Nelson Mandela: Beloved Terrorist?

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(Photo by Ted Eyten)

(Photo by Ted Eyten)

Today, at the age of 95, Nelson Mandela died of a lung infection. I haven’t studied him extensively, but what I do know of him has always given me cause to admire him. The Onion pretty accurately says that he is ‘the first politician to be missed‘, and seems like just a pretty great guy. My daughter even wanted to dress up as him for the UK’s National Heroes Day (she eventually went as Florence Nightingale, because how do you dress up as Nelson Mandela?).

He was on the United State’s terrorist watch list until 2008, though. The internationally beloved former leader of South Africa who was instrumental in ending apartheid, was considered a terrorist by America until he was 90 years old.

The NSA says they need their vast surveillance powers to protect us from terrorists. They need to listen in on your calls, read your emails, and track your cellphone because of terrorists. The military needs 20% of our federal budget because of terrorists. There is no established definition of what makes a terrorist. It’s essentially whatever the federal government says. If they can say that a renowned humanitarian like Nelson Mandela is a terrorist even into his 90th year, then there are no limits. Anyone can be a terrorist, according to them. And if anyone can be a terrorist, I guess we really do all need to be monitored for our own good.

Let me know your thoughts!