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 Kill Yr Idols: Nelson Mandela

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Jul 12, 2001
 Comments:
First in an occasional Adequacy.org series aimed at bursting the bubble of public figures who are universally loved despite being, in a very real sense, complete bastards.

In this episode:

Nelson Mandela: Grinning Smurf, Unrepentant Terrorist

complete with links to supporting information .....

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The smiling countenance of South Africa's former President is a familiar figure at the kind of "Man of the Century" award gigs frequented by the staff of Adequacy.org. This secular saint is seemingly beyond reproach in the West, despite being the subject of harsh criticism in his native South Africa. He's the guy you Love to Love; whether he's cavorting with the Spice Girls or having his garden done up for British television. Even American chat show hosts, who usually can't see a black face without spitting in it, go easy on Mandela and claim to have supported him all along.

But how much do these people know about the man they venerate? Since they're typically rich Brits and Yanks, and Mandela is an African, it's probably safe to assume that the answer is "not a damn thing". An objective look at Mandela's record reveals a walking human and political disaster area; half callous Communist, half corporate lackey with a surprising appetite for violence, failed marriage, failed boxing career, bomber, friend of lunatics.

Mandela's rap sheet includes:

  • Taking money from the bloodthirsty Russian Communist regime while never intending to deliver socialism
  • Terrorist activities serious enough to have him kicked off the Amnesty International list of "prisoners of conscience" in 1985, when political correctness gave way to undeniable facts.
  • Association with Colonel Qadafi, the bomber of US Embassies and responsible for 300 deaths by ordering the bombing of PanAm Flight 107 (the single largest mass murder in UK history)
Let's get one thing straight; we at Adequacy.org aren't condemning Mandela for this. We're in favour of a lot of the things listed above (setting off bombs and scamming the Russians are fine hobbies, and we've always had a soft spot for Kadaffi). We're only writing this article because we happened to take one glance too many at this photo and thought that Yet Another article bashing Ginger Spice for being old and fat might be a bit superfluous. We dislike Mandela because he's corny, not because he's evil.

But there are a lot of people out there who are typically not in favour of sexist, monetarist bombers, but who have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to NM.

As a prime example, take this excerpt from Time Magazine's profile of our pal Rohilala.

"[....] Mandela opted for nonviolence as a strategy. He joined the Youth League of the African National Congress and became involved in programs of passive resistance against the laws that forced blacks to carry passes and kept them in a position of permanent servility.

Exasperated, the government mounted a massive treason trial against its main opponents, Mandela among them. It dragged on for five years, until 1961, ending in the acquittal of all 156 accused. But by that time the country had been convulsed by the massacre of peaceful black demonstrators at Sharpeville in March 1960, and the government was intent on crushing all opposition. Most liberation movements, including the A.N.C., were banned. Earning a reputation as the Black Pimpernel, Mandela went underground for more than a year and traveled abroad to enlist support for the A.N.C. "

All fine and dandy. However, as the official ANC biography reveals, this isn't quite the whole story. During this period, Mandela was in fact engaged in setting up Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the armed wing of the ANC. His visits abroad were not really so much for the purpose of "enlisting support for the ANC" as of "undergoing guerilla training from the Soviet Army in Angola". It's fair to say that as a terrorist organisation, Umkhonto we Sizwe was a bit of a cream puff -- their bombing effort did not address "soft targets", and even the apartheid state could only manage to fit up Mandela on charges of "sabotage". But it wasn't such a pacifist organisation that it couldn't take part in the really rather vicious Zimbabwegian war of independence. And just in case anyone thinks that this was all a long time ago, we'd point out that as recently as 1980, Oliver Tambo was signing the Geneva Accord on behald of the armed wing of the ANC.

Mandela has never renounced violence or given any indication that he wants to dissassociate himself from the armed struggle. And fair enough, why should he? South Africa under apartheid was a horrible place and bombing the white regime was the correct thing to do. But it's simply wrong to portray Mandela as a peaceful figure alongside Gandhi or Martin Luther King. In fact, he belongs more correctly in the company of more effectual and less annoyingly hippy revolutionaries like Lenin, Castro and George Washington.

The Sell Out

Moving on to the economic record ....

Q: What's the most popular South African white wine?
A: "eversincethebleckscameinthecountrysgonetohellsaywhatyoulikeimnotaracistbuttheyrenotreadyforgovernment"

It's a source of grim joy to the still overwhelmingly racist white minority population of South Africa that the country is in a hell of a state, and has got worse under ANC rule. According to the conventional wisdom, this is because Mandela is a communist and the ANC is a socialist party. For this reason, we also have a "against the conventional wisdom" conventional wisdom, more popular on the left of the political spectrum, whereby Mandela was both a socialist and an economic genius and the gruesome problems of the South African economy are the fault of the nasty white people.

Both conventional wisdoms are wrong. (well what did you expect us to say? We’re adequacy.org after all). The problems in South Africa are mainly Mandela's fault, but the problem is that he was too little of a socialist, not too much. Mandela and the ANC’s eagerness to embrace the wonderful world of international capital markets resulted in a truly disastrous IMF program. Privatised industries and public services have quite simply collapsed. If the Soviets gave Mandela money, they ought to ask for it back.

So there we have it. Mandela. Blew up a few buildings, went to prison for years, came out and destroyed his country's economy. Quite a record. Ironically, he was probably responsible for more deaths through his disastrous stewardship of the economy than Umkhonto we Sizwe ever managed to knock off during the armed struggle.


Well duh, most successful revolutionaries are terr (4.50 / 2) (#6)
by typical geek on Thu Jul 12th, 2001 at 07:16:34 AM PST
orists!

Look at George Washington, attacking the lawful defenders of the colonies using terrorist tactics, cavorting and fraternizing with the Commies of the 18th century (the French), it would have been the noose if he hadn't freed us from the hateful oppression of perfidious Albion.

Look at DeGaulle, rebelling against the lawful Vichy government.

Look at Lawrence of Arabia, in between practicing English Style love with young Arab boys he was a practicing terrorist in the Trans-Jordan against the Turks.

Look at Simon Bolivar, who freed South America from the USian backed banana republics on the fifth of May. If he had been caught by US forces, he would have been hung.

I could go on and on ( for a geek, I know alot about history and revolutions) but my point has been made and I don't want to make my less educated, non-genius fellow posters feel bad.


gcc is to software freedom as guns are to personal freedom.

 

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