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Nelson Mandela: An Assessment

By John J. Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

Nelson Mandela: An Assessment

From young revolutionary agitator to reconciling elder statesmen

Setting the Record Straight
Despite the numerous claims equating Nelson Mandela with Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., he was not a prisoner of conscience because he advocated violence for decades and refused to renounce it even to gain his freedom. Despite the claims of ardent revolutionaries this did not speed up the end of Apartheid, but to the contrary may have lengthened the life of that evil and racist system. Mandela's story is that of a man who joined a nonviolent struggle, turned to violence and after failing to succeed with violence for many years returned to nonviolence and achieved change.

Colleagues in the Cuban opposition who are holding up Mandela as an exemplar may be tempted to use violence. Presently, in Cuba there is a large nonviolent opposition movement that has suffered and continues to suffer the violence of a 54 year totalitarian dictatorship. Prominent opposition activists have been murdered by state security agents, and like Mandela some may be frustrated by the pace of nonviolent change. Believing violence to be a short cut may opt to follow Nelson Mandela's example. They would be mistaken to believe that violence will speed up the walk to freedom.

Mandela makes the case for violence
Mandela laid out the case for violence on April 24, 1964 at the Rivonia Trial before the Pretoria Supreme Court [...]

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1 comment to Nelson Mandela: An Assessment

  • asombra

    Yes, Mandela gave up power, but so did Pinochet, and it didn't do him any good with those who venerate Mandela. No, he was not a prisoner of conscience; he was convicted for violent acts he had, in fact, committed, and his trial was no kangaroo court. The horrendous and barbaric acts conveniently assigned to his wife absolutely DO implicate him, because he had to know about them and evidently did not stop her. No, he did not follow the pattern set by many African dictators, but he still supported them, including the monstrous Idi Amin. And please, let's stop with the euphemisms. It's OK to call hypocrisy by its name instead of "inconsistency," which is the least one can do to fight it.