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Samizdata quote of the day

Equally annoying has been the whitewashing of [Mandela’s] history. He was given a fair trial and a fair sentence, even Amnesty fucking International said so. He WAS a terrorist.

He was also a politician upon release, who had some good ideas and equally, some fucking insane ones. Ironically, he replaced a notionally democratic but really one party state with another notionally democratic but really one party state, although to be fair, this was hardly his fault.

Obnoxio the Clown

21 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Mike Giles

    Uh, according to the Laws of Nazi Germany, many of their victims received a “fair” trial and a “fair” sentence. As did many of those in the Soviet Union. Or Cuba. There are certain regimes that are inherently unfair – including each and every part of their judicial system.

  • Jan Pretorius

    So what Mike? The fact the apartheid regime was wicked doesn’t change the fact Mandela’s ANC was, and is, also wicked. Mandela was indeed a terrorist, culpable for attacks on civilian targets. For which he was convicted. He was no Gandhi figure and I share the article’s highly qualified views of the man.

  • Manniac

    When Mandela was jailed he was a communist terrorist. When he was released we realised that he was a freedom fighter.

  • the other rob

    Obnoxio’s piece was thought provoking and decently argued.

    @ Jan Pretorius – while I don’t speak for Mike Giles, I understood his remarks to be commentary upon one of the failure modes of International Law. A specific example of this might be that, while great concern was lavished upon many groups of people encompassing individuals who suffered at the hands of the Nazis, homosexuals were excluded from that pity-fest, as international law deemed that the German laws marginalizing them were, if you’ll pardon the term, lawful.

    I’m not suggesting that that was the example that Mike Giles had in mind, but it does rather neatly serve to provoke questions, whenever an international consensus is announced.

  • Here’s my take on it. (Please recall that I both served in the Army dealing with ANC terrorism, and was arrested and tried for my opposition to apartheid, back in the day.)

    Mandela was a terrorist, pure and simple. Guerilla warfare is waged by people not in uniform against military targets: occupying soldiers, lines of communication/supply, military encampments, etc. Mandela’s ANC did none of that. The planted bombs in non-military locations: post offices, stations, supermarkets and so on (I narrowly escaped being blown up when conducting a management store visit, myself). Every single thing that Mandela did prior to his imprisonment deserves censure, because he was a terrorist. Even in 1985, he was offered release from prison as long as he renounced violence, and refused to do so.

    When he was released and came to power, however, he changed. I fully expected that Blacks (urged on by the new government) would embark on a sustained campaign of violent, wholesale and indiscriminate vengeance against the White population. Mandela didn’t allow that. Instead, he initiated the policy of national reconciliation. I don’t think it worked that well — Whites, especially farmers, are a constant target for Black violence and retribution — but at least Mandela made the attempt. For that, he has my grudging respect.

    He was always, until the day he died, a Marxist of one sort or another: a violent revolutionary Marxist Leninist early on, and a “soft socialist” in the latter twenty years of his life. Clearly his radical views moderated while he was in prison, and the responsibility of being “Madiba” probably caused that change.

    As you can tell, I have conflicting feelings about the man. I’ve been sickened by the outright sycophancy shown by most world leaders towards Mandela, because they seem to think that the “later” Mandela was the same as the “early” one. He wasn’t, and people need to realize that.

  • Single Acts of Tyranny had similar views 10-days ago when Mandela died.


  • George

    If the ANC had used guerilla tactics rather than terrorist tactics wouldn’t they have been killing more blacks than whites, whereas terrorist tactics would have killed mainly white people?

  • Let us not forget the Soweto necklace, which was a particular favourite of the ANC and used almost exclusively on blacks to enforce the conformity of the ANC’s Marxist agenda.

    Strangely I don’t remember any of that being mentioned in the BBC’s miasmic orgy of death over the past week or so.

    Maybe they forgot…?

  • llamas

    And – to be scrupulously fair – I would suggest that you cannot indict Mandela completely for many of the actions that the ANC/MK took during the 27 years that he was imprisoned, including the development of the ‘Soweto necklace’ and suchlike. Although he specifically refused to renounce violence in the ANC cause, it should also not be overlooked that some of the violence (at least) was positively instigated by the SA government with its clandestine support of Inkatha and other paramilitary proxies in its efforts to disable the ANC. It doesn’t help, of course, that any far-Left ‘revolutionary’ movement inevitably descends into a certain degree of fratricide – always has, always will.

    Nobody in this unholy mess had clean hands, and I’d venture to suggest that at least Mandela’s hands were cleaner than some. His iconic status was co-opted by others for both political and criminal gain, a process over which he can have had little control.

    It is, however, disheartening to see that so much of the media cannot report the history of the SA conflict more-dispassionately, instead choosing to present a sort of Saturday-morning-Republic-serial version with clearly-defined and immutable ‘good’ and ‘bad’ players. I see where a man in the UK has been visited by the rozzers and had his goods and liberties emburdened for the supposed ‘offence’ of joking online about Mandela’s death. Deification of any person is always dangerous.



  • George

    completely agree Llamas

    also in the case of the man who was arrested for making a joke it doesn’t matter that he wasn’t charged.

    being held by the state for eight hours is the punishment.

    also his joke wasn’t even racist, slightly bad taste maybe but the sort of thing Jimmy Carr could direct at say Margaret Thatcher with complete impunity

  • a_random_guy

    Of course Mandela was a terrorist. He wasn’t going to achieve anything any other way. Civil debate with the apartheid regime was going to get a black man exactly nothing. The fact that he did a reasonable job of ruling, when he came to power, shows that his aims were largely genuine. That doesn’t make him a nice guy, that doesn’t make him innocent of crimes; it does make him worthy of respect.

    More to the point: Mandela came to be a symbol, more than a mortal, imperfect person. The ideals that symbol stands for are definitely worthy of respect.

  • More to the point: Mandela came to be a symbol, more than a mortal, imperfect person. The ideals that symbol stands for are definitely worthy of respect.

    Yes, some of them are… and some of them are certainly not. So I will not be quietly acquiescing to the man’s beatification.

  • “If the ANC had used guerilla tactics rather than terrorist tactics wouldn’t they have been killing more blacks than whites, whereas terrorist tactics would have killed mainly white people?”

    Most certainly not. At the time, the SA armed forces were exclusively White, so attacks on army barracks, military convoys etc. would have caused NO Black casualties. Terrorist attacks would have caused indiscriminate casualties (as likely to be Black as White, even in “White-only” areas.)

    More reprehensibly, a huge number of ANC terrorist attacks were aimed exclusively at Blacks: those Blacks who rejected the ANC’s tactics and/or their Marxist philosophy. (Funny how that works for Marxists, isn’t it? They spend as much time destroying apostates as they do their putative “enemy”.) Yes, of course the Afrikaner Nationalist government played the groups off against each other (the Zulu Inkatha against the ANC/PAC), because that’s how realpolitik is conducted.

    So while terrorist attacks on Whites got the headlines, it was the attacks on non-ANC Blacks (the “collaborators”) which roiled Black society. There is no evidence to suggest that Mandela ever disavowed Black-on-Black terrorism; rather, I’m inclined to think that as a Marxist, he supported it. Sic semper tyrannis.

  • JohnB

    The judicial system in South Africa has always been genuinely (as opposed to the “quasi” found in most authoritarian situations) independent and some of the more ferocious and vocal opponents of apartheid came from that environment.
    The reality that was South Africa has been lost to politically-motivated revision.
    Including here.

  • George

    i didn’t know that the ANC or Mandela were marxist or that necklacing was performed by the ANC to punish rivals

    great example of how media doesn’t have to lie to shape opinion it just doesn’t tell you the whole story

  • George, if you were a Black man who was against apartheid, but would prefer to see it replaced by a capitalist democracy (with universal franchise), you were far more likely to be killed by ANC enforcers than the SA security police. It’s one of the most unreported atrocities of the apartheid era, needless to say because it contradicts the “ANC as noble freedom fighters” meme. The “necklacing” events made the news because they were done in the public eye — the terrorist motive — but the political killings of Black intellectuals who supported capitalism were all done in secret.

  • Mr Ed


    I distinctly recall a brouhaha when Winne Mandela said something like ‘With our necklaces and our matchboxes we will liberate our country!’.

    Even the contemporary* Art world has paid homage to Winnie’s dictum.

    Of course, the truth of her statement of her intent was self-evident, but it did not turn out like that.

    * i.e. anti-Art

  • Richard

    George and Llamas:

    Yes, I was disgusted and shocked by that arrest – and the “joke” I saw certainly wasn’t to my taste. Nevertheless, why can’t the guy do them for wrongful arrest?

  • Bruce

    And let’s not forget that the ANC had a HUGE presence in Angola in former years.

    By presence, I mean training facilities and “refuges”.

    They were training there at the same time that SWAPO was launching bloody raids into South African territory.

    These were protected by the presence of over 11,000 Cuban and Soviet troops. There was a joke at the time that ran:

    What is the biggest country in the world?


    Its heart is in Havana, its leaders are in Moscow, its graveyards are in Africa and its people are in Miami.

    The SADF copped a lot of international flak over its foray into Angola to keep the ANC, several other “local” factions, and the Cubans and Soviets, out of Namibia and South Africa itself.

  • George

    I guess part of the problem with societies where large sections of the population are disenfranchised and there are very unequal patterns of land ownership is that snake oil philosophies like Marxism and Socialism become very easy to sell.