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Was Nelson Mandela A Terrorist?

I stumbled upon this post on the Internet:

- Was Nelson Mandela really a 'terrorist'?

- If so, does this mean being a 'terrorist' isn't such a bad thing?

- In the future, will people like Asari Dokubo be perceived as 'heroes', just like Mandela?

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51 answers

When you specifically target non military civilians out of frustration you have broken rules of engagement. thats outside the realm of th concept of fairness in warfare.

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There's no such thing as terrorism.

All's fair in war, it seems. So, like Osama and all the other guys, Mandela is not a terrorist. He was a freedom fighter. Terror is a war tactic, so those people regarded as terrorists are pursuing a campaign against their enemies.

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Pls tell me did you study logic, philosophy or sociology

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A man fighting for an IDEAL!!!

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In his auto biography, Mandela clearly states the reason for the formation of "Umkhonto we sizwe" translated as the spear of the nation. The armed wing of the ANC party. He stated that it was as a last resort and targeted mostly non civilian areas.

After his imprisonment  Umkhonto stepped up their assaults and targeted civilian  areas much like the IRA did in Ireland. Efforts were made to try to get Mandela to disown this wing of the ANC party as part of a deal to release him or at most move him to a half way prison house. He refused.

The reason he was so listed on US files as a terrorist was infact in relation to Diplomatic ties the US government had with the Apartheid govt in South Africa. The status was never changed even after the US switched gears against the Apartheid government.

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As far as i'm concern Mandella is no terrorist only a freedom fighter who fight to seek justice and freedom for the blacks,i believe if the whole of African nations had been directly under aparthied as it was in South Africa we would all have understood better. Those that came into another man's land to violently take him as slave and work him under harsh labor. Are they not the terrorist? Those who came into a man's land to deprive him of his fundamental human right on his own land and if he dares talk he'll be tortured or killed. Are they not terrorist? Long long list of atrocities. I believe the two words terrorist&freedom fighter are only use by those with the power depending on which side they take. Now suppose in the cause of police engage in gun fight with robbers innocent citizens were hit by stray bullet is that terrorism on the police side?

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Amazing how people are scared of simple terminology. Don't be brainwashed into the idea that all terrorists are monsters. It's simple. 'Terrorist' is a demonised term usually applied by those in power to those who violently struggle against them. Mandela struggled violently, so by most definitions he was a terrorist. However, many terrorists are justified in their struggle, so they shouldn't feel shy about it.

Contrast with the 'Shock and Awe' campaign carried out by the US in 1983, before they invaded, brutalised and occupied Iraq. If that wasn't the greatest state-sponsored terrorism act of all time (after bombing during Vietnam campaign, and atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima/Nagasaki), resulting in massive civilian casualties, then there has never been any terrorism anywhere.

All you denying that St.Nelson was a terrorist, have just swallowed European/US propaganda that the first requirements for terrorists is that they be evil people with no point. Not true.

The day the US is invaded by Mexico (perhaps trying to reclaim Texas and the other lands that the Americans stole), the patriotic American freedom fighters will all be terrorists according to the Mexican news.

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Well, Ghandi was a racist, MLK was a love-addict. surprised?

The world isnt what it seems to be. and what you think is true is a lie.

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dont forget to agree that George Bush qualifies for the title of terrorist. at least from ur definition.

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Pray, what was PW Botha?

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There is no universally agreed defination of terrorism. Even the UN Security Council has been debating this content for decades.

Firstly, Mandela is a native-native of South Africa (like me). When the white settlers arrived in the Cape, they pronounced every black person as sub-human. That is something that does not deserve to live. What they did, they started to segregate us along the racial line. The goverment policy delebarations never took any black living being into consideration. That was exclusion at its best. In 1911, one-year after the formation of the British colony known as the Union of South Africa, Pixley ka Isaka Seme addressed the diminishing rights for blacks in the country, urging the people to form one national organisation, united against oppression. As a consequence, tribal Chiefs and heads of religious groups gathered in Bloemfontein in January 1912, forming the African National Congress, an organisation designed to promote the rights and freedoms of the African people. This was way before Mandela was born.

Even more crippling legislation followed. The 1913 Land Act stripped blacks of their rights to land that they already occupied and made it impossible for them to obtain land rights in anything other than impoverished areas demarcated by the government, while at the same time, forcing blacks to work in 'white' areas in order to pay taxes. This created a migrant labour system, and blacks outside of the demarcated areas were required to carry 'passes' indicated their lawful presence in white areas. In 1919, the ANC in the Transvaal region (now Gauteng) initiated a campaign against the pass laws. Mandela was one year old. The success of Mahatma Gandi's non-violent protests in South Africa led to conflict within the ANC, however, as some members advocated this approach instead of the most confrontational strike action. Appeals by ANC leaders to British leaders failed, however, as London continually ignored their protests.

As the ANC maintained its passive approach, organisations such as the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union and a number of other subsequent socialist-oriented societies began to gain ground as they addressed the needs of blacks, who had been increasingly forced into the mines and other menial jobs through legislation. JT Gumede, elected ANC President, urged alliances with these parties, advocating active opposition, but the conservative and elitist ANC leadership voted him out of office. In 1948, the Afrikaner-oriented National Party was voted in by the white-electorate, necessitating a new approach by the ANC. No longer could it afford to remain an elitist movement with a passive-opposition agenda and a new militancy and populism began to define the party. The ANC Youth League was formed in 1944 and this organisation was the primary mover behind the 1949 Programme of Action and the subsequent Defiance Campaign of the 1950's. Mandela was a founding member of the Youth League. This is where he begun to feature. The Defiance Campaign preached non-compliance with the savage apartheid legislation; the Group Areas Act and the Bantu Educations being two onerous examples. The campaign forced the hand of the apartheid government, who took to banning and arresting campaign leaders, white, black, indian and coloured and passing even stricted legislation.

Other organisations partnered the ANC in these acts of defiance, the SA Indian Congress, The SA Coloured People's Organisation, the predominatly white Congress of Democrats and the SA Congress of Trade Unions, all of whom passed the Freedom Charter in 1955. Tensions grew as increased resistance was met with greater force and even within the ANC, party members rejected the decision by leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Govan Mbeki to partner with whites and indians whom they felt were 'settlers'. Consequently, a breakaway group, the Pan-African Congress (PAC) was formed. The Anti Pass Campaign precipitated the notorious Shareville massacre of 1960, an event that received widescale media coverage for the police opening fire on an unarmed crowd, killing 69 people and wounding 186. After this, the government banned a host of organisations, including the ANC and the PAC and declared a state of emergency.

In 1961, left with no other option, the ANC launched the armed struggle against the government.

The Military Wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe carried out over 200 acts of sabotage within an eighteen month period, prompting the government to make the Death sentence a competent verdict for sabotage. The leaders of the movement were arrested in 1963 and prosecuted during the Rivonia Treason Trial, perhaps the most famous of whom was Nelson Mandela, subsequently jailed until the early 1990's. The ANC was then forced to adopt a different strategy, appealing for international support and operating in a more covert manner within South Africa. An increasing number of strikes typified the 1970's and early 1980's, the Soweto Riots of 1976 in which police opened fire - and killed - unarmed schoolchildren included. As a result of international pressure and defiance by the people, the National Party introduced reforms to apartheid but these were merely token gestures designed to appease the black majority. The corner was turned in 1990 when President PW Botha was replaced as leader of the country by fellow-National Party member FW de Klerk.

As a consequence of increased internal destabilisation and external economic sanctions by countries opposed to apartheid, de Klerk unbanned a number of organisations including the ANC and the South Africa Communist Party in February of that year. Nelson Mandela was released, and soon elected president of the ANC who four years later swept to power with a 63% majority in the first free elections. Mandela was elected President of South Africa afterwards and succeeded by ANC leader Thabo Mbeki in 1997.

Mandela was Never a terrorist

WHAT'S the difference between a liberation movement and a band of terrorists? The simple answer - the one that most often influences policy decisions - is point of view. Consider the African National Congress (ANC). During the long struggle against apartheid, what the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) saw as a liberation movement, the racist minority government of South Africa labeled as terrorists. Ask one person in Washington and another in Riyadh today about Al Qaeda and you're bound to get the same diversity of opinion. But political agendas and legal definitions are two different things, and the distinctions matter. As defined by the OAU, national liberation movements are the organisations that fought for freedom from colonialism or apartheid: Swapo in Namibia; the MPLA in Angola; Frelimo in Mozambique; Zanu and Zapu in Zimbabwe; Kanu in Kenya; and the ANC. Armed oppositions that fought against their own repressive regimes - such as Paul Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front - do not meet this definition.

The 1960 UN Declaration on Decolonisation granted peoples the right to self-determination if they did not have their own state or were under colonial domination, alien occupation or racist rule. This right did not automatically legitimise violent means (or even secession), but subsequent UN General Assembly resolutions and declarations did condone the waging of armed struggles by recognised liberation movements. The UN also granted observer status to a number of liberation movements in the General Assembly. Defining terrorism is more problematic. Despite several international conventions against terrorism, there is, as yet, no agreement on what the term refers to. Scholars have found no less than 109 definitions used from 1936 to 1981. The one used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for example, contains three elements: illegal use of force; intention to intimidate or coerce; and underlying political or social motives. The Security Council has never legitimised the use of force by any liberation movement, but it does have the authority to decide when force is legal under international law. Even then, however, not all acts committed in the course of an internationally recognised armed struggle would automatically be acceptable. Freedom fighters waging just wars still commit atrocities. Does that make them terrorists? Legally, no. But practically, the answer often depends on who holds the power to affix the label.

Remember, the aprtheid goverment was illegitimate to begin with. It has killed millions of black people all over the sprectrum. The US only managed to remove Mandela from terrorists watch list, just recently. Countries that supported the Apatheid govt were bound to label freedom fighters like nelson as such. The Americans had too much interests in SA.

I hope this gives a little enlightment of the whole situation.

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Nelson Mandela is not a terrorist, he's a patriotic hero who laid his life for his people/country.

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Between Mandela and the apaartheid goverment who 'inpired terror'?.If you can answer that I will allow you to put your FULL STOP

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Life is quite simple but it is not fools that try to make it complicated. A terrorist is a person who inspires terror and since Nelson Mandela inspired terror this  makes him a terrorist, FULL STOP!

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pls allow that old man to die in peace

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Actually, the word you're looking for is "war criminal".

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Seun,

NO, Mandela was not a terrorist. Anyone who has read NM's biography will lend credence to this.

It appears the appellation - terrorist or[i] ism [/i] - is not applicable to all the military acts of the West whether covert as in the many cases of the CIA, or overt as in the invasion of Iraq. As seen in the eyes of most people in the West, Mandela and the late Arafat were regarded as terrorists. In the misguided opinion of the West, they knew fully well they were fighting for a cause, and hence refused to acknowledge them as freedom fighters. Yet the West itself has committed far more atrocities the world over when compared with the activities of terrorists in general.

When acts of injustice is perpetuated by the West, do they expect a siddon and look approach all the time? Or do they expect the preferred method of peaceful demonstration by the late MLK?

I have never given due regard to the way the press in the West use cleverly couched phrases to describe certain nefarious acts of ethic minorities. For instance, during the French revolution (1789) and the Bolchevik Revolution (1917), I did not recall any time when the phrase "ethnic cleansing" was employed. Ah, but it will apply in Rwanda.

Another example. When a white person injures a black person, the headline will read "White man attacks Blackman". It reads further: A white man has since been helping the police regarding the incident.

If it is the other way round, it will read "Black man violently savages white man". Following the brutal and grievious attack, a blackman described as tall, with a thick accent has been arrested. He is due to appear in court soon.

In passing, the West twist words and meanings to suit their own purposes. Rather than admit to lying, they use the word - spin. And in order to be politically correct, rather than report that innocent people were slaughtered in the act of war albeit unintentionally, they will be referred to as collateral damage.

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nelson mandela is a freedom fighter

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

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One man's terrorist is another --- -----? Feel free to fill the blanks.

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Even the definition of war criminal is relative.

You think the Nurenberg trial would have held, tried and convicted the people involved if the Germans had won the the WW11?

On the contrary, the much celebrated British and American war heros would have been on trial and would have been probably convicted of war crimes. Imagine trying Churchill, Ike Eisenhower, Patton, and others as war criminals?

Terrorist vs freedom fighter, war criminal vs war heros are simply same song on different variations.

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According to the apartheid regime of South Africa, yes he was a terrorist; but from the black’s perspective, he was a courageous abolisher and a true liberator.

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Yes. That is why George Bush is the number 1 terrorist alive today

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Branding someone a terrorist depends on what side of the political aisle you are. Terrorism is everywhere today. It is not only when you fly a plane into some high rise buildings or when you detonate a bomb in the market place that you are classified as terrorist. We have economic terrorist, sex terrorist, moral terrorist, pyscological terrorist et al. There is terrorism going on in all spheres of our lives but because it is not violent does not mean they are not terrorism. History will classify our actions and inactions (passive terrorism) for what they are. Life is precious and should not be taken under any guise. Iraq war, Afghanistan, Sudan/Darfur, neo colonialism, foreign debts foisted on poor nations by rich nations, elected government of a nation that turn against the wish and the aspiration of its people, all these are terrorism unclassified. I think right now we need some divine intervention in this world to bring people back on the track of sanity. So help us God.

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That is to be expected. When individuals make it their place to judge, you get people who regard some as terrorists and those who regard them as heroes. There are tons of examples of those around the world today. We have the cheguavara's, the osama bin ladens, and maybe in the near future, we will have the monks in burma coming under the same rank if we are not careful. At the end of the day, under the broad umbrella, once they cross that line to gain their stand, they are terrorists but in the end, history writes it as the majority need it written.

But when you take a closer look at things as they should be, you will see that they could all be under the same umbrella.

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Its like some of us seem to be having a big problem associating the great mandela with terrorism.

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point taken!

but u know ken saro wiwa follwed the ideological path! too bad he came at a wrong time i guess!

and also, the present day militants seem to lack the needed step by step approach and focus!

not to worry, history will always set things straight in spite of how much we try to distort the facts!

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@kaycrystal

Well, even if Mandela was a terrorist, he had his ideologies, future and focus of liberating and extricating the black race from the clutches of racism. And he (mandela) had a technical step by step approach and resorted to violence only when dialogue failed.

Our dear terrorist in d niger delta simply fight for their selfish glories, and personal interests, might interest u to know that they never even engage in any dialogue b/4 writing threat letters to d presidency. They're never heroes in the making, infact, posterity will not 4give them for the havoc they're causing innocent citizens because of selfish reasons

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The "end always justifies the means" not to you, but to the specific group involved.

This is an age-old fact, which unfortunately can't be changed by individual or subjective views.

Our niger delta terrorists are appropriately labelled, but the main reason for their survival today is because some people in the area don't regard them as terrorist.

Remember, one man's terrorist is another man's hero.

(These are facts the government ought to be aware if they hope to win the fight against niger delta terrorists.)

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If the end justifies the means! does that make our dear militants terrorist or heroes in the making?

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You call it "informed opinion". I call it "terrorist manifesto".

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@bibiking1

thanks for the informed opinion.

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its like asking was Kenule Saro-Wiwa a Terrorist?

or was Wole Soyinka a Terrorist?

these are all based on principles and the clearly and generally accepted meaning of Terrorism!

the use of armed force is not in itself Terrorism!

so Mr. Seun the Answer is NO

The end ALWAYS justifies the means!

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There you go again, demonstrating a 'wholesale ignorance' of World history.

When you say the UN, you stupidly assume that all people have always been adequately represented at all times.

The rulings and decisions of the UN is bye and large the will of the 5 permenet members.

Don't let me list the atrocious UN resolutions that were nothing but a propagation of the US,Russian, or British foreign policies.

I can't believe you'll be talking about the UN, given that no African nation is even a permenent member.

The UN or League of nations as founded by Woodrow Wilson is "just an idea", not a perfect solution for the whole World.

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I have to say I enjoy your contributions in here @Nuzo.

By the mere definition of the word, yes, Mandela was a terrorist. No one here can claim that violence was never used by the ANC and no one can definitively say that if all the ANC did was talk and talk that that war would have been won. These men used what they had to use to get what they wanted. And even though millions around the world praise him today, does not take change the fact that they did what they did and I am sure they would have done same today if they had to do it all over again. Time has nothing to do with it.

Now his cause was seen by the majority as a just one in the continent of africa and so not many consider the fact that his group also employed violence in getting their voices head.

ter·ror·ism (tr-rzm)

n.

The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

I am glad you at least did read of this. The ANC yes did use force at a time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_National_Congress

Considering that the law of the land at that time and even now was against such acts and those caught were prosecuted, that is seen as terrorism.

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That is to say they are terrorist but they were wrong.

Please more insight.

the goal of the american army is to fight enemy combatants not kill civilians.

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But they take Nigerians as 419ners or corrupt nations because of the action of few citizens.

Tell me more please.

two wrongs don't make a right.

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But they take Nigerians as 419ners or corrupt nations cos of the action of few citizens.

Tell me more pls.

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This means the US army in Iraq are terrorists because they have deliberately targeted iraqi civillians.

pls don't compare the actions of individual US soldiers(who were tried by the way) to the whole US army.

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some ANC strikes were against restaurants which are considered civillian centers. the ANC did abandon millitant attacks after it realized how ineffective they were.

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This is perhaps one of the most insidious and evil quotes of our time.

It's easy to spot terrorism and terrorists. The UN underlines any terrorist intent as that which deliberately targets civillians and unarmed non-combatants with the aim of achieving a political or ideological goal.

Nowhere in that article does it state that Mandela sought to use the ANC tro kill and maim white women and children. Guerillas strike stealthily at millitary installations, personnel and facilities. never deliberately against innocent men, women and children.

That's the distinction.

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That's not totally true.

Go through history and you will find out that Mandela's method contributed immensely. Besides, it was just time to give up the hate, even their white brothers abroad were becoming so ashamed of the whole thing.

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I may add that depending on the time and place, a terroristic could become a freedom fighter/saviour, or the reverse could also apply.

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sometimes, conventional means do not suffice. also timing is essential.

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@ topic.

u need to define terrorism and also need to read nelson mandela`s biography.

mandela is not a terrorist, by every definition.

they applied arms struggle to sabotage (electric power supply) the apartheid regime. but if u read his biography, which he wrote over a period of 30years. u will understand his mind, thinking, reasoning and intellectual abilities. most appealing of all was his methods (intellectual panacea) of attaining peace, which was continuos dialogue.

and that only succeded because God destined it so.

mandela aint a terrorist.

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If that's true, then freedom fighters are over-rated. This has always been my belief,

but it never occurred to me to despise the famous Nelson Mandela as one of them. Sad.

Wasn't the struggle against apartheid won by non-violent means at the end of the day?

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

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During the second world war,the french resistance group was considered terrorists by the germans,but for the frenchs the resistance group was something very good.

For me this is playing with the word "terrorist".

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Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorist

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