07 December 2013

Uncommon Commentary #380: Not My Kind of Fella, That Nelson Mandela

The fallen world in which we live often rewards vice and punishes virtue; there may be no better illustration of this than the contrast between the late Nelson Mandela and F. W. DeKlerk.
If you've never heard of the latter, well, that's part of the point that I intend to make.  The former co-founded (in 1961) and led Umkhonto we Sizwe ("Spear of the Nation"), the violent (left-)wing of the African National Congress (ANC), which carried out guerilla attacks against civilian targets (in other words, acts of terrorism); within just three years, however, the "Spear" had been broken, for its insurgency had been quashed and Mandela put into prison.  There he remained until his release was secured by South Africa's President F. W. DeKlerk, who also brought about the abolition of apartheid.  DeKlerk's actions meant that South Africa experienced not a continuation of the bloodshed that Mandela had thought necessary, but instead negotiations with the ANC as representatives of the Black majority; these negotiations resulted in the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and in a peaceful transition to multiracial suffrage in South-African elections.
(The purpose of the preceding sentence is not to say that DeKlerk's reforms made South Africa a better place, which, sadly but predictably, they did not.  The elections held after the end of apartheid were won by Mandela's ANC, which, thanks to its tripartite alliance with both the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, has enjoyed a monopoly on power in the nearly-two-decades since then.  South Africa's economy was already in bad shape when the ANC took over, but that had much to do with foreign sanctions over apartheid, which came to an end with the end of apartheid itself; under the ANC things have only gotten worse, with g.d.p. growth pathetically low and unemployment phenomenally high.)
DeKlerk has received some honors, such as receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in conjunction with Mandela, but today he's nearly forgotten; whereas Mandela is adulated all over the world as the supposed liberator of Black South Africa, even though, as you can see from what I've already told you, he didn't really liberate anyone; indeed, he needed liberation.
Isaiah 5:20 reads "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!"  Woe to us.