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Should Nelson Mandela's name be set above those of M.L.King and Gandhi for his non-violence credentials?

Since Nelson Mandela always preached non-violence, and since he never committed a violent act or supported any non-violent act, then shouldn't his name be set aside, or even above, those of Martin Luther King and Gandhi?

3 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 6
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Your suggestion is well-meaning but your history is a bit skewed. Nelson Mandela was a founder of the youth wing of the African National Congress, which subscribed to violence as a way to overthrow the government of the Republic of South Africa. He once stated the ANC "had no alternative to armed and violent resistance." He was also a notorious philanderer, cheating on both his wives, and was a member of the South African Communist Party. Later Mandela declared the ANC should mainly resort to sabotage to avoid killing as many people as possible and thus make it more likely the races would unite after the revolution. The complicated cultural structure of South Africa was not solely black vs. white, but included rivalries between tribes and ethnic groups. When Mr. Mandela, a Xhosa, was elected president, I commented to a Zulu friend visiting the U.S. that he must be happy to see Mr. Mandela in office. "Mr. Mandela does not speak for all of black South Africa," was my friend's reply. But to your question, I would not position either of those great leaders, nor many others such as Mother Theresa or the Dali Lama, above one another. Each contributed much toward lifting the plight of the down trodden and making all of us aware of our duty to humanity.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Questions like these draw people into some sort of charitable social hierarchy. Instead of thinking who's 'above&beyond' everyone else, we should just be celebrating their intended mission. The likes of MLK, Malcolm X, and Ghandi were from a far more violent era against minorities than Mandela was apart of, after 27 years of imprisonment. In no way am I discounting Mandela's grit, determination and strength. However, Malcolm X was way more a hot head than his tranquil counterparts. I included Ghandi in that violent era because after the partition of India, saw the cemented divide between Arabs and Hindus on the basis of religious and social freedoms, and representation in the government. But there's precedent there, muslims had to face the divide of palestine and israel and were not about to be subjugated once again by another culture. Understandable, but Ghandi's message was true and clear that muslims and hindus had lived side by side for millenia, it is not the same as palestine. But the likes of Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal drove their people to believe they were enduring a slow ethnic cleansing and need to expel their oppressors (*COUGH Jews COUGH* aka the entire reason behind the middle-east conflict). So with the divide, poured all that pressure on the one man who wanted to keep the two Indias together. So they killed him. Maybe Malcolm did not want to suffer the same fate and came out swinging. One thing for sure is the true focus of their stances are what unite them in their seeking for an equal social playing field, and that's all we must be concerned about. Everyone is human and subject to particular folly. Focus on the core message, and the need for questions like these will be irrelevant.

    Source(s): Extensive analysis, cross-referencing, and the undertaking of the expansive human social condition to truly understand our differences.
  • The thing is, in spite of his 27 years in prison, Mandela lived a full life. He died peacefully at the age of 95' his death was a shock to nobody.

    Gandhi and MLK were assassinated, and MLK was quite young when a sniper's bullet ended his life. Perhaps it is that an advocate for non-violence died so violently that he is honored for his work. And in the U.S., he perhaps is more honored because he was American, just as Mandela deserves great honors in South Africa.

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