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nelson mandela

Today we mourn the passing of Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013.

Something drove a man to silence
As immortal anger raged,
Then another kind of violence
Kept him on an island caged;
What Grace brought amid restraint:
In a sinner, out a saint.



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19 replies to this post
  1. Nelson Mandela was a communist. Equality destroyed South Africa, and boers are slaughtered for that false God today. But isn’t he worshipped still by the Left?

  2. (Today we mourn the passing of Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013)
    I wonder why the Imaginative Conservative would mourn the loss of a socialist/communist terrorist who killed vastly more of his county men than the then Government ever even injured in any way, if this is the mindset of The Imaginative Conservative, I am Deeply Saddened and will stop following you if I do not see a retraction and an exposé of his and his wife’s Communist activities!

  3. Fascinating comments all. Mandela was convicted, of conspiracy to commit what we would now call terrorism, in 1961 after his Youth Wing of the ANC spent more than a decade agitating for direct and often violent confrontation with the statist and oppressive apartheid government. He was then a communist or allied to them. After what many would call a cruel and unnecessarily long term he was released from 27 years in prison in 1990. He surprised many who expected vengeance, white flight from South Africa, economic collapse and the streets to run with blood. Instead, his government protected all races, preserved a productive economy and in some cases cut statist parastatal enterprises, punished those formerly violent blacks and whites who refused to cooperate with his Truth & Reconciliation process and cleared all cooperative ones no matter how hateful their crimes. Economically and overall he was surely a communist no longer. Whether his and subsequent governments went too fast, too slow, or were misguided by the racial quotas that followed, or took too few steps to stop political corruption, one can argue all night, but something happened to Mandela in jail; he went in convicted of terrorist conspiracy and emerged a force for peace, as I say in my small rhyme. Those who disagree may be right-wingers but I submit that they are neither true Christians nor Imaginative Conservatives, both of whom recognise Man’s capacity for offering forgiveness and receiving redemption.

  4. To my limited knowledge Mandela did not ask for forgiveness for singing songs with the MK and DNC celebrating and advocating the killing of whites, He organized and supported the terrorism of the MK. “Not even the Amnesty International would take his case, because they said he wasn’t a political prisoner. He had had a fair trial and a reasonable sentence. He had his day in court. He was not a political prisoner. He was in jail for acts of violence.” –
    See more at:
    In July of 2012, Dr. Gregory Stanton, head of the nonprofit group Genocide Watch, conducted a fact-finding mission in South Africa. He concluded that there is a coordinated campaign of genocide being conducted against white farmers, known as Boers.

  5. Mr. Masty, let me see if I understand your position:

    I can’t be a Christian or part of The Imaginary Conservative crowd unless I embrace your theory that while in prison, Mandela had some sort of ‘come to Jesus’ moment and became a saint?

    Yet, you offer no proof and expect your reader’s to intellectually and morally embrace your puerile doggerel as truth.

    Dude, I don’t think so. .

  6. Mandela as the man who signed abortion into South African law has almost certainly been responsible for the deaths of more black babies than any previous South African President.
    As the man who introduced “gay rights” to South Africa and has lead the world in it, he and his “The Elders” group is the leading push behind the US and UK governments and many others forcing it on their people.

    By all means pray for his soul. To suggest, as by using the word Saint that this article does, that he doesn’t need it is an outrage to decency and conservatism

  7. Mr Cheeks, God is welcome to judge your intentions as I cannot and, besides, have more pressing things to do. Same for whether you are an Imaginative Conservative or something less pleasant, but I’ve stated my sincere perceptions. Since this website charges no admission fee, everyone is welcome to visit here, even you.

    Mr JamesR, you have a point, that sainthood in full is far different that heroism per se, which can be a single great act rather than a lasting condition. However my official Poetic License is pending and I’ll post you a copy whenever, or if ever, I receive it! Many thanks.

    • A man who introduces abortion to his nation, and Same Sex Marriage to the world is, in my view at least, so far removed from Sainthood that poetic licence won’t do it I am afraid.
      You say that Sainthood can come from one great act. Then who is not a saint? We have all done one great act. Perhaps we have not had the mental ability or fame to have done something as big as Mandela’s act but few have not done something great at their own level.
      Perhaps Sainthood can come with repentance at the end of one’s life following a less good life beforehand.
      So yes, if the abortion and SSM had come before the “great act” then you could have had a point, though this ignores many other reasonable points made by others here and elsewhere. But this was when he was in power, long after his “great act”.

      He and the party he led are responsible for far more innocent lives being lost after his “great act” than they ever were before. And the party didn’t even have a free vote in parliament. Their leadership whipped them to vote for abortion.
      And yes, your Saint was that leader.

  8. With the dismantling of apartheid and the speedy decline of South Africa into a high-crime nation (to a great extent against Whites, who presently constitute a mere 8% of the population), I would suggest that the Mandela “cure” has been worse than the disease. Apartheid is a favorite whipping boy, now of conservatives as well as liberals, but how do peoples so disparate actually function together in a democratic state? Apparent via democracy as tyranny by the majority, as Whites become dispossessed in the land they built. South Africa was an imperfect creation for sure, but one which was supported by the National Review that mattered (in the 1960s) and, I suspect, Russell Kirk himself, a leading contributor to NR. Kirk and the NR of the 1960s did not shy away from discussing civilizational differences as manifested in that four-letter word, race. That was apparently your father’s conservatism. With Dr. Birzer having just written an excellent piece on conformity, it’s depressing to see boatloads of conservatives, among them Cruz and Rubio (obviously I can’t include the Bushes in this category), buying into the Leftist mythology, all quite happy to be part of an international celebration featuring Barack Obama as featured speaker.

  9. Here’s something I unexpectedly came upon several months ago in the University Bookman, Summer 1978 (edited by Russell Kirk): a review by René de Visme Williamson of The World, The West, and Pretoria, by Alexander Steward. In Williamson’s words:

    “Jefferson and the American Declaration of Independence notwithstanding, liberty is an achievement of civilized man, and not a natural right: men are not created equal either as individuals or as groups.”

    For conservatism, one too often finds one’s self sighing, with the thought “that was then, this is now.”

  10. There are some blatant untruths about Mandela and South Africa that cannot go answered. Firstly, to suggest that Mr Mandela received a fair trial implies the legitimacy of the apartheid regime. The ANC had attempted non-violent opposition. However, it become clear (particularly after the Sharpville massacre of 1960) that passive resistance would be futile. At Sharpville the police fired into a retreating crowd of unarmed protestors. Among the dead were women and children. Many were shot in the back. Saying that Mr Mandela was no better than a terrorist and received a fair trail is as ridiculous as saying that the United States and its allies were guilty of war crimes against the Nazis. Yes, I know, not comparable in scale – but still as ridiculous. Apartheid was an oppressive evil regime and I am sure that any thoughtful imaginative conservative would agree.
    Secondly, to suggest that white South Africans are under targeted attack or that there “is a campaign of genocide against white farmers” is simply false. Yes there is crime in South Africa. Yes white South Africans have been victims of crime. But many, many more black South Africans have also been victims of crime. The truth is that the vast majority of white South Africans have prospered greatly since 1993. There are very few poor whites. The lives of many black South Africans have also improved and some – but only a few – have become fabulously wealthy. There are still many millions of black South Africans who are poor and struggle without the most basic of amenities. Unlike their white countrymen they have not enjoyed the benefits of the post ’93 economic boom. Unlike their fellow white South Africans they did not have the same starting advantages of inherited wealth and education to get them going in the tough competitive race of the open market economy that was nevertheless embraced. Yet, despite this staggering inequality, the vast majority of black South Africans have exercised remarkable restraint choosing the path of constructive engagement rather than vengeful recompense. This is a testament not only to the great character of Nelson Mandela but also to the moral fibre of millions of black South Africans who suffered terribly under apartheid. Indeed – Mr Jim Smith – some people are more civilized than others.
    Mandela was no saint. Far from it. And he never claimed to be one. But there are no saints among men. His greatness was in overcoming human weakness – like bitterness and desire for revenge – and leading his people away from that dark dead-end towards the possibility of a brighter future.

  11. On second, or rather third thought, I have concluded that it was not gentlemanly to speak ill of a man recently deceased or of the poetry memorializing him. Disregard my previous comments.

  12. Mr. Button, your comments were mild political criticisms of a man who has become the most venerated public figure of our time, whose death has been used explicitly as a political vehicle. This is different from “speaking ill of the dead.” Your retraction has the effect of treating him as a sacred cow, offering undeserved (and unneeded) comfort to one side of the argument.

    Keith, you may consider it “simply false,” but a surprising source apparently does not: Amnesty International. Has there been some hyperbole? Of course, but the facts remain that several thousand white farmers have been murdered since 1993, and the murder rate in South Africa has undergone a huge jump since black rule. Unfortunately, not a shock in a country whose recently deceased leader endorsed the “civilized” practice of “necklacing.” Is it any wonder that whites have been leaving in droves, especially when they see the current President joyfully singing “Kill the Boer?” And then there’s the economy, regarding which I would suggest that any “remarkable restraint” is a desperate effort to persuade whites to stay so that the country doesn’t fall totally into the tank.

  13. “but the facts remain that several thousand white farmers have been murdered since 1993, and the murder rate in South Africa has undergone a huge jump since black rule.”

    South Africa has had a high murder rate long before Apartheid even ended. The only difference was that it was largely confined to black areas, where of course it was unreported. And I wouldn’t make too much of Amnesty International as a source of good information.

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