Wilkine Brutus on how the absurd comments against Mandela are lacking the full scope of context.
A typical “but he was a communist” diatribe spewed by a Facebook friend unfortunately occurred after I shared my Nelson Mandela tribute video.
“Also Mandela wasn’t much for peaceful change,” he spewed, and “The ultimate freedom fighter I know of is Jesus Christ, everyone else falls short,” he later would spout with a condescending tone that would trump the sound of a chalkboard screech.
And on this blackboard, I would demonstrate why his one-sided, all-defining opinions were quite troubling. Not only did his ill-informed stance blatantly ignore American history, it put world history, or rather revolutionary history, on the back burner: it’s almost an inhumane stance.
Below the tribute video is my Facebook response. I’ve also included a very enlightening, extremely informative quote from well-known conservative Newt Gingrich, which I found from a Ta-Nehisi Coates article. Ta-Nehisi said Newt Gingrich’s quote was, “…a message about Nelson Mandela that conservatives sorely need to hear.”
I’ve included the quote in the article below my Facebook response. But first…
Nelson Mandela: Race & Politics video: 5-minutes
Here is my Facebook response to the knee-jerk reactions of labeling Nelson Mandela a communist:
“And…what options did the South Africans have? Continue to be oppressed by the government? What lesser evil do you speak of in regards to the South Africans, whites and black?
As soon as Mandela was released, they held the first nonracial democratic elections in their South Africa history…on his ancestral soil.
When he became president, did South Africa become a communist state? No. Did he not call for nonviolence or revenge toward white South Africans? Yes. Did he not become one of the most important statesmen in the world WHILE he was alive? Yes.
When a democracy structurally fails its citizens, uprisings look for different methods to change the course of their people’s fate. In that means, in that time period, he was connected by both democratic and communist factions, not necessarily subscribing to those factions.
Did he have a militant period, and are those periods also questionable, absolutely.
However, you cannot have a debate and openly ignore the conditions the people were in and the external influences by Reagan and other western powers that refuse sanctions against the government at the time.
Reagan eventually called for the release of Mandela. Was Reagan a supporter of communism for his involvement to release Mandela from prison or did he see the bigger picture? South African president F.W. de Klerk called for the release of Mandela, was the South African presidency a communist state?
Margaret Thatcher herself gave Mandela diplomatic protection, in spite of her opposition for sanctions. For her it was a “sin against economic liberalism rather than a crime against humanity.”
You cannot debate an oppression without at least admitting the blatant hypocrisy of freedom while keeping a large segment, in their case the majority population, under shackles.
Until you at least acknowledge those FACTS and understand the different levels of communism, history in context, and the circumstances by which people were living in, please…don’t debate about this.
Colonialism isn’t for talking points. You need to put things into context.
Here is Newt Gingrich’s brilliant quote. You can find the rest of the Ta Nehisi Coates article here:
“Some of the people who are most opposed to oppression from Washington attack Mandela when he was opposed to oppression in his own country. After years of preaching non-violence, using the political system, making his case as a defendant in court, Mandela resorted to violence against a government that was ruthless and violent in its suppression of free speech.
As Americans we celebrate the farmers at Lexington and Concord who used force to oppose British tyranny. We praise George Washington for spending eight years in the field fighting the British Army’s dictatorial assault on our freedom.
Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote and the Continental Congress adopted that “all men are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Doesn’t this apply to Nelson Mandela and his people?
Some conservatives say, ah, but he was a communist.
Actually Mandela was raised in a Methodist school, was a devout Christian, turned to communism in desperation only after South Africa was taken over by an extraordinarily racist government determined to eliminate all rights for blacks.
“I would ask of his critics: where were some of these conservatives as allies against tyranny? Where were the masses of conservatives opposing Apartheid? In a desperate struggle against an overpowering government, you accept the allies you have just as Washington was grateful for a French monarchy helping him defeat the British.” -Newt Gingrich
We are humans first, freedom fighters second.
–Originally published on The Vanguard Element