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Hitchens and Greenwald on Mandela

Tom Jackson • Dec 6, 2013 at 5:10 PM

After Nelson Mandela died, my son found a quotation about Mandela by the late Christopher HItchens, and shared it on Facebook. Here it is:

Perhaps the most stirring single event of South African history was the aesthetically perfect moment in February 1985 when his jailers came to Nelson Mandela and told him he was free to leave. And he loftily declined! He would quit the prison when he was ready, and when the whole country had been released, and not a moment before. At that instant, the morons who had confined him became slowly aware that he was already the president of the republic and had in fact been in moral command of the office for some considerable time. Nor was it just a matter of his charisma. A well-rooted and experienced non-racial party, the African National Congress, had for years been saying to the apartheid authorities, with complete confidence: When you are finished running this country into the ground, we are absolutely prepared to replace you. In utero, and well into its third trimester, the new South Africa already existed. -- Christopher HItchens

And here is Glenn Greenwald's observation on Twitter:

Nelson Mandela: a noble reminder that those declared "criminals" by an unjust society are often the most just.

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