National Review on Nelson Mandela

New York

The final word on “mainstream” conservatism:

Note: The GOP recently praised Rosa Parks for her role in ‘ending racism.’

Among world leaders, Nelson Mandela had unmatched moral authority. When George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002, he said, “It is this moral stature that has made Nelson Mandela perhaps the most revered statesman of our time.” Bush could have done without the hedge word “perhaps.” Mandela was by far the most revered statesman of our time. Every July 18th is Nelson Mandela Day. The United Nations declared it so, in 2009. Mandela was born on July 18, 1918. Yesterday, the great man died at 95.

The reverence the world feels for him has to do, in part, with the nature of his adversary: the white, racist apartheid government of South Africa. A Havel or a Sharansky could not achieve equivalent stature: Hatred of their adversaries is far less universal. White racism is held to be probably the greatest evil of our time, and Mandela was a lion against it. …”

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