Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mandela and Jesse Helms: Heavenly meeting?

The Greensboro News & Record's Doug Clark asks a provocative question in his Wednesday column:

"If Nelson Mandela approached Jesse Helms in heaven and extended his hand in friendship, would Helms accept it?"

North Carolina's long-time U.S. senator was well-known for his animosity toward the civil rights movement and anti-black and anti-gay statements over the years, and he came down on the side of the oppressive apartheid system during Mandela's long imprisonment. So good question.

Notes Clark's column: "The Republican senator from North Carolina fought against U.S. economic sanctions on the apartheid South African regime in 1985 and 1986. He also refused to support American demands for Mandela’s release from prison.

"Helms branded Mandela a communist and warned that if the white government in South Africa was replaced by African National Congress rule, Soviet control was the next step.

"The senator apparently didn’t soften his view even after Mandela’s election as president in 1994. When the South African visited Congress, Helms reportedly turned his back.

So would Jesse Helms accept a hand of friendship if he and Mandela wound up in heaven and faced each other? Clark thinks so - and provides an assessment of Helms that critics won't agree with. Read the rest of his article on the News & Record's website.

Speaking of Mandela, Roberto Schmidt, the photographer who snapped that photo of President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt taking a "selfie" of themselves on a mobile phone at Mandela's memorial service Tuesday didn't consider it a faux pas nor that it was a big deal.

In a blog post Wednesday, he noted: "I captured the scene reflexively. All around me in the stadium, South Africans were dancing, singing and laughing to honour their departed leader. It was more like a carnival atmosphere, not at all morbid. The ceremony had already gone on for two hours and would last another two. The atmosphere was totally relaxed – I didn’t see anything shocking in my viewfinder, president of the US or not. We are in Africa."

He said when Thorning-Schmidt pulled out her phone for the shot, "I thought the world leaders were simply acting like human beings, like me and you. I doubt anyone could have remained totally stony faced for the duration of the ceremony, while tens of thousands of people were celebrating in the stadium. For me, the behaviour of these leaders in snapping a selfie seems perfectly natural. I see nothing to complain about...It was interesting to see politicians in a human light because usually when we see them it is in such a controlled environment. Maybe this would not be such an issue if we, as the press, would have more access to dignitaries and be able to show they are human as the rest of us. I confess too that it makes me a little sad we are so obsessed with day-to-day trivialities, instead of things of true importance."

As for Michelle Obama's reaction, Schmidt said "In reality, just a few seconds earlier the first lady was herself joking with those around her, [British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt] included.... Her stern look was captured by chance."


Wiley Coyote said...

You can tell when liberals are running out of anything remotely positive to say and resort to deflection of current events.

I'm sure most Democrats from reconstruction to the fifties would have supported apartheid as well.

Hitler too.

But hopefully, Hitler is burning in hell.

#houstonwehaveaproblem said...

Unlikely meeting. Hopefully Helms is burning in HELL from his hatred!

Garth Vader said...

The question should be, "Would Mandela shake hands with Jack Kennedy?".

It was JFK's CIA who told the South African government where Mandela was so they could arrest him. Even told them what he was wearing.

From the New York Times, 1990:

The Central Intelligence Agency played an important role in the arrest in 1962 of Nelson Mandela, the African National Congress leader who was jailed for nearly 28 years before his release four months ago, a news report says.

The intelligence service, using an agent inside the African National Congress, provided South African security officials with precise information about Mr. Mandela's activities that enabled the police to arrest him, said the account by the Cox News Service.

The report, scheduled for publication on Sunday, quoted an unidentified retired official who said that a senior C.I.A. officer told him shortly after Mr. Mandela's arrest: ''We have turned Mandela over to the South African Security branch. We gave them every detail, what he would be wearing, the time of day, just where he would be.''

Shamash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shamash said...

I want to know what would happen if Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinski in Heaven.

As long as we're engaging in idle speculation...

larryfla said...

Mandala was the key city in Johannesburg, SA. When it was under apartheid, it was a thieving, beautiful city. With Mandala living there and the key figure, it turned into one of the most violent slums on earth with the expulsion of wealthy whites. They murder rate there makes Detroit seem like Sunday school. Mandala's wife, Winnie, brutalized dozens. They were basically thugs.