Yes, it was entirely wrong for South Africa to deny the vote and human rights on grounds of race.
No argument there.
But that does not mean we have to worship Nelson Mandela and the ANC.
Those who struggled against apartheid
in South Africa turned out to be democrats.
as the left has so often done,
they supported foreign totalitarians
- notably in this case Cuba, Libya, Zimbabwe and the Palestinians.
I criticise the violent revolutionaries Mandela and the ANC here.
But they are not all bad.
Like the equally violent Irish revolutionaries of 1916-23, they
basically believed in democracy.
They now run a real democracy in South Africa - with elections and freedom of opposition.
South Africa is in fact one of the few
Mandela and the ANC are to be commended for this.
But we should not canonise Mandela,
or ignore his dictator-friendly foreign policy,
or forget the ANC's darker side (such as bombings).
He is a very flawed figure.
Whenever I am told I must worship someone
Jesus, Moses, Muhammed, Gandhi, Mandela,
- my hackles rise.
Too often these people turn out to have feet of clay,
have done some terrible things,
appalling opinions on some issues.
This is so true with Nelson
Yes, he was a great man in many ways.
He was a rare revolutionary who actually wanted to set up a democracy.
He was genuinely oppressed, yet had no desire to oppress others when he emerged.
He spent decades in jail, yet came out with forgiveness
and the desire to set up a liberal democracy.
Mandela is the best
we have yet seen, I would agree.
If he wasn't worshipped so much by everyone, I would probably like him more.
But the hero worship makes me want to write about the bad things about Mandela.
And there are many.
Everyone has flaws.
And Mandela certainly does.
In power, the ANC have not set up a communist state,
but there is not much economic freedom under their rule.
As at 2013,
South Africa is ranked in economic freedom
by the Heritage Foundation
(and close to "Mostly Unfree").
Mandela was a Communist Party leader:
South African Communist Party statement on Mandela's death, Dec 2013:
"At his arrest in August 1962, Nelson Mandela was not only a member of the then underground South African Communist Party, but was also a member of our Party's Central Committee.
After his release from prison in 1990, [Mandela] became a great and close friend of the communists till his last days."
ANC statement, Dec 2013, says Mandela
"was also a member of the South African Communist Party, where he served in the Central Committee."
shows that Mandela lied about being a Communist Party leader for decades.
He probably lied about many other things.
Mandela wanted his own people (black South Africans) to be free.
It is less clear that he supported freedom for anyone else
- even other Africans.
He had a long record of supporting many tyrants and dictators.
At different times,
Mandela praised and defended
Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Che, Gaddafi, Mugabe, Arafat and even Islamic Iran.
Nelson Mandela's support for communism,
and his praise for Cuba and Libya.
He said about Castro's Cuba:
"There's one thing where that country stands out head and shoulders above the rest. That is in its love for human rights and liberty."
"We consider ourselves comrades in arms.
Your readiness to provide us with the facilities of forming an army of liberation
indicated your commitment to the fight for peace and human rights in the world."
Mandela in July 1991 on the communist butcher Che Guevara:
"We also honor the great Che Guevara, whose revolutionary exploits, including on our own continent, were too powerful for any prison censors to hide from us. The life of Che is an inspiration to all human beings who cherish freedom. We will always honor his memory."
Mandela visited Iran and
"laid a wreath at the
tomb of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini."
In a 1990 visit
declined to condemn Suharto's occupation of East Timor:
"I don't think it's very good to interfere in
internal affairs, especially since I have been so warmly
received in Indonesia both by the government and the
Mandela awarded Suharto South Africa's highest honour in 1997.
Mandela on the terrorist butcher Arafat, Nov 2004:
"Yasser Arafat was one of the outstanding freedom fighters of this generation, one who gave his entire life to the cause of the Palestinian people.
We honour his memory today."
Nelson Mandela, 25 June 2008, finally comes out with some late, wet and watery criticism of Mugabe.
"Nearer to home we had seen ... and the tragic failure of leadership in our neighbouring Zimbabwe."
That's all he has to say - several years too late - about the brutal dictator that has destroyed Zimbabwe
and starved its people.
A tragic failure of leadership is right.
On Mandela's lack of interest in how other violent revolutions had worked out:
"Soon after turning to violence, Mandela covertly tours post-colonial Africa, looking for funding.
As far as I can tell, he fails to ask his hosts a single morally serious question. Any of the following would qualify: "So, how did independence turn out? What was the body count? Have the people really been 'liberated'? Or have the tyrants merely changed nationality?""
Caplan sums it up:
"Needless to say, Mandela's opponents were awful, too. But no one's nominating them for sainthood. The harsh reality is that Mandela was a politician. Like virtually all politicians, he measures up poorly against the standards of common decency. Seek your heroes elsewhere."
Mandela with the dictator Castro,
who stamped out Cuban human rights for decades.
It seems that Mandela, like many other flawed figures, was ultimately not against
the oppression of all human beings.
He was only against the oppression of his people.
Mandela with the dictator Gaddafi,
who stamped out Libyan human rights for decades.
Mandela set up a democracy in South Africa, and for that he should be commended.
But did he ever call for democracy and human rights for Cuba and Libya?
If so, tell me here.
Iran put 13 Jews on trial for "spying"
Incredibly, Mandela defended Iran.
The above is from
The Daily Telegraph,
18 May 2000, reported that:
"Mandela ... said foreigners should not interfere in the espionage trial ...
He said then: "From all observations, it would seem that the trial is fair and just." It was, he added, a purely domestic matter."
Mandela picks Iraq over U.S.,
R.W. Johnson, National Post, October 11, 2002
- on ANC links to Libya, Saudi Arabia, Suharto's Indonesia
and Saddam's Iraq.
"Mandela's case is more complex. He shares the general Third World nervousness
at the new doctrine of "regime change"
- for if the United States is to start deposing Third World dictators on general principle,
many of Mandela's friends and donors would be at risk"
No democratic country should act without consulting
a bunch of thugs, murderers, Islamic clerics, anti-semites, racists,
communist tyrants and genocidal dictators.
"No country, however powerful it may be, is entitled to act outside the UN.
When UN secretaries-general were white we never had the question of any country ignoring the United Nations,
but now that we have got black secretaries-general like Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Kofi Annan
certain countries that believe in white supremacy are ignoring the UN for racist reasons."
Mandela's speech after the liberation of Iraq, June 2003
- "the actions that have been taken against Iraq are completely inexcusable".
Like all UN enthusiasts, he never offers any defence of
the UN, any reason why we should support it, given its corrupt nature.
He simply asserts that we should.
The Global Elders -
Mandela's self-appointed panel of "global elders" who we are all meant to "respect", announced 2007.
2 July 1990,
exposes Mandela's disgusting politics.
He has "no time" to be looking into human rights in Cuba and Libya.
I also love the way only "conservatives" could be disturbed by his support for Gaddafi and Castro,
and only "Jews" could be disturbed by his support for Arafat.
Mandela was granted the
Freedom of Dublin
Video (click to play) of Mandela on the 1990 Ted Koppel show described by Newsweek
(in front of an annoying crowd of fanatic Mandela worshippers
who applaud everything Mandela says)
take him to task
for his support
for Arafat, the PLO,
Mandela's response is pathetic.
He proudly defends his support for the tyrants who have helped him in his struggle.
He clearly doesn't give a toss for human rights under their rule.
"We have no time to be looking into the internal affairs of other countries".
And this from a man who claimed the whole world should look into the internal affairs of South Africa!
Siegman condemns Mandela's "amorality".
This shows the document to be (sometimes closely, sometimes loosely) based on
the Stalinist text
How to Be a Good Communist (1939)
by Chinese revolutionary (later Mao's head of state)
some additions on South Africa.
Mandela seems to be paraphrasing Liu Shaoqi
and adding some of his own material.
From the document:
"A Communist is a member of the Communist Party who understands and accepts the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism as explained by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin
Under a Communist Party Government South Africa will become a land of milk and honey.
The victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R., in the Peoples Republic of China, in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Rumania, where the living conditions of the people were in many respects similar and even worse than ours, proves that we too can achieve this important goal.
The cause of Communism is the greatest cause in the history of mankind".
From the document
hand-written by Mandela,
presented at the trial above.
In power in the 1990s, Mandela was not a communist. He was a democrat.
But like so many leftists,
he praised and supported communists.
I was looking for a place to post this ludicrous tweet by
Charles Johnson, 6 Dec 2013.
This is obviously the place.
Mandela was on the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party in 1962
because of ...
"20th century's most extraordinary man".
The centre-left The Economist, 5 Dec 2013, lists their 6 greatest statesmen of the 20th century:
Mohandas Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle, Jack Kennedy and Nelson Mandela.
No Reagan. No Thatcher.
Actually surprising no Gorbachev.
And what was JFK's claim to greatness again?
He declined to attend Thatcher's funeral earlier in 2013.
No.1 global ally of USA, helped it win Cold War: No US President at your funeral.
Life-long critic of USA and pal of its enemies: US President at your funeral.
President Michael D. Higgins is to attend Mandela's funeral.
Neither President nor Taoiseach attended Thatcher's funeral.
David Horowitz, 6 Dec 2013,
gives a more balanced view:
"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."
R.W. Johnson, 10 Dec 2013, explains the over-the-top Mandela worship
in terms of western psychology:
"there has, for a long time now, been an enormous Western longing to find and celebrate a Third World leader and saint. Lenin, Stalin and Mao enjoyed such acclaim at various stages, but so did Nkrumah, Ho Chi Minh, Amilcar Cabral, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara,
Hugo Chavez and various others. In every case, they were found to have feet of clay or worse. In the modern era, two men have enjoyed uncritical acclaim: Gandhi and Mandela. Yet Gandhi was a failed lawyer who ... denounced railways, doctors, modern medicine, hospitals and most other elements of modern life.
He also regarded South African blacks as mere savages
and defended the Indian caste system.
Similarly, Nelson Mandela had his full share of failings.
But in the case of Gandhi and Mandela, none of that seems to matter.
This canonization seems to depend on a bottomless well of guilt about slavery, colonialism, and the mistreatment of people of color down the years, allied to a pursuit of the "noble savage" and a longing to discover that somewhere, somehow, the Third World has discovered a new model, a new way which will transcend our fault-riven capitalism and our dead-end communism.
One appreciates these feelings: they are widespread, real and powerful ...
Unfortunately, that is all they are. Reality is something else."
The failure of the media in 1990:
During Mandela's historic 1990 visit to the USA after his release, the media was entirely uncritical.
Both of these contemporary reports note the media's silence on the bad things about Mandela.
There was a similar media silence
at his death in 2013.
The failure of the media in 2013:
The job of the media, surely, is to present multiple sides of all issues.
The media failed at this after
There are plenty of things Mandela can be criticised for.
But you could not see these in the Irish and British media.
Mandela left a legacy of forgiveness.
But he certainly did not leave a legacy of success in government.
Westerners ignore this because they don't have to live in South Africa.
Mandela was President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
GDP per capita was stagnant.
Life expectancy fell badly.
Mandela was clearly a failure as President.
Nelson Mandela did not bring prosperity to South Africa:
Mandela was President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
The above shows the stagnant
South African GDP per capita (in 1990 dollars)
over that period.
Stats from Angus Maddison.
The rapid rise in
Irish GDP per capita (in 1990 dollars)
over that period.
Ireland obviously had better leaders than South Africa in this period.
Stats from Angus Maddison.
Unemployment in South Africa.
From 2007 paper.
Unemployment was 13 percent when Mandela took over in 1994.
Under Mandela, it rose to 25 percent (and soon 30 percent).
It has stayed around that level.
it is 26 percent.
A pathetic performance by Mandela.
in South Africa.
Steady growth through the apartheid era.
under apartheid in 1990:
By the time Mandela left office, life expectancy
had declined to 55 years.
under the ANC today:
Another shocking failure by Mandela.
Simon Deng, a black African who was held as a slave by
Arab Islamists in Sudan,
defends Israel against Tutu's attacks.
"The State of Israel is not an apartheid state. I know because I write this from Jerusalem where I have seen Arab mothers peacefully strolling with their families - even though I also drove on Israeli roads protected by walls and fences from Arab bullets and stones. I know Arabs go to Israeli schools, and get the best medical care in the world. I know they vote and have elected representatives to the Israeli Parliament. ... None of this was true for blacks under Apartheid in Tutu's South Africa.
I also know countries that do deserve the apartheid label: My country, Sudan, is on the top of the list, but so are Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. What has happened to my people in Sudan is a thousand times worse than Apartheid in South Africa. And no matter how the Palestinians suffer, they suffer nothing compared to my people. Nothing. And most of the suffering is the fault of their leaders. Bishop Tutu, I see black Jews walking down the street here in Jerusalem. Black like us, free and proud."
When Tutu retired, Oct 2010, TIME magazine absurdly described him as
"the world's moral compass".
Kader Asmal, in Phoenix, 21 May 2010, calls Israel,
the freest country in the Middle East,
an "apartheid" state.
He says Israel is to blame for the breakdown in the peace process.
He calls for a boycott and sanctions against Israel.
South Africa has 16,000 murders per year.
That's perhaps 300,000 murders since the ANC took over.
South Africa's murder rate is 32 per 100,000 per year.
One of the worst in the world. (Though not the worst in Africa.)
The US murder rate is only 5 per 100,000 per year.
Ireland's murder rate is only 1 per 100,000 per year.
Black on white murder:
There has been a worrying level of black on white murder since the end of apartheid.
Of course, there are evil murderers of all races all over the world.
But one wonders, based not on anecdote but on the stats above,
if there is a racist element to a lot of crime against whites in South Africa.
For balance, if you know of any similar brutal crimes by whites
against blacks in South Africa since 1994,
tell me here.
There is one counter-argument:
If it is true that about 3,000 whites and 300,000 blacks have been murdered since 1994,
and whites are about 10 percent of the population,
then in fact blacks are being murdered at a much higher rate than whites.
So there could be something to the claim that everyone is suffering, not just whites.
Only whites have a vote.
(Population 35 million.
2.2 million votes.)
No liberal can defend this.
This flawed election is comparable perhaps to something like the
1865 UK election
before the Reform Act.
(Population 30 million.
From a western democratic viewpoint, such a restricted election in the late 20th century is outrageous.
On the other hand:
South Africa was a democracy for whites,
regular elections since 1910.
This is often overlooked.
Yes of course whites-only elections are offensive, but much of Africa had no elections at all.
This South African democratic tradition
is not nothing.
The whites actually voted in 1989 to continue the process of reforming and ending apartheid.
They freely voted for De Klerk to carry on.
They voted to end their own privilege.
South Africa's long democratic tradition
is basically the reason it is democratic today.
South Africa and its neighbours
form the only large area of democracy
in Africa today?
It is obviously the influence of European ideas,
that Mandela was smart enough to admire and reform.
"It's a tragedy what is happening, what Bush is doing. All Bush wants is Iraqi oil. There is no doubt that the U.S. is behaving badly. Why are they not seeking to confiscate weapons of mass destruction from their ally Israel? This is just an excuse to get Iraq's oil.
Bush is now undermining the United Nations. He is acting outside it
... Both Bush, as well as Tony Blair, are undermining an idea which was sponsored by their predecessors. They do not care. Is it because the secretary-general of the United Nations is now a black man? They never did that when secretary-generals were white.
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. Fifty-seven years ago, when Japan was retreating on all fronts, they decided to drop the atom bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; killed a lot of innocent people, who are still suffering the effects of those bombs.
Because they are so arrogant, they decided to kill innocent people in Japan, who are still suffering from that. Who are they, now, to pretend that they are the policemen of the world?
To want to decide for the people in Iraq what they should do with their government and with their leadership?
What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust.
The people of the U.S. should use their democracy to get rid of him."
International Women's Forum Conference,
January 30, 2003
(shortly before Bush's invasion of Iraq to depose Saddam).
Where do you start with such rubbish?
Nonsense from start to end.
I admire him in some ways, but in other ways Nelson Mandela's opinions are appalling and idiotic.
Blocked on Twitter by the regressive left and Islamists:
I love debate.
I love ideas.
But the Western left
and their friends the Islamic right
do not return the favour.
Their response to opposing ideas, whether expressed politely or robustly, is often to block.
See Who blocks me on Twitter.
I will debate almost anyone.
Stick to ideas and I will debate you.
But I do have rules.
See Who I block on Twitter.
The Twitter dark age, 2016 to 2022:
I am on Twitter at
Twitter was a great place for debate before 2016.
You could meet everyone in the world, and argue about ideas.
Starting in 2016,
Twitter became increasingly broken.
It became full of reporting and bans and censorship.
In 2019, Twitter even started
for no reason that was ever explained, or could be appealed.
arrival of Elon Musk
in 2022, Twitter's dark age of censorship may end.
Let's hope so.