Posts Tagged ‘Nelson Mandela’

‘What would you have done?’

December 10, 2013

Nelson Mandela, who died last week, was mourned by many Americans as a hero.  But there was a time when the American government regarded him as a terrorist.

Double click to enlarge

Double click to enlarge

I agree with Newt Gingrich’s judgment.

Mandela was faced with a vicious apartheid regime that eliminated all rights for blacks and gave them no hope for the future.  This was a regime which used secret police, prisons and military force to crush all efforts at seeking freedom by blacks.

What would you have done faced with that crushing government?

What would you do here in America if you had that kind of oppression?

Some of the people who are most opposed to oppression from Washington attack Mandela when he was opposed to oppression in his own country.

After years of preaching non-violence, using the political system, making his case as a defendant in court, Mandela resorted to violence against a government that was ruthless and violent in its suppression of free speech.

As Americans we celebrate the farmers at Lexington and Concord who used force to oppose British tyranny.  We praise George Washington for spending eight years in the field fighting the British Army’s dictatorial assault on our freedom.

Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote and the Continental Congress adopted that “all men are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Doesn’t this apply to Nelson Mandela and his people?


Reflections on the legacy of Nelson Mandela

December 7, 2013

Nelson Mandela was a remarkable and contradictory figure. He was a revolutionary who believed in armed struggle and admired Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. He was a believe in freedom and democracy who refused to hate anyone because of their race. And he was the leader of a government that preserved the economic status quo and protected the interests of corporate business.

The charts below are a snapshot of what he accomplished and what he did not accomplish.

south_africa-1024x744The top chart shows how black South Africans came to identify with their country since apartheid ended, and black South Africans were given the right to vote and equal civil rights with whites.

The bottom chart directly below shows the economic gap between white and black South Africans that still remains. While the incomes of black South Africans, adjusted for inflation, have doubled since the end of apartheid, the income gap between whites and blacks has widened.

sa_mandela (more…)

Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

December 6, 2013


My morning newspaper describes Nelson Mandela as a pacifist, which he was not.  He rejected hatred, but not armed struggle.  His achievement was that he was a leader of a mass movement which, unlike so many terrorist and “liberation” struggles of his day and ours,  fought successfully for freedom and democracy.

South Africa today is a deeply troubled country, with a high crime rate and extremes of rich and poor, but still a free country that is hugely better off than under the white supremacist oligarchy.