The Plank

Time Magazine Celebrates Mandela, Ignores Mugabe


Richard Stengel's soggy Time cover story on the wisdom of Nelson Mandela is just about what you would expect. Mandela's eight lessons of leadership are indeed well taken, but Stengel almost completely avoids the issue of Robert Mugabe's dictatorial rule. Mugabe's name only comes up twice, in fact: Mandela is referred to as the "anti-Mugabe" (fair enough), and Mandela is celebrated (!) for his extremely weak condemnation of Mugabe:

But the world has never needed Mandela's gifts--as a tactician, as an
activist and, yes, as a politician--more, as he showed again in London
on June 25, when he rose to condemn the savagery of Zimbabwe's Robert

Surely Stengel, who co-wrote Mandela's autobiography, and holds a position in which he reaches millions of people, could do some good by calling on Mandela to speak out forcefully on Zimbabwe. A(nother) celebration of Mandela's greatness is not without merit, but not exactly vital, either.

--Isaac Chotiner 

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