Comments about ‘Utahns react to death of Nelson Mandela’

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Published: Thursday, Dec. 5 2013 7:20 p.m. MST

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This is one of the most amazing news articles I have ever read. It is one thing to love and forgive an errant sinner, but quite another to bestow sainthood on a conscious agent of the Soviet-backed African National Congress (ANC), cited by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist group.
In 1990 it was my privilege to bring Tamsanqa Linda to the United States. He was the black mayor of Ibhayi Township (population 400,000) and president of the Eastern Province Council Association (representing 14 townships of nearly 14 million). Mayor Linda came to the U.S. to warn of Mandela's hypocrisy despite serious dangers to himself and his family. The threats came from the Mandela-led ANC to silence Mayor Linda whose people were being murdered by the ANC for refusal to back the communist-led overthrow of South Africa.
The concerted exoneration of Mandela is simply amazing.

St.George, Utah

One can see the wonderful things Nelson Mandela emulated throughout the world.
With a non-violent agenda, Mr. Mandela taught others how to "fight" for what is right. He has been an example to the world.
We saw "him" in Martin Luther King.
We see "him" in the new Catholic Pope.
We see "him" close to home in our own President Obama.

Danbury, CT


I'm sure Mandela wasn't perfect but to imply he was personally ordering the murder of anyone cannot be proven. If you look at his statements and actions coming out of prison and into the presidency, this is a remarkable man. There never was a communist takeover with his presidency, was there? Ho Chi Minh was an ally of the US in WWII and tried for years to get us to get the French out of Indochina. In the end he went to the communists for help. That we drove those suffering under Apartheid to our enemies is tragic.

As for Mandela, he paid for whatever militancy he had with 27 years of prison. When he left prison, he says he also left behind his hatred (or he would have stayed effectively in prison or something to that effect). To ignore his actions of forgiveness and the grace in which he transitioned into power, would be a monumental failure on our part.

What does your friend Mr. Linda say about Mandela now? That would be interesting to know...

Springville, UT

@ DLF, you judge from afar. It turns out that history proved Nelson Mandela and the ANC to the correct in the face of aparthied. Do you think for one minute that the oppressive South African regime would allow a black man who was not vetted and speaking the government line to do what Mr. Linda did? You know little about what was going on during that time.

I have to wonder if all these Utahns lauding the great Mandela would have said their words back when Reagan supported appartied and vetoed legislation to help end it. Again, history was on the side of Mandela and against the conservative position.

Nelson Mandela is one of the greatest men in the 20th and 21st Centuries.

patriot vet
Cedar City, UT

Nelson Mandela was the epitome of honor, courage, sacrifice. He led his people out of bondage, a modern-day Moses. He faced hatred and brought it down for all blacks in his country. His legacy spread across Africa and around the world.

He, like Martin Luther King, was inspired by our Heavenly Father to extinguish racial hatred and extend freedom to the oppressed. Those two are no doubt cheering on continued racial and economic justice for all of God's children. They are great role models for all of us.

one old man
Ogden, UT

DLF - from which ultra-extremist hate website did you draw that supposed "information?"

Let's see some solid documentation, please.

Somewhere in Time, UT

I believe that Nelson Mandela grasped onto Communism as a vehicle for change. I don't believe he governed that way when he was president. I believe he governed as a democratic leader.

Sometimes, in desperation, revolutionaries adopt extreme institutions only as a way to stop injustices. Frankly, Ho Chi Min did the same thing. He appealed to President Truman for help in throwing off the French in Vietnam. Truman would not help because France was our ally. So Ho used communism as a vehicle to create revolution against the French. That turned out really bad, but it seems South Africa has turned out better. I hope so.

I don't like the communist history of Mandela either, but I think there is a rational explanation for it. I believe he did establish a democratic framework in South Africa.

Elk River, MN

one old man. You will be more effective in civil discourse if you avoid ad hominem statements.

I also saw Tamsanqa Linda's presentation. He painted a very different picture of Mandela than what you'll see on TV this weekend. Now, Tamsanqa may have been lying, I don't know. I took it as another data point. However, his perspective was that Mandela led a brutal organization responsible for the murders of many people.

There are plenty of facts about Mandela's life that will not be presented right now. To be aware of them does not make you a "right wing hate group" member. Right now, the emperor is wearing new clothes. In 20 years, we'll be able to have a more rational discussion. In the mean time, read "Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa" by Mercer. You can also independently verify the fact that the ANC was "terrorist group". And please, don't respond that Mercer is "insert-label-here" therefore all the facts she presents should be discounted.

Saint Louis, MO

The actual reason that Mr. Mandela was in prison was for plotting to blow up hospitals. He had already been linked to the blowing up of railroads and power stations. His motivation may have been to dismantle Aparteid. However, he even stated that he deserved to be in prison for 27 years for attempting to kill innocent individuals. MLK believed in a non violent approach to political change. There is that deep chasm in the difference in philosophies. There is also a deep difference in the number of minorities involved in the goals of each. MLK forced a nation to change while espousing about 12% of the population. For Mandela, it was something like 90%. Strangely for Mandela, he rejected equal rights for the Zulus.

one old man
Ogden, UT

ANC was listed by the State Department as a "terrorist group." But who was our president at the time? Were U.S. policies at that time pro-apartheid or pro-freedom?

Chula Vista, CA

Sanitize then lionize. Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, Joseph Stalin and Che Guevara are now freedom fighters of oppressive governments. From militant communist imprisoned for 27 years only to emerge as a forgiving saint is a Hollywood publicist's dream awaiting a movie deal...oh, wait...

Springville, UT

So the talking point is "Great Man". Reminds of the "gravitas" talking point executed at the announcement of Dick Cheney as Bush's VP.

Question: What defines "great"? What made Mandela "great"? Ending apartheid? There were a lot of people and different factions involved in that, not just Mandela. Do they get credit for their own "greatness" as well? Where's the praise?

What about Mandela's past? Does the whole life constitute "greatness", or was it a couple of acts alone? From the comments posted, it seems to me that some people have either forgotten or ignored history.

Jesus was great and we can explain why. Same for George Washington, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Pope Francis, etc. All of these men have sought to lift people up. But the fact is that none of these men spent portions of their lives killing innocent people.

So going back to the "great man" talking point, it would be helpful for some of you who are marching lock-step with the mantra to explain how you define Mandela's "greatness".

Santa Monica, CA

So many posters who have so much difficulty accepting what the world knows to be true. This was a great man. Your children know it and history has cemented it, while at the same time, our young people look to people like Nelson Mandela as heroic and someone who stood for something---they look at you as sad and backwards. They want to be more like Mandela and less like you. A tough pill to swallow and yet you must. Or be content to decay into insignificance.

Salt Lake City, UT

We saw "him" in Martin Luther King.
We see "him" in the new Catholic Pope.
We see "him" close to home in our own President Obama.(That is a real stretch, other than the communism ties and the color of their skin?)

You forgot to mention a philandering Bill Clinton? Just ask Winny and Hilary!

Hyrum, UT

It's quite interesting how “one old man” has in essence admitted to not having all the pertinent facts regarding Mandela, yet adamantly criticizes anyone who dares to question Mandela's intentions and history. Seems a bit hypocritical to judge someone else for he himself judging. DLF may or may not have some very valid points.

It's also interesting how society has a strong tendency to eulogize any recently departed person as being so great and wonderful while also tending to dismiss anything negative about that person. An understandable tendency, but nevertheless not always so accurate.

Most of us don't know enough detail of Mandela to assess his overall life story very accurately. Being the day after his death, it's probably the proper thing to do in giving him the benefit of the doubt... at least for now.

Though he undoubtedly did a lot of good things, I certainly don't believe he was the ideal saint some people are making him out to be. History and time will ultimately judge him (and all of us) more accurately than right after a person's passing.

Chula Vista, CA

@DLF, your minority view is spot on for anyone willing to learn from history rather than trying to rewrite it. The NYT's obituary of Mandela's closest friend and fellow militant communist 'freedom fighter' Joe Slovo says it all.

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

He was far from perfect but he inspired millions, brought freedom to millions, and forgave his enemies. That's a lot for one lifetime. He deserves to be remembered and his place in history alongside Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. is assured.

Hyrum, UT

@ one old man:

You seem to be trying hard to associate conservative politics in our country as being pro-apartheid. When it comes to Ronald Reagan’s South African political decisions, there was a lot more involved than initially meets the eye. International politics can often be very complicated. Unless you were personally involved or have extensively studied the situation in intricate detail, it's probably best not to judge. You've given no indication of being particularly knowledgeable concerning the specific details of that situation. However, you do seem to be quite anxious to jump to conclusions in an effort to promote your personal political ideology.

BTW: With some study of civil war era politics, it's interesting to find out it was the liberals of that time who were the most resistant to ending slavery. It was the conservatives (led by Lincoln) who kept pushing the agenda to put an end to that terrible practice. We're all certainly glad they ultimately prevailed.


of note:
Mayor Linda was sponsored by the American Opinion Speakers Bureau of The John Birch Society when he visited the U.S. in 1990.

Yes, the history of Mandela, (like most history) is more complex and "messy" than presented in the media.

The anti-apartheid movement was viewed with suspicion and caution by some because of the communist elements, one of the factors in Reagan's reluctance to sign onto sanctions.

Very early, Mandela embraced the ways of Gandhi--peaceful resistance as a means to change, until the 1960 massacre of unarmed black South Africans. After that he began advocating acts of sabotage against the South African regime. It is true too that violence was carried out by the ANC. While Mandela may have been aware of it, he did not advocate violent acts against people.

Mandela was a flawed man--and the first to admit it. I think what made him a great man is his ability to learn from his mistakes and do things better to change an entire country.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

"One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

The politics and history of apartheid are far more complex that can be discussed in this forum. Had I been living on the wrong side of apartheid, how would I have responded? How would you have responded? It is hard to know, as fortunately, none of us (well, none that I personally know) lived under the rule of the white minority in South Africa.

He was far from a perfect man, but I believe he was a great man and here's how I make that determination. While a young, angry, idealistic man, he made mistakes, including violent crimes against others. He was tried and imprisoned. While imprisoned, he changed and decided to eschew violence and upon his release, did not take revenge. He, instead, used non-violence to help bring to pass the end of a great evil (yes, apartheid was EVIL). He was a complex and flawed man, yet ultimately used his charisma and natural leadership skills to lead his country out of apartheid. A great man can rise above his flaws and sins to be a force for good in this world.

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