What has been lost in all the praise of Nelson Mandela is a clear understanding of the true nature of his heroism. Mr. Mandela was, above all else, a resistance fighter. He was a militant who preferred to employ peaceful means when possible. He was realistic enough, however, to understand that nonviolence was not always an option.
Even after his lengthy imprisonment, his spirit of resistance was not broken. He is not to be compared with Gandhi and Martin Luther King, but rather with his fellow resistance fighters: Malcolm X, Yasser Arafat, and Fidel Castro. He embraced their struggles and accepted their methods.
As much as we like our saints to be pure (as with Kennedy), the reality is more complex, and more interesting. If you wish to honor Mandela, seek to better understand his struggle, the methods he employed, and his comrades.
— Kenneth Baitsholts