of Jews, Gandhi had some very strange and somewhat questionable personal habits and practices, without dragging into details here.

"They were all flawed, but they are all three among the greatest people of the last century."

This is utterly absurd. It is part of the problem here - you are not considering the men themselves. Nor their ideas. Nor their legacies. You are making a statement about what sort of person you are. Gandhi, even if we ignore the odd things like sleeping naked with his grand-daughter and his ambiguous relationship with Hitler, went out of his way to provoke civil unrest in order to make India ungovernable. It worked. But the price was the massacres at independence - millions of people died because of what Gandhi did.

"It would have involved all races and big time."

There is no reason to think it would have. The template was, after all, Zimbabwe. Mugabe did everything you say that Mandela did. Does that make him a great man too? The ANC even had its equivalent of the Fifth brigade and their massacres - they fought Inkatha in Natal with their tires and their matches until Inkatha surrendered. A lot like what happened to ZAPU come to think of it.

The point is, having slaughtered all their organized political rivals, why would they have allowed things to descend into bloodshed? There was a functioning state to loot.

"The idea that somehow he should have been controlling the ANC or his wife Winnie or anybody else during that period are completely out of it."

Except, of course, he was in charge.

"That he led the nation to a reconciliation and peaceful transition to democracy is a magnificent achievement that nobody should sneer at. Those doing so here should be ashamed of themselves."

The same way Mugabe did.

Sorry, sMfS, but this is disgraceful. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Mugabe did not hand over power after his first term ended as Mandela did, he enforced land seizures of white-owned propertied that Mandela did not do and so far not his successors either, and he ran one of the worst hyperinflations ever seen, which Mandela did not do nor his successors.

Are you just ignorant or do you consciously lie to score racist points, scum?

During his 18 years in solitary, Mandela was allowed to receive two letter a year and to receive one visitor per year. He was not "in charge," except nominally. Have you visited Robben Island and seen his cell?

Really, SMfS, you are an embarrassment to the human species.

All Hail Our New Media-Generated DemiGod of Diversity, His Most Sacred Mandela!
All Hail the Ideology of Multiculturalism and Mass Immigration And the Most Sacred Corporate Profits They Engendereth!
All Must Give Fealty To the God of Diversity Lest Ye Be Branded As Racist!
All Hail Mandela and the Heightened Social Status of NonWhites In Western Nations and the Profits Such Brings To The Plutocrats!
All Hail Mass Immigration!
GDP Uber Alles!

Here is a video of a necklacing, for people who just think of it as a funny word and fail to grasp the actual horror of it, but probably not for the faint of heart (who will go on believing what they want to believe because they're too weak to confront the truth).

Pictures and videos of necklacing were not uncommon in the media while they were occurring - what makes anyone think that those old enough to remember the apartheid system don't know about the numerous evils happening during that time? It isn't as an evil regime's opponents become saints simply through their opposition. Generally, quite the opposite - what makes Mandela stand out are his actions as president, as compared to his association to a group he was cut off from while spending more than a quarter century in prison.

The group he gave power to after he left.

South Africa is so much better now, like being number one in child rape , thanks Mandela

South Africa wasn't a leader before?

No, Zimbabwe was before

Remember those days when the Nobel Peace Prize was given for people who accomplished things at great personal pain for many many years?

Nope - Kissinger won one, after all. But at least his North Vietnamese co-winner had the good grace to turn it down.

'Along with North Vietnamese Politburo Member Le Duc Tho, Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1973, for their work in negotiating the ceasefires contained in the Paris Peace Accords on "Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam," signed the January previous.[21] Tho rejected the award, telling Kissinger that peace had not been really restored in South Vietnam.[29] Kissinger wrote to the Nobel Committee that he accepted the award "with humility.'

Mandela’s passing and the looming threat of a race war against South Africa’s whites. As a widow mourns the latest murdered Afrikaner farmer, a chilling dispatch from a nation holding its breath

● Roelof du Plessis, 46 shot on his farm outside Pretoria by gang of black intruders
● Fears rise that killings are part of a systematic bid to drive white people out of South Africa
● President Jacob Zuma known to sing ‘struggle song’ about killing white Afrikaners

The horror started just before midnight on Wednesday this week.

After listening to the latest television news about the health of Nelson Mandela, a South African family living not far from the former President’s hospital unit turned in for the night.

But Roelof and Laura du Plessis, a married couple with four children who live on a heavily fortified farm outside Pretoria, did not have a peaceful night’s rest.

In fact they were about to become the latest victims of what white pressure groups in this troubled nation say is nothing less than a savage war against them.

Hearing noises outside their home, Mr du Plessis, 46, got out of bed and ran outside.

To his horror, he found his 19-year-old son being held with a gun to his head by a gang of five armed black attackers.

Father and son were ordered to lie on the ground. The invaders did not ask for money or the keys to the expensive vehicles in the drive. They were there only to terrorise and kill.

Hearing voices outside, Laura, 44, came out of her bedroom to investigate — and her torch illuminated an awful scene as the gang pointed guns at her husband.

Her son managed to get up and sprint off into the darkness when the men were confused by the flashlight. But Du Plessis was not so lucky.

The intruders opened fire at once, shooting him six times through the throat, lungs and abdomen.

As he writhed on the ground in agony, the men ran off into the night leaving empty bullet cartridges littering the yard.

In the darkness, Laura attempted heart massage on her husband, who could still talk despite his appalling injuries, but to no avail.

Yes, rural crime is terrible. South Africa has long been a violent society.

I would note that nothing that has happened in democratic South Africa bears comparison with the 1970s destruction of District Six.

The ethnic cleansing of sixty thousand people from downtown Cape Town to periurban slums on account of their race isn't something that happens now.

I guess I'm not clear what you're saying. Prior to 1994, Black South Africans rape/torture/murdered each other a lot and the government tried to prevent it but tried extra hard to prevent them from doing it to Afrikaners? But now Black South Africans rape/torture/murder Afrikaners with the government's encouragement and they also rape/torture/murder Black South Africans and the government is too incompetent to do anything about it, and this is "progress"?

Noticeably absent words from that article. Kill, death, died, murder, torture. Forced removal is a little different than what most people think of as ethnic cleansing.

That no longer happens. No just babies stomped to death and children murdered. Woman and infants raped and killed. People afraid of their lives from the police, the leaders of the government support this behavior. YA THIS IS A LOT BETTER.

I'm a bit surprised that some people here are defending South Africa under apartheid as free, as a capitalist country, et cetera. How free can a country be that actively tries to prevent an overwhelming majority of its population from being anything other than helots? Will we next start talking about the joys of the Confederacy?

Criticizing post-apartheid South Africa for engaging in similar (if reversed) policies is not the same as defending the previous policies, though obviously (pragmatically) outcomes were much better under the previous policies. That's just your prejudices showing.

"Criticizing post-apartheid South Africa for engaging in similar (if reversed) policies"

I'm sorry, I was completely unaware of South African government policies which are resulting in the deportation of whites to slums in the countryside, the intentional creation of an undereducated and unhealthy white underclass destined for servitude, active military campaigns against other white countries in the region, and secret government research aiming to sterilize as many whites as possible. My bad!

Congratulations on being willfully unaware of what's going on in South Africa for the past 20 years then, I guess?

That is going on, then?

Since when is a high crime rate genocide, especially when others a) suffer from it and b) have suffered from it for a far longer time?

"Since when is a high crime rate genocide"

When the government looks away, actively hides it, and cheers it on

"When the government looks away, actively hides it, and cheers it on."

Also when the ruling regime's theme song is about dismembering members of the targeted ethnic group its hard to deny evidence of complicity.

Apartheid is a wonderful thing if the majority of the population has a IQ of 75

You are an ignorant racist morrissey. Much of Africa, due to environment not genetics, has an IQ less than 75. See here: and the article here:

They have bad nutrition to blame; what is *your* excuse fat frat boy?

Hang on, whatever else you can say, you cannot say it is due to poor nutrition. It *may* be due to poor nutrition. I am sure we all hope it is due to poor nutrition. But we do not know.

There is evidence both ways. After all, people of African origin in other parts of the world, like Jamaica or Detroit, don't do particularly well on IQ tests either. They are not going hungry.

(I think peoples from the northern climes underestimate just how much of their success comes from leaving the tropical parasites behind.)

I tell you what, "So Much." Send your son to live in a dirt poor African village, not only with poor (to no) nutrition, but also with the typical tropical parasite load, and then go back in 15 years and test his IQ.

Of course, if leaving someone with poor (to no) nutrition, and also with the typical tropical parasite load is "too cruel," you might have your answer earlier than that.

Relevant - Free full movie Africa Addio (Goodbye Africa) available on youtube:

I would love to hear someone reconcile this with anti-racism and open borders, but like every other era the ruling class ideologies never have to justify themselves

Oh, Lord, racist Italian exploitation films.

All trolling aside, I was never a huge fan of Great Man theories of history.

Was apartheid viable economically long term? If not, how much longer might an Afrikaner counter-revolution have hung on? Show your work (or refer us to someone who has done it already and is willing to show theirs).

Fortunately, we don't have to choose between Great Man theories of history and a vulgar neo-Marxism that attributes history to impersonal economic forces. Mandela didn't end apartheid all by himself -- for anyone who wasn't paying attention, he spent many of the crucial years in prison. However, part of the reason apartheid became no longer economically viable was the international campaign to boycott South Africa. Mandela's moral stature almost certainly played a role in the popularity of this campaign.

As soon as the sanctions stopped the income of the whites continued to increase as if they belonged to a first world country. The income of the blacks stayed nearly the same. BUT, everyone got more crime.

What if instead of sanctions the first world had helped South Africa as they do Isreal, it could hold on longer than Isreal.

"The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."
William Shakespeare

Can we agree that Mandela did both, and tone down the language at least in the first 24 hours after his passing?

I just looked at the crime stats. Best available corrected for under-reporting have the murder rate falling by 38% between 1994 and 2011, while the rape rate has risen 47%. The overall violent crime rate has barely changed, an increase of about 2%. Some people here are exaggerating.

Yes, violent crime is a serious problem in South Africa, but just how is Mandela to blame for this? And all those necklacings that some are talking about occurred while he was in prison. How was he responsible for them? Without him, things would have been far far worse in South Africa, there is simply no doubt about this.

Dear Mr Rosser,

It is difficult to judge Nelson Mandela. Yes, when he came to power he was instrumental in maintaining peace and avoid a bloody revenge. And yes he was in prison (but not as a "conscience" prisonner, he was convicted after a trial for sabotage and conspiracy angainst the State. You could think his violent actions were justified or not, but I can't see how a government shouldn't jail him) but he still was a leader of ANC and he boosted to still have contacts with them.

That doesn't mean he "ordered" killings and burning, but it is difficult to see how as an ANC leader he didn't participate of what was a important part of the ANC strategy. That strategy was to eliminate the (black) rivals and to terrorise people to 1/ make South Africa ungovernable and 2/ to appear as the sole representative of Black population. ANC deliberatly killed black oponents, being members of Black Consciousness and azapo party (Biko, killed by the police was the leader of BC) or of the non violent Inkhata. (I mean Inkhata was against violent actions to overthrow apartheid, not against violence per se, in retaliation. They are Zulu warriors). ANC killed in ambush thousands of Inkhata members and more than 420 Inkhata leaders.

Part of the strategy was to use youth (the "young lions") as gangsters, threatening and killing randomly, burning people alive. To enforce a strike for exemple, they waited for people going out of the bus, beat them, burn shops open, etc. After a while the sheer showing of a match box was sufficient.

In a People's war, civilians are weapons. Even ANC members were legimitate target to help create a climate of chaos and blame rivals.
ANC could have killed 20.000 thousands in terror actions. Mandela was in prison. Thabo Mbeki and other leaders in exile went to Vietnam in 1978 to learn about People's war and implemented it in the 1980's. It is difficult to think that though in prison till 1990 Mandela, as a senior leader, didn't know and be part of that strategy.

After his release in 1990 ANC was engaged in terror actions especially against blacks of Inkhata, to make pressure against the government. Of course ANC blamed the government and Inkhata and since the articficial building of its standing, it was simply believed.

You can find plenty of details of the war in ANthea Jeffery's book, published in South Africa, People's War. Jeffery is a member of the Institute for study of Race Relations, an old anti-apartheid organization.

And I live in South Africa.

"You could think his violent actions were justified or not, but I can’t see how a government shouldn’t jail him " - says Oliver

So Oliver, are you a legal positivist? If chewing gum is against the law, punishable by being whipped, do you think gum chewers should be whipped?

If killing whites is sanctioned by the majority, de facto or de jure, is killing whites against the law or not?

Clearly jurisprudence is not your field, anymore than mine, but I've studied it and thought about it, unlike you (hint: Google "natural law" then "legal positivism"). What the Dutch whites did in South Africa is what they also did in SE Asia--and the Dutch are historically notorious racists--is indefensible from a natural law point of view, which most nice people ascribe to. The whites are lucky there was not a genocide directed against them. But perhaps you are a legal positivist, and if so, I hope you don't end up in North Korea accused of being a terrorist--or in a time machine as a black in South Africa back in the days of apartheid.

Dear Ray,

It is a surprise to you but, yes, I studied law, and yes I am all for natural law and against legal positivism. My personal library is full of that stuff for it is my hobby since I was graduated 20 years ago. Actually, I wrote the first part of the sentence you quote BECAUSE I think the ZAR government was engaged in a policy violating massively the people's natural right, and therefore some violent actions against such a government could be justified.

The second part of the sentence relates to the simple fact that out of self-preservation and to maintain "law" and order, somebody engaged in violent actions to overthrow the government is, from any government's point of view, to be tried and jailed.

Let me be clear : if I think my natural rights are violated by taxation, or minimum wage, I could think that the state is just a gang of robers, and I could kill civil servants who come to collect taxes. But you would agree that the government would have no choice but to track me, try me and put me to jail, wouldn't you ?

From the some natural theoriticians, some in the Catholic church notoriously, the right of resistance to opression exists, but they put a lot of conditions for the resistence being moral, and "lawful" from a natural law point of view. Killing a lot of inocents deliberately to favor your own party, and organize terror to be unavoidable are certainly not commendable from a natural law point of view.

And thank you for the North Korean trip.

"and the Dutch are historically notorious racists"

"There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch."

We're not so different, you and I, Mr. Powers.

Mandela set out to make South Africa ungovernable. The ANC burnt to death anyone who worked for the South African government - in particular policemen.

If you take all the police out of Soweto, tell the locals that they are oppressed and crime is not their fault, indeed that taking back from White people is entirely justified, you cannot be surprised if crime explodes.

Mandela was still in charge of the ANC when he was in prison. He could have stopped anything he liked. Just as Ocelan told the PKK to stop when he was locked up. And Abimael Guzman told the Shining Path to stop from prison.

SMfS, you are wildly exaggerating again. Shame on you. People who just outright lie when they smear great people are truly despicable, and you are.

Oliver, you are more reasonable, but I would remind you that indeed for the majority of Mandela's imprisonment he was so severely solitarized that he was seriously out of communication with the outside world, including the ANC. He supported violence before he went in, but had changed his views by the time he came out, even if he did not have full control of the ANC when he did so, and there were many in the ANC indeed who decided that he had turned into an old softie. He should be respected for having brought those people into line and changing their views or at least actions, something which was not easy to do and certainly not over night.

Dear Mr Rosser,

As a matter of fact, I think Mandela, after he came to power, had a formidable role in trying to find reconciliation. He had fine word to the prosecutor who put ihim to jail ("you were doing your work" or something like that) and also a beautiful speech ar Pieter Botha's funeral. Botha is seen as an hardliner, but he was not and was a true reformer until he had an attack.

I am a Catholic and find the idea of Redemption marvelous. I don't know the real feelings of Mandela and hope that he had changed in prison and/or once president, but what troubles me is the ANC's People's War. Really, what hapened was horrible and for me unjustifiable (because not directed against the government but against people). I wrote the comment above because I thought some things should not be overlooked considering the really hagiographic praises. You know, Mandela was way more reasonable in assessing himself than his hagiogrphers. I am French. Even the veteran extrem right Jean-Marie Le Pen wanted to meet Mandela. I think Mandela is used for self promotion.

Are these South African reported crime stats? Because they can not be trusted, the entire state apparatus is now corrupt.

I'm not surprised by many of the comments here. The comment section here has become pathetic.

Hey, it's CBBB complaining about CBBB getting banned!

I thought that the Invictus poem was known mainly for being recited by Timothy McVeigh immediately before his execution. I have surely never heard of this poem outside of this context.

From Wikipedia:

While incarcerated on Robben Island prison, Nelson Mandela recited the poem to other prisoners and was empowered by its message of self-mastery.[8][9] In the movie Invictus, Mandela gives the captain of the national South African rugby team the poem to inspire him to lead his team to a Rugby World Cup win, telling him how it inspired him in prison. In reality, as opposed to the movie, Mandela gave the captain, Francois Pienaar, a copy of the "The Man in the Arena" passage from President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt's speech Citizenship in a Republic instead.[10]

Thank you for your kind correction.

I have been reading MR for a long time, and the comments used to be really thoughtful, but this thread is just depressing. I keep waiting for Mike to announce that Steve Biko was murdered by Mandiba under orders from the Zionists.

Agreed. Tyler used to praise the quality of the MR comment section. And I used to agree with him. Not that I agreed with everyone here, but it was always and interesting and thoughtful discussion. I'm curious if you or anyone else has a theory as to what happened? Was it just Steve Sailer and his cult latching on to this place? Or something more?

Honestly, Steve Sailer's presence would improve this discussion, as scary as that is to contemplate. At least he was polite.

Sad, but true.

Agree. Steve wouild be much better than "mike" or "So Much for Subtlety."

You don't need to speculate about what Sailer would say, David and Alex':

Compared to most other comments here, Steve Sailer's comment on the EconLog obituary is positively laudatory. Perhaps Sailer can't be too harsh on Mandela, since VDARE has previously tried to use the post-apartheid South African regime's treatment of immigrants as a shining beacon of restrictionism.

Steve has a couple of interesting posts about Mandela at his blog:

The only thing I've learned from this thread is that that American / European folk (nearly the conservative kind) demand peaceful nonviolent movements from colored third worldies (Gandhi, Mandela, even MLK), eOn the other hand, they memorialize their own violent uprisings (American Revolution, Israel Mandate) and view any sort of settlement that is not reached through war (see: Iran Nuclear deal) as a form of appeasement and cowardice. The same people collecting arms for the revolution because Obama expanded health-care also insist on denying Mandala any sort of legitimacy because he happened to at one point fight fire with fire. Comical.

Also, MR's commentators can be virtually indistinguishable from Steve Sailer's.

Lest people continue to forget in the ambience, this is of note. The South African intelligence establishment had various tasks as part of the West's intelligence structure all through the apartheid period. An old friend named Dulcie September ANC rep in Paris was assassinated when we lived there. My daughter carries her name as Dulcinea.

After 50 years of getting nowhere with peaceful means receiving incredible violence in return, the ANC turned to violence and created a military wing. Now we complain that they fought back and thanked people that gave them weapons when we were in bed with the apartheid regime. Sick.


Given his education (British Methodist missionary school) I suspect Mandela knew this poem by heart.

Wow. Best get back to blogging about food. Highest valued use and that.

That was supposed to be a reply to "mike."

Just for the record, and before this thread completely shuts down, I checked, and just prior to his death Nelson Mandela was the world's most respected individual. Some here think that is not deserved and have been loud about it, but it was a fact.

It doesn't matter as long as Morgan Freeman is still alive.

Here is Newt Gingrich on Mandela, well said Mr. G:

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