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As everyone gets all gushy about the life and passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela, it is a good idea to remember that the political party he ran, the ANC, was labeled as a terrorist organization until relatively recently. And that wasn’t just “politics,” either. Mandela’s party was very, very violent.
For all his reputation as a man of non-violence, Mandela, an avowed communist, was part of a political party guilty of mass murder and terrorist attacks–and, yes, they perpetrated such things while he was in charge of it.
This is not to say that the ANC was the only bad guys in South Africa. But it is to remind everyone that it wasn’t as clean as the driven snow.
Every president between Reagan and George W. Bush (including Clinton) kept the ANC on the terror list and left Mandela on the watch list. Mandela wasn’t removed from the watch list until Obama became president.
(See also: Obama Gives $7 Billion US Tax Dollars To Africa)
It wasn’t just the US that felt Mandela’s party was a terror organization, either. As HuffingtonPost reminds us, “Former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also described Mandela’s ANC as a ‘typical terrorist organization’ in 1987, refusing to impose sanctions on South Africa’s apartheid regime. President Ronald Reagan did as well.”
As late as the year 2000, Vice President Dick Cheney was still saying that his vote as a Congressman was 100% correct when he voted to label the ANC as a terror group and to affirm that Mandela should be on a watch list.
So, let’s have a balanced view of Mandela’s passing that isn’t filled only with gauzy love stories, shall we?
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