nelson mandela, 1918-2013

"The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices – submit or fight.

That time has now come to South Africa.

We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means in our power in defence of our people, our future, and our freedom.

Firstly, we believed that as a result of Government policy, violence by the African people had become inevitable, and that unless responsible leadership was given to canalise and control the feelings of our people, there would be outbreaks of terrorism which would produce an intensity of bitterness and hostility between the various races of this country which is not produced even by war.

Secondly, we felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or take over the Government.

We chose to defy the law.

We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the Government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer with violence."

-- Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom


allan said...

Mandela: the man President Reagan (and many others) viewed as a terrorist and an enemy of the US.

Peter Beinart
"Don't Sanitize Nelson Mandela: He's Honored Now, But Was Hated Then"
If we turn the late South African leader into a nonthreatening moral icon, we'll forget a key lesson from his life: America isn't always a force for freedom.

laura k said...

Reagan, Thatcher, all the world's most powerful "leaders".

If the western world didn't sanitize Mandela and render him nonthreatening in memory, it would be the first time a revolutionary wasn't treated that way. My favourite shorthand for this is Malcolm X on a US postage stamp.

Thanks for the link.

Amy said...

Great quote. It may not be the one that we will hear most in these days after his death where the focus is on his peacefulness, but it is another important facet of his thinking.

laura k said...

"The focus is on his peacefulness," quite the understatement there. To me it looks like anything but peace, love, and forgiveness has been erased from public memory.

Amy said...

Right, that's why I found your choice of quotations so powerful.

Dharma Seeker said...

I was surprised to learn he held Brian Mulroney in such high esteem. Reading how Mulroney fought for Mandela's freedom makes me wonder if I've misjudged the former PM, to some extent anyway.

laura k said...

Okwonga: Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel.

allan said...

12 Mandela Quotes That Won't Be In the Corporate Media Obituaries

Here are 3:

"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."

"When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw."

"We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."

laura k said...

Thanks for those quotes. I was going to put the one re Palestine in comments myself.

allan said...

Guess when the USA took Mandela off its official terrorist watch list?


laura k said...

I looked it up before I saw your answer. Thanks for this. I'm going to ask the question on FB.