"A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle, and the oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor. At a point, one can only fight fire with fire."
by:
Nelson Mandela
(1918-2013) South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, imprisoned for 27 years, President of South Africa (1994-1999)
Source:
Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
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Reader comments about this quote:
Mandela was a murdering terrorist. His ANC used necklacing to kill other black South Africans that did not agree with his methods. Necklacing is putting a car tire around someone's neck, filling it with diesel fuel, tying their hands behind their back and setting it on fire. Slow painful death. He is in hell now and will have a continuous fire for eternity.
 -- David, Oakland     
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    Not entirely sure how to rate the quote. Mandela was no Gandhi, but apartheid was real. Something had to give -- it is/was war. Unfortunately all is fair in love and war. History too often repeats itself that the newly freed oppressed soon oppress others -- South Africa is not the only example.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Gandhi, Jesus and others have given grand examples to the contrary. Victory over an immediate threat may be had through violence but, it gives no real peace (long lasting or otherwise). Mandela was the world order's socialist marionette that reeked fearful obedience through violence and terror, justifying the ends by their means. Mandela did not bring the races together, he only implemented fascist applications.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike, that may be, but not all nations are on the same development path. Africa has not really ever recovered from British and European colonization. I am afraid Gandhi and India are unique -- and remember, that the Indian people also rose up in arms against their neighbors. Who could fast for peace today and get it?

    Christians on the battlefront do not walk into bullets -- they fire them!

    Why do the people need guns then? To fight fire with fire.

    Both David and Mike have made ad hominem arguments.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    David , while I seriously doubt that hell exists, Your comments on Mandela are on target. He was also a Communist.
     -- jim k, Austin     
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    Archer, I understand and support your position. Also, I did go a bit overboard on the ad hominem even though it harmonizes the point of the quote to Mandela's actions. Some of the things my thumbs down was about was 'the oppressor defining the nature of the struggle.' The oppressor defines the evil of the oppressed, his attempts to free himself and uses maximum lethal force to stop any light of freedom. The freedom fighter must choose his method of fighting. For example, for years I went to court, researched with others, lectured, went on some radio talk shows and now comment on several blogs. The oppressor gets more and more violent in his increase of oppression. It is most probably going to come to violence against violence (sooner than later) It is my hope that the oppressed will define the nature of the struggle with no mirrors involved.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    It was the line 'the oppressor defining the nature of the struggle' that I liked! The Gandhian response is committed non-compliance on a massive scale -- a general strike. But when it is but one man against the power of a State, particularly in a courtroom where the violence against the individual is buried in legalese and justified by statute, the same strategies do not apply to all. Remember that in the end, Gandhi himself fasted until nearly dead to get Indians to stop killing each other.

    The freedom fighter can't always secure the battlefield to his advantage, and as Mandela said, 'often left no recourse ... at a point, one can only fight fire with fire.'

    I am referring to the quote, not the man or the political shenanigans of the African parties -- few of which seem to espouse much more than military gang rule, as far as I can tell.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Mandela was Marxist revolutionary who has blood on his hands.
    At one time Johannesburg, So. Africa was one of the safest cities in the world. Now it is the rape capital of the world! This is the legacy of this person so many leftists love.
    He was given the opportunity to be released earlier if he would not commit any more acts of violence. He refused.
    He should have been given the death penalty.
     -- Max, Texas     
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