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Nelson Mandela Dies At 95

BIO-MANDELA-FRANCE

Nelson Mandela, a South African political prisoner who became the symbol of the fight against that nation’s apartheid regime as he remained imprisoned under harsh conditions for decades who later became President of his nation and a symbol of national reconciliation that likely saved South Africa from the fate that has befallen many nations on that continent, has died after a long illness at the age of 95:

Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday. He was 95.

The South African president, Jacob Zuma, announced Mr. Mandela’s death.

Mr. Mandela had long declared he wanted a quiet exit, but the time he spent in a Pretoria hospital in recent months was a clamor of quarreling family, hungry news media, spotlight-seeking politicians and a national outpouring of affection and loss. The vigil even eclipsed a recent visit by President Obama, who paid homage to Mr. Mandela but decided not to intrude on the privacy of a dying man he considered his hero.

Mr. Mandela will be buried, according to his wishes, in the village of Qunu, where he grew up. The exhumed remains of three of his children were reinterred there in early July under a court order, resolving a family squabble that had played out in the news media.

Mr. Mandela’s quest for freedom took him from the court of tribal royalty to the liberation underground to a prison rock quarry to the presidential suite of Africa’s richest country. And then, when his first term of office was up, unlike so many of the successful revolutionaries he regarded as kindred spirits, he declined a second term and cheerfully handed over power to an elected successor, the country still gnawed by crime, poverty, corruption and disease but a democracy, respected in the world and remarkably at peace.

The question most often asked about Mr. Mandela was how, after whites had systematically humiliated his people, tortured and murdered many of his friends, and cast him into prison for 27 years, he could be so evidently free of spite.

The government he formed when he finally won the chance was an improbable fusion of races and beliefs, including many of his former oppressors. When he became president, he invited one of his white wardens to the inauguration. Mr. Mandela overcame a personal mistrust bordering on loathing to share both power and a Nobel Peace Prize with the white president who preceded him, F. W. de Klerk.

And as president, from 1994 to 1999, he devoted much energy to moderating the bitterness of his black electorate and to reassuring whites against their fears of vengeance.

The explanation for his absence of rancor, at least in part, is that Mr. Mandela was that rarity among revolutionaries and moral dissidents: a capable statesman, comfortable with compromise and impatient with the doctrinaire.

When the question was put to Mr. Mandela in an interview for this obituary in 2007 — after such barbarous torment, how do you keep hatred in check? — his answer was almost dismissive: Hating clouds the mind. It gets in the way of strategy. Leaders cannot afford to hate.

Except for a youthful flirtation with black nationalism, he seemed to have genuinely transcended the racial passions that tore at his country. Some who worked with him said this apparent magnanimity came easily to him because he always regarded himself as superior to his persecutors.

In his five years as president, Mr. Mandela, though still a sainted figure abroad, lost some luster at home as he strained to hold together a divided populace and to turn a fractious liberation movement into a credible government.

Some blacks — including Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Mr. Mandela’s former wife, who cultivated a following among the most disaffected blacks — complained that he had moved too slowly to narrow the vast gulf between the impoverished black majority and the more prosperous white minority. Some whites said he had failed to control crime, corruption and cronyism. Some blacks deserted government to make money; some whites emigrated, taking capital and knowledge with them.

Undoubtedly Mr. Mandela had become less attentive to the details of governing, turning over the daily responsibilities to the deputy who would succeed him in 1999, Thabo Mbeki.

But few among his countrymen doubted that without his patriarchal authority and political shrewdness South Africa might well have descended into civil war long before it reached its imperfect state of democracy.

After leaving the presidency, Mr. Mandela brought that moral stature to bear elsewhere around the continent, as a peace broker and champion of greater outside investment.

The fact of Nelson Mandela’s death, announced later this afternoon by the current President of South Africa, does not particularly come as a shock, of course. He had been quite ill for some time, as I made note of several times in posts here over the summer, and there had been previous rumors that he was in severely grave condition and indeed may not have regained consciousness during his last stint in the hospital during the mid-summer after which he had been returned to his family’s home. Nonetheless, his death is an occasion upon which to reflect upon the legacy that he left the world. The obituary from The New York Times, the opening paragraphs of which are quoted above, goes into great detail about the history of Mandela’s life, including the flirtation with militancy that led to his nearly three decade imprisonment on Robbin Island, and there’s no need to reproduce all of it in full here. I’ll simply recommend that you read it yourself.

However, I think the most important part of Mandela’s life isn’t the period in the 1960s and the events that led to his imprisonment, but the manner in which he conducted himself and led his nation when the 1990s dawned and he suddenly found himself a free man for the first time in nearly thirty years:

In February 1990, Mr. Mandela walked out of prison alongside his wife into a world that he knew little, and that knew him less. The African National Congress was now torn by factions — the prison veterans, those who had spent the years of struggle working legally in labor unions, and the exiles who had spent them in foreign capitals. The white government was also split, with some committed to negotiating an honest new order while others fomented factional violence in hopes of disabling the black political leadership.

Over the next four years Mr. Mandela would be embroiled in a laborious negotiation, not only with the white government, but also with his own fractious alliance.

But first he took time for a victory lap around the world, including an eight-city tour of the United States that began with a motorcade through delirious crowds in New York City.

 (…)

Two years after Mr. Mandela’s release from prison, black and white leaders met in a convention center on the outskirts of Johannesburg for negotiations that would lead, fitfully, to an end of white rule. While outside in the country extremists black and white used violence to tilt the outcome their way, Mr. Mandela and the white president, Mr. de Klerk, argued and maneuvered toward a peaceful transfer of power.

Mr. Mandela understood the mutual need in his relationship with Mr. de Klerk, a proud, dour, chain-smoking pragmatist, but he never much liked or fully trusted him. Two years into the negotiations, the men were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and their appearance together in Oslo in 1993 was marked by bouts of pique and recriminations. In a conversation a year after becoming president, with Mr. de Klerk as deputy president, Mr. Mandela said he still suspected Mr. de Klerk of complicity in the murders of countless blacks by police and army units, a rogue “third force” opposed to black rule.

Eventually, though, Mr. Mandela and his negotiating team, led by the former labor leader Cyril Ramaphosa, found their way to the grand bargain that assured free elections in exchange for promising opposition parties a share of power and a guarantee that whites would not be subjected to reprisals.

At times, the ensuing election campaign seemed in danger of collapsing into chaos. Strife between rival Zulu factions cost hundreds of lives, and white extremists set off bombs at campaign rallies and assassinated the second most popular black figure, Chris Hani.

But the fear was more than offset by the excitement in black townships. Mr. Mandela, wearing a hearing aid and orthopedic socks, soldiered on through 12-hour campaign days, igniting euphoric crowds packed into dusty soccer stadiums and perched on building tops to sing liberation songs and cheer.

During elections in April 1994, voters lined up in some places for miles. The African National Congress won 62 percent of the vote, earning 252 of the 400 seats in Parliament’s National Assembly and ensuring that Mr. Mandela, as party leader, would be named president when Parliament convened.

Mr. Mandela was sworn in as president on May 10, and he accepted office with a speech of shared patriotism, summoning South Africans’ communal exhilaration in their land and their common relief at being freed from the world’s disapproval.

“Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world,” he declared.

Then nine Mirage fighter jets of the South African Air Force, originally purchased to help keep someone like Mr. Mandela from taking power, roared overhead, and 50,000 roared back from the lawn spread below the government buildings in Pretoria, “Viva the South African Air Force, viva!”

Apartheid would not have lasted much longer regardless of whether or not Nelson Mandela had been involved in its demise or not. The social and economic pressures that were building against the regime were having a real economic impact and the sheer demographics of the population made it inevitable that the white minority would not be able to hold onto power forever without giving power to the majority of people in the nation. Indeed, if anything was keeping political developments in South Africa from moving faster it was the fact that the Cold War was still very much a reality in the late 1980s and the white regime in South Africa was very deft at playing games with the United States and the rest of the West and the threat that South Africa dominated by the African National Congress would soon become closely allied to the Soviet Union, potentially giving them access to warm water ports at the tip of the African continent. Once the Cold War began to crumble, though, that argument became far weaker and the excuses but forward by the white regime for not reforming their political system began to ring more and more hollow. By the time Mandela was released, the Cold War was essentially over and those arguments largely fell on deaf ears. All of those events likely would have occurred with or without Mandela.

The question that hung over South Africa as apartheid began to collapse, though, is what would become of the nation after apartheid was over. Would there be a peaceful transition of power from whites to blacks, with protections put in place for the white minority that might choose to remain in the country? Or, would the nation follow the path of far too many nations on the African continent and descend into a bloody civil war as various ethnic groups became determined to grab power for itself while simultaneously carrying out retribution for actual and perceived conflicts that had taken place during, or been suppressed by, the years of apartheid? Mandela’s great contribution to history was the steps he took to ensure that his nation took the first path and not the second, and with the partnership of F.W. de Klerk, the last President of the apartheid era, he was able to accomplish that for the most part. For their work in this regard. Mandela and de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 “”for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.” It was a well-deserved award for both men, and especially for Mandela who easily could have come out of prison and sided with the militants in the ANC who had spent the 1980s engaging in terror tactics against both white and black political opponents and generally become more and more radical in his absence while he had become more moderate in prison.

Not surprisingly, there are tributes pouring in from around the world, and from here in the United States, where former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush have all released statements. Then, earlier this evening, President Obama made this statement in the White House Press Briefing Room.

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Early reports indicate that the official mourning activities in South Africa will be extensive and stretch out for a number of days. The State Funeral is likely to be attended by a wide variety of present and former world leaders, including President Obama. It is likely to be one of the most widely followed such events in decades, and certainly the most heavily attended such event on the African continent in quite some time. Given the life that Mandela led, and the example that he set in the end, it will be well-deserved.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    So very few leaders are transcendent and inspirational – Mandela was both.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The loss I feel today is real, leavened by the knowledge of having lived in the same times of one such as he, witnessing the same battles being fought, both won and lost, and watching a man who sacrificed more than I can imagine accept peace with those who imprisoned him. One who knew in his heart that which I struggle to embrace still, that “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

    RIP Nelson Mandela. You have earned it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Well said, Doug. We don’t get to share the planet with many great men. I could number the ones I consider great on the fingers of one hand. This was a genuinely great man. With a word he could have ignited a civil war. Instead he chose to forgive 27 years of unjust imprisonment. An astonishing act of goodness that saved tens of thousands of lives.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  4. Peter says:

    In some dark corners of the blogosphere, most notably the now-defunct southafricasucks.com, there are claims that for some years the South African government has had a detailed strategic plan for getting rid of the country’s white population, a plan that has been held in abeyance out of respect for Nelson Mandela.
    Exactly what this plan would entail is an open question. Chances are it would involve confiscation of white-owned property and legislation banning whites from all paid employment, similar to what already has happened in Zimbabwe. That, of course, would force almost all whites to leave as economic refugees. A worse step would be forced expulsion, as happened to the Indians living in Uganda a few decades ago. Worst of all, there could even be a Final Solution, though the whites probably wouldn’t go down without quite a fight.
    My take is that this is typical overblown blogospherian rhetoric. But then again, given the above examples of Zimbabwe and Uganda, it’s hard to be sure. One thing we CAN be sure of is that no matter how brutal things get, the United States will not intervene.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 36

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Peter: Perhaps you missed entirely what this post is about.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  6. Tony W says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Perhaps he did, but Peter and SuperDestroyer perhaps can serve in a cautionary way to help us remember why Mandela’s example is so remarkable and important.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  7. steve s says:

    An astonishing act of goodness that saved tens of thousands of lives.

    or hundreds of thousands, even.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  8. steve s says:

    Peter’s not saying anything new. W F Buckley said releasing mandela was a mistake, he belonged in jail, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  9. To be more precise, WFB said that releasing Mandela may one day come to be seen as the equivalent of when the Germans sent Lenin back to Russia.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  10. An Interested Party says:

    To be more precise, WFB said that releasing Mandela may one day come to be seen as the equivalent of when the Germans sent Lenin back to Russia.

    Certainly that doesn’t cast Buckley’s words in any better light…of course, this is the same person who was behind a magazine that was against the Civil Rights Movement, so his comments about Mandela are hardly shocking…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  11. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    It strikes me that Buckley often was wrong. Very wrong. Butt-naked wrong.

    Yet he’s still regarded as a leading conservative intellectual. Go figure.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  12. Ron Beasley says:

    Reagan vetoed a bipartisan bill to impose sanctions on South Africa. It was overridden by congress including most of the members of his own party. Mandela was not removed from the US terrorist watch list until 2008.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  13. An Interested Party says:

    Wow…checking out the comments on a post about Mandela over at the National Review’s blog reveals that Buckley’s spirit lives on…quite nauseating…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  14. jukeboxgrad says:

    checking out the comments

    I was just noticing the same thing. Like this one (link):

    The only good Communist is a dead Communist. Today Mandela became a good Communist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  15. James Pearce says:

    but the manner in which he conducted himself and led his nation when the 1990s dawned

    That’s no joke. I wish I had even a 10th of the character Mandela had.

    How can you spend 27 years in prison and come out with no bitterness?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  16. Ron Beasley says:

    @An Interested Party: Mandela was a Marxist in his youth but there was certainly no evidence of that after he was released from prison and came to power.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. Stonetools says:

    Mandela was one of the great ones, right up there with Gandhi and MLK. Sad to see him go, but I guess it was time. At least he died peacefully, not like Gandhi or MLK.
    Peter’s comment now just makes it clear that white supremacist thinking is still alive and well in our supposedly “post racial” era. Maybe we need to send a screen shot to Chief Justice Roberts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  18. dazedandconfused says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Buckley worked hard to get the lunatics away from the levers of power in the GOP. Unfortunately, he was no Mandela.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  19. SC_Birdflyte says:

    I once had a friend remark to me that Mandela had engaged in violence against those who opposed him. He didn’t like it when I asked, “As contrasted to George Washington and Robert E. Lee?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  20. Rob in CT says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    Heh, I’ll have to remember that one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Rafer Janders says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    Beyond not liking it, I’m curious as to what his response was?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. al-Ameda says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Wow…checking out the comments on a post about Mandela over at the National Review’s blog reveals that Buckley’s spirit lives on…quite nauseating…

    I followed the link to NR-Online and read the comments … Not much shocks me any more, I’d say it was predictably depressing.

    Mandela! There is that one short video clip, with Mandela standing in a long line with probably hundreds of his fellow countrymen, waiting for the opportunity to cast his vote. There is that moment when he arrives at the box, he holds up his ballot, smiles and places it in the box. That moment, that instant, sent chills down my spine and still does.

    Others here have said it – he could have ignited a bloody civil war and revolution with a single word – he did not. He took a chance on freedom, pride and dignity. I cannot think of a many more important leader in my lifetime.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  23. Mr. Replica says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    My guess would be that he considered Washington and Lee different. As he agreed with why they were doing/did it.

    Just a shot in the dark.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. stonetools says:

    Ted Cruz for once tries to say the right thing, but his supporters recoil:

    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s praise for the late Nelson Mandela did not go over well with some of his supporters, with many expressing outrage that the Republican lawmaker would commend the South African leader.
    Cruz issued a solemn statement to mark Mandela’s passing on Thursday, but his diehard fans responded with vitriol, posting slurs describing the South African leader as a “terrorist, communist, scumbag and murderer,” in comments on Cruz’s Facebook page.

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ted-cruz-praise-nelson-mandela-criticized-article-1.1539686#ixzz2miHDiFWO

    I’m sure that those supporters’ opposition to Obama has NOTHING to do with race.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  25. Woody says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Tough to prove a negative, but the era of apartheid’s end had the potential for unspeakable violence and suffering. Though de Klerk does deserve praise, only a man of historically great stature could have prevented disaster: Nelson Mandela.

    I thought this was the best write-up on the Web, Mr Mataconis – spot on and without hagiography. Thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  26. Pinky says:

    the most important leader to come out of Africa in the 20th Century

    I’d think Nasser, Sadat, Selassie, and even de Klerk have decent claims to that title. There have also been the Idi Amins who have probably, sadly, had more of an impact on Africa’s recent history. If we’re talking about the most important leader of all time in South Africa, it’s got to be Cecil Rhodes, and all-time all-Africa would be Moses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  27. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Rafer Janders: It silenced him, at least momentarily. However, I was just over on Facebook and a friend of a friend published some scurrilous language about Mandela and likened him to Castro and Mao. I think Mark Twain once said, “A lie will travel halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  28. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Mr. Replica: My guess is that white men did it. When “White is right” is the background music in someones psyche– you can understand how people like this can justify their double standards.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  29. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    If we’re talking about the most important leader of all time in South Africa, it’s got to be Cecil Rhodes,

    Mandela is easily the most important leader in South Africa’s history. He worked tirelessly to overthrow the system of exploitation that people like Rhodes established. Rhodes, like many others, opened a mining company whose great profitability was based on the exploitation of native South African people.

    As Rhodes himself said:

    We must find new lands from which we can easily obtain raw materials and at the same time exploit the cheap slave labor that is available from the natives of the colonies. The colonies would also provide a dumping ground for the surplus goods produced in our factories.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  30. Pinky says:

    @al-Ameda: I didn’t say that Rhodes was the most honorable. He was pretty much a monster. In a lot of parts of the world, at different times in history, the lousiest people have the biggest impact.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. mattbernius says:

    @Pinky:
    Fair point. Much the same thinking that lead to Hitler being Time’s Man of the Year.

    Without Rhodes there might not have been a Mandela. Of course an alternative view is that, given the age of Colonialism (and the pattern seen throughout Africa), its likely you could have slotted in another well positioned European and ended up with much the same result.

    As Doug and others have indicated, part of the importance of Mandela is that, ultimately, he emerged as a key leader in a moment where South Africa could have gone in a very different direction (see other charismatic African leaders who overthrew colonial powers only to replace one despotic regime with another). The fact that Mandela was able to enact the framework for a lasting peace and reconciliation is something that makes him rather unique on that continent.

    Its also something that would not have been possible without his complex past.

    Which gets to the broader question — one that will not be resolved for years — as to whether Mandela’s ultimate legacy is helping create the model for a stable African democracy for other neighboring nations to aspire to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  32. Pinky says:

    The wealth Rhodes amassed, the foment he caused, the monopoly he created – he was unique. I have no guess as to what the history of South Africa would have been like without him. As to Mandela’s legacy, we can say that if South Africa does become the model democracy we’d like to see, he should get a lot of credit for it.

    I always remember a cartoon I saw. There’s a revolutionary sticking a sword through the king. He’s turning to his fellow revolutionary, smiling, and saying, “on the other hand, what if we don’t liberate the people?” That wasn’t Mandela.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: which is still a breathtaking piece of shit from a – well, breathtaking piece of shit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  34. dazedandconfused says:

    I don’t think it was a mindless fear of communism that prompted Reagan to act the way he did, but instead a judgement call that a sudden change would result in a blood-bath. Had all the makings, and “it” goes that way most of the time. Mandela was certainly the “indispensable man” in preventing that.

    His character and strength enabled a near-miracle. It’s not real fair to judge Reagan and his advisors with hindsight on that one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  35. Pinky says:

    @dazedandconfused: Fear of African communism wasn’t mindless. “It” (I like that) happened elsewhere.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. An Interested Party says:

    Perhaps stuff like this is what has so many conservatives trashing Mandela…of course, what do they expect a leader of an extremely oppressed group (particularly economic oppression) to do…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. anjin-san says:

    Fear of African communism wasn’t mindless. “It” (I like that) happened elsewhere.

    It did happen everywhere! The African communists totally took over in San Anselmo when Mandella was released. It was rough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. anjin-san says:

    A good day in Oakland

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. george says:

    @stonetools:

    Ted Cruz for once tries to say the right thing, but his supporters recoil:

    Though judging by the number of likes, it seems more of his supporters agree with Cruz than disagree. That’s not a bad sign.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san: Yeah, that’s funny. Read up about southern Africa.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. al-Ameda says:

    @anjin-san:

    It did happen everywhere! The African communists totally took over in San Anselmo when Mandella was released. It was rough.

    For conservatives, San Anselmo has always been a hard-scrabble socialist wasteland. In fact, the entire Ross Valley “metroplex” is an example of how hard life can be when you leave the conservative reservation – great weather, extremely high per capita income for individuals and households, schools K-12 with some of the highest performance in the state, over 60% of the adult population has at least a Bachelors Degree, and worse yet, in both 2008 and 2012 residents voted over 75% Democratic in the presidential elections. In fact, I now expect a future President Santorum to order Drone attacks on the Spirit Rock Meditation Center out past Fairfax.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    I am pretty well versed in South African history. Did the communists engage in anywhere near as much violence as our European friends did? We are outside of the FoxVerse here, you can’t just say “Communist” and declare you have played a winning hand.

    At any rate, I just wanted to remind you that words mean things. If you don’t want people to make fun of your comments, think them through more carefully before posting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  43. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    Tell me something. Considering the level of oppression and violence directed at black folks in South Africa (who, after all, were in their own land) by European colonists and their descendants, do you feel that blacks were not justified in turning to violence to defend/liberate themselves?

    Or is resisting colonial oppression only nobel when it’s the white folks doing it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  44. Pinky says:

    Yes, words do mean things. I said “southern”, not “South”. I was thinking about Angola and Mozambique. Slaughter, millions of dead and dislocated, not too far away from South Africa. Tribal conflicts, but also communists.

    Communism was and is terrible. It’s not a magic word, but it is something that did a lot of damage, and still does. Communism was terrible when white people did it, too, so this isn’t about race. It’s terrible in Cuba and South America, ruining the lives of Latin Americans, and terrrible in China and North Korea, ruining the lives of Asians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. Pinky says:

    You know, I shouldn’t let stuff like this get to me, but it just occurred to me that you think:

    - I’m listening to Fox News,
    - They’re telling me that Mandela was a communist, and
    - I believe them because I’m a racist.

    And your proof for #3 is that I’m conservative. Unbelievable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    Yes, communists have inflicted much misery in the world. You are outraged. Yet the slaughter and oppression brought down in Africa by white Europeans seems to be of no interest to you.

    And yes, Mandela was a communist once. Menachem Begin was a terrorist once, wanted dead or alive by our closest ally for the murder of British soldiers – the facts of this are not in dispute. Were you offended when Reagan honored him at the White House? When Congress sent millions of US taxpayer dollars to his government?

    - I’m listening to Fox News,
    - They’re telling me that Mandela was a communist, and
    - I believe them because I’m a racist.

    And your proof for #3 is that I’m conservative. Unbelievable.

    Are you really as much of a simpleton as this makes you sound?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  47. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san:

    Are you really as much of a simpleton as this makes you sound?

    I guess so. I mean, that’s what you’re saying, isn’t it? That I’m a Fox News watcher, and I think that Mandela was a communist, and I’m a racist, right? I can’t figure out how you got there, but that’s what you’re saying, isn’t it? I’ve looked over this thread again, and I can’t tell if you’re trolling me or something, but I really have no idea how you got to those last few comments.

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  48. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    I mean, that’s what you’re saying, isn’t it? That I’m a Fox News watcher, and I think that Mandela was a communist, and I’m a racist, right?

    No.

    But keep playing that victim fiddle. It seems to play the only note conservatives know.

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  49. Pinky says:

    I’m not playing the victim. Frankly, I wouldn’t care at this point if you were saying this stuff about anyone else; I’m just trying to comprehend it.

    We are outside of the FoxVerse here, you can’t just say “Communist” and declare you have played a winning hand.

    Weren’t you calling me, or implying that I am, a Fox News viewer? And that I was tossing around accusation of communism? I mean, there aren’t many other ways to read that.

    Considering the level of oppression and violence directed at black folks in South Africa (who, after all, were in their own land) by European colonists and their descendants, do you feel that blacks were not justified in turning to violence to defend/liberate themselves?

    Or is resisting colonial oppression only nobel when it’s the white folks doing it?

    Aren’t you calling me a racist?

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  50. anjin-san says:

    Let me put it to you this way Pinky. Millions of conservatives seem to agree with Newt Gingrich that Obama has “an anti-colonial, Kenyan world-view” – and they agree that that is a bad thing. It makes Obama very suspect.

    They seem to miss the irony.

    The founding fathers of our nation held “anti-colonialist” views. They were willing to kill to pursue that vision. And Americans universally, and correctly hail them as heroes, as great men.

    Yet if a black man opposes European colonialism in Africa, why apparently he is a bad egg.

    You seem to be very focused on the admittedly nasty aspects of African communism without giving any thought as to what caused their rise in the first place. There were no communists in Africa before white people started stealing the land from the people who lived there, slaughtering them, and oppressing them.

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  51. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    Weren’t you calling me, or implying that I am, a Fox News viewer?

    Nope. Just saying that here at OTB we hold somewhat higher standards for presenting an argument than are typical on the right. Fox is simply a convieneint benchmark.

    Considering the level of oppression and violence directed at black folks in South Africa (who, after all, were in their own land) by European colonists and their descendants, do you feel that blacks were not justified in turning to violence to defend/liberate themselves?

    Or is resisting colonial oppression only nobel when it’s the white folks doing it?

    Aren’t you calling me a racist?

    No, I was asking you a question. One you failed to answer, I note.

    If I want to call you a racist, I will come right out and say it.

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  52. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san:

    Nope. Just saying that here at OTB we hold somewhat higher standards for presenting an argument than are typical on the right. Fox is simply a convieneint benchmark.

    That doesn’t make any sense. But at least I understand where you were coming from now.

    No, I was asking you a question. One you failed to answer, I note.

    You were asking a “did you stop beating your wife” question, I thought, and one that was on a tangent. And at that point, I didn’t really understand what you were talking about because you had (I think) confused southern Africa and South Africa. As for the question, obviously, as individuals were being oppressed, I sympathize with their desire to be free from oppression, and to the extent that they espoused vile politics to be free from their oppression, I blame them for the horrors that came afterwards.

    If I want to call you a racist, I will come right out and say it.

    I’m not sure you would. Or, rather, I think you’d rather imply it with a cheap shot than make an actual accusation.

    I don’t know why the preview button isn’t working tonight. Sorry for any typos or formatting lapses.

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  53. anjin-san says:

    I blame them for the horrors that came afterwards.

    And you still don’t seem to have much of a problem with the horrors that came before. Well, now that we have covered scary evvvvillll black folks, maybe tomorrow we can talk about scary evvvvillll Muslims.

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  54. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san:

    And you still don’t seem to have much of a problem with the horrors that came before.

    You base that on…? I have not criticized Mandela at all on this thread, iirc. I’ve said that I sympathize with those who were oppressed. I guess I could have made jokes about them, the way you made about communists, but I don’t see how that would have shown my support. So tell me, why would a person assume that I think black folks are scary? (Incidentally, if you think you didn’t just call me a racist, you’re lying to yourself.)

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  55. anjin-san says:

    I guess I could have made jokes about them, the way you made about communists

    Actually, I was making a joke about you.

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  56. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san: See, that I’m ok with.

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