Was Mandela a cross between Jesus and Ghandi? Nope.
ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) – I was walking back from the grocery store on a Thursday evening in April, 1968 when a man ran out on his front porch in my home town yelling, “they killed the n-word. They killed the n-word.” He sounded pretty happy about it. The n-word, was Martin Luther King. In the obits the next few days you would have thought Dr. King was a candidate for sainthood. He was actually a fierce critic of racism, the Vietnam War, capitalism and the United States. I suspect most white people in the country at that time agreed less with the network obituaries and more with the guy on his front porch.
Which brings us to Nelson Mandela. From the obits you would suspect Mandela was a cross between Jesus and Ghandi. Mandela actually believed in armed resistance to the white minority in South Africa. The US government didn’t remove him from it’s terrorist watch list until 2008. The United States supported the apartheid white regime in South Africa for decades because South Africa’s white rulers were anti-communist. Among Mandela’s quotes, “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings.”
He also said, “Long live the Cuban revolution. Long live comrade Fidel Castro.” That was because Castro and Cuba consistently supported Mandela’s struggle for black majority rule in South Africa. Mandela abandoned non-violence because it wasn’t working. So he supported what the white regime called, “Terror Attacks.” But, he also had a keen eye for keeping his enemies very close. He once said, “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. He then becomes your partner.”
So, when I hear people like Rick Santorum saying Mandela’s struggle against apartheid was like the GOP struggle against Obamacare, I get nauseous. Mandela was a revolutionary, just the kind of person Santorum and his supporters hate. And unlike Santorum, who talks a lot about Christianity, Mandela actually practiced it. He didn’t seek revenge on his enemies once he won. He forgave them. So, if we remember Mandela, lets’ remember all of him, both his forgivenmess and his ferocity.
I’m Charles Jaco and that’s Jacology.