Friday, December 6, 2013

WSJ highlights Mandela's former Marxist background and change of viewpoint

The Wall Street Journal offers an editorial Friday morning “Nelson Mandela: A would-be Lenin who became Africa’s Vaclav Havel”, link (paywall) here
   
The WSJ talks about Mandela’s rise in the African National Congress and that organization’s affiliation with the Soviets and communism.  Does that change the spin on Mandela?  In 1948, the National Party made apartheid and white privilege a matter of law.  White people who grew up in that world rationalized it, just as they rationalized slavery and segregation in US history.  Communism, on the surface, might have sounded like an antidote.
   
What seems monumental is Mandela’s forgiveness and his change of views, on what kind of revolution really works. 
   
There’s another moral point that drives home.  He spent 27 years in prison under horrible conditions.  I could not personally live through something like that.  If I were imprisoned wrongfully (a subject that will be explored by CNN’s film “An Unreal Dream”, the airing of which was postponed by Mandela’s passing) I think I would see my purpose and life destroyed, and simply want justice.  I could not see being “honored” for taking the fall for someone else’s evil.  Yet, it happens all the time.  Mandela probably understood this when he went to prison, because he had already become “revolutionary”.  I never did.  I would never accept the idea of sacrifice, and recovery later.  I would never accept the unusual kind of love that would have to be both taken and given.  Insularity, perhaps, is itself dangerous. 

On Sunday, Dec. 8, Bill Keller has a similar column on o, 8 of the Review Section, "Nelson Mandela, Communist", link here
     
Wikipedia attribution link for Capetown picture. 

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