So about this ridiculous uproar over the selfie that President Obama took with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron? Turns out not only was Michelle Obama not angry, but the whole thing was blown out of proportion. (I’m shocked! Shocked to find rank sensationalism going on in here!)
Check out this blog post by the Agence France Presse photographer who took those oh, so scandalous pix!
Peter Gabriel points out something that very few of the stories about Nelson Mandela’s passing are focusing on: reconciliation. In a world where there’s so much recrimination, so much anger, so much partisan fighting, bickering and warfare, we have just lost a man who reconciled with those who not only put him in prison but who ran a system of government that systematically brutalized and murdered thousands and thousands of black South Africans.
Think about what that took. What strength of character he must have had to endure decades of brutal imprisonment only to emerge, lead his people to freedom, become the president of a new South Africa and lead a process of reconciliation. Truly an amazing man.
I know it was only a day ago, but in today’s short news cycle, maybe I should remind you…remember when I reflected a little bit about the racist language and stunning inability of some on the far right to understand historical context and to know when certain things are inappropriate?
Well, guess who’s putting their foot in their mouth, again. Yep, it’s the far right GOP’s #2 moron (Sarah Palin is always #1, IMHO) Rick Santorum. Speaking on The O’Reilly Factor (and following another incredibly stupid comment by Bill O), Santorum decided that directly after lauding the (very) recently deceased Nelson Mandela, it was the right time to draw a parallel between Mandela’s struggle against Apartheid and the GOP’s “struggle” against Obamacare and “the ever increasing size of government.”
Well, we all knew this was coming, but that doesn’t make it any less gut-wrenching. He had been in and out of the hospital for months with numerous infections, but after the life he led and all of the adversities he overcame, I bet I’m not the only one who had a little secret part of his brain where the idea of an immortal Nelson Mandela took root.
The 1986 Anti-Apartheid march in New York City was the first real political event that my father and I attended together and it was a galvanizing moment not just for myself, but for tens of thousands of others. I had just graduated high school, bound for a liberal arts school in Massachusetts and in the mid-late 1980’s, you were hard-pressed to find a campus without a home-made shanty, without divestment protests and without Nelson Mandela’s face adoring dorm rooms across campus.
Also in the 80s, Ska was making one of its regular comebacks dubbed (pun intended) the 2 Tone sound, it was rife with political and integrationist feelings, hence the black and white imagery. One of the songs that helped raise the profile of Mandela and the Anti-Apartheid movement was “Free Nelson Mandela,” by The Special AKA:
Mandela was one for the ages. An inspiration for countless millions, even billions and someone who achieved the rarest of heights: Worldwide recognition for all the right reasons. We will never see the likes of him again.