Nelson Mandela's life is slipping away. There have been reports today that he was on a life-support machine, that President Jacob Zuma cancelled an overseas trip so he could visit Mandela and finally that the great man is somewhat better today. The fact is though that his life is drawing to an end.
From the moment we are born we are dying.
No man nor woman lives for ever and considering the tough life Mandela has endured it has been a great achievement to reach the age of 94. He has a huge extended family and various family members have dropped by the hospital since Mandiba was hospitalized again in early June.
For many people in the west Mandela is an inspirational hero who helped to bring about positive change in South Africa; because of this I was shocked to read a foul-mouthed, racially motivated rant accompanying a group's posting on Facebook.
The posting was a sensible summoning up of David Cameron in relation to Mandela and is something we in the UK should bear in mind when eventually Mandiba passes on to the next life. It was a quote which read:
Nelson Mandela will die soon. Today, tomorrow, this week, next week. It won't be long. Remember this, he out-lived Thatcher. When he does die, and David Cameron jumps on the Mandela bandwagon, remember that in 1985 he was a top member of the Federation of Conservative Students, which produced the "Hang Mandela" posters. In 1989, Cameron worked in the Tory Policy Unit at Central Office and went on an anti-sanctions fact-finding mission to South Africa with a pro-apartheid lobby firm sponsored by PW Botha. Remember this when he tells the world he was inspired by Madiba.
It highlights perfectly the hypocrisy of many when it comes to the dead and the dying. When Margaret Thatcher died this year many were shocked that street parties celebrating her death were held in parts of the North of England. Some people were more shocked that the old Wizard of Oz song "Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead" looked set to make the top of the UK singles chart. Those people abroad who did not experience first hand the negative policies of the Thatcher era perhaps found it hard to believe that many people wanted to hold protests on the day of her funeral.
The protests though were somewhat restrained and controlled.
The point was that this was an honest reaction to an overzealous and damaging politician. It is not just that times have changed in the UK but rather that she was a "one-off". It is doubtful that any other UK Prime Minister would be disrespected in such way. She however earned the direspect, Nelson Mandela has not.
One person leaving a comment on the Facebook posting is reporting the comment thread. One or two Internet trolls trying to play the funny man or woman, whilst proving that they do not posses a brain cell between them, keep posting obscene and abusive comments.
It makes you despair of humanity. It should also make you pause for thought before you begin a foul-mouthed rant in response to a sensible posting. In this case once again those spouting drivel were hiding behind a false identity.
It is sad that Mr Mandela's time is drawing near; it is sad that many people in the west now live their lifes in sound-bytes; it is tragic that a man who fought hard for the freedom of others is belittled and abused on his death-bed, but I guess it is always about perception.
One man's terrorist is another man's hero in the end, and vice versa.
Rest easy Mandiba.
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