Nelson Mandela: A Terrorist? - Inconvenient Truths from a Christian Scholar
By Bill Muehlenberg, Culture Watch: Bill Muehlenberg's commentary On December 8, 2013
It was not my intention to say anything about this subject, but with so much hagiography and historical revisionism taking place already, even by Christians, it seems a piece to help bring a bit of balance here might be in order. The impression we are getting from many is this: not only was Nelson Mandela messianic in nature, but he is now in the bosom of heaven.
It seems we have warrant for neither conviction however. I do not claim to be an authority on the man, but whether he was a genuine Christian who repented of his sins and was reconciled to God through Christ is not clear. I hope he was, and those who have proof of this are welcome to bring it forward.
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If he were such a great Christian, plenty of Christians suffered under him, as South African missionary Dr Peter Hammond has said. As one article states, “Mandela was deeply involved in terrorist activity and is responsible for promoting wickedness in the land. ‘I wouldn’t generally want to celebrate somebody who made his position in life by blowing people up,’ he stated on a recent broadcast….
“Hammond outlined that Mandela was the head of the military wing of the African National Committee (ANC), which Hammond also referred to as ‘the abortion, necklacing and corruption party.’ He said that 1,000 Africans were killed by necklacing in the country through the ANC, an act where terrorists would ‘put an automobile tire over someone, pour petrol over them [and] set them alight.’
“Hammond also described numerous other acts of violence that he alleges were committed by the ANC under the order or oversight of Mandela. ‘Missionaries and their kids [were] murdered, bayonetted on the fields—whole families killed by landmines planted in the roads,’ he said. The South African missionary stated that Mandela’s wife Winnie also participated in violent acts. ‘Winnie Mandela actually was found guilty in court of the murder of a 12-year-old boy,’ he explained. ‘And it was upheld on appeal. She was sentenced to five years in prison, [but] she hasn’t served a day’.”
I hope that he was in fact a true believer. But it is just not clear it seems. However I wish here to mainly look at some more political and historical issues. The truth is, to say he was a great man is misleading in many respects. Sure, he was charming and gracious, and his moves for national reconciliation were to be applauded.
No one is denying that. But that is not all there is to the man. Simply put, he also was a Marxist and a terrorist who was imprisoned after being found guilty of committing 156 acts of violence and terrorism. Consider some more detail here.
Mandela was imprisoned for involvement in these terrorist attacks. The guerrilla force, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK, or ‘Spear of the Nation’), the terrorist wing of the ANC and South African Communist Party, was founded in 1961 by him and his advisor, the Lithuanian-born communist Joe Slovo, who was secretary general of the South African Communist Party in 1986.
Slovo planned many of the ANC terrorist attacks. In 1962, Mandela was arrested along with 19 others, many of whom were communists, in a police raid on ANC headquarters at a farm in Rivonia, a Johannesburg suburb. In the Rivonia Trial of 1963-1964 the defendants were ‘tried for 221 acts of sabotage designed to overthrow the government and conspiring to aid foreign military units’.
Does anyone remember the Pretoria Church Street bombing? As one write up puts it: “The Church Street attack on May 20, 1983 killed 19 and injured more than 200 people when a car with 40kg of explosives was detonated outside the SAAF headquarters. Two MK cadres, who were in the car at the time, were also killed because the bomb exploded two minutes early.
“A huge pall of smoke rose hundreds of feet into the air as debris and bodies were strewn around the scene of the explosion. It exploded at the height of the city’s rush-hour as hundreds of people were leaving work for the weekend. Glass and metal were catapulted into the air as shop-fronts and windows were blown out. Many passers-by had limbs amputated by the flying debris. Others bled to death.
“In his book Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela wrote that as a leading member of the ANC’s executive committee, he had ‘personally signed off’ in approving these acts of terrorism. This is the horror which Mandela had ‘signed off’ for while he was in prison – convicted for other acts of terrorism after the Rivonia trial. The late SA president PW Botha told Mandela in 1985 that he could be a free man as long as he did just one thing: ‘publicly renounce violence’. Mandela refused.”
And as Lee Jenkins also notes, “Tellingly, not only did Mandela refuse to renounce violence, Amnesty refused to take his case stating ‘[the] movement recorded that it could not give the name of “Prisoner of Conscience” to anyone associated with violence, even though as in “conventional warfare” a degree of restraint may be exercised’.”
He continues, “Despite being synonymous with freedom and democracy, Mandela was never afraid to glad hand the thugs and tyrants of the international arena. General Sani Abacha seized power in Nigeria in a military coup in November 1993. From the start of his presidency, in May 1994, Nelson Mandela refrained from publicly condemning Abacha’s actions. Up until the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in November 1995 the ANC government vigorously opposed the imposition of sanctions against Nigeria…
“Two of the ANC’s biggest donors, in the 1990s, were Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and President Suharto of Indonesia. Not only did Mandela refrain from criticising their lamentable human rights records but he interceded diplomatically on their behalf, and awarded them South Africa’s highest honour. Suharto was awarded a state visit, a 21-gun salute, and The Order of Good Hope (gold class).”
He also lists some of the other attacks ‘signed off’ by Mandela:
-Amanzimtoti Shopping complex KZN, 23 December 1985
-Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court, 17 March 1988
-Durban Pick ‘n Pay shopping complex, 1 September 1986
-Pretoria Sterland movie complex 16 April 1988 – limpet mine killed ANC terrorist M O Maponya instead
-Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court, 20 May 1987
-Roodepoort Standard Bank 3 June, 1988
Surprisingly both Christians and conservatives have been getting involved in the hagiographies and the rewriting of history – even at this early stage after his passing. But as Peter Hammond reminds us, there is no reason to canonise the man, since Mandela was hardly a conservative or Christian icon: “There’s a lot of Christians out there who idolize Nelson Mandela because they’ve been given false, misleading and incomplete information,” he said. “He has pushed for the legalization of abortion, pornography [and] homosexual relationships. … [He was] trying to legalize prostitution. He’s a radical liberal.”
While we again can praise his moves for reconciliation and his willingness to forgive and not remain embittered, as I say, we have far too many other areas that we must also assess, both in the man and in his fruit. David Horowitz offers a somewhat balanced account by way of summary:
“Mandela began as a terrorist and never turned his back on monsters like Arafat and Castro, whom he considered brothers in arms. When he was released from prison by deKlerk, he showed unexpected statesmanship, counseling reconciliation rather than revenge, no small achievement in a country in which the ‘liberation’ movement (led by Mandela’s wife and party) placed oil filled inner tubes around the necks of former comrades and set them on fire.
“But if a leader should be judged by his works, the country Mandela left behind is an indictment of his political career, not an achievement worthy of praise – let alone the unhinged adoration he is currently receiving across the political spectrum. South Africa today is the murder capital of the world, a nation where a woman is raped every 30 seconds, often by AIDs carriers who go unpunished, and where whites are anything but the citizens of a democratic country, which honors the principles of equality and freedom. Liberated South Africa is one of those epic messes the left created and promptly forgot about.”
Much more can be said about the man and his legacy. And as I said, it was not my intention to even weigh into all this – at least not so early, but when I saw the flood of hero-worship, iconography, hagiography, and historical revisionism, I felt moved to at least offer a few inconvenient truths to help set the record straight.
Mandela was a great man in some respects, but he was also an evil man in some respects. Whether he died a genuine Christian or not seems a moot point. But given how our secular left MSM and elites have a tendency to worship and turn into messiahs people like this, it is vital that a few more facts are thrown into the overall assessment.
And BTW, please do not denounce me and what I have written by foolishly claiming I am somehow just an apartheid proponent. Jenkins answered this best this way: “The apartheid regime was a crime against humanity; as illogical as it was cruel. It is tempting, therefore, to simplify the subject by declaring that all who opposed it were wholly and unswervingly good. It’s important to remember, however, that Mandela has been the first to hold his hands up to his shortcomings and mistakes. In books and speeches, he goes to great length to admit his errors. The real tragedy is that too many in the West can’t bring themselves to see what the great man himself has said all along; that he’s just as flawed as the rest of us, and should not be put on a pedestal.”
And that basically is all I have been trying to do here.
Finally, I strongly urge all of you to watch these two very important videos which only total 11 minutes all up:
Movie On Nelson Mandela and World Cup: Invictus - Official Trailer [HD]
Obama Responds to Nelson Mandela's Death (Full Speech)
What did Nelson Mandela Do after Withdrawing from His Public Life? (video)
Nelson Mandela's Life Story: How He Got His Christian Name 'Nelson'
Nelson Mandela Movie Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom Official Trailer (2013) [HD]