Did he ever read it, Thoreau’s work? What does it matter? He chose to be a thug, inciting violence, organizing violence against innocents (like Obama, for instance). I’ve seen estimates as high as 20,000 for innocents killed by the UmKhonto we Sizwe arm of the African National Congress (ANC) that Mandela worked long and hard to organize in opposition to the status quo of peaceful resistance.
Did Gandhi and MLK get it all wrong?
“Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.” — Gandhi
“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” — Thomas Edison
King stated that he was ﬁrst introduced to the concept of nonviolence when he read Henry David Thoreau’s Essay on Civil Disobedience as a freshman at Morehouse College. Having grown up in Atlanta and witnessed segregation and racism every day, King was ‘‘fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system.’’ (King, Stride Toward Freedom, 73).
So you’ll excuse me if I’m not all mournful over the death of a killer of innocent people in the interest of expediency or, to grab political rule over everyone—even if it took 27 years of prison time to get to be president.
When I make omelets, I use actual eggs, not metaphors.
There’s this, pretty decent, in the LA Times: Nelson Mandela’s legacy: As a leader, he was willing to use violence.
But unlike Gandhi, who said that nonviolence and truth were inseparable, and King, who famously declared that violence was immoral, Mandela embraced armed struggle to end the racist system of apartheid.
To many South Africans, particularly within the African National Congress, Mandela was a great man partly because of his willingness to use violence, not in spite of it.
Many believe apartheid would have endured much longer if he hadn’t rebelled and overturned the ANC’s long-standing nonviolence policy.
“Many believe.” Well there you go; but, those innocents killed along the way by Mandela and his henchmen don’t believe anything at all now, do they? And what do their children, grandchildren and descendants believe?
Mandela’s opponents said that if the ANC embarked on violence, the regime would massacre more civilians. Moses Kotane, secretary-general of the South African Communist Party, argued that continued nonviolence could work if activists were more imaginative.
Mandela met with Kotane for a full day to try to change his mind. He argued that South African activists had to consider an armed revolution because angry young men and women outside the ANC were ready to take up arms, and if the ANC did not lead them it would become irrelevant. [Shorter Mandela: ‘if we don’t lead the violence, it might get out of our control and our influence.’ –Ed]
Finally Mandela believed he had won Luthuli’s blessing to form Umkhonto we Sizwe and embark on violence. […]
At almost the most embarrassing possible moment, less than a week after Luthuli was awarded the Peace Prize in Oslo, Umkhonto we Sizwe launched its first military action: five bomb attacks on power stations and government buildings in Port Elizabeth, Durban and Johannesburg on Dec. 16, 1961.
After he founded Umkhonto we Sizwe, Mandela was sent by the ANC for military training in Algeria and Ethiopia. He held a gun for the first time. It felt comfortable in his hands. When he fired at a rock across a river, he didn’t hit it, but he got close enough to raise dust nearby, delighting his instructors.
Mandela returned from his trip in July 1962 but was arrested soon after and faced trial for sabotage in Rivonia, a Johannesburg suburb. Police found incriminating evidence about the armed struggle, and Mandela and some of the others tried with him were convicted and jailed for life in 1964. Mandela was offered freedom several times on various conditions, including renouncing violence, but he refused.
Umkhonto we Sizwe continued its fight, launching hundreds of bomb attacks.
That’s who the world is celebrating right under your feet as veritably one of the greatest, most compassionate men who ever lived…and you wonder why I harp on the fact that I live in a world of regurgitating fools.
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.
“Political Prisoner” my Lilly white ass.
After Black Power advocates such as Stokely Carmichael began to reject nonviolence, King lamented that some African Americans had lost hope, and reafﬁrmed his own commitment to nonviolence: ‘‘Occasionally in life one develops a conviction so precious and meaningful that he will stand on it till the end. This is what I have found in nonviolence’’ (King, Where, 63–64). He wrote in his 1967 book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?: ‘‘We maintained the hope while transforming the hate of traditional revolutions into positive nonviolent power. As long as the hope was fulﬁlled there was little questioning of nonviolence. But when the hopes were blasted, when people came to see that in spite of progress their conditions were still insufferable … despair began to set in’’ (King, Where, 45). Arguing that violent revolution was impractical in the context of a multiracial society, he concluded that: ‘‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. The beauty of nonviolence is that in its own way and in its own time it seeks to break the chain reaction of evil’’ (King, Where, 62–63).
Ever read Letter from Birmingham Jail? I try to make it a point to read it on MLK’s birthday every year, while the world around me misses the whole point.
You may well ask, “Why direct action, why sit-ins, marches, and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are exactly right in your call for negotiation. Indeed, this is the purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has consistently refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. I just referred to the creation of tension as a part of the work of the nonviolent resister. This may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly worked and preached against violent tension, but there is a type of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must see the need of having nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men to rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. So, the purpose of direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. We therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in the tragic attempt to live in monologue rather than dialogue.
One of the basic points in your statement is that our acts are untimely. Some have asked, “Why didn’t you give the new administration time to act?” The only answer that I can give to this inquiry is that the new administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one before it acts. We will be sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Mr. Boutwell will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is much more articulate and gentle than Mr. Conner, they are both segregationists, dedicated to the task of maintaining the status quo. The hope I see in Mr. Boutwell is that he will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from the devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. History is the long and tragic story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups are more immoral than individuals.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have never yet engaged in a direct-action movement that was “well timed” according to the timetable of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “wait.” It rings in the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This “wait” has almost always meant “never.” It has been a tranquilizing thalidomide, relieving the emotional stress for a moment, only to give birth to an ill-formed infant of frustration. We must come to see with the distinguished jurist of yesterday that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” We have waited for more than three hundred and forty years for our God-given and constitutional rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward the goal of political independence, and we still creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward the gaining of a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say “wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she cannot go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son asking in agonizing pathos, “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger” and your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and when your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodyness” — then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of injustice where they experience the bleakness of corroding despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.
Do yourself a favor, read the whole thing, have yourself a good, soul cleansing little weeping—which always happens to me, and I’ve read it like 20 times, easy.
…And then come to the realization that Sir Dr. Martin Luther King didn’t want ANYONE killed, brutalized, unjustly jailed. Not even his moral enemies.
Nelson Mandela does not deserve this sort of recognition and it is as very simple as that. Such recognition ought be solemnly reserved for those who unequivocally do.