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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Mandela’s not-so-peaceful past

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David Keene imagines that without Nelson Mandela, "South Africa could easily have taken the course that destroyed what was once Rhodesia and is today Zimbabwe" ("Nelson Mandela's legacy," Commentary, Dec. 9). I remember the State Department's No. 2 official in the Africa division, Jeff Davidow, prematurely crowing, "Zimbabwe is a success." South Africa today appears to be on the same downward path as Zimbabwe.

While the article credits Mandela for South Africa being "a successful nation with a bright future," the reality is that South Africa is beset with a wave of crime (it is the murder capital of the world), corruption, urban decay and civil unrest. It also has the largely unreported phenomenon of mass murders of Afrikaner farmers at the hands of blacks who were told by the ANC that they would be given white properties once the ANC took power — a phenomenon not unlike what Zimbabwe's farmers experienced under longtime President Robert Mugabe. This is Mandela's legacy.

Mandela's ANC had a history of terrorism and brutality with the gruesome practice of necklacing, burning victims alive with a gasoline-filled tire around their bodies. It was used as a campaign weapon against rival blacks to achieve one-party rule. Mandela, as head of his party, cannot be exonerated from the vicious actions of his party henchmen. Mandela's party campaigned hand-in-glove with the South African Communist Party, and any black who spoke out against communism was labeled a puppet of apartheid.

In the U.S. Senate in the mid-1980s, senators who opposed sanctions against South Africa were typically denounced as supporting racism. South Africa at the time boasted a free press and a free judiciary, rarities in sub-Saharan Africa. The ANC campaign of terrorism and "liberation before education" was meant to undermine support for ongoing reforms and racial integration and to achieve a radical overthrow of the existing regime.

The "mainstream" media that falsely equates Mandela to Gandhi similarly marketed President Obama to the U.S. public as a racial healer, ignoring his Frank Marshall Davis mentoring and his ties to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and Mr. Ayers' wife, Bernardine Dohrn, who made the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.

Montross, Va.

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