A post to soothe the nerves as another momentous day passes into the rearview mirror.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Rain
Miriam Makeba – Soweto Blues
A post to soothe the nerves as another momentous day passes into the rearview mirror.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Rain
Miriam Makeba – Soweto Blues
A boy with “Rest In Peace Nelson Mandela” painted on his face looks up to the skies during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday Dec. 10
Endless thanks to UT for all of today’s wonderful posts
President Barack Obama addresses the crowd during a memorial service for Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa
Alycee (@jazziz2) December 10, 2013
Remembering Nelson Mandela
To Graça Machel and the Mandela family; to President Zuma and members of the government; to heads of state and government, past and present; distinguished guests – it is a singular honor to be with you today, to celebrate a life unlike any other. To the people of South Africa – people of every race and walk of life – the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us. His struggle was your struggle. His triumph was your triumph. Your dignity and hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy.
It is hard to eulogize any man – to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life, but the essential truth of a person – their private joys and sorrows; the quiet moments and unique qualities that illuminate someone’s soul. How much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice, and in the process moved billions around the world. Born during World War I, far from the corridors of power, a boy raised herding cattle and tutored by elders of his Thembu tribe – Madiba would emerge as the last great liberator of the 20th century. Like Gandhi, he would lead a resistance movement – a movement that at its start held little prospect of success. Like King, he would give potent voice to the claims of the oppressed, and the moral necessity of racial justice. He would endure a brutal imprisonment that began in the time of Kennedy and Khrushchev, and reached the final days of the Cold War. Emerging from prison, without force of arms, he would – like Lincoln – hold his country together when it threatened to break apart. Like America’s founding fathers, he would erect a constitutional order to preserve freedom for future generations – a commitment to democracy and rule of law ratified not only by his election, but by his willingness to step down from power.
Given the sweep of his life, and the adoration that he so rightly earned, it is tempting then to remember Nelson Mandela as an icon, smiling and serene, detached from the tawdry affairs of lesser men. But Madiba himself strongly resisted such a lifeless portrait. Instead, he insisted on sharing with us his doubts and fears; his miscalculations along with his victories. “I’m not a saint,” he said, “unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
It was precisely because he could admit to imperfection – because he could be so full of good humor, even mischief, despite the heavy burdens he carried – that we loved him so. He was not a bust made of marble; he was a man of flesh and blood – a son and husband, a father and a friend. That is why we learned so much from him; that is why we can learn from him still. For nothing he achieved was inevitable. In the arc of his life, we see a man who earned his place in history through struggle and shrewdness; persistence and faith. He tells us what’s possible not just in the pages of dusty history books, but in our own lives as well.
Mandela showed us the power of action; of taking risks on behalf of our ideals. Perhaps Madiba was right that he inherited, “a proud rebelliousness, a stubborn sense of fairness” from his father. Certainly he shared with millions of black and colored South Africans the anger born of, “a thousand slights, a thousand indignities, a thousand unremembered moments…a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people.”
But like other early giants of the ANC – the Sisulus and Tambos – Madiba disciplined his anger; and channeled his desire to fight into organization, and platforms, and strategies for action, so men and women could stand-up for their dignity. Moreover, he accepted the consequences of his actions, knowing that standing up to powerful interests and injustice carries a price. “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination,” he said at his 1964 trial. “I’ve cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Mandela taught us the power of action, but also ideas; the importance of reason and arguments; the need to study not only those you agree with, but those who you don’t. He understood that ideas cannot be contained by prison walls, or extinguished by a sniper’s bullet. He turned his trial into an indictment of apartheid because of his eloquence and passion, but also his training as an advocate. He used decades in prison to sharpen his arguments, but also to spread his thirst for knowledge to others in the movement. And he learned the language and customs of his oppressor so that one day he might better convey to them how their own freedom depended upon his.
Mandela demonstrated that action and ideas are not enough; no matter how right, they must be chiseled into laws and institutions. He was practical, testing his beliefs against the hard surface of circumstance and history. On core principles he was unyielding, which is why he could rebuff offers of conditional release, reminding the Apartheid regime that, “prisoners cannot enter into contracts.” But as he showed in painstaking negotiations to transfer power and draft new laws, he was not afraid to compromise for the sake of a larger goal. And because he was not only a leader of a movement, but a skillful politician, the Constitution that emerged was worthy of this multiracial democracy; true to his vision of laws that protect minority as well as majority rights, and the precious freedoms of every South African.
Mourners gather to honor Nelson Mandela at an inter-faith service at the Grand Parade in Cape Town
Grand Parade, Cape Town
Pakistani schoolchildren hold lamps during a memorial tribute to Nelson Mandela, in Karachi
— machiel roets (@machielroets) December 8, 2013
Pumla Cohen, a South African who has lived in New York since 1998, pauses at a candle lit vigil outside the South African Consulate in memory of Nelson Mandela
A man wears his carnival drum group “Batuqueiro do Nelson Mandela” shirt at Mandela shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Flowers and tributes lie at the base of the plinth bearing a bust of Nelson Mandela in central London
Rolihlahla Mandela, the son of a Thembu tribal chief, was born in Mvezo, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape on 18 July 1918. He was the first of his family to go to school. It was there he received the name Nelson – it was customary for school children to be given English names. In 1941, he fled to Johannesburg to avoid an arranged marriage. He met Walter Sisulu who helped him get work at law firm Witkin Sidelsky. Mr Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944.
Mr Mandela qualified as a lawyer and in 1952 set up the country’s first black law firm with Oliver Tambo.
Fearing a ban by the apartheid government, the ANC asked Mr Mandela to make plans to ensure the party could work underground.
He was arrested in 1956 and charged with treason along with 155 others. The trial lasted four-and-a-half-years, and ended with his being acquitted. In 1958, he married his second wife, Winnie Madikizela.
After police killed 69 protesters in Sharpeville in March 1960, the government feared retaliation, so it declared a state of emergency and then banned the ANC. The organisation formed a military wing, led by Mr Mandela.
In 1962, Mr Mandela was arrested and tried for leaving the country illegally. In 1963, while in prison, he was charged with sabotage. He and seven others were sentenced to life in 1964 and jailed on Robben Island.
Dire Straits and Eric Clapton at Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday tribute
The international community started to tighten sanctions which had been first imposed on the apartheid regime in 1967. By 1990, the pressure led to President FW de Klerk lifting the ban on the ANC.
On 11 February 1990, Mr Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison. Crowds cheered as he and his wife Winnie left the prison grounds. The next year, Mr Mandela was elected ANC president at the party’s first national conference. Talks began on forming a new, multi-racial democracy.
President Obama walks off the stage after speaking during the 2013 National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. on December 6 (Photo by Molly Riley)
1:0 EST The President participates in a conversation with Saban Forum Chairman Haim Saban at the Saban Forum
Tomorrow: The President and First Lady will attend the Kennedy Center Honors
Alex MacGillis: Those Media Hysterics Who Said Obama’s Presidency Was Dead Were Wrong. Again.
It’s been a pretty good week for the Obama administration. The bungled healthcare.gov Web site emerged vastly improved following an intensive fix-it push, allowing some 25,000 to sign up per day, as many as signed up in all of October. Paul Ryan and Patty Murray inched toward a modest budget agreement. This morning came a remarkably solid jobs report, showing 203,000 new positions created in November, the unemployment rate falling to 7 percent for the first time in five years, and the labor force participation rate ticking back upward. Meanwhile, the administration’s push for a historic nuclear settlement with Iran continued apace.
…. it seems safe to say that the Obama presidency is not, in fact, over and done with. What, you say, was there any question of that? Well, yes, there was – less than a month ago…..
…. with whiplash force, came the obituaries for the Obama presidency. The Washington press corps has been reduced to the state of the tennis-watching kittens in this video, with the generic congressional ballot surveys playing the part of the ball flitting back and forth.
Full post here
In Connecticut, nearly 23,000 people have signed up for healthcare. enrollment is surging. http://t.co/ZIVRYZmoez
— Daniel Gross (@grossdm) December 6, 2013
Jonathan Cohn: The Obamacare Error Rate Has Fallen Dramatically Some perspective on the latest ACA freak-out
These days it seems like everybody following Obamacare is talking about the 834s. Those are the personal data files that healthcare.gov sends insurance companies, in order to notify them of new enrollees. The data has been prone to errors and that’s a real problem. …
But the 834 problem is fixable and, according to multiple sources in the public and private sectors, it is being fixed. In fact, one administration official tells The New Republic that preliminary estimates, just now becoming available, suggest the error rate has fallen from one in four during October to one in ten now….
— ACA Success Stories (@ACASuccessStory) December 5, 2013
National Journal: 3 Ways You Can Tell the Health Care Website Is Working
Just five days into the relaunch of the new and improved HealthCare.gov, it’s probably too soon to say if the website is working properly in terms of technology. The initial numbers look good. Although important back-end problems remain, the site has handled close to a million users some days, and more people signed up Tuesday than in all of October. But we don’t need the stats to know the website is working in at least one important way: politically.
Here’s how you can tell:
1) Republicans have mostly stopped attacking the website….
2) Democrats have calmed down….
3) The media has started to move on….
Read Michael Robertson’s story about getting sick, getting better, and the importance of getting covered: http://t.co/4C6rR7wd6I
— OFA (@OFA) December 6, 2013
PoliticusUSA: A Nasty Anti-Obama Column Draws a Contributor’s Angry Response
This Newsday commentary by Lane Filler appeared in my local paper Thursday. I sent the author an email…
I just read your 12/5/13 column in my local paper under the rubric of “Media are too easy on the emperor.” … you claim that the ‘mainstream’ reporters on health care restructuring “seem to have taken a dive for their beloved.”
Surely you jest if you propose that President Barack Obama is being given a pass on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)….
…. Allow me to do the research that apparently you eschewed. In the last year alone, there have been nearly 50 SHJ AP stories about ACA that could be considered anti-Obama. There has been an endless stream of ACA attacks from right-wing columnists carried by the paper. Fully 95% of editorial cartoons have been anti-ACA and anti-Obama….
As for your description of Obama as emperor or king, what is the origin of this insult? …. maybe [he is] a little too ‘uppity’ for your taste. Could that be the problem, Lane?
…. if Obama is king, Lane Filler is the Court Jester, heartily juggling propagandized “facts” for the entertainment of HIS corporate buddies.
Full post here
Thank you President Obama:
Watchdog group says all Syria chemical munitions have been destroyed http://t.co/5t64i1GHcw
— Nat’l Security News (@NatSecNews) December 7, 2013
— U.S. Embassy Seoul (@usembassyseoul) December 7, 2013
Charles Pierce: Conservatives can own Ronald Reagan and be welcome to him, but you don’t get Nelson Mandela.
It is possible, if we all think really hard, we can use the days between Nelson Mandela’s death and his journey to his final resting place deep in the hills of his boyhood to make quite plain to young people who may have joined us late what a thoroughgoing moral disaster was the Reagan Administration (1980-88)….
… now, of course, with the death of Mandela, there are a lot of proper retrospectives concerning how enthusiastically the Reagan Administration supported the white-supremacist government of South Africa, and how morally obtuse (at best) that administration was to the reality of apartheid….
It’s too late now to seek absolution at the bier of Nelson Mandela, who is dead and can’t speak for himself … You opposed Mandela when it really counted for the same reason you cheered on murderers in this hemisphere. Ronald Reagan was a dim hack who did horrible damage to almost everything he touched. You can own him and be welcome to him, but you don’t get Nelson Mandela.
Full post here
ThinkProgress: The Right Wing’s Campaign To Discredit And Undermine Mandela, In One Timeline
The world is celebrating Nelson Mandela as a selfless visionary who led his country out of the grips of apartheid into democracy and freedom. But some of the very people lavishing praise on South Africa’s first black president worked tirelessly to undermine his cause and portray the African National Congress he lead as pawns of the Soviet Union.
In fact, American conservatives have long been willing to overlook South Africa’s racist apartheid government in service of fighting communism abroad. Below is a short history, and some explanation, of how conservatives approached Mandela with the hostility they did…
A reason for highlighting previous conservative opposition to Mandela is to remind pple how often they’re on wrong side of history; #ACA
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) December 7, 2013
— Becky Carrizales (@bcarrz) December 7, 2013
On This Day:
President Obama greets the family of Katie Stanton, a departing staff member, in the Outer Oval Office, Dec. 7, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and Personal Secretary Anita Decker watch a video of former advisor David Axelrod shaving off his mustache, in the Outer Oval Office, Dec. 7, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
MoooOOOooorning! If anyone mentions soccer/football today, they’re going in to spam with the body-bits-enlarging-pills people.
As I’m sure you’ve all determined by now, I’m a bit odd. And that was true in my childhood as well.
I was probably the only freshman in high school who would stop off and buy copies of the New York Daily News and New York Times every morning. (Daily News for the sports and local news, NYT for the national and international news.) And Dan Rather’s broadcast was appointment viewing for me every night.
Growing up I was, while not consumed, very mindful of the struggles of black South Africans to secure freedom from apartheid. For most of the 1980s, their struggles dominated the evening news and newspapers. I remember curling my lip in disgust when the Reagan administration pursued “quiet diplomacy” with the racist regime. That told me all I needed to know about Reagan, as if I didn’t know enough already.
Growing up, Nelson Mandela was a mythic figure, the Once and Future King, kept on the isle of Avalon (Robben), awaiting to return to a nation in desperate need of him. And it finally happened in 1990.