(Jack Ohman via GoComics.com)
From the NYTimes, “The Great and the Humble Gather to Honor Mandela”:
SOWETO, South Africa — Tens of thousands of people streamed into a huge soccer stadium here on Tuesday along with leaders and celebrities from around the world, braving heavy rain to pay common tribute to Nelson Mandela, the man credited with inspiring the fight against apartheid from his prison cell…
His last public appearance, during the World Cup soccer tournament in 2010, was in the same FNB Stadium that was the setting for his national memorial, midway through 10 days of mourning before his state funeral on Sunday in his childhood village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape.
Mr. Mandela’s memorial service is drawing an unprecedented crowd of global V.I.P.s, including at least 91 heads of state and government, celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and the singer Bono as well as royalty including Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne.
President Obama is scheduled to speak, as is South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma. Other speakers will include the presidents of Brazil, India and Cuba….
The national memorial service came 20 years to the day after Mr. Mandela and F. W. de Klerk, South Africa’s last white president who negotiated the demise of Afrikaner power, traveled together to Oslo, Norway, to receive a shared Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. de Klerk was among the dignitaries arriving at the stadium on Tuesday for the event along with Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain.
The Washington Post, last Friday:
… In South Africa, where Mandela was affectionately known by his traditional clan name Madiba, the mood was more celebratory than somber after President Jacob Zuma announced the death on national television. Crowds thronged the streets outside Mandela’s former home in Soweto, the sprawling township outside Johannesburg that was the scene of some of the worst violence during the apartheid struggle but that has grown into an increasingly middle-class bedroom community.
Longtime newscaster Mathatha Tsedu said on a national news channel, “This is a man who had no unfulfilled missions.”…
In today’s Washington Post, Temba Maqubela:
No one should have doubted that, in the end, Nelson Mandela would be buried in his village, not in a grand public setting in Johannesburg. For it was Qunu that made Mandela a leader.
I grew up 13 miles from Qunu. In that village, like my own, neighbors nurtured the children who showed promise, celebrating their successes, collecting provisions when they were able to continue their education in boarding school or, more rarely, in college…
To really know Mandela, it helps to understand the concept of ubuntu. The Xhosa word is difficult to define, but it refers to the interconnectivity of one to another. In a Xhosa village like Mandela’s, when someone asks, “How are you?” the answer is not “I am fine.” It is, “We are fine.”…
In Qunu, Mandela lived a life of relative privilege, but in the village culture, that called for an extra dose of humility. His uncle was the acting king of the Thembus, part of the Xhosa people, and young Mandela was present during the many meetings in his village, where he would hear the egalitarian aspirations of elders, absorbing their dreams and frustrations. Mandela also herded cattle, as I and any boy growing up far from the townships did. Humility defined him.
Yet, when Mandela was 33 and heading the Youth League of the African National Congress, he announced publicly during protests on Jan Van Riebeeck Day, a holiday celebrating the whites’ arrival in South Africa, that he would someday become the first president of a liberated South Africa. Were these the words of a humble man? Yes—but also the words of a man who realized black South Africa needed energy, and, despite the callous and brutal killings, hope. Those who were fighting against apartheid had, up to that moment, been focused on equal rights. They had not considered for a moment that the highest office in the country could belong to a black….
What did I hear, something like 104 world leaders where coming to his funeral. Makes me feel so darn small. I just hope I have a few dozen people come to my funeral!
@Tommy: My goal is to never need a funeral. So far, mission accomplished.
@Big R: Hey I am all in with that.
His death just kind of made me reflect. Some of the first protesting I did was in the late 80s against apartheid when I was in college. Maybe I was smoking way too much pot (I was BTW), but I recall standing in a street with Peter Gabriel playing Biko on stun. Then a few years later protesting the WTO in DC. Marching. Protesting.
Then, well nothing for like the past 18 years. I thought I’d change the world. Then I guess I just started to make some money, buy a house (didn’t even start a family), and I got lazy.
What his life story tells me is that you can’t stop, you can’t give up, sometimes things take a long time to change.
Just saying ….
“sometimes things take a long time to change.”
And sometimes when you think they have, they haven’t.
Same old story
Same old fact
One step up and
Two steps back
I’m wondering how long it will be before we see some wingnut tweet “If Nelson Mandela was so great, how come Ronald Reagan didn’t go to his funeral? Huh?”
Idris Elba coming up on Morning Joe.
Mika “it’s amazing they pulled this together so quickly”. Like it was a big surprise that someone 95 years old died.
@raven: Brian Williams said that to Pres. Carter, not sure that’s something you’d want to say to someone in their late 80’s. It’s like, “Hey guy you’ve only got a few years left”.
Nelson Mandela at his trial:
@BillinGlendaleCA: Sure, they shouldn’t have said it to him but they sure as hell were planning this event.
I am not sure of all the thought that went into the process of sentencing him but when I read that quote I thought it very well made it impossible for anyone but a total moron to hang him. Not that there were not plenty of Afrikaners that were morons & would have paid to see him hang but I think there were enough aware ones who knew after that speech he would be more powerful in death than in life. I don’t think it was his goal but I do think that may have saved his life.
Hugh Masekela Bring Back Nelson Mandela, Bring Him Back to Soweto
@raven: I wouldn’t be surprised-rude at the moment, but he has his own plans probably already written down somewhere.
@CarolDuhart2: Yea, I was just reacting to Mika’s “stunningly superficial” comment. Of course it was planned, “some” would even say it was “pre-planned”.
@raven: …oh Mika, do you mean because they’re African they’re not as competent?
That’s not true. As Brentin Mock at Mother Jones was just pointing out:
Mandela hadn’t concluded the struggle was over with the end of apartheid, just as MLK hadn’t concluded that the struggle was over with the end of Jim Crow segregation.
I’m sitting in a Waffle House prior to going to the office, because of all places, Waffle House serves the closest thing to the full English I can find here. All I can think is that there’s lots of people who will say something like “Mandiba would not have wanted an elaborate state funeral,” to which I respond, a) how the fuck do they know? And b) of COURSE he fucking would have wanted the full hoopty-doo revue – and if it was possible, he would have fucking attended.
Oh, man, Obama went and done it. He shook Raul Castro’s hand before he gave his speech and after he didn’t even go to Thatcher’s funeral. Wowee.
@low-tech cyclist: But remember, at the point that an activist acknowledges that their quest for justice must be intersectional, they become a real danger, and must be eliminated and sanitized for public consumption.
@Joseph Nobles: Applause.
Well, made it to work without some super secwet NSA ninja assassin analysts trying to kill me. Today will be a good day.
So the big news is that Obama shook hands with Raoul Castro as he approached the stage for his speech.
WTF…media. What was POTUS supposed to do? Body-slam Castro, screaming “American….BITCH” as he does so?
Now what’s the over under on Ted Cruz taking pics with Africans as a photo-op for back home?
I didn’t. :-(
maybe they think Obama had to shoot him? That’s how they think!
Temba Maqubela via Anne Laurie @ Top:
Mandela was a linux user?
yeah cause all that matters to Africans is AIDS policy…douche
I made a comment that seems to have disappeared into the ether, something along the lines of that, Mandela in death is somehow capable of performing miracles any way: He got Ted Cruz to tell the racists in his party to go fwck themselves.
A sign of the 2nd coming?
To be fair, there are some Republicans I’d like to see him do this to.
@lamh36: He should have given him the secret terrorist (fist) bump.
this was a beaut:
“castro smiled as Obama shook his hand…” And yet Obama declined to attend Thatcher’s funeral!”
it wasn’t even the RWNJ the media wrote their objection before the RWNJ are even up.
The media are claiming “pre-emptive” analysis of the “hand-shake heard around the world”..
@lamh36: Why would anyone want to attend Thatcher’s funeral? She and Reagan were two leaders that I couldn’t stand back in the day. I’m pretty sure that President Obama has no warm feelings towards her. Interesting enough, I saw nothing of her funeral on the news. Just recall when she died and seeing British people celebrating and mocking her legacy. She will not be missed.
@lamh36: This is what he should have done.
Way back in the day . . . .
I always thought that apartheid would be eliminated some time and in some way, but I never thought it could be done without lots and lots of blood. And maybe a series of revolutions and uprisings.
Ah, the joy of being wrong!
Thank you Nelson Mandela.
Yesterday, I posted an NYT article that said that the defense bill would not deal with Gitmo. But MSNBC is reporting today that the compromise WILL allow the transfer of some detainees out of Gitmo.
@lamh36: I know, I heard this little factoid reported on WERS which is the local college station and they decided to do a slight change from their usual “student reads news badly” to have one student reading and another one sitting next to her commenting. When they got to this part the “commenter” kind of goes “woah! Big!” and then they pass on. But I heard it reported again on NPR.
There is an enormous number of people in this country who are so detatched from reality that they can’t actually remember when countries, diplomats, and heads of state used to act with calm, probity, and courtesy just because thats what you do when you are a grown up. As the Republican party has moved more towards a sports team style mentality, more towards sheer rugby tribalism, the idea of attacking, trash talking, and humiliating your counterparties in negotiations and your social equals on the world stage makes more sense to them than the reverse. Every photo op is a chance, they think, for ranking and humiliating someone. Rather than a gentle signal that negotiations and comity are possible.
They were always this way about the Commies, of course, but they were slightly restrained by fear of nuclear war. The new crop of Republicans and their voters have really taken this kind of chest bumping southern “borderer” culture to its natural limit.
@raven: I’m guessing it would also give potential ne’er do wells the same planning opps. This many leaders in one open-air location is a bad man’s wet dream
MSNBC has found the only thing that would ever make me watch Morning Joe…Idris Elba will be on the later part of the show!
Damn my love of Idris Elba
Google Ad misfire: “Save up to 25% on select crackers”.
You weren’t wrong. Between 1948 and 1994, thousands of activists, including children, were killed by the apartheid government and its allies (e.g., Inkatha).
(More precise estimates have been offered but I can’t vouch for their reliability.)
@lamh36: I tried to reach you yesterday, he was on Rev Al and Chris Hayes
The newsies are all in a whirl over a handshake? Just to fuck with them, Obama should catch Chuckie Todd’s eye and wink at him. That should be enough to keep them busy for a couple of weeks.
To make sure she’s really dead?
Thankfully, his feelings are, for the most part, inaccessible via the Internet but here’s the actual “Statement from the President on the Passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher”:
Anodyne, mostly, but there are a few bits of interest in between the lines.
OT, In case you missed it, President Obama’s full speech at the Memorial for Nelson Mandela. It was one of his best speeches.
Yesterday Lindsey Graham was whining on Twitter about how under the ACA, his monthly premium was something like $800 and an increase of 200%. Way to tell the whole story, Huckleberry.
In flipping between television channels (my usual morning penance) to watch/compare coverage of the Mandela funeral service, no surprise to find CNN and MSNBC (to the extent they could be bothered) covering themselves with shit and slime as usual.
Evidently (as earlier commenters here have noted), the most important moment of the proceedings was Obama’s handshake with Raul Castro, obligatorily “the Communist leader of Cuba.” The video clip of that two seconds was replayed repeatedly on both cable channels.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who appears to be auditioning most mornings for Roger Ailes, asked three separate times (and note I’m flipping back and forth) whether “too much was being made” about Mandela’s funeral. One one occasion of this, Christine Amanpour, standing beside, looked at him in utter disbelief.
The BBC World Service provided live coverage of the entire memorial service, switching between the delivered eulogies and interviews with assembled worthies and those who knew/worked with Mandela..
The one I found most fascinating (also with the least amount of boilerplate) was with the man who headed Mandela’s personal security detail. He recounted the circumstances behind the only time Mandela had to be escorted away from a public event for security reasons: the 1995 opening of a community center in Brixton, England at which he appeared with Prince Charles. If I can find the link at the BBC’s website, I”ll post it here later – it’s that compelling.
In the 19th century, there was something called the “cut direct”. It meant to look right at someone as if they didn’t exist. You could be called out to a duel for that. Emily Post wrote:
Clearly today’s Republicans shouldn’t be allowed in polite society.
I have to admit, that gives me a teeny-tiny hope that reconciliation with Cuba may be in the cards. If Obama can get Iran to come to the negotiating table, maybe he can start healing the Cuba breach as well.
I think what Linda was expecting was that there would be massacres of whites in the streets as apartheid broke down because, frankly, that’s what we were told for years and years and years would be the result. Fortunately for everyone on South Africa, Mandela stayed focused on his ultimate goal of equality and he and deKlerk were each able to keep their own side in check to avoid full-out civil war.
As I keep saying, 90 percent of us in a position similar to Mandela’s would have sought revenge on our own behalf and on behalf of our mistreated brethren. That Mandela did NOT seek revenge when most people would have is part of what made him an exceptional person and a great leader.
Catching up on posts from several days ago, I saw a comment of yours with that percentage figure. Let me reply now with what occurred to me then:
You’re short by 9 percentage points (not counting decimals).* That aside, I agree entirely with what you’ve written here and elsewhere on Mandela’s truly heroic (an adjective much abused) political and moral stature.
*No surprise really with you being such an optimist, always seeing the best in humankind. :)
@aimai: we rugby players ALWAYS shake hands after the match. We aren’t barbarians. ..or house republicans.
Have them add “punch and pie” to the notice.
I’ll be there!
I blame Fred Clark at Slacktivist. He keeps posting stories like this one about Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela that can’t help but make me think better of my fellow humans.
(And, yes, I’ve seen speeches by Archbishop Tutu. To describe him as “giggling” is completely apt and not at all disrespectful. It’s what he does.)