Tags: Nelson Mandela Dies at 95 | jesse jackson | nelson mandela | jail | innocent

Jesse Jackson: Mandela Preferred Prison to Blood on His Hands

Thursday, 05 Dec 2013 07:19 PM

By Greg Richter

In Jesse Jackson's last conversation with Nelson Mandela, the former South African president told him he was glad he was caught and jailed for 27 years before he ended up with innocent blood on his hands.

Mandela died Thursday at age 95.

Jackson told Fox News Channel's "Special Report" that Mandela had joined the military arm of the African National Congress, having decided that the only way to fight Apartheid was through violence.

After blowing up bridges and other infrastructure, they turned to schools and other buildings. The fact that he was caught and imprisoned prevented his actions from escalating.

Fox News commentator George Will was among those noting that Mandela never showed bitterness for his 27 years of imprisonment.

"If he felt no bitterness, that was astonishing. If he understandably felt it and never expressed it, that's more astonishing," Will said.

Jackson's description of the older Mandela, relieved he never killed innocents, may have at least partially explained his feelings.

Jackson was one of the first to meet Mandela as he was freed from his cell in 1990.

"The release of his body took us to unbelievable heights of joy. The release of his spirit takes us to unbelievable depths of sadness and pain," Jackson told Fox News.

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