Eulogies can be purely complimentary telling only the great and commendable acts, leaning towards humorous where some of the more quaint and amusing events are recounted usually only with those closest friends or it can be honest praising the praiseworthy while also noting those items less desirable from the person’s life, this will be an honest Eulogy for Nelson Mandela. Nobody can take away from the fact that Nelson Mandela was the right man in the right place at the right time speaking the right words for equal rights and an end to the persecution and dehumanizing effects of Apartheid in South Africa. Nelson Mandela was not the only leader or even the preeminent leader of the cause but will always remain the most noteworthy and inspirational speakers and the man credited for leading the fight against injustice. Nelson Mandela will also be remembered for his continuing to speak out against those places, people and governments from which he perceived injustice and persecution. Likely one of the singular stands that will reflect most honorable was his choice to call for calm, eschewing violence and vengeance, and taking an angry people in a constructive direction using the energies to establish constructive ends rather than destructive ends. Whether Nelson Mandela’s actions as President of South Africa and the path he placed South Africa upon after Apartheid will be measured by historians further in the future when an objective and honest assessment is possible as such a perspective would be difficult to record as an official history now so close after his passing.
There was another side of Nelson Mandela, the politician, who saw Communism as the only true answer to uneven wealth distribution and the system which gave the poor and formerly oppressed any chance at equality within society. It was this view which led Nelson Mandela to see Apartheid wherever he witnessed poverty, especially if the poverty was mostly found in an oppressed peoples within the society. This view led Nelson Mandela to praise Fidel Castro and declare that Communist Cuba had achieved the “systematic eradication of racism”. He also laid a wreath on the grave of Ayatollah Khomeini, the father of the Iranian revolution, and to warmly greeting his successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stating, “We are indebted to the Islamic Revolution”. Nelson Mandela praised Yasser Arafat upon his passing claiming that Arafat was an “outstanding freedom fighter”. Nelson Mandela was a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause which lead to his referring to Israel as an Apartheid state where racism is practiced and the Palestinians in the occupied lands were oppressed and persecuted. Seated next to Yasser Arafat in Gaza in 1999 Nelson Mandela proclaimed, “All men and women with vision choose peace rather than confrontation, except in cases where we cannot proceed, where we cannot move forward. Then if the only alternative is violence, we will use violence”.
The greatest detractor to claiming Nelson Mandela worthy of universal acclaim as being nearly a saint on Earth was his blind distrust of Capitalism which he viewed as another form of Apartheid. It was through this lens that he referred to the United States as a flawed nation and to declare that Israel was an Apartheid state every bit as bad and oppressive as was South Africa. This denouncing of Israel was probably the single strongest witness giving support and affirmation to the campaign against Israel and the often repeated denunciation of Israel as practicing Apartheid. It was this view of an Apartheid Israel that allowed for Nelson Mandela to condone and support Palestinian terror attacks claiming that this was their sole recourse to right the wrongs perpetrated against them. Nelson Mandela never saw, or refused to take accounting of the fact that Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Druze and every race of peoples living in Israel have equal rights and that there are Arab Muslims serving in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and serving as judges in courts which stand to adjudicate every Israel citizen equally, and there are Muslims and every other faith and peoples working as doctors, lawyers, and every professions side by side with the Jews of Israel with total equality. All religions are permitted to be practices in Israel and every religion is free to build a place to practice their religion be it a Synagogue, Church, Mosque, Temple or other structure. But when you view the world seeking out inequality and are firm in your belief that the main cause of any inequality is because of Apartheid, then you see and bear witness to Apartheid almost everywhere you look. It is unlikely that any streets, bridges, buildings, schools, parks or other honorable titled objects will ever be dedicated to Nelson Mandela in Israel, at least not any time soon. All in all, Nelson Mandela will remain the man who liberated South Africa from Apartheid and for that reason alone the man who was Nelson Mandela will be remembered favorably and receive the honors of which he is due. No person is perfect but some rise above their detractions to greatness in their remembrance and Nelson Mandela was most certainly such a man.
Beyond the Cusp