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Jacques Derrida - Pour Nelson Mandela

Jacques Derrida - Pour Nelson Mandela

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Published by Che Brandes-Tuka
The Laws of Reflection: Nelson Mandela in Admiration
The Laws of Reflection: Nelson Mandela in Admiration

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Che Brandes-Tuka on Jun 28, 2013
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05/26/2014

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§
4
The
Laws
of
Reflection:Nelson Mandela, in Admiration
Admirable Mandela.Period,
no
exclamation.Iam
not
using this
punctuation
to moderatemyenthusiasm
or
to
quell myfervor.Instead
of
speaking onlyin
honor
of
NelsonMandela,Iwill say something
about
his
honor
without
succumb-ing,
if
this
is
possible,
to
loftiness,
without
proclaiming
or
acclaiming.
The
homagewillperhaps be more just,as willits
tone
,
if
itseemstosurrender its
impatience-without
whichthere wouldbenoquestion
ofadmiring-to
the coldness
of
ananalysis.
Admiration
reasons,despitewharpeoplesay;it worksthings
out
withreason;itastonishesandinter- rogates:howcan
one
be Mandela?
Why
does heseem
exemplary-and
admirablein
what
he thinks
and
says,in
what
he does
or
in
what
hesuf-
fers?
Admirable in himself.as well
as
for
what
heconveys
in
his
testimony,
another
word formarryrdom, namely, the experience
of
his
people?
"My
people
and
I," healways says,
without
speakinglikeaking.
Why
does healso
force
one
to
admire him?
This
word presupposessome
resi
stance,for hisenemies admirehim
without
admitting
it. Unlike thosewho love him
among
his peopleand alongwith his inseparable
Winnie,
from
whom
they havealwayskept himseparatedin vain, theseenemies This
essaywas
firs<
publis
hed
in
POllr
Nelson Mandtla
("Quinze ccrivains sal,,- rillNelsonMandela
or
Ie
combardont
savie
porre",moignage
[Fifreen
wrirers
A"llIll'
NelsonMandelaand
rhe
fight
to
which
his
life
bears
witness
]"(Pari
s:
GaI
-lilllard.
I'JH6).
IthankAntoine Gallimard
for
permi
ss
ion
toreprintit
here
.
 
The
Laws
of
Reflection
fea
rhim.Ifh
is
mast
hatefulpersecutorssecredy admirehim, this proves Ihat,
as
one
says,hecompels admira
ti
on.
So
,this
is
thequestion:where does thisforce come from?Wheredoes
it
lead?Forwhat
is
itused,
Or
to what
is
itapplied?
Or
rather: whatdoes
it
cause to
fold'
What
form
is
tobe recognizedinthis fold?Whatline? First
of
all
wewi
Usee there,andlet
us
say ir withourfurtherprem
ise
,the
line
of
a
reflection.
It
isfirst
of
all
aforce
of
reflection.
What
is
obvi-
OliS
rightaway
is
that Mandela'spoliticalexperience orpassioncannever heseparatedfromatheoretical reflection:onhistory,culture, andabove all, law.
An
unremittinganalysis enlightensthe rationality
of
his acts,his
demon
strations,hisspeech
es,
hisstrategy. Evenbefore beingconstra
in
ed
to
withdraw
(au
repl,]
by
prison-and
during
a quartercentury
of
incar-ceration,he has
not
ceased to act
and
direcr thestru
ggle-Mandela
hasalwaysbeenam
an
of
reflecrion.Like all greatpoliticians.But in"force
of
reflection"there
is
some
rhing else that can beheard, something that signalstowardthe
li
terality
of
themirrorandthescene
of
speculation.
Not
somuchtowardthe physical laws
of
reflection
as
towa
rd
specularparadoxes inthe experien
ce
of
rhe law.
There
is
no law with
out
mirror.And
in
this properlyreversible structure, we willneveravoid the
moment
of
admiration. Admiration, as itsname indicates,one w
ill
say,and so
on
.
No
,no mat-tcrwharirs name
or
thefact thar it always enabl
es
us
ro
see,
admirationtloc
.,
notonly
belong tosight.
It
translatesemotion,asto
ni
shmenr, sur-prise,interrogation in the face
of
what oversteps Ihemeasure:
in
the face
of
the "exrraordinary," saysDescanes,a
nd
he considersitapassion,the
lim
of
thesixprimitive passions,beforelove,hare,desire,joy,
and
sad-ne
SS.
It
enables
und
erstandin
g.
Outs
id
e
of
it,there
is
only
ignorance,he
~dd
s,
andinitresides"a greatdeal
of
force"
of
"
surpr
ise"
or
of
"sudden
'lI'rivallflrrivement
mbit
l."
The
admiringlook
is
astonished; irquestions
it
.,illluilin,,;
ir
opensilselfto thelight
of
aquestion,
but
of
aquestion
rcai
ved
"n
le
ss
rhanasked.
This
expe
ri
enceletsirselfbetraversedby rhe ray
or
a tl"esrion, which
in
no waypreventsitsreflection.
The
raycomesfronl Iht·verything that forcesadmiration;itthussplits admiration into
~
'
I"
'n
dar Illo
wme
nr that seems srrangely fascinarin
g.
Mandda
hecomesadmirable for baving
known
bowto admire. Andwhal
Itt
'
Itas
le
artll·d,
he
haslearn
ed
in admiration.
He
fascinales
toO
,
as
WI'
.hall
"'t',
Ii'rhaving heenr:lscinaled.
III
a
'tTlain
wayIhal
Wt
'
w
ill
have
In
undersrand,
he
sap
this
.
He
say.
 
The
L
aws
of
R
eflec
t
ion
what hedoes and
wh
at h
as
happenedto
him
. Sucha
li
ght,its
re
R
ec
tedpassage,
ex
pe
ri
ence asthedepar
tur
e-r
et
urnof a
qu
estion,would
thu
salso betheeruption
[k
i
m]
ofa voice. Nelson Mand
el
a's
voice-what doesit ev
ok
e, ask, enjoin?
Wh
atw
ould
it haveto dowithsig
ht
,reRec
ti
on, a
dmiration
,I meanthe energy of this voice
bur
also
of
whatsin
gs
initsnam
e?
(hear the
cl
amor
of
hispeople when thispeople
dem
ons
tr
at
es
in
hi
s name:Man-de-la!). Admir
at
ion
of
Nclson Mandela,
as
wemig
ht
saythep
ass
ionofN
cl
sonMa
nd
el
a.
Adm
ira
ti
onof Mandela, adouble geniti
ve:
the
on
eheinspir
es
a
nd
the onehefeels.
Th
e t
WO
have
th
e
sa
me focu
s,
they arcreRected in it.
I
have already stated
my
hypoth
es
i
s:
hebecom
es
a
dmir
able for having
admir
ed,with
al
l his streng
th
, and
fo
r havingmade aforce
of
his a
dmir
ation
-a
n inA
ex
ible and irre
du
cible
fi
g
ht
ingpower. Thelawitsel
f,
th
elawabove o
th
er law
s.
For in
fac
t whath
as
he a
dmir
ed?[noneword: the Law. Andwhat in
sc
rib
es
itin discourse, in his
to
ry,
in theins
tiw
tion,nam
ely,Ri
ght.A first
qu
otario
n-
a
la
wyer
is
speaking,during atrial,
hi
strial,
th
e
one
whereheis alsoprosec
ut
ing,theone in which heprosec
ut
es
th
ose w
ho
accusehim,in
th
e
nam
e
of
thelaw:
Th
ebasictaskat theprese
nr
mome
ncis
theremoval
of
race discrimination
a
nd
th
e att
ai
n
me
m
of
democra
ri
cr
ig
hts on theb
as
is of
th
e
[o
reedomChar ter .
..
Fro
m my reading
of
Marx
ist lirer
a<
ure and from
co
n
ve
rsations withM
arx
ists,[ h
ave
ga
inedtheimpr
ess
ion
rh
at
co
mmunists
re
gard
th
epa
rli
a
me
ntary
sys
tem
of
rhe
Wesr
as
undemocratic andreactionar
y.
But, on the
co
ntrar
y,
I
tim an
ad
mirer
of
sucha system.
T
he
Mag
ll
a Ca
rt
a,
th
ePe
rit
ion
of
Ri
ghts,and
th
e
Bill
of
Ri
ghts arc do
cu
ments wh
ic
harcheld in
ve
neration
by
dem
oc
ratsthroughoutthe
wo
rl
d.
Ibave
[,elll
mp"
t
fo
rB
ri
tish politi
ca
l
in
stitution
s,
and for
th
e
co
untr
y's
sys
temofjustic
e.
I
rega
rd theBritish Parliament
as
them
os
t dem
oc
ratic
in
stitut
io
n
in
th
e
wo
rld
, a
nd
theindependen
ce
a
nd
impa
rti
al
i
ty
of
it
sjud
ic
iary
ne
ve
r fa
il
ro
Ilrou
s~
Illy
admiration.'
Headmires
th
el
aw,
he saysit
cl
ea
rl
y,
but isthislaw,which
com
mand
s
wn
sriturions a
nd
de
cl
arations, essentia
ll
y ath
ing
of theW
es
t?Doesits formal univer
sa
li
tyretainsomeirreduciblelink withE
uropea
noreven An!\lo-Amcrican hisror
y?
If
it
were
so
,
wewould
of
course still haveto "lInsider Ihis strange I'0
ss
ihility:that
ir
sformalcharacter would be
as
es.<clllial
lO
ti
ll'
1IIli
v
"r
sa
liIY
of
th,
'
la
wasIhe,'v,'
Il
!of
ir
s
pr
esenrarion ina

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He admired the law, the just law, not the then prevailing rules of oppression, and in this he came to embody justice.
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