Friday, December 6, 2013

One person's terrorist is another person's liberator

Mandela was once considered a "terrorist". Ian Welsh is right to note that the term is itself meaningless, used to slag opponents.Want to score points in a political debate? Tar your opponent as a terrorist. Yeah, the points you score will be cheap points, but in our sorry state of political discourse, cheap is what you get. Anti-apartheid activists used to get called terrorist sympathizers an awful lot back in my day, typically by folks who themselves often had sympathies toward Nicaragua's Contras during the first Sandinista era, and had no problems with Raygun's cheap-shot "war" in Grenada. Mandela was a pragmatist. He may have wanted nonviolence as an ideal, but understood that the full weight of the political/military violence inherent in the Apartheid system (along with of course the economic and social violence that were that system's core) would require resistance by any means necessary.

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