“Like the most …

“Like the most precious diamond . . .The Madiba who emerged from prison in January 1990 was virtually flawless” (Desmond Tutu).

Comments

  1. As a child of the 80s who grew up with names like Botha, de Klerk, and Mandela on the news, I am glad that my own children simply cannot imagine something like apartheid in any civilised country today. I remember being at school singing “Free Nelson Mandela.” Those were amazing times.

    Please put any and all Mandela cynics back in their box today. There is a time to debate legacy (as one would with a white icon such as Churchill) but that time is not now. As for me, I am likely to align my judgement with Desmond Tutu and Denis Goldberg rather than the obnoxious internet trolls.

    Free Nelson Mandela!

  2. Church’s statement:

    “With the rest of the world, we mourn the passing of revered statesman Nelson Mandela. His courage, kindness and extraordinary moral leadership have been an example to all people. We express our love and sympathies to his family and the people of South Africa as they remember his extraordinary life.”

  3. Re: Church statement (above): Oh how things change. Women, LGBT, take heart!

  4. “I am glad that my own children simply cannot imagine something like apartheid in any civilised country today”

    As am I, and I pray this remains true in the future.

    “As for me, I am likely to align my judgement with Desmond Tutu and Denis Goldberg rather than the obnoxious internet trolls.”

    Me too. Thank you for this.

  5. I think his death has hit me harder than just about any other public figure. I’m not a Bono fan at all, but I really liked how he put it : “In the end, Nelson Mandela showed us how to love rather than hate, not because he had never surrendered to rage or violence, but because he learnt that love would do a better job.”

  6. Four, yea five suggestions for the LDS Facebook commentariat:

    1. If you align yourself with the politics of those who excommunicated Mandela from the church of acceptable social action back in the day, don’t gush.
    2. Similarly, if you are not or were not deeply disturbed by Mormonism’s own brand of apartheid, and/or the apologies thereof, don’t gush.
    3. If you are a faithful Mormon, don’t imply that the Brethren’s kind statement today was simply an act of public relations and that they don’t really consider Mandela to have been a moral giant.
    4. If you are engaging in a round of “yes, but”s, make sure you do the same for heroes such as Truman and Churchill.
    5. Please let the soul of a semi-Methodist, African, lapsed socialist, human hero, have a bit of time to continue to reflect its mortal self, before you imagine it responding to Mormonism in the next world.

    Cheers, RJH.

  7. ^ Worlds without end, Ronan.

  8. Leonard R. says:

    I’m grateful that all my FB commentariat, Mormon and otherwise, has been uniformly filled with honouring a genuinely great human being.

    Not just his hometown, nor just his own nation of South Africa, but the world is literally a better place because of how Nelson Mandela chose to live and to act. There are no “Yes, but’s….” that can change that reality.

  9. Leonard R. says:

    I also wanted to add my thanks for the way you framed this. As a fellow child of the 80s, the struggle against apartheid was one of the first international political issues I was aware of. As a Canadian, I’m proud of the work of Mulroney’s government, including building support within the Commonwealth, in isolating the apartheid government of South Africa.

    But all of that would have been for nought without Mandela…

  10. 6. If you are a U.S. Senator from Arizona who as recently as 1987 was lobbying on behalf of apartheid, don’t put out a gushing statement, as if that had never happened.

  11. I was at U.C. Berkeley in Spring 1986 participating in massive rallies to end apartheid in South Africa and also sat in on student organizing committees. Heady stuff, until someone suggested people were needed in Oakland to support a labor strike for a working wage at a nursing home.

    Crickets. I gamely volunteered after the organizer snidely remarked how eager middle-class students were to end racism far away but not at home. I still remember the intense body odor of a 300 lb. man in a wheelchair I pushed around in the hot sun while he, arms raised, waved his sign. Futilely, as it turned out: the strike failed.

    I confess it was much easier for me to honor Mandela than to emulate him. After graduation, I spent two years in Central Africa “saving the world”, but I haven’t participated in a labor strike since that Oakland nursing home, and though South Africa is now free (and my beloved Central African Republic is teetering on genocide), those immigrant nursing home caregivers still labor on without job protection or a living wage.

  12. “In the end, Nelson Mandela showed us how to love rather than hate, not because he had never surrendered to rage or violence, but because he learnt that love would do a better job.”

    This.

  13. Likely Nelson Mandela will become the most important international figure of the 20th Century. Apartheid fell and peace ensued largely because of him. Conflicts between peoples remain on our plates to this day. But South Africa is a model of how a culture can be changed if good domestic leadership preservers and outsiders call attention to the issues for which that domestic leadership is sacrificing. But far too often, we blind ourselves to apartheid like problems elsewhere. Didn’t it take the US 100 years to begin to address domestic racism? And where a former president of ours, one who won the Noble Prize for Peace for his work in the Middle East, called our attention to apartheid like practices in the Middle East, will be remain blinded by our prejudices and preconceived notions of who is “right?”

    I once listened in shock to student comments in a Forum at BYU where the Attache from the Saudi Consulate in LA spoke. Some of my fellow students condemned him for what they perceived was oppression against the State of Israel! There is oppression a plenty in the Middle East and both “sides” are to blame. We sorely need Mandela like leadership there today. But we also need to stand up for the promulgation of policies that give freedom and opportunity, equal opportunity to all sects, peoples and religions. And we need to stop being so single sided in our support for one side over the other. In short, we need to follow the teachings of the Prince of Peace and forget whose side we once were on. Nelson did.

  14. My comment got too long, and fairly personal. So much of how I think about race, equality, civil society and politics has been shaped by my experiences thinking and praying for Nelson Mandela, South Africa, the end if Apartheid, and my desire to have friends who look and think differently than I do.

    Please feel free to share experiences, or links to your our writing(s) in the comments. :-)
    http://www.poetrysansonions.com/2013/12/the-man-who-chose-peace-and-healing.html?m=1

  15. President Obama’s eulogy on Tuesday was tops. Who could have done better? We all need to examine ourselves and the positions we take thoroughly. If we would have peace in our time, we need to publish peace and stop making war. Iraq and Afghanistan were revenge for 9-11. Clearly we failed to turn the other cheek! Can we ever be forgiven? No, at least not until we change our ways and repent!

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