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Friday, July 18, 2008

Mandela At 90

Nelson Mandela id turning 90 this week, and I could hardly let it pass without noting the greatest living human on earth. After he successfully negotiated the end of the South African government without bloodshed, he lead his people to majority rule without all the ensuing bloodbath and wrecking of the economy that has been part of so many third world transitions to native rule.  After spending eighteen years in a hell hole apartheid prison he had every reason to take revenge, but he went for the best for his people. Leadership that is seldom seen in history, and we have the privilege of living at the same time as this great man. Fading and frail, he still is doing what he can to ease Zimbabwe out of the dark path they took after white rule. Greatness is a  junction of time, place and personality, with personality making it work. He is a socialist that gave market economics breathing room to create much needed economic progress. He didn't jail or deport the Apartheid goons that murdered and enslaved his people. His party, in their parliament, set up the "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" that just insisted that the criminals of the white minority government and the black guerillas simply publicly discuss and confess their crimes to be pardoned. That stroke of genius allowed the country to get on with its business and prevented the criminals from paving over their crimes. 

South Africa is not out of the woods yet. Crime is horrible and poverty is poisonous, but with determination inspired by Mandela they can be overcome. Nelson Mandela wasn't a plaster saint, but as good as a person could ever hope to be.

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