As the world gathers to watch their leaders pay tribute to Nelson Mandela today, it is interesting to observe that in certain media – along with the expectant tributes to his greatness and collective public grief – there is also a definite “nyah nyah told you so” aimed at western politicians and pundits from the 1970s-80s.
But the uncomfortable fact of the matter is that Maggie was correct in the above article in describing the ANC as a “typical terrorist organization” and, far from simply being a political prisoner, Mandela was an actual violence-advocating terrorist.
The ANC’s guerrilla force, known as uMkhonto we Sizwe—MK, or “Spear of the Nation”—was founded by Mandela and the Lithuanian-born communist Joe Slovo in 1961. Mandela’s was tried in 1963 along with 19 other defendants for 221 acts of sabotage. At the time of their arrest, the following was confiscated:
210,000 hand grenades
48,000 anti-personnel mines
1,500 time devices
144 tons of ammonium nitrate
21,6 tons of aluminium powder
1 ton of black powder
Or, as prosecutor Percy Yutar said at the trial, “production requirements for munitions sufficient to blow up a city the size of Johannesburg.”
Mandela confessed in his autobiography to having “personally signed off” while in prison further terrorist activity by MK, whose numerous bombings killed at least 63 and injured 483 men, women & children – black and white.
The South African government was prepared to free Mandela years before his actual release – on the condition he denounce the terrorist acts of MK. Britain would’ve taken a harder line against the Apartheid regime on the same condition. But Mandela chose not to betray his principles.
However, neither Mandela’s sanctioned killings nor later political machinations played a decisive role in the actual collapse of Apartheid. It ended when it was no longer politically necessary or desirable for the US & UK to support it.
As an elder statesman, Mandela transitioned South Africa out of Apartheid remarkably peacefully (regardless of current social consequences). And it is easy to sympathize with the anger and frustration needed to commit acts of terrorism against a brutal and injust government.
But bombing innocent people is rarely necessary and never ever cool. We need to stop giving peace prizes to people who do it.
RIP Nelson Mandela – May God have mercy on your soul