Tag Archives | Nelson Mandela

The Politics of the Oscars

long walkThe whole world recognized and paid tribute to South African icon Nelson Mandela when he died at age 95. Ninety-one Heads of State attended his funeral. The UN General Assembly organized a special tribute. His legacy is secure in official circles, and in the hearts of South Africans, but will there be recognition in the place that seems to matter to the media even more: Hollywood?

The Oscar nominations are due any day, and early on, it seemed, as if the epic movie about the world’s most revered icon was a sure thing for Oscar consideration. Most of the main big newspaper reviewers loved it and, and its American distributor Harvey Weinstein has specialized in influencing Academy decisions.

But of late, it lost its buzz, and is appears buried by the hype machine, almost being treated as an also ran. The entertainment media no long seems to take it seriously. All the focus is on other films and the big US  stars.… Read the rest

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The World Unites Behind Mandela: An Unreported United Message From The United Nations

Mandela Funeral ProgrammeMillions of South Africans mourned the death of Nelson Mandela as you would expect, but the rest of world also joined in an unprecedented display of the same international solidarity that for years helped South Africa isolate its enemies and overthrow apartheid.

Mandela was not the first Third World revolutionary to become so popular in the West–just think of all the images of Cuba’s Che Guevara that remain proudly displayed on T-shirts the world over. Yet, Mandela built an international community of supporters that transcended ideological/political differences, races and cultures.

Nations not known for being supportive of the liberation movement he headed want to be thought of as Mandela backers.

Even Israel, whose Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu begged off an invitation to attend a memorial service in Johannesburg because he ostensibly ‘could not afford’ to come—other Israelis did attend—is now floating claims that their intelligence service assisted Mandela through support from a Intelligence operative in the Mossad back in 1962 who gave him a pistol.… Read the rest

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As the End Draws Nigh: Will Mandela’s Burial Also Bury His Memory?

Nelson_MandelaAs the body of Nelson Mandela heads for its “final rest” in the rural community where he was born, reverential exhilaration is turning into emotionally draining reflection tinged with criticism and self-criticism.

Mandela has moved from a person into a historical figure as in “now he belongs to the ages.”

In the world at large, this final Mandela moment has been bathed in media attention as have earlier spectacular events like his release from prison and inauguration as President. This time, there were more than two billion social media references leading to growing backlash of negativity from those who never supported him in the first place, as if the events were a distraction from the daily news parade of war, economic decline and political scandal.

Despite his death, this saga is largely considered “positive,” good news in a sea of bad. You can be sure that once he is in the ground, all you will here from media mavens is “We did Mandela, next.”

Wrote the Daily Mail in London, a newspaper that has over the years disseminated nasty and questionable criticisms of Mandela (even as in the thirties it was worshipful of fascists): ‘… while some reflected on the remarkable life of Nelson Mandela, some world leaders saw it as the perfect opportunity to grab a quick ‘selfie’ with their peers – prompting a backlash from web users accusing them of undermining the seriousness of the event.… Read the rest

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1997 Address by Nelson Mandela at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, plus 5 videos

via chycho

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Below you will find Nelson Mandela’s 1997 address at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, as well as five relevant videos:

Address by President Nelson Mandela at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
4 December 1997, Pretoria

Mr. Chairman;
Mr. Suleyman al-Najab,
Special Emissary of President Yasser Arafat;
Members of the diplomatic corps;
Distinguished Guests,

“We have assembled once again as South Africans, our Palestinian guests and as humanists to express our solidarity with the people of Palestine.

“I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the organisers of the event, particularly the United Nations Information Centre and the UNISA Centre for Arabic and Islamic Studies for this magnificent act of compassion, to keep the flames of solidarity, justice and freedom burning.

“The temptation in our situation is to speak in muffled tones about an issue such as the right of the people of Palestine to a state of their own.

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There Is More To Learn From Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela 1998Nelson Mandela is back in the news, not just due to his passing, but also because of his teaching. His daughter Makaziwe Mandela told the state-owned television network SABC that her father (from his first marriage) taught the family life lessons from what she termed his “deathbed.”

“Even, for a lack of a better word, on his deathbed, he is teaching us lessons; lessons in patience, in love, lessons of tolerance.”

Thanks to the release of the new epic movie, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom starring Idris Elba and Naomi Harris, the public is learning other lessons about the freedom struggle that he led.

On Christmas day, it opens nationwide in the US on 2000 screens with a majority of reviews very positive. It is already showing in France and England will be next in January.

In South Africa, the movie that shows Mandela’s early days as a boxer broke all box-office records.… Read the rest

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RIP Nelson Mandela

Nelson_MandelaAnti-apartheid activist and South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, is dead today at 95.

Via NBCNews.com:

Though he was in power for only five years, Mandela was a figure of enormous moral influence the world over – a symbol of revolution, resistance and triumph over racial segregation.

He inspired a generation of activists, left celebrities and world leaders star-struck, won the Nobel Peace Prize and raised millions for humanitarian causes.

South Africa is still bedeviled by challenges, from class inequality to political corruption to AIDS. And with Mandela’s death, it has lost a beacon of optimism.

Feb. 1990: NBC’s Robin Lloyd reports on Nelson Mandela on the eve of his release from prison in 1990. Mandela’s name has become a rallying cry for the overthrow of apartheid, but no one but prison guards and visitors have actually seen him since he was jailed 27 years ago.

In his jailhouse memoirs, Mandela wrote that even after spending so many years in a Spartan cell on Robben Island – with one visitor a year and one letter every six months – he still had faith in human nature.

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Nelson Mandela’s Life, Coming To A Big Screen Near You

long walkIt has been said that this is the year of the black film. Three have stood out as the Oscar buzz begins in earnest.

First, there was The Butler, later Lee Daniels’ The Butler, after a studio pissing-match about who owned the title. The heavily rewritten and sanitized story of a black butler in the White House became a platform for celebration as a cast of Hollywood heavyweights led by TV Queen Oprah Winfrey offered a praise poem to civil rights victories in which they included the election of Barack Obama.

Some critics like one at the Daily Mail felt the film was over the top: “It has been given a rather overly generous dashing, as if by a nervous butler, of dramatic license. Not historic license, though. No, every major development in the civil rights story is ticked off…what you might call the Forrest Gumping of Forest Whitaker.”

The Guardian said it “plays fast and loose with the facts” as the “central character becomes a cipher for the changing fortunes of African Americans in the 20th century.”

The underlying idea: turn civil rights into a feel-good story.… Read the rest

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Media Waits for Mandela To Die: Are They ‘Vultures’?

Bill-Clinton-with-Nelson-MandelaThere’s anger amidst the apprehension in South Africa as the numbers of “journalists” on the Mandela deathwatch grows. Members of his family have about had it, comparing what even the New York Times called a “media swarm” to African vultures that wait to pounce on the carcasses of dead animals.

With President Obama in South Africa, carrying a message that he hyped as one of “profound gratitude” to Nelson Mandela. The Times reported,

“Mr. Obama said the main message he intended to deliver to Mr. Mandela, “if not directly to him but to his family, is simply our profound gratitude for his leadership all these years and that the thoughts and prayers of the American people are with him, and his family, and his country.”

It doesn’t seem as if the South Africa’s grieving for their former president’s imminent demise are too impressed with Obama seeking the spotlight. Some groups including top unions protested his receiving an honorary degree from a university in Johannesberg.… Read the rest

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TV Network Prematurely Reports Nelson Mandela Died – Do Some Want Him Gone?

A South African media outlet, no doubt eager to be first, aired a TV obituary of Nelson Mandela. It was very positive and respectful, except for the fact he hadn’t died.

It brought back memories of writer Mark Twain’s famous observation when the same thing happened to him. His comment: “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”

When someone turns 94, medical risks are hardly an exaggeration, and its good to know that Mandela has just been released from hospital again. I was told that he told family members he intends to live to l00.

The sad truth is that there are some in South Africa who are distressed that his health seems to be the only news from South Africa that routinely attracts world attention and social concern. Perhaps that’s because so many  other stories have been grim—often about corruption of public officials or the case of the famous disabled runner who allegedly murdered his girlfriend.… Read the rest

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