Nelson Mandela

The Healer
June 15, 2010

BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA—It was as clear as the film’s most famous scene: The work of reconciliation in South Africa is not done yet. In February 2008, a video appeared online showing four white students from South Africa’s University of the Free State (UFS) hazing their black janitors as if they were new freshmen. There’s a beer-drinking contest, a footrace to “Chariots of Fire.” Near the end, the boys appear to pee into bowls of stew and urge the janitors to eat up. It was supposed to be an in-house joke, a protest against a plan to integrate their dorm, a student residence called Reitz.

Live From The Bush Pub in Afrikaner Country
June 11, 2010

In South Africa, soccer is black while rugby is white. That's what makes Invictus work—it's a shock, even a betrayal, for Nelson Mandela to trot out onto a rugby field sporting the Springbok jersey. I had a ticket to tonight's France-Uruguay opener in Cape Town, a city that sometimes seems to be populated primarily not with white nor black South Africans but unctuous Europeans surfing their generous unemployment, but an illness kept me stuck in Bloemfontein, a city in the historically Afrikaner farming plain in the center of the country.

Bad Faith
May 12, 2010

One of the frustrating things about debating the Middle East is that most of the people to my left find it difficult to fathom, or sometimes inconvenient to acknowledge, the existence of actual liberals who have somewhat hawkish views on Israel. So anybody whose view on the Middle East is to the right of Naomi Klein must be a reflexive supporter of Israel and probably a "Likudnik," and could not possibly have any other foreign policy principles that dovetail with their views on Israel. Last week I wrote about a report bringing to light Richard Goldstone's Apartheid-era history.

Goldstone Creamery
May 08, 2010

The other day I wrote about a news report revealing that Richard Goldstone, as an Apartheid-era South African judge, had issued such rulings as acquitting police officers who broke into a white woman's home on suspicion that she was having sex with a black man. Goldstone directed a controversial U.N. Human Rights Council report on Israel's Gaza war. I concluded, "It's morally murky territory -- the ultimate question is whether and to what degree a white South African could take a position such as a judge for a regime that had such despicable laws.

Goldstone And Apartheid (The Real Kind)
May 07, 2010

Yedioth Ahronoth digs into Richard Goldstone's judicial history in South Africa. (Goldstone is the author of a controversial U.N. report on Israel's incursion into Gaza. Moshe Habertal wrote a nuanced, fair-minded and ultimately very tough critique of the Goldstone Report last November.) Yedioth Ahronoth's headline is that he sentenced 28 black defendants to death, which seems not all that shocking, especially since there's no evidence the defendants weren't guilty.

The Mini-Review: 'Invictus'
December 11, 2009

Though the story is set in South Africa, Clint Eastwood’s Invictus is a hybrid of classic American forms, the triumphant sports movie and the high-minded political film. There is much to like in the film, and a fair amount one might dislike as well, but in the end one’s overall feelings are likely depend on one’s enthusiasm for these genres in general and for their peculiar marriage in this instance. Invictus tells the story of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the first major international sporting event to take place in South Africa following the collapse of apartheid.

A Sabotage of Justice: Our Inert Response to Libya's Terrorist Pep Rally
August 24, 2009

This was a matter of American interest. More than that: it was actually an American matter. And the contempt that Great Britain, particularly Scotland, and Libya have shown the United States in it is a fact with which we must conjure, lest this drama in four parts otherwise define, delimit and demean our very position in world affairs. This is a choice that neither Russia nor China ever seem to face. That is, they never stand down (or seem even to contemplate standing down) from what they deem to be core.

A Sabotage of Justice
August 24, 2009

This was a matter of American interest. More than that: it was actually an American matter. And the contempt that Great Britain, particularly Scotland, and Libya have shown the United States in it is a fact with which we must conjure, lest this drama in four parts otherwise define, delimit and demean our very position in world affairs. This is a choice that neither Russia nor China ever seem to face. That is, they never stand down (or seem even to contemplate standing down) from what they deem to be core.

South Africa, Then And Now
July 23, 2009

Dear reader, I'm in South Africa, a country I've already been to four times. The first time I came the apartheid regime was in power. The regime was tottering during my second visit. By my third the African National Congress had come to power. What I saw on my last visit were several undeniable realities: 1. That South Africa is a modern industrial power; 2. That its democracy actually works; 3. That it is undermined by black racialism and populism--and also by the antagonist of both, capitalism; 4. That its foreign policy is tribal and venal. These are still true.

Cry, The Beloved Country
April 16, 2009

This morning, I attended a panel at the CATO Institute entitled, "Left Turn? South Africa after the Election." The referendum in question is the country's fourth general election since the end of apartheid, and will take place next Wednesday. As with every election in South Africa since 1994, there is little question about which party will win, and win big: The African National Congress of Nelson Mandela, now led by the far less reassuring figure of Jacob Zuma. I've written about Zuma before, most recently here and here.

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