Mandela was no Patrick Henry

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In his zeal to captain the “Mandela for Man of the Millennia Express” Newt Gingrich wrote [1]:

“…Americans celebrate the farmers at Lexington and Concord…. We praise George Washington for fighting the British Army’s … assault on our freedom.

“Patrick Henry said, ‘Give me liberty or give me death.’

“Thomas Jefferson wrote … ‘all men are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights….’

“Doesn’t this apply to Nelson Mandela and his people?”

I don’t know about “his people” but the answer to the Mandela query is “no” and please don’t ever compare a communist who used violence against unarmed civilians to George Washington or Patrick Henry ever again.

Patrick Henry was a devout Episcopalian [2] who stood his oratorical ground against an invading army. He delivered the “liberty or death” speech in a church and urged his countrymen to defend their private property and constitutional rights as Englishmen. Washington, in the same manner, defended New York against German mercenaries hired by King George III and then watched as those men were defeated at Ft. Washington and then slaughtered while trying to surrender [3]. The thought that either would have made allies of communists or committed terrorist acts against Parliament is offensive and historically incorrect.

Mandela’s resume includes those acts and those alliances. Margaret Thatcher once referred to his African National Congress as a “typical terrorist organization” [4]. You can watch 1992 video [5] of Mandela surrounded by his own terrorists, smiling, his “black power fist” raised in the air singing “kill them-kill the whites” [6]. Ilana Mercer, who fled post-Mandela South Africa wrote in her book Into the Cannibals Pot, “Since he came to power in 1994, approximately 300,000 people have been murdered…. Bit by barbaric bit” [7].

If Gingrich and others choose to be blinded to the bitter sting of Mandela’s history, fine, but leave the American Founding Fathers out of it.

1. See: What Would You Have Done? by Gingrich, Newt, 6 December, 2013
“Mandela was faced with a vicious apartheid regime that eliminated all rights for blacks and gave them no hope for the future. This was a regime which used secret police, prisons and military force to crush all efforts at seeking freedom by blacks. What would you have done faced with that crushing government? What would you do here in America if you had that kind of oppression? Some of the people who are most opposed to oppression from Washington attack Mandela when he was opposed to oppression in his own country. After years of preaching non-violence, using the political system, making his case as a defendant in court, Mandela resorted to violence against a government that was ruthless and violent in its suppression of free speech. As Americans we celebrate the farmers at Lexington and Concord who used force to oppose British tyranny. We praise George Washington for spending eight years in the field fighting the British Army’s dictatorial assault on our freedom. Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Thomas Jefferson wrote and the Continental Congress adopted that “all men are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Doesn’t this apply to Nelson Mandela and his people?”

2. Tyler, Moses Coit Patrick Henry, American Statesman, Founding Father Films Publishing (2013 ed.) p. 299

3. Irving, Washington, Life of Washington, 1856, p. 398
“Washington, surrounded by several of his officers, had been an anxious spectator of the battle from the opposite side of the Hudson. Much of it was hidden from him by interrening hills and forest; but the roar of cannonry from the valley of Harlem Biver, the sharp and incessant reports of rifles, and the smoke rising above the tree tops, told him of the spirit with which the assault was received at various points, and gave him for a time a hope that the defence might be successful The action about the lines to the south lay open to him, and could be distinctly seen through a telescope ; and nothing encouraged him more than the gallant style in which Cadwalader with an inferior force maintained his position. When he saw him, however, assailed in flank, the line broken, and his troops, overpowered by numbers, retreating to the fort, he gave up the game as lost. The worst sight of all, was to behold his men cut down and bayoneted by the Hessians while begging quarter. It is said so completely to have overcome him, that he wept ” with the tenderness of a child.”

4. Thatcher Margaret, c. October 1987, cited as Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference Vancouver, British Columbia . See Independent UK, 10 December, 2013

5. See Youtube,

6. Ibid, cited in Kerwick, Jack, Mandela Is No Saint, 7 December, 2013

7. Mercer, Illana, Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa (2012) p. 148