the terror attack. And true to form, their allies (according to Reuters) would like to see the “ICC suspend its ongoing prosecutions…for two to three years.”
When war and the rhetoric of war sanctions and normalizes the killing of civilians, we should recall Mandela’s flawed but beautiful humanism. He ended his Rivonia statement this way: “I have fought against White domination, and I have fought against Black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Mandela did not say he was prepared to kill civilians for his ideal; rather, he was ready to die for the ideal that no one group, Black or White, or one people or nation, should dominate another.
A shorter version of this essay first appeared in The Guardian.
Mukoma Wa Ngugi is an Assistant Professor of English at Cornell University, the author of Nairobi Heat and the forthcoming Black Star Nairobi. You can follow him on Twitter @mukomawangugi, and visit MukomaWaNgugi.com.