Greeted by a 30-strong choir and hailed by a line-up of fellow elder statesmen eager to embrace him, Nelson Mandela celebrated his 89th birthday yesterday with a new initiative demonstrating the moral authority he still carries deep into his retirement. [emphasis added]Well, maybe in a Dowdian sort of way:
In the most dramatic of many tacks, Mr. Mandela, in 1953, was among the first African National Congress leaders to argue for a shift from peaceful civil disobedience to armed insurrection. Even after his colleagues rejected violence as premature, he arranged an unauthorized mission to China to request weapons for the cause. The A.N.C. leadership finally endorsed armed struggle in 1961, just a few weeks after Mr. Mandela and his compatriots, in the course of winning acquittal on charges of treason, had insisted that nonviolence was an inalterable principle of the organization. "For me," he writes, "nonviolence was not a moral principle but a strategy; there is no moral goodness in using an ineffective weapon."Very pragmatic.
Seems Abbas has more in common with Mandela than we thought. Remember December 2005:
However, after yesterday’s suicide bombing in Netanya, Abbas simply condemned the attack on tactical grounds as “damaging to Palestinian interests.”Abbas has earned the description "pragmatic"--just like a another terrorist whose organization's charter calls for the destruction of Israel: Haniyeh.
Terrorist, freedom fighter, moderate, pragmatic.
In Mandela's case you may argue there are no easy answers, but then again--as we see today--the world has long stopped asking the necessary questions.