Nelson Mandela: A Candid Assessment

Mandela-(Steven Siewert)

Calling him one of the “most influential, courageous and profoundly good people to ever have lived,” President Obama ordered all U.S. flags lowered to half-staff in honor of Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday, December 5. As the worldwide tributes pour in for the former leader of the African National Congress (ANC) and first black president of South Africa, it is good to remember just who Mandela was, and who he wasn’t.

As president of South Africa, Mandela—though a typically bumbling socialist—was not a vengeful character. After having spent much of his adult life in prison, he is widely praised for not seeking to retaliate against the former white rulers, and for having largely urged reconciliation and compromise in undoing the injustices of Apartheid. Though Mandela was a committed Marxist, he was also a pragmatist, disappointing his more impatient comrades by not immediately carrying out the massive nationalizations of industry he had promised, so as not to drive away foreign investment. And he recognized his own limitations, both physical and political, in deciding not to attempt to remain in power after his term in office.

Most white South Africans rejoin that Nelson Mandela had no reason to seek revenge on anyone, nor any basis for extending forgiveness to his previous jailors. After all, as the most famous prisoner of the previous Apartheid government, he had been fairly tried and convicted of complicity in many murders, and he confessed to participation in 156 acts of terror, crimes that would certainly have earned him the death penalty in a great many countries. Moreover, his confinement was more than comfortable by any standards. During his legendary twenty-seven years in prison, Mandela communicated freely with his followers, and somehow managed to accumulate a considerable fortune. He was continually offered release by the white Apartheid government, but on one condition: that he renounce violence in pursuit of political reform. That is something he consistently refused to do.

Mandela was personally involved in the targeting and timing of terrorist bombings that took place during his imprisonment. Even a group as left-leaning as Amnesty International refused to grant Mandela political prisoner status because of the obviously violent character of his ideology and his actions. His African National Congress party ran a horrific camp for political prisoners in Angola, with daily torture and murder, often by the “necklacing” technique, whereby a gasoline-filled tire is placed around the neck of a victim and set ablaze. Virtually all the victims of this particular horror were blacks.

Within South Africa, on direct orders from Winnie and Nelson Mandela, the ANC targeted not only whites, but also black civil servants, teachers, lawyers, and businessmen—essentially anyone who imagined a post-Apartheid South Africa that differed from the one mandated by the Marxist ANC. Even simple black peasants who refused to carry out terror attacks were treated as enemies. Thus, just as the terroristic FLN killed far more Algerians than did the French during the Algerian war for independence, the ANC was the leading cause of death, by far, for black South Africans throughout the period of Apartheid.

The only reality that makes it even remotely possible to view Mandela as a “statesman” is that he lived on a continent where the definition of “statecraft” is not exactly rigorous or exemplary. Since the wave of decolonization following World War II, the number of African states ruled by ruthless dictators has always been in the majority, and sometimes approached unanimity. The precise number of tyrants involved is actually difficult to ascertain. One simply loses count, and the shadows of the worst of them conceal the merely “semi-heinous” crimes of the lesser despots, so that their names are eclipsed and you find yourself asking: “Does so-and-so really fit the African definition of a tyrant?”

Numbered among the rogue gallery of miscreants who have wielded power on that tragic continent, we find some of the world’s biggest drug traffickers, diamond smugglers, and slave traders. It seems that the poorer an African nation is, the greater the wealth accumulated by its “President for Life.” Almost every country in black-ruled Africa has a system of gulags. All elections are rigged, free press is non-existent, and all dissent comes from exiles. In the past fifty years, there have been more wars in Africa than in all the other continents combined. And everything is considered a weapon of war: ethnic cleansing, child soldiering and child rape, even cannibalism. Just refraining from committing genocide in Africa practically sets one up for comparison with Mother Theresa.

So in this regard, Mandela (post-Apartheid, at least) does indeed look pretty good. Though personally implicated in a great many murders, there is at least no record of him ever eating a political foe or advocating child rape or promoting genocide. And he left office voluntarily in 1999, even if this was due more to advancing years, frail health, and the realization that he had no talent for governing, rather than to a real commitment to democracy. Still, by African standards, this is the stuff of a Nobel Peace Prize.

Mandela did, however, leave behind another socialist nightmare in the making. With their motto of “liberation before education,” the ANC has proved itself completely incapable of governing, and South Africa is sliding into chaos at an alarming rate. Since 2004, South Africa has experienced almost constant political protests, many of them violent. Activists like to refer to the nation as the most “protest-rich in the world,” which, along with prison camps, is the only type of “riches” a socialist nation can produce. The nation is staggered by unemployment, corruption throughout all levels of the police, military, and civil service, and ubiquitous, inescapable crime. Life in South Africa is far more dangerous, especially for blacks and women, than it was under Apartheid. With about fifty murders a day, the nation is now among the undisputed murder capitals of the world, most of these crimes going uninvestigated. The astounding estimates of other violent crimes, including rape, are almost impossible to believe. But only the truth of such figures could account for the fact that the private security business in South Africa is the largest in the world, with over a quarter-million private security guards in a nation of under 53 million.

Taking their lead from the disaster in neighboring Zimbabwe, the government of South Africa is now looking the other way as white farmers are driven off their land by arson and murder. It is said that job advertisements, even those posted by the government, routinely include the phrase “Whites need not apply.” Would it be an exaggeration to say that a “reverse Apartheid” is taking place in South Africa? The nearly one million white South Africans who have fled the growing chaos don’t think so.

Of course, life in South Africa is now most dangerous for the most defenseless, for those waiting to be born. As president, Mandela—ever the pragmatist—signed the most liberal abortion law in all of Africa, with no reason at all needed for a woman to procure abortion in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and abortion easy to obtain through all nine months. Since this law took effect in 1997, even the most conservative estimates put the number of abortions that have taken place at one million. Once again, socialists and pragmatists of all stripes reveal that they cannot conceive of any form of good governance that does not involve killing on a massive scale.

Yes, some South Africans view Mandela as a nearly messianic figure. Desmond Tutu has publically thanked God for the “gift” of Mandela. But this is the same “bishop” Tutu who recently stated that he would decline his own invitation to heaven if God turned out to be a “homophobe.” Any pious invocation by Tutu has to be regarded as more than a little suspect. Nor can we have any confidence in Barack Obama when he declares that Mandela “achieved more than could be expected of any man” and that “he belongs to the ages.” Obama no doubt believes he himself “belongs to the ages,” since his signature “accomplishments”—the government seizure of medical care, the enthronement of abortion, and the promotion of homosexual “marriage”—are all policies promoted by the ANC in the new South Africa. So we should not expect to hear much from the Obama administration about Mandela’s violent past. Statists never find anything to reproach in one of their own.

(Photo credit: Steven Siewert)

Timothy J. Williams

By

Timothy J. Williams is Professor of French and Faculty Associate with the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He graduated cum laude from the University of Kansas with a doctorate in French and holds Master’s degrees in French and Music Theory. He is the author of Desire and Persecution in Thérèse Desqueyroux and Other Selected Novels of François Mauriac (2007). In 2010, Dr. Williams retired from the Army National Guard with the rank of Major.

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    Why is it that the Left is so violent and given to drinking Kool-Aid as their beverage of choice?

    • hombre111

      Israel began its life in violence, including terrorism wrought by David Ben Gurion. Read your history.

      • Mila

        And that makes Mandela’s beginning excusable how?

        • SDG

          Mandela’s BEGINNING was nonviolence, as his end was nonviolence. In the middle came violence, some arguably justifiable, some not.

          • Mila

            So his beginnings as a guerrilla warfare trainee in Ethiopia didn’t count I guess….

            • SDG

              His early political activity in Johannesburg and his early nonviolent revolutionary activity preceded his guerrilla training in Ethiopia by a number of years.

            • Art Deco

              The African National Congress and four allied organizations were banned in 1960 after the Sharpeville massacre. There was a just endless political trial of prominent extra-parilamentary figures in 1955 or thereabouts as well (which I think ended in acquittal). The most consequential opposition leader after 1968 was Steve Biko, who died in police custody in 1977 after which his organization was suppressed. The Liberal Party of South Africa was forced to dissolve in 1968. The Black Sash Society and the Progressive Party and its descendants were left alone (more or less), but

              there were important impediments to above-ground political activity if you were outside a certain circle. That began to change around 1983.

          • DV

            I question the validity of your first statement, but not your second. Violence is morally justified under SOME circumstances.

            • http://www.blomlaw.co.nz/ John Cox

              Terrorism is never morally justified – or do you believe that Osama bin Laden was right?

              • Art Deco

                That’s a rather strange dichotomy.

                That aside, the use of force can be justified and when you use force, some people are killed in the process. If by ‘terrorism’ you mean making a target of civilians for purpose of manipulating atmospherics, it is doubtful it can be justified. I do not think UwS was ever much invested in that. Of course, political life tends to be messy…

          • MarcAlcan

            Actually, Mandela’s beginning was violence. If it was not, he would have remained non-violent. Violence was already in him.

            • Art Deco

              No, he was a working lawyer and above-ground extraparliamentary politician prior to 1961. The South African government banned the African National Congress after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960.

      • Art Deco

        Now it’s Arab particularism. You punch every ticket. Gotta write Victor Navasky and tell him he got his money’s worth out of you.

        (While we are at it, you have confounded the Haganah with the Irgun and the Stern Gang. Also, political violence in mandatory Palestine went on for about a year and a half with some sporadic episodes for a year and a half prior. The Yishuv did not have any alternatives, bar lie down and die.).

        • hombre111

          Never heard of Victor. Does he sell vacuum cleaners or something?

          • Adam__Baum

            For you, adding machines. There are writers other than those that appear in Commonsqueal.

            • hombre111

              You miss my point. You attribute my thinking to him, but I never heard of him. My thinking is based on the Advent readings, and how far we are away from the Kingdom of God.

              • Adam__Baum

                “I never heard of him. ”

                That is the point. Time to expand your literary horizons, beyond Commweal and America and things that comport with them.

                I suggest a totally non-controversial work for you, one that I just recommended in another thread. “The Black Swan” by NN Taleb.

                After you realize how little we actually know, you realize how little anybody CAN know and how often politicians peddling solutions are children attempting to quiet a storm.

                Here’s a little something else:

                http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economic-sciences/laureates/1974/hayek-lecture.html

                • hombre111

                  Excellent. I read a book of your choice, you read a book of my choice. I suggest “The Politics of Jesus,” by Yoder. Oh, and for the Arab question, my source is my friend Fr. Don Frazier, a Canon of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, who spends months in Israel, every year. He keeps me up on the latest Jewish horror perpetrated against a helpless people. If you have any questions to clarify, I will refer you to him for a really blunt answer.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    As this is a religious book, does it have an Impramatur or Nihil Obstat?

                    Unfortunately, even if it does- it will have to go at the end of the back of the line. This is a reporting year for CPA’s and I must ensure that I maintain my license. There’s a lot of people need me to maintain my earning power so they can take my money and spend it on things they think are important.

                    • hombre111

                      Scripture scholars do not need Imprimaturs or a Nihil Obstat. Especially if the man is a Protestant. His scholarship is what counts, and the challenges presented by fellow scholars.
                      I followed your link and was pleased to discover something co-authored by Gunnar Virdal. A socialist from Norway, and highly critical of U.S. policies, especially the Vietnam War. I read several of his books when I was a young man. I remember one book where he placed the U.S. political process in the company of corrupt Third World nations.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      They do if they want my attention.
                      I offered before and I offer again. I will buyyou a ticket to any worker’s paradise you desire, so long as it’s accomplanied by a renunciation of your citizenship.
                      See, I am generous, even to scalliwags.

                    • hombre111

                      That is a tired old argument. I have to get on to other things, including helping out at a penance service at another parish in the deanery.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Since you are the master of tired old arguments…. Make sure you confess your calumny toward and contempt for the future Saint.

                    • hombre111

                      Ho-hum. Another argumentum ad hominem.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Once again, the master speaks.

                    • hombre111

                      Ooops. Not Gunnar Virdal, but Gunnar Myrdal.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Not sure why you brought him up, other than he was a co recipient in 1974, but I’d have thought Veblen would have been more to your liking.

                    • hombre111

                      My internet is not working well, so I don’t know if you got my reply. I followed your link and was overjoyed to discover something co-authored by Gunnar Myrdal. Joy of joys, a socialist in a country where people do better than in the U.S.. He was the author of a number of books on economics, some of which I read in another lifetime. Remember one book where he put political corruption in the U.S. on par with corruption in Third World countries. He was especially critical of the U.S. and the Vietnam War. Yes, he is an old friend from the past.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      It’s not just your internet.

                      No, it’s humoring the prejudices of dour old troll.

      • delahaya

        And how does that apply to this article at all?

        • hombre111

          The comments despise Mandela as a terrorist. But the Right worships Israel, which was began with a campaign of terror bombing waged by Ben Gurion and the first Israeli leaders. In other words, a double standard, here.

          • Art Deco

            Every element of the political spectrum in this country has a congenial disposition toward Israel with two exceptions: an inconsequential sliver of the “alt-right” typified by Scott McConnell; this is a tendency within opinion journalism which has no analogue in electoral politics. The other is the malicious portside; this is largely a tendency in opinion journalism as well, and among working politicians is found only here and again in certain ethnic caucuses.

            And, again, you have confounded the Haganah with the Irgun and the Stern Gang. The latter were notable for two incidents, one in 1946 and 1948 and even these comprehended some qualifying circumstances.

            What’s interesting about you is the regularity with which you offer ill-informed cartoon versions of contemporary history.

      • Adam__Baum

        For you this is a real question.

        ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moiXHrEYu1k

      • Paul Tran

        Actually, the first act of violence committed against the Jews in Palestine was committed by the Palestinians as they saw an influx of Jews from Europe into Palestine.

      • thebigdog

        Do you still have your autographed Winnie necklace?

        • Adam__Baum

          He keeps it with his Che Guevera t-shirt.

    • http://brianniemeier.com/ Brian Niemeier

      “Why is it that the Left is so violent and given to drinking Kool-Aid as their beverage of choice?”
      Because they’re intractably committed to a virulent utopianism that values an impossible ideal far above human life. They truly believe that sacrificing all traditional economic systems, forms of self-government, institutions, and religions–preferably by force–will eliminate all conflict and usher in a worldly paradise. This delusion persists despite all contrary historical proof.
      And since the Leftist fantasy is based on a project of human perfection controlled by humans (or at least the elite), the Christian doctrines of the Fall and the necessity of grace for human nature’s perfection is anathema to them. Thus they hate Christ.

      • Art Deco

        What does all that have to do with South African politics between 1983 and 1999?

        • Adam__Baum

          It was a direct answer to an explicit question. Who limited the scope of discussion?

        • DV

          In a word, everything. It seems to me that F.W. DeKlerk proved himself far worthier of a Nobel Peace Prize than his counterpart, Nelson Mandela. I will nevertheless credit Mandela to the extent that he seems to have moderated, perhaps even reconsidered, some of his ideological goals. I took note that at some point after his release from prison, he admitted that he had indeed been making the bombs for which he had been convicted. He also said something to the effect that he was very glad that those bombs never killed anyone, even though they cost him 27 years of his life. Some may not regard that as a thoroughly Christian confession or change of heart based on a sense of religious obligation, but it wasn’t nothing. On the other hand, I deeply resent the idea and the spectacle of Barack Obama, President of the United States, using the funeral of a foreign leader for the purpose of satisfying his narcissistic supply. He’s nothing but an embarrassment to this nation.

          • http://www.blomlaw.co.nz/ John Cox

            Mandela was also responsible for many bombings that did kill people. He personally approved the Church Street bombing, amongst others.

          • AP

            Yeah DeKlerk was a real gem…the fact that him and the rest of the Apartheid regime in South Africa empowered and funded death squads that killed those that supported political freedom surely makes him a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize…Honestly people, your ignorance is appalling and laughable. Also lets give DeKlerk mad props for “risking his life” for common sense equality in 1992, when Mandela willing risked his life both in and out of prison for over 30 years for the sake of equality. You are all completely nuts…

            • Art Deco

              There is no point in risking your life for ‘equality’. There might be for ‘justice’ if that be properly understood. Order would be the first component of justice, followed by the franchise to support oneself and one’s family in a trade of one’s choice (which comprehends both the freedom to commute and some franchise to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor and entrepreneurship). These were all lacking in South Africa prior to 1990.

              • MarcAlcan

                Even more lacking now, post apartheid.

                • Art Deco

                  No. The crime was a concern as early as the 1940s and horrendous by 1994. As for the remainder, legislation enacted between 1909 and 1983 restricted property ownership, residence, freedom of movement, and the trades one could enter. There were also constraints on free commerce. As late as 1985, a retail outlet had to apply for a license in order to have an unrestricted clientele.

            • http://crusader888.blogspot.com/ Crusader00

              F. W. DeKlerk was a traitor, who abandoned his country to the rule of savages. He is as bad as Mandela.

              There can be no commonsense “equality” between two clearly unequal populations like the Afrikaners and British on the one hand, and the Black Africans on the other. DeKlerk gladly surrendered his nation to the rule of a majority incapable of ruling, and bears responsibility for the violence that has become endemic to South Africa under Black majority rule.

              We will never gain a coherent perspective on South Africa until we admit that Apartheid was a positive good, and the only solution besides mass deportation of Blacks to the north.

              • Art Deco

                Yeah. Everything was working just swimmingly in 1987.

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        Well said, indeed!

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Nelson Mandela was the man who gave concrete expression to the demand of HIM Haile Selassie I in his speech, fifty years ago (4 October 1963) to the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York: “…until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation; That until the colour of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained; And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed; Until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and good-will; Until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of all men, as they are in the eyes of Heaven; Until that day, the African continent will not know peace. We Africans will fight, if necessary and we know that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil…”

    • Art Deco

      You are aware of the irony of Haile Selassie lecturing the world in that manner?

      For the African continent to know peace its component states have to erect within each a political order which allows for the amelioration of communal conflicts, the enforcement of property rights, and the maintenance of public order. Equalitarian sentiments (or the lack of them) in occidental countries do not count for anything in that calculus.

      • Adam__Baum

        Irrony, shmirony. MPS is a master of pulling out stitting quotes that often have only peripheral relevance to matters at hand.

  • lifeknight

    As so eloquently stated, we will never hear of the real actions of Mandela from the secular media. Flags are at half mast for TEN days for the Marxist tyrant!

    • Defensor Vitae

      Despicable, isn’t it?

    • Tesfaye Hailu

      Oh well, every single president of the world showed up and paid their respect! cos he was real, and as of you, you have your blanters behind your screen while the world moves on. He has a name, commands repsect and above all people all over the world love him, unlike you, sitting behind a computer and taking some shit from somebody you dont even know…go on foool, the world revolves.

      • Christian Coetzee

        Mandela killed my grandfather in cold blood, just to give off a message. He sought a “peaceful” goal, but his methods were brutal and violent. Most South Africans are oblivious, and those who do know say it’s fine to murder innocent people in order to reach a new political future. Believe what you want. I don’t praise violent, bloodthirsty mongrels (except Hitler, that guy was awesome).

  • Objectivetruth

    Great article. From what I recall, he was no Gandhi or Mother Teresa. Also (if im correct), I believe he was an atheist?

    • Jhawk77

      Even Gandhi has many shortcomings, not so for Mother Teresa, though!

  • jimprzedzienkowski

    Nice to read an honest article about Mandela.

    • Tesfaye Hailu

      Honesty is that South Africa never belonged to white people. You just imposed, okay, your grandpa did, so please do not preach about honesty, Okay!

      • Mark 2112

        ok, so get the hell out of America…..it belongs to white people.

        • Tesfaye Hailu

          You are funny/stupid? I dont know which one? Either you need to read about history or I’ll just lol…tell me!

          • Art Deco

            History of what?

            • Ian Salisbury

              Of how North America never belonged to the Europeans there was kind of theses Americans who were native there called..Native Americans. But still Tesfaye that is disgusting, for godsake noone owns any country, the white South Africans were born there the same as the Blacks, With that logic, the Celts should never have been in Britain and the Tutsi should never have been in Rwanda, the Aztecs shouldn’t have been in Mexico (well at least not that part), and Pakistanis should never have been in the Indian Subcontinent. Your assertion is utterly detestable.

              • slainte

                Tesfaye’s statement is accurate to the exent it suggests that one group conquers another and then imposes its own culture upon the pre-existing conquered culture,,,just as the Anglo Saxons invaded England from Germany through the east coast of England, conquered the Celts and then proceeded to invade and conquer the Celt in Wales, Ireland, and Scotand.
                It just took Cecil Rhodes and the English establishment a little longer to make their way down to Africa…but they eventually did and in short order conquered the native populations.

      • Art Deco

        The wealth of a country is found predominantly in its human capital. In South Africa as we speak, the bulk of that is not found in the Bantu majority.

        If you look at a list of the world’s three dozen least affluent countries, you find that 30 or so are in Tropical or Southern Africa. If you look at the half-dozen or so Tropical or Southern African countries which reach or exceed Central American levels of affluence, you discover two are sitting on natural resource bonanzas and two have contextually large non-African populations. Botswana and Swaziland are the only loci in Tropical and Southern Africa where the native population is doing satisfactorily in the economic realm under its own steam.

        It is going to be a while in Africa ‘ere technological sophistication, organizational skill, and entrepreneurship will allow the natives to truly own much.

        • Tesfaye Hailu

          you just lost me..are you trying to tell me that you think better, hence your invasion of a foreign land that didnt belong to you is okay? If so, dude, then what the hell are you doing writing on this email, you should have been on top of S. African elites and should have been concerned about important things. So I figure, it didnt work out for your grandpa from where ever land you came from and it still is not working out for you, hence you are still complaining. Am I correct? I think I am, and above all, it would mean that if you cannot make it in S.Africa with all the privileges you have got, then man, you cannot make it anywhere! Which means, you must belong to the group of the shallowest mind, living in a small bubble. Hence, I found you here. Does it make any sense to you now that you have been left out from being the elite being of S.Africa and ended up here, because you have a small mind and live in a small world, does it make any sense to you now that what you stated above is wrong. Think about it, I mean with the small mind that you have, this takes a 3 grader to understand the logical flow.

          • Ian Salisbury

            You are both as bad as each other

      • bok

        How was the whole of South Africa owned by blacks? Did black people live in a nation called ‘South Africa’, or did they live in tribes and tribal land, when whites came?

        • Tesfaye Hailu

          ah! Are you reading what you wrote?? “When whites came!” is what you believe and openly state as your discussion point. Tribes/tribal land, your own words…but at the end of the day they were there, which makes it their land before or during the white people coming to those tribes or tribal land. Therefore, I rest my case as you confirm it that the land was originally owned by blacks and not the whites!

          • Ian Salisbury

            Tesfaye that is disgusting, for godsake noone owns any country, the white South Africans were born there the same as the Blacks, With that logic, the Celts should never have been in Britain and the Tutsi should never have been in Rwanda, the Aztecs shouldn’t have been in Mexico (well at least not that part), and Pakistanis should never have been in the Indian Subcontinent. Your assertion is utterly detestable.

            • slainte

              His statements regarding European conquest of parts of Africa are true. The Dutch and the English were not invited guests.

          • Malaprop

            To be frank. Blacks couldn’t organize a root in a brothel. Africa is a cesspit of tin pot dictators and disease. The white South Africans bring a level of civilization to that land.

            And yep, I realize you’re offended, but at my age I think honesty is the best policy.

  • Art Deco

    I believe you are in error on a number of points.

    1. Mandela’s ability to communicate with the outside world was exceedingly restricted.

    2. The practice of necklacing appeared around 1983 was an extension of the general urban mayhem in South Africa, not organized by Umkhonto we Sizwe, which was only capable of sporadic operations in South Africa. It was endorsed by Winnie Mandela, but Winnie Mandela was declared persona non grata by the leadership stratum of the United Democratic Front et al in January 1989.

    3. Per the reports of Freedom House (among others), characteristics of government are quite variable throughout Tropical and Southern Africa. Some countries have been abattoirs either due to insurgency or state terror. Liberia, Sierra Leone, Chad, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, the Congo, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Angola have all suffered abiding insurgency or militia anarchy. Nigeria suffered a discrete civil war from 1967 to 1970. Rwanda and Burundi have both suffered discrete episodes of state organized terror which featured death tolls (per published reports) in the six digits. Equatorial Guinea, Uganda, and the Sudan have had to suffer at one time or another chronic bloody terror. The Central African Republic and Somalia are failed states.

    4. That having been said, I doubt you are going to find too many examples of gargantuan penal colonies on the Soviet model or intense levels of totalitarian control absent bloody violence. There are definite limits to state capacity in Africa. Particularly since 1990, a measure of political pluralism has generally been the order of the day, with most countries governed by political machines for which a rough analogy would be the Mexican PRI, not Soviet Russia under Stalin. Some loci have genuinely competitive and fairly liberal political orders (e.g. Senegal and Botswana).

    5. You’ve had terrible problems over many decades with institutionalized corruption, wretched economic policy, and poorly delineated and enforced property rights, resource curse phenomena, and political conflicts which turn on ethnic factors. That’s the reality in most of Tropical and Southern Africa (though the condition of a number of equatorial states in Africa is horrendous).

    6. The homicide rate in South Africa has fallen by about half since 1995. The breakdown of order in South Africa’s inner cities has been an abiding problem and was a matter of intense public anxiety even prior to the apartheid era. Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country was constructed around narratives for which urban crime was the salient element. Again, the story linse therein takes place in 1946.

    • delahaya

      Uh yeah, the homocide rate HAS fallen. That is due to two factors. One, it was so high it had nowhere else to go. Two, as stated in the article, the private security business in South Africa is the largest in the world. Every 15th person is a security contractor now. I don’t see how that is a good thing.

      • Art Deco

        I am not aware of a sociological principle which says that if you have a homicide rate of 67 per 100,000 it will inevitably decline no matter what you do or fail to do.

        Societies have to devote their resources to meet their actual shortcomings. In South Africa, the principal problem is security. So you have public and private initiative which makes some improvements and your reaction is to kvetch. Not constructive.

        • delahaya

          More constructive that to just spout unicorns and fairy dust and put my head in a hole. If you’ve done any research you would also know that South Africa’s crime, as high as it is, is also under-reported to boot. The government did NOT devote resources to combating this crime, which is why the private security business is so large. This is all pretty simple. Quit drinking the Kool-Aid.

          • Art Deco

            If you’ve done any research

            The number of verifiably false statements you have made in this thread renders it quite an exercise in chutzpah for you ever to use this character string.

  • SDG

    To cite only the most glaring and disturbing of this article’s inaccuracies, it is very far from the case that Mandela’s confinement during his “legendary twenty-seven years in prison” was “more than comfortable by any standards.”

    In reality, Mandela spent the first 18 of those 27 years serving hard labor at the lime quarry at notorious Robben Island prison—a hellhole in which, upon his arrival, he was told he would die.

    For nearly two decades, Mandela’s home was a tiny cell with a bucket for a toilet and blankets for a bed. Rations, especially for black prisoners, were poor; labor was brutal; and black prisoners were denied even the dignity and comfort of long trousers—a demeaning policy that Mandela campaigned against, and which by the end of his stay had been changed.

    Toward the end of his 27-year imprisonment it is true Mandela was confined in very comfortable style, but to gloss over nearly two decades in hell in this fashion is shocking to say the least.

    It is also untrue that during this time Mandela “communicated freely with his followers.” On the contrary, he was permitted to write and to receive one letter every six months—and the letters were censored. He was also permitted only one visitor a year for 30 minutes, with whom he was allowed to discuss family matters only—no politics.

    In passing, it seems less than candid for a Catholic author to cite President Obama’s praise of Mandela and omit that of Pope Francis.

    • Guest

      Fortunately Catholics are not utilitarians where we weigh the good a person does against the evil and the winner is determined by which is greater.

      The evil aspects of this issue are never discussed except in venues like this. The truth should be revealed and not coated for popular consumption.

      • SDG

        What does that have to do with the gross misstatements of fact I’ve pointed out? If an author can’t be trusted to report on some of the most well-known historical facts about Mandela’s imprisonment, what reason for confidence can the reader have in his overall analysis of Mandela’s legacy? How can spinning the facts in a fashion better suited to apartheid-era government propaganda serve the cause of truth?

        • Gues

          I will let the author answer your particular charges, but honestly none of that changes the fact that there is an absurd cult of personality around a man that has so many serious flaws that never get mentioned.

          • SDG

            It does, however, change the calculus around the material question the author raises concerning whether Mandela had “reason to seek revenge on anyone,” or “any basis for extending forgiveness to his previous jailers.”

            • Guest

              It does not change the evil things he did or supported.

              • Art Deco

                As politicians go, he was fairly graceful and presided over a satisfactory amendment of the terms of South African political life. Before and after, South Africa suffered terrible social problems. These are not the sort of things you can fix on a five-year plan.

                • delahaya

                  Uh, Art, South Africa deteriorated under Mandela’s leadership according to every possible measure. He was a horrible administrator and a communist. Crime increased terrifically, investment spiked at first then declined drastically, poverty is through the roof, and so on.

                  • Art Deco

                    Again, the salient metrics would be the homicide rate and per capita income. The homicide rate was at its peak in 1994/95 and has declined by half since then.

                    This series here:

                    http://southafrica.opendataforafrica.org/oxlkluf/south-africa-gdp-per-capita

                    Compares the ratio of South African gdp per capita to the American gdp per capita (at purchasing power parity). You can see South Africa’s relative position has improved modestly since 1994. Keep in mind, though, that the American real gdp per capita has increased by about a third since 1994, so real gdp per capita would have increased by about 40% in South Africa.

              • SDG

                A “candid assessment” should not falsify the record either about a) the evil things he did or supported or the evil things that were inflicted upon him — or, for that matter, the good and remarkable things he did, including, it seems to me, his leadership in the transition from apartheid, in which he publicly forgave his oppressors, urged his followers not to seek revenge and championed a transitional power-sharing agreement that would help minimize conflict and violence during the transition.

        • Objectivetruth

          Below, are some of Mandela’s terrroristic/murdering activities that landed him in prison. Apparently Amnesty International did not back him. These are the things the secular, atheistic MSM glosses over:

          Nelson Mandela was the head of UmKhonto we Sizwe, (MK), the terrorist wing of the ANC and South African Communist Party. At his trial, he had pleaded guilty to 156 acts of public violence including mobilising terrorist bombing campaigns, which planted bombs in public places, including the Johannesburg railway station. Many innocent people, including women and children, were killed by Nelson Mandela’s MK terrorists. Here are some highlights

          -Church Street West, Pretoria, on the 20 May 1983

          -Amanzimtoti Shopping complex KZN, 23 December 1985

          -Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court, 17 March 1988

          -Durban Pick ‘n Pay shopping complex, 1 September 1986

          -Pretoria Sterland movie complex 16 April 1988 – limpet mine killed ANC terrorist M O Maponya instead

          -Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court, 20 May 1987

          -Roodepoort Standard Bank 3 June, 1988

          Tellingly, not only did Mandela refuse to renounce violence, Amnesty refused to take his case stating “[the] movement recorded that it could not give the name of ‘Prisoner of Conscience’ to anyone associated with violence, even though as in ‘conventional warfare’ a degree of restraint may be exercised.”

          • Guest

            Stop messing up the narrative. Get with the program.

            • Objectivetruth

              “Dead fish float down river.”

          • Art Deco

            As violent organizations go, the ANC’s military wing was not that bloody, and mostly concerned with sabotage, not terror. South Africa had (by 1960) a number of intractable social and political problems. If you expected a perfectly pacific resolution to them, you were going to be disappointed. Trying some counter-factual speculation the best you might have got would have been

            1. a graduated extension of suffrage (through property qualifications and examinations)

            2. conjoined to a lightly regulated labor market driven by a principles of cash compensation, free movement of workers, and careers open to talents (according to the discretion of employers)

            3. conjoined to a primary and secondary school network funded by vouchers and regulated by competitive examination.

            4. conjoined to more vigorous efforts at policing in lieu of attempting to control migration.

            That was not in the cards in 1960 as the Cape African franchise had been discontinued in 1936 and the Cape Coloured voters taken off the common roll in 1956. And then there is a question of whether the white population would have been willing to spring so much for black schooling and more police and prisons.

          • wraithby

            He should never have been let out of lockup.

            • Art Deco

              Isn’t that principled?

              Did it occur to you that the people who released him just might have been facing a dilemma?

    • Objectivetruth

      Yea, but read this:

      http://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/africa/item/15888-saint-mandela-not-so-fast

      The US government had labeled the ANC (that Mandela headed up) as a terrorist group. Once again, he wasn’t Gandhi.

      • Guest

        Thanks for the info.

      • SDG

        Ghandi’s tactics were reasonably successful in colonial India, significantly because British colonial authorities were less evil than South Africa’s apartheid government. Ghandi would have got nowhere in South Africa.

        • Objectivetruth

          Pure, pure ballpark speculation on your part. So you’re justifying Mandela’s use of terroristic tactics against the South Afrikan government and citzenry?

          • SDG

            Not speculation at all. The evils of apartheid are a matter of public record. Mandela and his ANC colleagues were initially nonviolent; Mandela was initially inspired by Gandhi, but eventually turned to violent means because nonviolence proved ineffective in the South African context.

            That said, violence against citizens is one thing, violence against the government another.

            • Guest

              This is the utilitarianism I was talking about.

              • SDG

                I see. You believe revolutionary violence is never justified under any circumstances, then?

                • Guest

                  I believe what the Catechism says about it.

                  2243 Armed resistance to
                  oppression by political authority is not legitimate, unless all the
                  following conditions are met: 1) there is certain, grave, and prolonged
                  violation of fundamental rights; 2) all other means of redress have been
                  exhausted; 3) such resistance will not provoke worse disorders; 4)
                  there is well-founded hope of success; and 5) it is impossible
                  reasonably to foresee any better solution.

                  • Art Deco

                    It is an arguable point that some sort of violent resistance would have filled the bill by 1960.

                  • SDG

                    Which of these conditions do you think were unmet in South Africa? Not 1), certainly. And since the outcome was on the whole successful, we might reasonably consider 3) and 4) met as well. 2) and 5) appear to overlap substantially; whether “all other means of redress have been exhausted” is of course a question that can be deferred infinitely, but it seems to me defensible to conclude that the injustices in South Africa meet the standard for justifying revolutionary violence (jus ad bellum), if not all the actual tactics used during the conflict (jus in bello).

            • Objectivetruth

              Good…..then you must justify the IRA’s bombings in Belfast and Al Quada’s flying planes in to the Pentagon.

              And reread my list. Most of the MK’s terrorist activities were against citizens.

              • SDG

                Your first sentence would be a compelling rejoinder, if I had said “All violence against governments is always legitimate.” Should I conclude from your reply that you consider all revolutionary violence against governments morally unacceptable terrorism?

              • Art Deco

                Come again? The IRA was, pound for pound, a good deal bloodier than the ANC. Also, the problematic features of political life in Ulster were far less severe (it was mostly disputes over parades and patronage) and the IRA was promoting an asinine idea – the forced incorporation of the Ulster protestant population in an all-Ireland state they wanted no part of. Ulster’s Catholic population was not an impoverished helot class, either.

                • Objectivetruth

                  “That said, violence against citizens is one thing, violence against the government another.”

                  You justify violence against a government by its citizens?

                  And yes….Ultster’s Catholic population was an impoverished class. You’re presently communicating with a member of that Catholic group who has heard first hand the stories of British/Protestant oppression.

                  • Art Deco

                    No, I am not justifying anything.

                    No, Ulster’s Catholic population was not an impoverished helot class, except to the extent that Ulster as a whole in 1945 was less affluent than London then or now. Catholics were not subject to pass laws, or labor codes which restricted the trades Catholics could enter, or municipal zoning which restricted where Catholics could live. Catholics were not denied the suffrage. Protestants did not have wage rates which exceeded those of Catholics by a factor of 5.

                    The Unionist Party was an impregnable political machine which presided over an electoral system so dysfunctional it made democratic institutions a pantomime. They also distributed public works and patronage in a way that was commonly unfair. It was all part of a mentality that had it that they were a majority and it was the business of the minority to knuckle under. The British parliament could have repaired matters – fixing the electoral system and reallocating decision-making about public benefits and works. They could even have ceded to the Irish Free State part of Belfast, ceded Derry; and ceded fragments of northeast Antrim, south Down, south Armagh, County Derry, Fermanagh, and Tyrone.

                    These problems are pretty mild compared to those in South Africa. To call it “oppression” is to be histrionic.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Great. Now you’re saying all my family and friends from that part of Ireland weren’t poor, oppressed, and that they are liars.

                    • Art Deco

                      Oh, they may be liars. It does not interest me.

                      Ulster cannot be called a poor country on a global scale, nor could it in 1958. It was and is less affluent than London. British urban life sixty years ago was pretty spartan compared to life in occidental countries today. As we speak, per capita income in Ulster exceeds the South African mean by a factor of about 2.5 and exceeds that of South African blacks by a factor of 6 or 7. The quality of life in Ulster is for other reasons far higher than it is in South Africa for reasons which do not enter the national income accounts, namely security. The homicide rate in Ulster is less than 2 per 100,000 and that in South Africa is 32 per 100,000.

                      No, Catholics in Ulster in 1958 were not ‘oppressed’. They had their nose rubbed in it by the Protestant establishment in ways they should not have. Irksome and disgusting, not oppressive.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      This is the part where I can only laugh at you…….

                    • Art Deco

                      Go ahead. You’re still wrong.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Yea…..my family who lived through it are a bunch of liars.

                      Arrogance knows no bounds.

                    • Art Deco

                      You brought up your relatives. The thought of them never crossed my mind.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      The establishment’s parading through the street on July 12 is irksome, the rest of it was oppression.

                    • Art Deco

                      I would refer you to Maeve Binchey’s account of her youth in the Irish Republic at the time, most particularly that offered in the Center Magazine in 1981. Her contemporaries did not consider Ulster a zone of oppression.

                    • slainte

                      Objectivetruth, you speak the truth.

                      My aunt was born in Omagh, County Tyrone ( one of the six captive counties) in the late 1930s. She still recounts her experiences as a child when the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) gained entry into her home ejecting her, her siblings, and parents into the streets in the middle of the night while the RUC searched her house. No explanation or warrant was ever provided. She states that this was routine practice in her village. Resistance meant being taken into custody.

                      No, there was no oppression. It was all in their imagination. NOT.

                      It was the cost of being Irish and Catholic in your own country.

                    • Art Deco

                      Sorry, slainte, even if I took you at face value and then took your aunt at face value, episodic rude behavior by police officials (and how common could that be in a territory with very little common crime) does not compare to the vexatious difficulties of daily life under apartheid.

                    • slainte

                      Art Deco, You know the terms of engagement; apologize for directing the curse word at me in an earlier post, or BE GONE.

                    • Art Deco

                      You deserve nothing and you will get nothing. What you do deserve is a rebuke for being imperious and unreasonable.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      You have a rather expansive conception of rude behavior. I called that “police brutality” and “unreasonable search” and “violation of due process”.

                    • slainte

                      An objective example of oppression in Ulster involving an Irish Catholic lawyer murdered in 1989 by military police forces with an ensuing coverup which gave rise to a United States congressional inquiry in May 2013.

                      “US Congress critical of UK inquiry into 1989 killing of Pat Finucane

                      Congressional committee holds hearing into murder of Belfast solicitor after British government went back on inquiry promise

                      The British government was heavily criticised at a US congressional committee on Wednesday for reneging on a pledge to hold an inquiry into one of the most controversial incidents of the Northern Ireland Troubles, the killing of Belfast civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane.

                      The Republican chairman of the committee, Chris Smith, accused the British government of being guilty of a “massive injustice” by protecting “those responsible for the murder”. The failure to hold the promised public inquiry was “a glaring, public breach of faith”.

                      A member of one of the Loyalist paramilitary groups was convicted in 2004 of the 1989 murder of Finucane, who represented prominent IRA members such as Bobby Sands. A subsequent inquiry established the Royal Ulster Constabulary had been colluding with the paramilitary group responsible, the Ulster Defence Association. But there are strong suspicions that the collusion went much further, involving both the British special branch and the army.

                      That a group of US members of Congress should holding such a hearing is embarrassing for the British government, which remains determined not to reopen the case.

                      Smith, in addition to holding the hearing, is asking members of Congress to sign a letter to British prime minister David Cameron urging him to hold the promised inquiry. The British government promised a decade ago it would hold the inquiry but two years ago announced it would not, instead limiting the investigation to a review of evidence.

                      Cameron, after the review, apologised on behalf of the British government, admitting there had been collusion on the part of the RUC and that British intelligence had been aware of threats against Finucane but did not act on them….” May 13, 2013

                      http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/may/15/us-congress-patrick-finucane.

                    • Art Deco

                      That’s nice. Can we talk about the other 3,000 people murdered in Ulster between 1968 and 1999 (the vast majority by the Provisional Irish Republican Army, who, unlike the British government, did not have a defensible political program).

                    • slainte

                      Any group that targets innocent civilians and perpetrates upon them acts of terror and violence is wrong and I condemn such groups and their illicit tactics.
                      Pat Finucane, Esq. was gunned down because he chose to represent persons accused of political acts of violence. Mr. Finucane did not participate in those acts. Yet he was murdered because he chose to advocate for due process rights afforded the accused by law.
                      It is not a defensible political program for the British government to join forces with military police to gun down innocent private individuals in their own country.
                      Art Deco, there are many posters here with whom you can interact, I have requested that you refrain from interacting with me unless you apologize for your inappropriate behaviour. Please honor my request.

                    • Art Deco

                      I will do nothing of the sort. You are not entitled to be free from replies because you adhere to pretentious nonsense about the deference you are due.

                    • Art Deco

                      ‘Due’ process is defined by locally administered standards, as are the others (and our appellate courts have not always been models of clarity on the point). Unless the head of household was beaten by the cops in question, I would not use the term ‘brutality’ either.

                      (By the way, the story sounds fishy).

                  • SDG

                    “You justify violence against a government by its citizens?”

                    I consider violence against a government by its citizens to be capable of justification under sufficient circumstances. Do you consider revolutionary violence always and everywhere unjust?

              • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                If you say A – equality, human rights and freedoms – you should not shirk from its consequences and you should gather the courage to say B – the terror needed to really defend and assert the A

                • Slainte

                  ObjectiveTruth might consider striking B and inserting C in its place…passive civil resistance in solidarity with other nations of the world.

                  The following two principles enunciated by Mahatma Gandhi are worthy of consideration:

                  i. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

                  ii. Nonviolence is not merely a personal virtue. It is also a social virtue to be cultivated like other virtues.

                  An innocent private citizen such as Belfast civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane, Esq. should not be murdered by state forces for practicing his profession in a lawful manner. (see my earlier post to adam_baum)

            • delahaya

              The “evil” South African government was also tasked with restraining an incredibly violent assortment of tribes. If you are going to rationalize for Mandela, why not them?

              • Art Deco

                South Africa’s problems in public order are at their most severe in the cities, where tribal loyalties are the most attenuated. (IIRC, the worst violence during the late apartheid period was intra-tribal among rival Zulu factions).

              • http://decentfilms.com/ SDG

                The National Party governments were racist and white supremacist in principle and by charter. If you can can’t bring yourself to call that evil without scare quotes, I can’t help you.

      • Guest

        And Gandhi was no great person to emulate either. His life was really bizarre in many strange ways.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Yes, the Holy Father said, “Paying tribute to the steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth, I pray that the late President’s example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations.”

      • Guest

        Yes from a head of State to another. Not an endorsement of all of his life.

    • Romulus

      Hard time is hardly unjust for a terrorist killer. So what’s your point?

    • delahaya

      Was it “untrue” that Mandela was allowed to leave upon renouncing violence and that he stayed in prison because he refused to do so?

  • Rusty

    I find this article reactionary and niggardly. If the standard by which the writer judges politicians is sainthood, all will be found lacking. The evils of statism and socialism (they are overlapping but definitely not the same) are systems for the regulation of economic and political power. They may try to regulate the human heart, but are successful only insofar as they can anesthetize it.

    Nelson Mandela was a product of his time and place, yet in his personal attributes he overcame both. He was a flawed human being, yet he had the courage to act to overthrow a ruthless, evil, racist and National Socialist system. On that basis alone, he stands in good stead with European partisans during WWII and those who are unbowed before tyranny. That the tiger on whose back he rose (the ANC) is an unruly, corrupt, and ruthless organization should surprise no-one. Nelson Mandela is not a saint, yet he did effect a transition away from the evil of apartheid, and did so with magnanimity and forgiveness. As Plato observed, replacement of the old regime by the new always brings about a decline and represents a tendency towards tyranny. That the Apartheid regime had roots in the Old Testament-based religious culture of the Dutch Boers should not be used to defend it. Mandela was a man, but he was no tyrant.

    • Guest

      IOW, explain away the parts that are inconvenient.

    • Objectivetruth

      No one’s saying he didn’t overcome evils and demons and do good things. But watching liberal outlets such as MSNBC, CNN, CBS, they’re claiming him to be god like, without sin. Obama has called him “One of the greatest humans to ever walk the face of the earth.” Really?? No hyperbole there! I hear Christ and the Blessed Mother step out of the way when Mandela comes levitating by.

      • Guest

        Yes, when I heard him say that I was disgusted. The idolatry taking place is very bad.

        • Rusty

          I agree that the secular sainthood to which Nelson Mandela has been elevated is wrong. My point is simply that Nelson Mandela accomplished an objective good in how he managed to facilitate the transition from apartheid to majority rule. He may be criticized for many reasons, but if the standard by which a political leader is measured is sainthood and conformity with the teachings of the Church, all political leaders will be found wanting.

          • delahaya

            The standard is NOT sainhood, Rusty, the standard is simply NOT being a mass murderer! Get it yet?

            • Art Deco

              The trouble with your complaint is that ANC and its paramilitary wing did not have the resources at their command to do much. Urban mayhem and factional fighting in Natal were the main show. And, again, Mandela himself was out of circulation from 1964 to 1990. He does not have much blood on his hands compared to most insurrectionists.

            • Guest

              That is exactly correct. Set the bar so low that anything goes.

            • Rusty

              Of course, the problem with polemics is that by using hysterical exaggerations and misrepresentations, the point is lost entirely.

              • Art Deco

                That’s not a problem with polemics. It is a problem with polemics written by intemperate people who do not know much or put events in perspective.

              • Guest

                No, the problem is with relativism. I mean some leaders kill a few and some kill many. What is really worse? I mean come on. What matters is the overall “good” they do. Forget about those little evil thingies.

                • Art Deco

                  The man was President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. There was not a whole lot of political violence in South Africa during those years. He was in prison from 1964 to 1990 and had very limited contact with the outside world.

                  • Guest

                    Oh, now he was simply keeping to himself. Got it.

                    • Art Deco

                      Come again? He was in prison. It is a bit rich to attribute any sectarian violence in South Africa in 1987 to a man who was permitted to send one letter per month.

                    • Guest

                      He has a long history aside from those years. Look, if you want to obfuscate his record go ahead.

                    • Art Deco

                      No, not really. Umkhonto we Sizwe was set up in 1961 and was not active very long (< 3 years, with limited range of operations) before he was jailed in 1964. He was released in 1990. There was quite a bit of violence between Inkatha partisans and ANC partisans over the years, but that was largely quenched by 1994.

                      Mandela was an attorney and above ground politician prior to 1961.

                    • EnglebertFlaptyback

                      I admire your knowledge of the situation in SA, but you are well and truly urinating into a hurricane of ignorance here, friend.

                    • Art Deco

                      No. Except for the chap who published a mess of false information (and I doubt he is ignorant in any innocent way, more like conflating his imagination with bits and pieces of what he has read), ignorance is not a problem in this thread and I know nothing special. The problem is the frame, how licit it might be to apply a certain economy in evaluating others given a certain set of circumstances (which another participant here fancies is ‘relativism’), and whether one evaluates a politician taking into account how dirty is the water in which he swims or one labels him kosher or traffe based on taxonomic categories that do not even map very well (‘communist’, ‘terrorist’). It would have been perfectly valid to concern oneself with the interlocking directorate of the ANC and the Communist Party of South Africa 25 years ago, and Commentary did just that quite intelligently. There was no sure way to know what they would do. Now, it is just persnikety. The same deal with fretting over his activities in 1961, 1962, and 1963. South Africa was bombarded with a bevy of human problems and acutely disorderly for years. If they were trying to make a point about the preciousness of an individual life (as in this film: http://nextfilm.co.uk/film/The_Night_of_the_Generals_1966), I would want to turn it around in my head. They are not. They are using trick mirrors to magnify somethings and reduce others.

                      I am no good at discussing normative questions, but that argument was never joined here because several people thought the issue was settled with the invocation of ‘communist’ and ‘terrorist’. Other people have pointed to wretched public policies followed by the South African government after 1994. That’s a decent point and one of our bishops has made that point; it is just an issue apart from why Mandela is being eulogized (though I imagine its motivating for Planned Parenthood staffers).

    • Makalu

      On the contrary, of course “all politicians are lacking”; however, there are many politicians who have tried to uphold a high moral standard such as Margaret Thatcher, Michelle Bachmann and many others who support a platform of governmental and individual responsibility and and pro-life ethics. It is a falsehood to compare Mandella to politicians in general. We could also whitewash Rudolph Hoess (commandant of Auschwitz) as being a product of his times, which would be an absurd justification of genocide and murder (40,000 of whom were burned alive in large pits), but at least he called for a Catholic priest just before being hanged in 1947

      • Guest

        Yea, it seems the standard is to say well from some pols it is a more difficult time so therefore acting immorally is ok.

    • Jhawk77

      So, the ends justifies the means?

      • Rusty

        I did not say that.

        What I do find objectionable is that there is judgement being rendered in this forum against a standard that is impossible to meet. God will judge Nelson Mandela, and he will judge what he accomplished against the standard that God sets, not the standard our imperfect humanity sets. I suspect that God considers all aspects of the human heart in His judgment, including the unique circumstances and the crosses that God calls upon each one of us to bear, and how each of us struggles with that.

        The door may be narrow, and grace is required to enter, but I don’t think anyone commenting on these pages has the ability to judge another person by that standard. Pointing out an objective good does not thereby require everything else be saintly – it is only pointing out the objective good. In rendering unto Caesar, even Caesar will occasionally do the right thing.

        • Guest

          Are you serious? I cannot believe some of the things people actually say.

      • Art Deco

        I cannot recall which Chicago machine boss who said, “If the end doesn’t justify the means, what does?”

        Seriously, much of the discussion is contrived. Mandela was a working politician in a much rougher set of circumstances than Michelle Bachmann or Margaret Thatcher. You need to assess the man’s real dilemmas and temptations. You also need to look at his fruits as to what usually goes down in circumstances roughly similar.

        As insurrectionally inclined organizations go, ANC was not that bloody. There was a great deal of sectarian violence after 1983 in South Africa, most notably in Natal. IIRC, this was outside UwS corporate organization and was mostly between militiamen supporting ANC and those supporting Inkatha.

        Today, South Africa is an unhappy country with a great many social pathologies. With some qualifications, I think Mandela did about as well as one could expect under the circumstances. The political order is not consumed with revanchism and there are institutions which have a certain legal order to them.

        The closest analogy to the situation in South Africa from 1983 to the present might be found in Colombia, which had a decade of first mass riots and then horrendous factional warfare (1948-58) followed by decades of terrible street crime and chronic insurgency (1964- ). Of course, we are neither lionizing nor anathematizing the Colombian politicians who brokered the deal which restored some sort of constitutional government to the country in 1958. Latin American patricians not sexy, I guess.

        • Guest

          What a standard.

          • Art Deco

            Mr. Guest, you do not pick the field you play on in politics.

            • Guest

              Right is right and wrong is wrong no matter the circumstances.

              • Art Deco

                No, but the actual choices you have to make are a function of circumstances. He did not have the option to be Margaret Thatcher.

                • Guest

                  Yes, and many of his choices were evil.

                  • Art Deco

                    I have a suggestion. Why not come up with an approximately similar political situation which turned out better?

                    • Guest

                      Why is that the standard?

                    • Art Deco

                      If you would like to forego accomplishment within actually existing circumsances as a standard, be my guest.

                    • Guest

                      I would like a moral standard that is not relative.

                    • Art Deco

                      What you have ended up doing is striking a series of poses.

                    • Guest

                      What I have done was point out that relativism is not my standard.

                    • EnglebertFlaptyback

                      There is no such thing in politics and world affairs. Utopian idealism is for college political activists, stoners, and fools.

      • Guest

        Basically that is the argument in this thread. Like a magician we are told only to look where the clever ones want you to look.

        • Jhawk77

          I am stunned at how easy it is to rationalize away the apparently murderous behavior of a man because he attained a cult status.

          • Adam__Baum

            As least he (Mussolini) made the trains run on time.

            • delahaya

              Yep, Mandela was also a horrible administrator. He has brought more misery to South Africa than any other single person in that country’s history.

              • Art Deco

                You have repeatedly made verifiably false statements about the condition of the country (never mind making meticulous attributions of those conditions to various sources).

      • EnglebertFlaptyback

        If world history is any guide…yes, sometimes it does.

    • poetcomic1

      The racist, imperialist genocide in South Africa was total, barbaric and shocking. Oh… I mean the Zulu and other black tribes who pushed south and exterminated the relatively gentle little yellow-skinned bushmen who were the indigenous inhabitants of the entire region from the dawn of time.

      • Rusty

        Irrelevant. Period.

      • Art Deco

        The Hottentots were still present in the 17th century and the Bushmen are still present today. This map

        http://www.timemaps.com/history/africa-1000bc

        Puts Bantu tribes around what was later called Rhodesia and what was later called the Transvaal as of 750 ad.

    • delahaya

      Did you even read the article? He replaced a national socialist system with a racial fascist one! Mandela led an organization without a doubt responsible for the lion’s share of ALL the killings that took place in South Africa during Apartheid. He was a horrible administrator also as President. The country now has crime the likes of which has not been seen before in modern times. The rate of rape in South Africa is literally hundreds of times higher than before. In South Africa, one out of every 15 people is a private security guard! And that still barely keeps the country from spiralling into chaos!

      • Art Deco

        Mandela led an organization without a doubt responsible for the lion’s
        share of ALL the killings that took place in South Africa during
        Apartheid.

        Umkhonto we Sizwe did not exist until 1961 and was always fairly inconsequential as a military force, able to plant a bomb here or there and that was it. You had a lot of disorganized factional fighting and urban mayhem from about 1983 to 1994.

  • poetcomic1

    When I traveled in Africa thirty years ago, all over black Africa it was called simply ‘South’ and it was a combination of The Big Rock Candy Mountain and Heaven on Earth.

  • mollysdad

    What I think is decisive about Nelson Mandela is that, having received Christian baptism, he continued after his release from prison to advocate the murder of unborn children by abortion, and signed corresponding legislation into law in 1996, after Pope John Paul II had confirmed the Church’s teaching in 1995 as a matter of divine and Catholic faith and of the natural moral law which is inscribed on the heart of every human being.

    Nelson Mandela died a formal heretic, for whom there is outside the Church no salvation.

    • Objectivetruth

      I do believe he died an atheist.

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        Hardly. He believed he was god. After all, he has millions of Kool-Aid drinking worshippers.

        • uncle max

          Hardly a christian thing to say by someone who goes by the moniker “Deacon Ed’. If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all and maybe you might offer some prayers for his soul.

          • Adam__Baum

            All politicians are afflicted with autotheism, to some degree.

            How about offering prayers for some poor soul who died alone and without the slightest public notice?

            • Art Deco

              All politicians are afflicted with autotheism

              Stop it.

              • Adam__Baum

                No. I don’t care how many warm fuzzies you have for some back bencher.

          • aps

            “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all” show me the verse for that

          • Deacon Ed Peitler

            Until they declare you a saint, quit the lecturing. I would guess that you are a product of the 60’s and a follower of the theology of “Can’t we all be nice to one another?”

          • Patricia

            It’s too late for that consideration Max.

            • Deacon Ed Peitler

              foolish, foolish girl

              • Patricia

                You might think about Matthew 5:21-22 before you call anyone ‘foolish’.

                And You, with Christ in your username, shame!

          • haroldcrews

            ‘If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all’ would eliminate one of the spiritual works of mercy; correction of sinners.

    • Pat

      I wondered what his religion was. I knew if he were a Muslim that Obama would find a way to get that point front and center in his South African address. He sure was NOT a Christian just because he was baptized and no other mention of his heavenly reward has been made.
      I guess I forgot that Communists/Marxists are atheist, the State is their god. They profess no need for a spiritual Deity.

  • hombre111

    Crisis was true to itself. Kind of like the evaluation I would have given for the immortal Ronald Reagan.

    • Adam__Baum

      God you are predictable and tedious.

      • Art Deco

        That’s true. However, the article did need considerable editing. It should not have been published raw.

    • Objectivetruth

      Yawn!

    • Guest

      Yes, ignore the parts that mess up the narrative. Stick with the propaganda. Got it.

    • Deacon Ed Peitler

      I often wonder why you torment yourself by coming to this site?

      • Adam__Baum

        To torture us, of course.

      • hombre111

        I come as a physician. Group think is not healthy. Thoughtful people are curious about another point of view. I have found a few good articles on this site. But mostly, I am fascinated by the conservative mind set, and recommend a laxative for mental and moral constipation.

        • Deacon Ed Peitler

          now that’s funny

  • Andy

    I didn’t know any of this. Thanks, public education!

    • jacobhalo

      I didn’t know any of this, either. You would never hear this from the mainstream press.

  • Pingback: Tell me about Nelson Mandela. Hero or something else? - Page 13 - Christian Forums

  • Adam__Baum

    Can’t we all just get along? Our political leaders have decreed this man, for all time to be extraordinairely laudable and incorrupt, without defect, above other persons, to be installed in a timeless pantheon and you must not examine or assail his life. Afterall, all people are people, but some people are better than others.

    It is your job to do as your are told by your leaders without question and with a joyful heart that asks what you can do for the state, because you are the recipient of the goodness of the state, which is infinite.

    The very least you can do is bow your head in unquestioning reverence when instructed to do so.

    • Art Deco

      Sir, you need to read the article and the commenters here. Your complaint does not address much being said here.

      • Adam__Baum

        “What really matters is that your overlords have canonized this guy. ”
        -Art Deco (but which one)

      • wraithby

        Sir, who has appointed you censor?

        • Art Deco

          No one. Nor have I acted as one.

  • archangel

    political correctness run amok as the west continues to deify Mandela

  • delahaya

    I am just amazed at how far the brainwashing has come. Apparently ALL the evils of South Africa are to be blamed on the Apartheid government even after they’ve been gone for over 20 years, AND they should get credit for nothing. On the other hand, Mandela should get credit for everything, and have nothing held against him. Let’s be real. Is there ANY country in Africa doing well? The only one was South Africa and now they are quickly joining the list of failed countries.

    • Objectivetruth

      Mandela instituted unfettered abortion in SA. Abortion on demand at all times, for any and all reasons.

    • Art Deco

      You are not referring either to the article or to any of the commenters. The only thing you hear are the voices in your head.

    • Guest

      Here is the key to our culture of shallowness and lack of examination. Play up the parts that you want and make a type of myth. The evil parts you explain away and say that all leaders do it so no biggie.

      Not very deep or authentic, but hey you may not think for yourself when the “experts” are here to tell you what to think.

    • EnglebertFlaptyback


      Apparently ALL the evils of South Africa are to be blamed on the Apartheid government even after they’ve been gone for over 20 years, AND they should get credit for nothing.

      I would apply the same metric to the Apartheid government that you lot seem to want to apply to Mr. Mandela: Do the sum of the positive actions outweigh the sum of the negative ones?

      Defending the insane, cruel Apartheid regime is like defending your child-abusing, wife-beating, alcoholic neighbor because he works hard and makes great barbecue.

      • Adam__Baum

        Whose defending Apartheid, other than the gremlins you imagine?

        • EnglebertFlaptyback

          If you don’t get the subtext of delahaya’s comments above, you’re as delusional as you claim I am.

          • Adam__Baum

            I like to read what’s written, rather than imputing a nefarious “subtext”. You’re a complete pillock. Please don’t breed.

            • EnglebertFlaptyback

              Do you seriously believe that words should only be read in their most literal sense? Especially in a discussion awash with racial issues, where coded language tends to be very common?

              The subtext is that blacks can’t govern themselves (a common trope especially when speaking of Africa), and that South Africa was a better place for being under Apartheid. To wit:

              Is there ANY country in Africa doing well? [Clear, not-really-implied answer: No.]

              The only one was South Africa [When they were coincidentally controlled by the Apartheid regime] and now [that that regime is gone] they are quickly joining the list of failed countries.

              It’s really not that hard to divine the meaning. I’ve seen enough of these sorts of discussions over the years that a number of tropes always pop up – one being that “blacks can’t govern” or some variation thereof.

              • Adam__Baum

                Just post the supporting evidence next time. What’s a reasonable connotation to you, isn’t to everybody else. I have no dog in this fight other than the rush to canonize the guy.

                Is most of Africa a mess? Yeah it is, but most of the rest of the world is also. Africans have no disproportionate market share on civil chaos and I don’t get that from some crypto-racist, but my co-worker whose Dad is from Nigeria.

                I attribute much of the problems to the destabilizing effects of Islam.

                • Art Deco

                  Crime rates in most Tropical and Southern African countries are exceptional. It is worse in non-Muslim countries, but pretty general. The equatorial zone and the Horn of Africa have seen some of the world’s most sanguinary intramural disorders, and these places are generally deeply impoverished. You go west and east and south, not so much.

            • Gilbert Jacobi

              Thank you for the twofer: a new word for my vocabulary, and a most excellent put down!

        • EnglebertFlaptyback

          I would refer you to this comment: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2013/nelson-mandela-a-candid-assessment#comment-1159106202

          Follow the link. Note the flag behind the man in the photo. Seem familiar?

          • Adam__Baum

            Next time, point out the offensive link when it supports your claim. I didn’t see that.

          • Crisiseditor

            I have deleted the link. Reader comments do not represent the magazine and there is not reason why we should give critics any excuse or opportunity to tar us for the unsolicited opinions of others. We do, however, welcome a good debate. Carry on.

  • jacobhalo

    The press made a saint of Che Guevara. He was nothing but a thug and murderer.

    • Art Deco

      No, the newspapers did not do that. Silly hipsters did that on a popular level and the likes of I.F. Stone did that among the chatterati.

  • delahaya

    Here’s the issue in a nutshell. Mandela was in jail for ordering multiple terrorist attacks that killed civilians on purpose. During his jail time he was offered clemency if he would just denounce violence as a political tool. He did not. Once he was out of jail he became president. While president he presided over the greatest increase in crime know in modern times. Many businesses were run out or regulated out of existence. The wealthiest African country started going down the toilet. Black South Africans were just as poor as before, but now faced much higher crime. White South Africans were basically slaughtered and raped with abandon and left the country in droves – over 1 million to be exact. Those that have stayed have done so only be creating the largest private security force in the world. But…somehow the liberals think that Mandela should be sainted for not “retaliating” for those that jailed him because he was a murderous terrorist. Really? First off, that’s bonkers. Second off, it appears to me there has been plenty of retaliation even if Mandela didn’t do with his own hands.

    • Art Deco

      While president he presided over the greatest increase in crime know in modern times.

      This is simply false and the statistics have been quoted precisely in this thread. Stop lying.

      • Objectivetruth

        The crimes against the unborn in South Africa due to Mandela’s extreme abortion policies went from a little over 1500 per year to over 46,000 abortions a year during his final year as President. I’d call that a huge increase in crime due to Mandela.

  • Objectivetruth

    Abortion statistics for South Africa. In 1993 (the year before Mandela took office) there were 1582 abortions. By the end of his term (1999) there were 46, 303 abortions in SA. He was extremely pro abortion, in all cases. This alone puts him on my horrible leaders list:

    http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/ab-southafrica.html

    • Guest

      Look, sometimes you have to support abortion, homosexual unions, and terrorism. See, it is all relative and you must weigh the good versus the bad. What really matters is that your overlords have canonized this guy. The script is already written. Now fall in line. What are you a hatter or something?

      • Objectivetruth

        Agreed…..thank you for the smack down….my lord Obama has canonized Mandela, therefore I must fall in line and worship like a good and loyal minion.

      • Art Deco

        Guest, he is a foreign head of state. He was better than some and worse than others. He performed creditably in some challenging circumstances. He made good decisions and bad.

        You all (and the shnooks over at National Review seem driven into a froth by the blatherskite coming from the media and the administration. There is no need to be witlessly reactive in this manner.

        • Guest

          Your minimizing and nuancing does not cut it. The man was no great statesmen to admire. He supported Communism, abortion, homosexual unions, terrorism. I am not a utilitarian. His good acts can be reviewed. His evil acts can be reviewed. We pray for his soul. His politics and ideology are another thing altogether.

          • Art Deco

            I am not minimizing or ‘nuancing’ anything. The policy preferences of the ANC after 1993 are deplorable. He had a disputed association with the Communist Party of South Africa, but the government over which he presided had no signature features of a communist administration. Umkhonto we Sizwe was not a particularly violent organization.

            • Guest

              So you are admitting he was a communist?

              • Art Deco

                There have been reports in recent days that he did have a party card at one point or another. There is no question that the ANC co-operated with the Congress of Democrats from 1952 to 1960 and no question that a mess of Communists sat on the ANC executive board, including Joseph Slovo.

                I did not care for the man’s attitudes on a mess of questions, just as I do not care for Desmond Tutu’s. The thing is, Tutu is pretty much the sum of his utterances. Mandela was a working politician who had actual accomplishments (for good or ill). The government over which he presided had no signature features of a communist government. That’s what is salient. That he took out a party card in 1956 (or whenever), not so much.

                • DV

                  I agree for the most part with your statements, but of course, Mandela, the moderate (if he was a moderate) is gone. The future of SA in the hands of those who fundamentally disagreed with their elder statesman, Mr. Mandela, is bleak to say the least.

                  • Art Deco

                    DV, try to focus. What has happened in South Africa in the last 20 years? Mass expropriation of property? Suppression of political opposition? Escalating breakdown of public order? If the answer to these questions is ‘no’ (and it is), you need to ask whether or not it is of more than academic interests what Nelson Mandela’s organizational memberships were in 1955 or at any other time.

            • DV

              I don’t really think there’s much dispute that Mandela was a communist, unless it’s heard on MSNBC or CNN. It appears that Mandela did indeed moderate some of his political positions during the negotiations about the future of SA with FW DeKlerk. Even so, the ANC is overwhelmingly communist in its political orientation. Mandela, the moderate, is gone, and I don’t think it’s reasonable to assume that the ANC is likely to continue a moderate course. In fact, it appears that they have moved to begin nationalizations of industries in SA BECAUSE of Mandela’s failing health, and now his demise.

              • Art Deco

                Again, and I repeat.

                What has happened in South Africa in the last 20
                years? Mass expropriation of property? Suppression of political
                opposition? Escalating breakdown of public order? If the answer to
                these questions is ‘no’ (and it is), you need to ask whether or not it
                is of more than academic interests what Nelson Mandela’s organizational memberships were in 1955 or at any other time.

          • Objectivetruth

            Then how come only in places like Crisis (and not CNN, NBC, etc) do you find out that he supported abortion, gay marriage and was a Communist? These are not small issues, and no where in the MSM do you hear any negatives about him. Why??

            • Art Deco

              Generally, obituaries do not includes scads of criticism of the deceased. I am sorry that NBC has the priorities it does concerning what is considered salient.

            • DV

              Same reason that the “MSM,” which should in truth be relabeled, the “Soros-Obama Media,” will never be heard discussing Obama’s support of abortion, gay-marriage, and his true but well hidden ideology, Marxism.

            • spraygen

              Just like with everything, there is always a reason. Just look at how many bible apps there are for android or i phone compared to qoran based ones. Practically none at all. In the same way that large corporations have vested interests and political ideologies, pursuing causes other than the name their discipline states, so to does the MSN. What we receive from news agencies such as the BBC and CAN is not news alone but ever so subtle propaganda to steer the minds of the media inundated multitudes towards the news agency’s ( and the people behind them) political, social and economic objectives. We are fed what they want us to consume,-lies and half truths. Is it any wonder we live in a confused world where everyone has an opinion but fewer and fewer people care about Truth. The result- Love grows cold. Christ told us this would happen before the end. This is not scaremongering, it is just clear common sense and if one takes the time to looks and reflect it will be self evident. In any case whatever were Mandela’s virtues or his vices we are assured never to fully know- all we can do is pray for him.

        • DV

          You admit that the media and the Obama administration are pumping pro-ANC propaganda, aka, “blatherskite” into the airwaves, but you accuse conservatives of being “driven into a froth” about it? Uh, you’ll pardon me for the observation, but yours doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. For one, I think that Americans should be outraged that the narcissist-in-chief is using this opportunity to prove his relevance to a country he has repeatedly slandered and villified on the world stage, to demonstrate his racial bona fides and racial identification. Equally shameless (and clueless) were all those boobs who preceded him in office, flying on Air Force One, at tax payer expense, to the funeral of a foreign leader, who held ideological views on most political matters which were completely inconsistent with this nation’s history and culture. If Barack Obama wanted to go and worship at the shrine of Mandela–his apparent demi-god, why should American taxpayers foot the bill? Obama and all his Marxist friends in Africa and Europe are celebrating tonight, and it’s on my nickel. Give me one reason why I shouldn’t be outraged.

          • Art Deco

            Blah blah blah.

            DV, he was a working politician in inclement circumstances. There was plenty of tinder there in South Africa for a political catastrophe which never happened. Part of the reason it never happened was satisfactory political leadership which made the necessary deals and did not stew over past injuries.

            In the course of this thread, we have seen people manufacture a bevy of fictions about South Africa’s social and economic condition, fuss over Nelson Mandela’s organizational memberships decades ago, fuss over ‘terrorism’ when the organization he formed was never particularly violent nor all that oriented toward violence against persons, fuss over ‘terrorism’ when civil political activity was legally proscribed for most of the population, fuss over ‘terrorism’ when the social and economic life of the country had been twisted into a pretzel by mad treehouse builders like Hendrik Voerwoerd, attribute a mess of social and political violence to the work of a man who was in prison for 26 years and whose every meagre communiciaiton was scrutinized by his jailers, and accuse other people of ‘relativism’ when it was pointed out that politicians do not get to choose the choices they have to make.

            The comment boxes here are usually invaded by the gay lobby. Today, we’ve gotten a mass influx from the starboard culture of complaint (who usually populate secular sites). It’s the stuff of a Mort Sahl joke. Obama and a mess of newscasters make idiot remarks so we all have to make a bunch of idiot remarks to get even.

            • Objectivetruth

              Blah blah blah

              Read the article again, Rich.

              All one has heard over the past week from the President through the MSM is the canonization of Nelson Mandela. Dr. Williams gave a fair and enlightened perspective of Mandela and the ANC that I was not familiar with (such as his use of terror to achieve his goals) and that one does not get from the left leaning media in the United States.

              And remember you’re on an orthodox Catholic site. So the fact that Mandela was extremely pro abortion is relevant as far as I’m concerned in any historical analysis of Mandela. Once again, knowledge I’d never gain from liberal, atheistic lapdogs CNN and NBC.

              And you’re quota of idiot remarks has been more than met for one article.

    • Art Deco

      South Africa has a parliamentary system, it is just that they do not have a ceremonial head of state. The “President” of South Africa performs functions similar to a prime minister.

      The policy preferences of the ANC might be called ‘global chatterati’ and are at a variance with norms in other African countries.

  • Amatorem Veritatis

    The sputtering indignation from the usual suspects (and fellow travelers) in the commentariat, demonstrates once again that the left (and not so secretly), loves their collection of murderous tyrants and terrorists. Rationalizing the murder of innocents is nothing new for the “enlightened ones”, who have at various times used either relativism or utilitarianism to attempt rehabilitation (or at least “balance”) regarding the records of a long list of progressives, socialists, communists and revolutionaries. The left has always been able to find some shred of redeeming value in the rhetoric of these evil people, which in their odd calculus, somehow offsets their actions. Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro (one of Mandela’s favorites BTW), and a long, long list of others (don’t forget the fawning of the American progressives over Hitler and Mussolini in the 30’s) are all examples of people with good ideas, but poor execution (oops…poor choice of words?). To paraphrase that great philosopher and theologian, Forrest Gump, “evil is as evil does”. Mandela’s record and legacy are crystal clear to those with ears to hear and eyes to see.

    • Guest

      I wish I could vote “up” your post 100 times.

      • Adam__Baum

        I’d go for 1000.

        • Marc L

          1000 just for “are all examples of people with good ideas, but poor execution (oops…poor choice of words?).”

          • Art Deco

            It is somewhat disconcerting that there are 41 endorsements of a post that is a gaseous non sequitur from beginning to end.

      • Tesfaye Hailu

        yeah only in your bubbly world you can, this is the realistic one, sorry!

        • Guest

          Keep typing your propaganda. It exposes you well.

          • Tesfaye Hailu

            In which world? Your little world…

    • cestusdei

      Obama shook hands with Raul Castro. They do love their Leftist dictators.

      • Objectivetruth

        Hugo Chavez and Obama shaking hands……the left went crazy happy over that. Chavez was trying to make a fool out of Obama.

        • Art Deco

          Personally, I would be pleased if the President did very little traveling (note Harry Truman’s overseas travel schedule – 3 trips in 8 years). However, they will meet foreign heads of state from time to time.

          • Adam__Baum

            Too late, they already had to put out a RFP to refurbish AF1. He wore the dang thing out.

        • http://crusader888.blogspot.com/ Crusader00

          Chavez was a great statesman who helped to further the cause of a multipolar world and lessen the influence of the bolshevist USA around the globe. Chavez had his conflicts with the Church, yet he was both a socialist and a Catholic, and his legacy has certainly left South America freer from the influence of liberal America.

          • uncle max

            Your check from MSNBC is in the mail

            • Art Deco

              He has another remark on this thread anathematizing F.W. de Klerk for betraying his people.

        • uncle max

          not a very difficult task to be sure

      • Adam__Baum

        Birds of a feather…

    • Art Deco

      The sputtering indignation from the usual suspects

      Well, you know, Amatorem, we don’t always see ourselves as others do.

      • Amatorem Veritatis

        Hyperbole is a widely respected literary device. In fact, Our Lord was fond of making serious points using hyperbole for effect. Take it personally only if it applies!

        Pax Christi

    • Rich

      SO few people read this little corner of the web, its basically you guys, in your bubble, and then those of us who come here to stay caught up on the craziness that comes out of the right wing machine. Most of the time, I can laugh here or there, but mostly have to roll my eyes at the PURE ideology masquerading as piety that I see here. LOTS of self righteousness and fearmongering exists on this site, and few but those who wish to serve themselves are actually served.

      I at least actually know I am serving myself when I choose to reply. I rarely reply anymore, as it makes NO difference in your cocoon.

      I have to give Kudos to Art Deco though. Nicely done.

      • Objectivetruth

        Very condescending, self righteous, “holier than thou” reply you’ve put together there, Rich! I can’t help rolling my eyes……

        • Rich

          As I said, I was serving myself. Surely, you are as well.

          Art Deco Owns the thread, though. Glad to see it.

          • Amatorem Veritatis

            I would say Objectivetruth owns the thread…both literally and figuratively speaking. But why invoke reason at this point.

            • Rich

              Riiiiiight. Like anyone can lay claim to absolute awareness of objective truth. You go ahead and keep thinking that though.

              • Guest

                Ah yes, the relativism shows up again.

                • Rich

                  I do agree that there IS an objective truth. I am simply stating that it is very difficult, if nigh impossible to possess fully THAT same fullness of truth. We see darkly right now. Why none of you can see that is fittingly ironic. There is no relativism in what I am saying.

          • Objectivetruth

            I’m guessing you’ve read the article, Rich? Do you have an opinion on Tim Williams article? Or are you just here to rate and attack the commentators?

            • Rich

              Yes to both.

              My opinion is surely uninformed. I am glad you guys have a French teacher to let you in on all the ins and outs of what happened in South Africa so long ago.

              Any funeral that attracts 40+ heads of state HAS to be terrorism. You’re right. You are ALL correct. in EVERY THING you think.

              No worries guys. You have all the fun you like in your bubble of safety from the world.

              • Guest

                What a standard. Another moral beacon for us to follow. What else do you have as proof? Perhaps his daughter can tells us how wonderful he was.

              • http://crusader888.blogspot.com/ Crusader00

                Most of those heads of state are traitors and criminals.

              • aps

                Have you ever been to an African Country? Obviously you haven’t, yet speak of a bubble.

          • thebigdog

            Rich with a grand total of 4 comments is praising Art Deco — in troll world this would mean that they are probably one and the same… just saying.

            • Adam__Baum

              I think I hear the bark of truth.

            • Art Deco

              No. I use one handle and no other.

          • Joppeh

            In all your posts, you haven’t gotten around to explaining what it is that you factually dispute in Williams’ piece.

            Kindly explain what it is that you factually dispute in Williams’ piece.

        • Dennis Matthews

          Hot Topic issue !?… I seldom see you people here get so angry and toxic?
          Please restrain yourselves!! Remember our Lord.
          Politics in Africa are by definition… Dumn Sub-Human… chop your opponants up with a machete kind of a thing !!
          Sub-Human animals are not worthy of consideration in a format such as this… here in this “special blog place”.
          I am serious… as “Hell”
          DO NOT CONTAMINATE THIS BLOGTHING WITH VILE AND IRREVERANT WORDS!!!
          President Obama is a “Media-Whore”…he is the most prolific of all the insane… not since Hitler, has anyone been so caught up in loving himself? …and shoving it down the throats of his captive citizens… by Executive Order. He is not worthy of consideration in a format such as this…
          I pray for the American people… we still have years to go before we rid oursleves of his curse. I pray for our future.
          But please… this is a place of God’s Grace. It makes me sad to see and read so much vile irreverance… regarding Political Whores like Obama and his recently departed Marxist bastard “Retro-Father”…? In other words, Obama is a “Bastard”… deserted by his real father… and now he is going crazy in his own mind, pretending that he just visited the grave of his “Real” father…?? This is Insane !!!
          Obama really does think… that Nelson Mandela was his Father !!? Obama is the most insane of all the American Presidents.
          The President of The United States is… certifiably “INSANE”.
          These times truly are The End of Times… Nero is playing his fiddle.

          • Adam__Baum

            So the trolls have a new tactic huh?

      • Amatorem Veritatis

        Bubble? Right wing machine? PURE ideology? Self righteousness?

        Project much? Freud definitely had someone like you in mind when developing his theories of defensive projection. Enjoy your “bubble bath”.

      • Guest

        The irony drips.

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        And yet you keep coming back…truth does that to you.

      • Duarte Stock

        Finally a remarkable comment. Thank You. I was starting to feel there was something wrong in this bubble.

      • Joaco

        Go back to the National Catholic Distorter then.

    • Tesfaye Hailu

      keep on ranting…while he keeps on commanding respect.

  • http://brianniemeier.com/ Brian Niemeier

    To call Mr. Mandela a controversial figure is an understatement. Inspiring hagiography from the left and inciting suspicion from the right, none can deny his cultural significance (least of all South Africans, who know better than anyone else).

    As a child of the 80s whose knowledge of Mr. Mandela was shaped almost entirely by his popular folk hero image, I can appreciate Dr. Williams’ efforts to dust off the layers of sugar coating to remind us that President Mandela was indeed a human being.

    Mr. Mandela’s actions and words lead me to speculate that he would have supported his own demystification. Fidelity to truth is vital. So are charity and forgiveness. If the late president sometimes failed in the former, he practiced the latter when his country and the world most needed it. Perhaps circumstances facilitated his choice. Thank God for that.
    I don’t pretend to ignore the situations in which Mr. Mandela failed to act according to Christian love. Neither do I presume to condemn him personally. He is not here to defend himself, and besides he’s not accountable to me, but to his people and God.
    I pray for the repose of President Mandela’s soul, in thanksgiving for those of his successes which averted injustice and conflict, and in petition for those–especially the poor and the unborn–affected by his failures. Eternal rest grant to him, Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

  • Clearly Salmon

    A candid and honest article, indeed.

  • Pingback: A candid and fair assessment? Indeed! | 1catholicsalmon

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  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    A snowstorm prevented me from gaining access to the internet today, so I am just now able to respond to some of what has been written in reaction to my column on Mandela. Here is what I maintain in a nutshell: Nelson Mandela was an unrepentant terrorist and a pragmatic Marxist (you may substitute socialist, or “statist” if you prefer) and society
    is heading the wrong way quickly in South Africa. He was hardly the worst character in 20th century Africa, but not because he was the “Great Man” that he is now proclaimed to be.

    Despite all the hagiography currently being penned and uttered about the late Nelson Mandela, I do not consider the comments I have made about him to be especially controversial, at least not among those willing to browse the many varied opinions that exist. Nor am I alone in making them. Just for starters, see http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2013/12/06/nelson-mandela/
    and http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/dont-mourn-for-mandela/.) Also, view the Youtube interviews of Dr. Peter Hammond, head of Frontline Fellowship, of Newlands, South Africa, and see their website at http://www.frontline.org.za. (This Christian ministry was attacked under Apartheid for being open to all races, but was later targeted by Mandela for its pro-life activities.) There are also a great many blogs run by and for South Africans, who offer testimony of what they have lived through in the past 35 years.

    I will make one correction, however, to what I wrote in my column. Contrary to what I
    stated there, Winnie Mandela was implicated in a number of murders before the Truth
    and Reconciliation Commission, but Nelson Mandela’s involvement in terrorism was actually brought out in his own trial, the Rivonia trial in 1964. Mandela acknowledged his role in the creation of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the ANC. Of course, like all terrorists (none of whom EVER describe their actions as terror) he denied that the heinous violence of that group was terrorism, stating: “Four forms of violence were possible. There is sabotage, there is guerrilla warfare, there is terrorism, and there is
    open revolution. We chose to adopt the first method and to exhaust it before taking any other decision.” So blowing up a train station, or exploding a car bomb on a busy street is actually “sabotage.” (For the entire transcript, see: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/mandela/mandelaspeech.html.)

    It is to their credit that many Afrikaners – previously fearful of a pogrom if the ANC came to power and much relieved, obviously, that this did not take place – are now willing to let bygones be bygones, to turn the other cheek. This does not mean there is serious doubt about Mandela’s previous, personal involvement in terrorism.

    Statistics regarding crime, abortion, and deaths by terrorism during Apartheid all vary enormously, depending upon the source you consult. In describing past and present conditions, I have very much stuck to a “middle ground” approach regarding such figures. As for what is happening in South Africa today… well, there are two irrefutable facts that tend to undermine what the government says about progress there: emigration and massive insecurity. White South Africans are divided into three groups: those who are getting out of South Africa, those too poor to get out, and the affluent whites who now live almost exclusively in high-security, gated communities. (See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22554709? and http://www.newsweek.com/south-africas-new-white-flight-82709 and http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/08/business/south-africa-private-security/.)

    Again, was Nelson Mandela the worst character in South Africa during Apartheid? No. Is South Africa today the worst place to live on that continent? No. But neither response should be taken as a ringing endorsement.

    • Objectivetruth

      Thanks, Dr. Williams. You’re article and comment brought a side of the subject I was not aware of.

    • Art Deco

      Dr. Williams,

      Nelson Mandela’s devotion to ‘Marxism’ was of no more consequence than a devotion to psychoanalysis or the New Criticism. Public policy was what it was during the period running from 1994 to 1999. One can criticize it, but it does not bear any of the signature features of communist political economy.

      As for ‘terrorism’, you continually fail to note that lawful above-ground political activity in South Africa had been proscribed by law and that Umkhonto we Sizwe never had much in the way of resources nor was it notable for targeting persons. These complaints are dilletentish.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        The ANC fought the public release of the 3,000 page report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and then, when this failed, they reversed their position on amnesty. Why? Because it was clear that they were more responsible for violence than the Apartheid government or its supporters. I have not read all of the report, but I have perused a good deal of it. It is pretty horrifying. Whether their actions were carried out under the guise of Umkhonto we Sizwe or not makes no difference, at least to their victims.

        • Art Deco

          Because it was clear that they were more responsible for violence than the Apartheid government or its supporters.

          Dr. Williams, there was very little political violence during the entire period running from 1960 to about 1983. The most salient violence were the Soweto riots in 1976. There was also a corps of people killed in detention. Disentangling responsibility for deaths during riotous violence is difficult and the question is made more complicated by the nature of the political order in South Africa.

          After 1982, you had a great deal of violence. You had it in the townships and you had it among competing political factions in Natal. Here’s your problem: in ordinary circumstances, South African slums are Detroit-squared. The political violence is one end of a spectrum which incorporates a great deal of common crime. As for what went on in Natal, please keep in mind that partisans of Inkatha were not adverse to shooting back.

          And honestly, what is your argument? That it was a mistake to reconfigure South Africa’s political order because the antecedent regime was somehow ‘better’? The people in charge of South Africa’s political order elected to dismantle it because there was considerable cost in maintaining the apparatus of social control, there was an escalating breakdown in public order, and every reason to believe that emigration streams would decimate the demographic and social basis of the regime.

          You do not get to choose your history. Mandela did not and de Klerk did not. From 1909 to 1983, the response of the bulk of the Afrikaner population in South Africa to their social circumstances was to double-down on caste regulation. In the political realm, it started with a refusal of Transvaal and Orange Free State Boers to countenance any kind of franchise for the non-white population therein thence to stripping the Cape African and Cape Coloured populations of the qualified franchise that they had thence to legally proscribing the most salient political organizations the African and East Indian populations had. In the economic and social realm, it took the form of escalating assaults on the property rights, freedom of contract, and freedom of movement of the African population and eventually the Coloured population as well. It started with legislation circumscribing the freedom of Africans to own land in 1913 and reached its mad peak with the demolition of the principal Coloured neighborhood in Cape Town in 1966; Robert Moses had nothing on the crew that put that into effect. (Have you seen photographs of the housing projects which replaced that neighborhood?). Conjoined to that was the legal fiction that the bulk of the African population were actually citizens of various native reserves, so you had Africans working service jobs in the cities and leaving their children in the care of relatives in wretched rural villages and able to see them perhaps once a year. And where’s your pass, jong?

          What do you suppose the political leadership of the African population should have done in response to the above? When you have answered that question, then we can talk about ‘terrorism’.

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  • Marcellus

    What did the Holy Father and the American bishops say about Mandela?

    • http://crusader888.blogspot.com/ Crusader00

      Nothing worth repeating. One of the few who spoke the truth, even in part, is Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island.

  • DV

    Is it proper protocol for the American flag to be lowered to half staff in honor of a foreign leader? I wonder if it’s even legal.

    • Deacon Ed Peitler

      Is there anything that the current occupier of the WH does that IS legal? Remember when they accused Nixon of being above the law? Shows you have far down we’ve gone as a country when we vote to elect trash.

      • Adam__Baum

        He just issued an executive order on the matter, and I expect he’ll pardon himself for any crimes he may have committed, if in fact he vacates the White House as scheduled in January 2017.

    • seala

      President George W. Bush ordered flags to fly at half-staff at the passing of Pope John Paul II in 2005, President Bill Clinton did so for Yitzhak Rabin (1995) and King Hussein of Jordan (1999), and President Ronald Reagan honored Anwar Sadat in 1981, but the historical precedent most often cited is President Lyndon Johnson’s bestowal of the honor in recognition of the passing of Winston Churchill in 1965.

  • John Schuh

    Mandela did prevent South Africa from becoming another South Rhodesia. On assuming power he did not act like a Castro, and purge the country of his enemies. To be sure, this was not within his power short of civil war,because white still retained a powerful military. But civil war did not happen.

  • Tony

    To soulless political hacks, somebody, however deeply flawed both intellectually and morally, who rises a tad above hackdom, is a genius, a man for the ages, a regular saint. Nelson Mandela was notable less for what he did as president than for what he didn’t do. I can’t pretend to have any basis for judging the man’s career, since all I know is what I read in the papers, as the saying goes, and the papers are as trustworthy as the town drunk at the barber shop.

  • David E. Dowd

    The
    Socialist agenda which destroys the family, provides for sex outside of
    marriage without reproach, contraception and abortion on demand is,
    once again, ignored by, now, even Crisis Magazine.
    At least they got this right:

    “Of
    course, life in South Africa is now most dangerous for the most
    defenseless, for those waiting to be born. As president, Mandela—ever
    the pragmatist—signed the most liberal abortion law in all of Africa,
    with no reason at all needed for a woman to procure abortion in the
    first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and abortion easy to obtain through all
    nine months. Since this law took effect in 1997, even the most
    conservative estimates put the number of abortions that have taken place
    at one million. Once again, socialists and pragmatists of all stripes
    reveal that they cannot conceive of any form of good governance that
    does not involve killing on a massive scale.”

    Where is the sense of sin?

  • denn

    you have to be incredibly stupid to believe in jesus. that’s the dumbest most nonsensical explanation for anything. “um..there’s this guy in the sky see, and um he, um, sent his kid down and umm eve ate the apple so god is punishing everyone for it. ”
    Whaaaat?
    and whales dont eat people. jonah couldn’t live in a whale it’s not possible and if you believe it then you are dumb as dirt.
    and by the way, – noah built a boat and put two of every animal on it?
    bill gates couldn’t do that today with a ship 10x the size of a standard aircraft carrier.
    your bible is utter nonsense and it’s laughable you actually believe this garbage hahahaha morons.

    • thebigdog

      Seriously? — no mention of the “flying spaghetti monster”?

      Slacker

      • Gilbert Jacobi

        So that’s a well known atheist figure of speech? And here I was giving an atheist ex-friend the benefit of thinking that at least he’d come up with somethig witty, when he threw that one at me in an argument we had.

    • Deacon Ed Peitler

      Thank you, What you wrote was so utterly convincing that I immediately abandoned my faith in Christ and am now an atheist. You are so convincing that you might now try your hand at politics where people are likely to believe anything you say. You have a bright future ahead of you in marketing your ideas.

    • Guest

      Wow, what an intellectual. You really know you stuff. Perhaps after you get beyond your second grade knowledge of theology you can come back and learn something rather than your facile, immature, queer ideology.

    • Art Deco

      This is a Catholic blog, twit. If you do not wish to join the discussion, go elsewhere.

  • thebigdog

    Just curious, if Ronald Reagan’s wife Nancy promoted the killing of political opponents (as Winnie Mandela did via the torturous death of necklacing) do you think that might have tarnished his legacy?

    • Deacon Ed Peitler

      No, our darling extreme leftist media got on Nancy’s case because she purchased new china for the White House. It’s just the difference between class and trash.

      • Art Deco

        The country was in the midst of a disagreeable recession in 1981 and 1982 which included Depressionary levels of unemployment in Michigan. Nancy’s compulsive entertaining – more than a dozen state dinners a year – and the associated expenses were bad optics.

        • Adam__Baum

          Fast forward to 2009. How are the optics on Michelle’s “compulsive” and lavish vacations in light of the “crisis” that remains unresolved on the eve of 2014? Woops, “hope and change”.

          • Art Deco

            Not good, although I do not think they approach either the Reagans or the Nixons in the state dinner sweepstakes. It’s the continuous traveling. It is not as if Mooch had not been taken to task for this, though perhaps the media in the tank ignores it. If you did a content analysis of the papers in 1982, I suspect you might find complaints in opinion magazines like The New Republic and a few news stories in the predictable outlets (although, IIRC, the “East Wing” press corps tended to be fond of Mrs. Reagan, particularly a reporter named Radcliffe who worked for the Washington Post).

            • Deacon Ed Peitler

              Once again, it’s the distinction between class and trailer trash.

              • Art Deco

                Now, I’m confused. Who is the ‘trailer trash’ in this comparison. Is it Winnie Mandela? Or is it the Obamas?. The term does not seem particularly appropriate for either.

                • Adam__Baum

                  Right, the Obamas have the superficial, witty and urbane bearing of some overly indulged trust babies.

                  • Art Deco

                    Right, the Obamas have the superficial wit of some overly indulged trust babies

                    Since neither have that particular social background, that would be odd.

                    (I’ve never noticed the patricians of my acquaintance had a ‘superficial’ wit, FWIW).

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Obama never really wanted for anything, except authentic love. His parents split, his mother basically abandoned him and when he was maturing, his crazy grandfather imbued race consciousness in him by soliciting that detestable Frank Marshall Davis as his “mentor”.

                      They could easy model the behavior of their classmates.

                    • Art Deco

                      The grandfather was a boisterous and somewhat erratic man (during the period running from 1940 to 1960, he never lived in one city longer than five years). However, there is not much evidence that he was ‘crazy’ even in a metaphorical sense. He married in 1940 and died married to the same woman in 1992. He was pretty much in the same trade (sales, first furniture, then insurance) from the latter part of his 20s to the time he retired. He was a personal friend of Frank Marshall Davis, but I would not try to haul much freight with that. There are all kinds of reasons you like someone.

                      If Obama ‘never wanted for anything’, you could say that of a large swath of the populace; this is America, where the poor people are fat. His grandmother had a good salaried job – as did about 13,000,000 other people in 1979. The family lived in an apartment (a pretty standard arrangement in Honolulu). It is true his mother was a weirdly self-centered woman. (He appears not to have cared much about her; as she lay dying, he was at the Million Man March).

                      Obama attended a private academy, so might have had that example before him (whether he paid much attention or not and whether patricians really do have a ‘superficial’ sense of humor). Mooch was a working class girl who attended inner-city magnet schools, so I tend to doubt it in her case.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      He didn’t see himself a fit mentor for his own Grandson, because they had different melanin. That is crazy and problem a big part of his need to see himself as “black” or “white”, rather than multiracial.

                      I’ve been wondering about the depth of this race rage since he made that comment about his grandmother being a “typical white woman”.

                    • Art Deco

                      SInce I did not live in Stanley Dunham’s household, I am without a clue as to what he thought his talents and limitations were. Like most people, the man was tapped out by the time he got into the latter half of his 30s. His wife had displaced him as the primary earner in that household by around 1965, give or take (which may explain why they stopped moving from place to place). By the time BO had a daily acquaintanceship with his grandfather, the man was dispiritedly selling insurance out of his home.

                      I tend to doubt the President has strong emotions about much of anything, and that he is either performing or peevish, but that’s just a guess. Stanley Kurtz has offered that he does tend to communicate (in a sub rosa way) that there are questions you do not ask, so his staff does not.

                      Christopher HItchens had some commentary on the speech Obama gave to try to extricate himself from the Jeremiah Wright matter. His point was that we all got a look at a man in the proverbial act of selling his grandmother. Nothing angry about that, just mercenary. More telling is that he sat in Wright’s congregation week after week listening to the man rant (when, among others, Oprah Winfrey grew tired of it and took to attending elsewhere). Speculation as to why he did that has included a hypothesis that he was propitiating his wife and a hypothesis that Wright was attractive because he traded in a social and political spiel largely devoid of the sort of evangelical protestantism which is the mother’s milk of most black congregations.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      “Like most people, the man was tapped out by the time he got into the latter half of his 30s.”

                      Only if the attribute in question is athletic talent. My grandmother would have laughed at you when she made her last loaf of bread from scratch at age 97.

                    • Art Deco

                      No, its not Adam. Most people do what interesting things they are going to do in this life in young adulthood. The rest is commentary.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      We aren’t talking about the Annus Mirabilus

                  • Deacon Ed Peitler

                    That is classic….a description of the president from the hood if ever there was one…(description, that is)

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Thanks, Deacon.

                • Deacon Ed Peitler

                  Your intuition guessed correctly.

        • Deacon Ed Peitler

          A blip on the radar screen to normal people who actually have a life.

          • Art Deco

            Come again?

      • Adam__Baum

        But praised Jackie 20 years earlier.

        • Art Deco

          Some did, some did not. There were contemporaneous Vaughn Meader routines which lampooned the Kennedys’ entertaining.

        • Guest

          The Left is shallow and relativistic. They will vote for JFK because of his looks or his wife’s personality. They will minimize grave evils because they want to pass out tax money to others. They will defend what ought never be defended based on emotionalism and solipsism.

          • Art Deco

            JFK was elected more than fifty years ago and his stated policy preferences were somewhere near the Democratic Party’s median.

            • Guest

              Just watch a few interviews at that time from those who would vote. Not to mention many are still around today who well remember the shallowness of the Kennedy’s and their supporters.

    • Art Deco

      If Ronald Reagan had been in prison from 1952 to 1979, if the entire top echelon of the Republican Party had declared Nancy Reagan persona non grata in 1978, and if Nancy and Ronald Reagan had been separated in 1981 and civilly divorced in 1985, perhaps not.

      • Guest

        IOW, utilitarianism. Again.

        • Art Deco

          There is no ‘utilitarianism’ in my remark.

          His contention is that Mandela is tainted by his wife. The problem with that argument is that the people around Winnie Mandela were appalled at her behavior, including her husband.

          • Guest

            No, the problem is explaining away evil and attempting to balance grave evil with some good and making the good outweigh all else.

            • Art Deco

              I am doing nothing of the sort.

              • Invictus_Lux

                Yes you are. You’re trying to construct an argument of moral relativism and pretend that Mr. and Mrs. Mandela were not a team. If Mandela was outraged over his wife’s actions why did he not divorce her and call for her execution or imprisonment?

                • Art Deco

                  They separated in 1992. Their marriage was dissolved in 1996.

      • thebigdog

        If Reagan had spent even one night in jail, the left would have used that to define is entire life.

        • Guest

          Correct. But, hey what’s a little terrorism, communism, abortion, and “gay” ideology among friends? No biggie. It’s all good.

    • Invictus_Lux

      Most certainly. It can be assume that husband and wife communicate and are in close concert of ideals and attitudes and certainly if there was knowledge that Nancy was giving these hypothetical order to kill them as was the case with Mandela and is wife.

      More to the point – Mandela was in prison in the first place because he refused to renounce violence to advance his Marxist agenda. He would have been a free man very early had he done that one thing.

      • Art Deco

        1. Winnie Mandela’s problematic behavior dated from September 1986 to at least January 1989, perhaps later.

        2. Nelson Mandela’s communications were comprehensively monitored and meagre.

        • Invictus_Lux

          The communication speaks loudly here that he did not divorce her for being a “problematic” murderer who could not cover her complicity. Clearly, she subscribed to the same violent modus operandi as her husband most certainly did at least in his early years. It’s a well known phenomena that spouses know each other so well that its not at all hard to communicate with body language or by code terms.

          Do you think its not hard to smuggle out messages from prison? All it takes is a corrupt guard or inmate prison duty person and/or one sympathetic to your cause.

          • Art Deco

            What part of ‘separated in 1992′ don’t you understand?

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  • Sovereign

    Timothy J. Williams i feel sorry for you, just because you do not feel sorry for yourself. researching from KKK and AWB sites does not suite a man who got a cum laude it just shows your laziness to think sometimes.

  • Duarte Stock

    As a member of the “faithful catholic laity” I must say this article is a very said evidence of ignorance and lack of respect regarding many of the most important values and thoughts Jesus Christ passed us. Mandela will prevail, even if there is a political agenda here and nothing else.

    • Guest

      The funny thing is it is the exact opposite of what you claim. The false myth being created by the shallow thinkers will prevail because the truth is unwanted. You point is nothing but pure ideology.

      • Duarte Stock

        We agree to disagree. Behind your oppinion is a specific agenda I don´t agree with, and not the values I mentioned in my previous comment, like redemption, freedom, forgiveness and love for our “enemies”. Call it ideology. It´s in fact “Christianity”.

        • Guest

          Christianity? You mean your ideology. Christianity does not call error truth or false compassion mercy. You throw rocks and when I call you on it you offer platitudes.

          • Duarte Stock

            “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” like Jesus said. Again, feel free to call it ideology and considering yourself the owner of truth as you mentioned in your first comment.

            • Guest

              You think by ripping out one phrase from the bible and setting it against all of Scripture and Tradition is Catholic?

              • Invictus_Lux

                No that is not Catholic tradition – that is the modus operandi of the Protestant. Spinning your own theology by slicing and dicing scripture in a buffet style (have it your way – hold the pickle and the lettuce) fast serve Christianity.

                • Guest

                  The Left only knows two or three stock quotes and they use them as a cudgel. The rest of the bible they ignore because they do not like it.

            • Guest

              I should also mention you start by throwing stones and the irony, as usual, is too rich.

            • Invictus_Lux

              Rather – first remove the speck from your own eye (biases) THEN JUDGE RIGHTLY. It is the error of Protestantism that has spread the big lie that no one is to judge right from wrong BEHAVIOR (not souls). If we don’t judge how can you deem that someone has trespassed against you so that you can forgive them. And who are YOU to JUDGE that Mandela is good man and how is that any different than pointing out that over a million innocent lives were lost as a direct result of this man’s devilish doctrines (abortion of innocent children and the hideous killing of his political enemies)?

              • Duarte Stock

                Hideous lies. May God have mercy on your soul.

              • Duarte Stock

                It seems the editors of this Website make a lot of post edition on posts… Censorship. As I noticed my previous comments where erased.

                • Invictus_Lux

                  I notice that you (Duarte) tend to hyperbole and hypocrisy so its more likely that you’re just paranoid.

    • Invictus_Lux

      Getting sick and tired of people equating “helping the poor” in the Robin Hood style of sacking the wealthy as anything at all to do with the teachings of Jesus. ANYONE on the planet can play that relational pimp and brokering game – “vote for me and I will give you the wealth of the rich pigs”: Don’t drink the MARXIST KOOL AID.

      • Duarte Stock

        You´re right. Kill them all. Your speech of hate is much more christian.

        • Invictus_Lux

          You pompous ass. How DARE you put your judgmental bigotry on me to “kill them all”. You’re the classic hypocrite who projects his own psychopathic judgments and attitude on others.

          • Duarte Stock

            May God have mercy on your soul brother.

            • Guest

              You either have unmitigated gall or you need psychiatric help. You callously impugn another and then pretend like you are Christian.

              • Duarte Stock

                The question is what do you pretend to be, or in other words who are you… for what I see just another judgemental weirdo… I rest my case this website is totally wrong or at least you guys that come here to spread hate are totally wrong.

                • Guest

                  Truth is hate to those who hate truth. You come here throwing insults and acting like you are on a day pass from some state hospital. Grow up.

                  • Duarte Stock

                    You are the only one here with a coward speech based on hate and insults to others including people with mental ilness and all this under a “Guest” nick. Be a man at least. I don´t have time to loose with persons that can only hate. Again, may God have mercy on your soul. I can only forgive you for being such a person and move on without paying more attention to your disgusting strategy. Get a life. Bye

                    • Guest

                      You are acting like you are crazy. Is it too insensitive to point out the truth? Stop with the contrived moral effeteness and act like a man.

          • Duarte Stock

            I´ve been watching your comments, your heart is just full of hate. I do not wish to have any kind of communication with some one like you. I don´t even understand what are you doing in a catholic website.

            • Guest

              To judge another’s heart is exactly the type of judgment our Lord prohibits.

  • PZ
  • Plakkies

    What I find very interesting is that, on the radio here in South Africa they keep playing speeches and short sayings from Mandela about freedom and stopping oppression. When the current government has just enabled the biggest toll system in the country with no alternate routes. This is limiting the movement(freedom) of people, and costing us soooo much more now. Reverse apartheid it definitely is.

    • Art Deco

      Financing road construction and maintenance through toll revenue is economically efficient. The costs and benefits are aligned and borne by the road’s user.

  • http://crusader888.blogspot.com/ Crusader00

    The real hero already died a few years ago.

    http://en.metapedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Terre%27Blanche

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  • aussiej

    Fantastic article, as one too young to have known the real history behind Mandela, this is truly enlightening and what a contrast from the saintly, virtuous hero being extolled in the media. Thank you

  • Guest

    It shocks me at how judgmental all the comments toward a man who was an advocate for peace in the works. I understand that he had a Rocky past but who can say they are perfect? Who will cast the first stone? You all sound like blown up hypocritics to me.

    • Guest

      You are judging right here. The irony is too much. How you can minimize terrorism, communism, abortion, and all else by calling it rocky is disingenuous.

    • Deacon Ed Peitler

      so many drinkers of Kool-Aid that we’re running low on supplies…quick, whip up another batch

    • Invictus_Lux

      What bunk, The man was only interested in peace on his terms – RIP to the whites.

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    The Mandela funeral turned into a great comedy sketch when someone was hired to do a simultaneous sign language translation of the speeches and he turned out to be an imposter. It was especially funny when he was signed for Obama. His random hand movements actually communicated, “We are not here to bury Caesar…”

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  • HammerDoc

    “NOT A VENGEFUL CHARACTER?!?!!!?” DUUUDE! Google “necklacing Mandela” one time!

    • MR Beau

      How about some proof where Mandela “advocated” necklacing. Not opinion but facts.

      • HammerDoc

        It was in his writings and in his sayings. How about you show me “proof” that he ever condemned it? (“Not opinion, but facts.”)

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  • perpetual history student

    In the latter 1980s then-senator Dick Cheney was correct in his legislative assessment of Mandela being labeled a terrorist. By having our U.S. flag flown at half-mast in 2013, President Obama has offended the sensibilities of millions of Americans – especially our veterans. Don’t trust what you read and hear from our clueless, immature, stupid, shallow, lazy, agenda-driven print and electronic media. They treat Mandela as if he was Mr. Rogers. Critical views of Mandela do equate to an ‘ism’ … that being ‘realism’ instead of ‘racism.’ Thank you, Dr. Williams, for your astute insights and devotion to the truth.

  • Lucrecia

    Your ignorance is appalling and I’m embarrassed for you. Have you even been to South Africa? How did you conduct your research for this article? Apart from the issue that the bulk of your “facts” in this piece are utterly erroneous, it appears that you have made use of your “Christianity” to bludgeon the ignorant with more tired, out-dated, biblically based rantings. If you bothered to educate yourself, you would become aware of the fact that Nelson Mandela’s capacity for forgiveness, compassion, tolerance and love are indeed, bordering on saintly and he was perhaps one of the greatest embodiments of Christ Consciousness that this world will ever see. He was undoubtedly a man, and a fallible one at that too and this made him all the greater. I encourage you to step out of your box, Sir and become the best self you are capable of being. In Mr Mandela’s own words, “It only seems impossible until it’s done.” If hardcore right wing, racist Afrikaaners could chant his name and weep with love for this man, there’s hope for you too. I earnestly beseech you to engage what’s left of your brain cells and do something life affirming with them. What legacy will you leave our beautiful world when you depart?

    • Guest

      Small-minded propaganda cannot alter the truth. Perhaps if you come out of your box and examine the facts apart from your relativistic and arrogant ideology you may actually educate yourself. I know it may be a novel idea to someone like you so immersed in propaganda and mind control but there is an entire world outside of you not trained to be stupid.

    • joevil

      As a white South African (Afrikaner ) do I dare you to refute the article point for point.I agree with you that Mandela’s capacity for forgiveness etc bordered on the saintly.For the rest of your post, pure nonsense.

    • peaceandtruth

      well said!

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  • haroldcrews

    The way the world is heaping praise on Mandela it is absolutely going to love and worship the anti-Christ.

  • peaceandtruth

    and the church once again rewrites history …. shocking!

  • Judy Potter

    How can I fact check this article?

    • peaceandtruth

      none of this is fact!

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        Try reading scholarship about Mandela instead of idolizing him. Here is a good place to start, a book that thoroughly documents Mandela’s membership in the South African Communist Party, and the fact that the direction and financing of the violence campaign came from Moscow and Beijing. The Mandela myth will explode in the next year or two. A lot of new scholarship is coming out.

        http://www.bdlive.co.za/life/books/2012/11/20/book-review-external-mission

        • Art Deco

          No it will not, and for some of the right reasons.

          1. South Africa under his leadership was an actual institutional reality. The deal about Mandela was largely (though not entirely) in what he did with respect to those things over which he had discretion and how the results compared to countries in similar situations.

          2. One element of context you studiously refuse to acknowledge is the closure of the aperture for civil political activity between 1936 and 1977.

  • Tesfaye Hailu

    He should have killed and shooted all of you children of bastards. I would have! But he did not, probably, because he considered you lower than dogs! Sorry!

  • Schatz

    Exceptional article – they never taught us that stuff in school…

  • john4life

    This seemed like a very unbiased report until the author displayed his religious bias in the last paragraph. Now I need to investigate all the claims and not rest on the word of one who feels homosexuality is a mortal sin and gay marriage an offense. My question to Mr. Williams is by whose authority do you understand these ideological concepts?

  • Tesfaye Hailu

    After a year, its nice to see that Mandela, has been honored and a pity to see all the whiners still exist…I presume your silence makes it plain that Mandela truly has inspired millions of people, including the whites how to forgive!

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