Yes, Mandela was a terroristÂ who advocated armed revolution.. He also was a hardcore Communist. None of this prevented him from nonviolently dismantling apartheid and being a genuine hero.
And what is a terrorist? No doubt the Brits thought the colonists in America were terrorists, and we probably were. We broke laws, dumped teas in the ocean, and practiced armed revolution. One of the founders of Israel, Menachem Begin, blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946, killing 46, including noncombatants.
Terrorism, as we use the word, is what people outside government do, that is different from what people in government do, generally only in that it is not sanctioned by government and kills a lot less people than what governments do.
Terrorism. If you win you’re a founding father, if you lose you’re a corpse.
The seventh rule of the ethics of means and ends is that generally success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics. The judgment of history leans heavily on the outcome of success or failure; it spells the difference between the traitor and the patriotic hero. There can be no such thing as a successful traitor, for if one succeeds he becomes a founding father — Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals