Mandela Day as it is celebrated in Japan.

For some reason I can still remember a playground conversation about "terrorists" I had back in South Africa during the glory days of Apartheid. In those days “The Terrorist” was a semi-mythical creature, a bit like Big Foot, the Jabberwocky, or the Japanese Kappa.

We were discussing in our childish way – we were probably about seven or eight at the time – the various semi-magical tricks that terrorists were capable of. I think these included the ability to walk on ceilings, disappear into thin air, and cause bicycle wheels to fall off. Decades after the founding of the ANC and its attempt to seize power from the White South African State with guerrilla-slash-terrorist methods, this was how the mighty "freedom fighters" were seen – as absurd mythical creatures so out of touch with reality that almost any ability could be attributed to them.

The omnipotence that we primary schoolers attributed to the mythical "terrorists" was in inverse proportion to their actual abilities. The ANC had been defeated everywhere. The Apartheid State had effectively crushed the actuality of Black guerrilla resistance, both at home and on and across its borders.

Indeed, in our young minds, the mythical terrorist we talked about wasn't even Black. Growing up in South Africa, actual Blacks were of little account to us. We had a live-in-maid, who sensibly inserted three bricks under each leg of her bed to fend off the tokoloshe fire demon and we sometimes got a 'boy' to do the garden. Once, I remember, my game of pinball was interrupted by a Black man who suddenly went into an epileptic fit, which I took in a spirit of mild irritation rather than human concern. Yes, Blacks were just ciphers, background characters, support actors, even shadows in our child's-view world, where various forms of fauna, insect life, comic book characters, and the dangerous dogs we often encountered featured much more prominently.

In our childish minds we would never have associated Blacks with the omnipotence of our mythical terrorist, a much more potent cipher that had grown up in the vacuum created by the efficiency of the South African State.

This ninja-like figure of the "terrorist" was the ultimate symbol of the power of the Apartheid State, which wanted to pretend that South Africa was just another untroubled part of the Great Suburban West, a place where the sun shone on ever-glittering swimming pools, garden barbecues, new cars, and happy smiling families. Yes, it was part of the Great West, but the pools and gardens were tended by an alien underclass, the cars increasingly ran on "sasol," a synthetic petrol made from South Africa's vast reserves of coal in response to creeping oil sanctions prompted by the country's close connections with that other pariah state Israel, and occasionally the happy smiling families were victims of a certain kind of crime that seemed to be particularly associated with White South Africa – the family suicide, where the father killed his entire family, before turning the gun on himself. In Africa, it seems, the Heart of Darkness can never be entirely vanquished.

But just as the successful reality of 1970s White South Africa contained elements of myth and papered-over lies, so our schoolboy terrorist myth ultimately achieved its own reality in the surprising triumph of the ANC, a triumph that was based on no actual victories, but rather stemmed from certain processes in the collective White mind. The focus for this remarkable event was Mandela, the man whose death has predictably got the mass media of the world singing eulogiums and typing hagiographies. Just like our mythical terrorist, his power was based on his complete lack of power and was and always will be entirely mythical.

Mandela was a contradiction and a failure. The "Man of the People" was actually a petty prince of the Xhosa people and an incompetent urban guerrilla who intended much more harm than he actually did.

Critiques of Mandela tend to focus on the fact that he was a terrorist and that he intended a campaign of bombing that would have claimed civilian casualties. You can also throw in the fact that, even in prison, he allowed himself to be the figurehead of an organization that carried out, within its pathetically limited capacity, a few terrorist bombings and, much more frequently, necklacings of its own people.

But such views unwittingly set up an equation of moral equivalence that ultimately ends up commodifying human rights by bulk, in which case Mandela wins. Yes, he was a would-be killer of women and children and the Uncle Ben logo on the packet of death-by-tyre-fire, but then, the liberal leftist will retort that South Africa was a racist "terrorist" state that killed its own opponents and in the process stunted the lives of millions. Even if it ignores realities, this is how the Left's favourite magic trick of turning the "terrorist" into the "freedom fighter" works, and many on the right continue to fall for it.

Rather than cavil about the handful of civilian Whites that the ANC killed and the numbers they wished to kill, it is better to admit that here at least Mandela was in the right, for in a war between races there are no civilians, there are no individuals, there are no numbers to be put into the Grand Golden Humanitrarian Scales (presumably kept in a cabinet in the Hague and periodically polished by the tears of liberals, Christians, and internationalists).

Race war is, plain and simple, a Manichean struggle between good and evil, depending entirely on which race you belong to. This is what Mandela understood and it's entirely to his credit that he sought the advantage and superiority of his own race.

This fact should be admitted, firstly, because to say anything else leads us to the great humanitarian head count and other unsustainable right wing arguments that the justification of the White South African State was that it ensured a higher standard of living for Blacks (yippee yi yay!); and, secondly, because it also leads us to the fact that Mandela and his oddly White Jewish backers (Lionel Bernstein, Bob Hepple, Dennis Goldberg, Arthur Goldreich, Hazel Goldreich James Kantor, Joe Slovo, Ronnie Kasrils, etc.) were incompetent terrorists who were soundly defeated. In terms of the race war, the Blacks lost in 1962, the year of Mandela’s arrest, just as much as they lost in 1838, the year of the Battle of Blood River, when the 470 Voortrekkers crushed over 10,000 marauding Zulus.

Criticizing Mandela as a terrorist also strengthens the idea of Mandela and the Blacks having some kind of agency and thus a say in their historical destiny. Whether you think this desirable or not, this is simply not the case, historically speaking. At least in Haiti, the Blacks there overcame the tiny White minority to set up their own dysfunctional and useless state, but at least it was by the sweat of their own brows and the blood of their own machetes. South Africa is lot lower down the pecking order of political respectability as the power of the ANC is essentially a product of intra-White disagreements and moral posturing, combined with a burst of misplaced confidence and confusion following the collapse of the Soviet Union. When it comes to the "End of History," White South Africans were there in their station wagons setting up the barbecue long before Francis Fukuyama even set out!

The essence of Mandela is not terrorism, a concept with which he was at best loosely associated, and the one tiny sliver of respectability in the man, but the act of being a prisoner, which, of course, is an 'act' of pure passivity, a passivity further heightened by the fact that he was a man of no real vision or intelligence whose writings – even the ghost-written ones – are void of ideas and interest.

This passivity is the essence of the man, as it created the perfect receptacle for the globalized White race to outsource its various passions of self-loathing, White guilt, ethnic inclusivism, and affirmative action into a conveniently remote and low cost symbol. With all the love and power coming from one direction, it's tempting, if somewhat stomach turning, to see the West's infatuation with Mandela in sexual terms: when the White race got one of its periodic hard-ons for misplaced global humanitarianism, that tiny passive, Black speck, imprisoned, in an almost virginal sense, on Robben Island, became the focus of what must have been the biggest single psychic prison fuck in history. In essence the nappy haired prisoner is cell-block B was the ultimate receptacle for the despicable in a way that somebody as active as Gandhi or Martin Luther King couldn't be. In short, he had more of the cunt about him.

The great tragedy of this is that White South Africans also got caught up in the same nonsense as the rest of the globalized West and started pouring their dreams, fantasies, passions, and misplaced love into this small Black hole of a man.

In the same way as the receptive qualities of the female acquire power through the positive desire of the male, so the Black political non-entity acquires power through the projection of those Whites he could never conquer on his own merits. This is the power of Mandela and to a lesser extent other zeroes like Obama. It is a power on a par with my childhood mythical terrorist who also, I now remember, could empty your pockets at forty paces.

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