Posts Tagged ‘Truth & Reconciliation’

Mandela, Truth Philosopher

December 6, 2013

Mandela IS An Example to All. He will live on as a shining beacon forever. Not less because he brought to the fore, and showed that both the Dark Side, in combination with Truth, was how to make wisdom triumph. This is a lesson that had escaped Socrates himself.

In his entire life, Mandela did only one thing really wrong: he served a single five year presidential term, instead of two. He could have used the second one to say a few uncomfortable truths he had the stature to present, defend and implement the remedies they called for.

Human Rights: True, Thus Strong

Human Rights: True, Thus Strong

Told, when president, that some youth protested about the absence of enough social change, Mandela lashed out that they should go to school instead. Mandela had a temper. But he knew how to use it for the best. As a ram to tell the truth.

It’s because Mandela could call onto the Dark Side, as needed, that he was able to do all he did. Mandela was a master, not a slave. He preferred to take a chance and die fighting than thrive on his knees.

From kingly lineage, he became a lawyer, and struggled against the racial terror system in South Africa. Then the Apartheid plutocrats resorted to extermination, Mandela responded to the escalation in the only way, the only appropriate way. He brought a bigger  mob to handle the guys with the bigger guns. Mandela switched to physical violence and high explosives.

That, dear pacifists of the morbid type, is how one handles Nazi-like characters. Not by turning the other cheek, but by turning to violence that wins them over. As nothing else will.

That was the inescapable power logic of France’s attack against Hitler, and of the nuclear bombings over Japan: confronted to ultimate violence, only a fiercer violence can dominate… for the better.

Mandela’s armed struggle was the one and only correct decision: only confrontation can beat infamy, submission is collaboration.

Arrested, Mandela risked the death penalty. But the satanic servants of horrors opted for a wiser course, and that’s why 9% of the population of South Africa is still “white”.

It was a tentative des-escalation on their part. And a very wise one: as it turned out, Mandela was the one and only who could reconcile all. And that’s why 9% of the population of South Africa is still “white”.

(Although there was more mixing than generally admitted: the eyes of the otherwise very “black” Desmond Tutu, another Nobel Peace prize who deserved his prize, are… blue. Winnie Mandela’s skin looks also rather white these days, to the point I could not recognize her…)

Things could have still evolved for the worst, as they did, say, in Algeria. But Mandela, once again found the perfect dosage of Enlightenment and Dark Side to knead and transform his jailers’ previously rigid minds.

Mandela refused to call his jailers “boss”. But he learned their language, Afrikaner. He refused to be freed, until his conditions were met.

Mandela knew how much he owed to the Dark Side. He insisted he was not a good man, but real tough and mean. To prove this, he rolled out, a few years ago, that he had beaten his first wife. He insisted, too, that he was no Gandhi.

Gandhi was a pacifist, Mandela was not. Gandhi played saint, Mandela was one. Gandhi played the saint so much, he came down to believe in his all encompassing goodness. He could do not wrong, he thought.

Just as a pilot who thinks he cannot do wrong, and he had just to fly straight ahead, Gandhi crashed into a mountain. A mountain that he had erected himself, by being too much of an Hindu nationalist: the division of the subcontinent along religious lines, in a blood bath that killed millions, several times, and could cause a nuclear war. Relative to this, what he fought against was nothing. Gandhi turned something that was easy to do, and was going to happen anyway, into a disaster.

Mandela did the opposite: he turned something that was nearly impossible to do, into a total success.

Mandela knew people could cause mass mayhem, just by making mistakes, and thus that, in the situation he and De Klerk were, it was crucial to avoid the smallest mistake. And he said so, pointing out De Klerk’s “mistakes”, strenuously, firmly, but, deep down, kindly.

Mandela set-up the Truth & Reconciliation Commission: in exchange for the truth, the worst of the worst were forgiven, and reconciled. This stays a model, a new solution for political situations of this type, where either both sides have been very wrong, or when plutocrats give up power and are forgiven in exchange for explaining how their satanic powers were exerted (the latter revelation automatically disarms them, not just tactically, politically, but also, and most importantly, philosophically).

This is indeed exactly what Socrates failed to implement; big time philosophy in action, for the better, in a war, and racist context.

The Truth and Reconciliation strategy was a gigantic progress, philosophically speaking. Mandela’s contribution to philosophy may have been greater than any made by, say, Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle.

Mandela implemented the highest and most important principle: truth is more important than anything else. Horror, first of all, is enabled by lies.

Truth as the ultimate exercise of power: something for all to meditate, and implement.


Patrice Ayme