Mandela's Death Gives the Left Permission to Stop 'Caring' About South Africa

Yesterday, I went searching on Google for a post I was sure I remembered reading on Andrew Sullivan’s blog around 2003 or so, before Andrew began his descent into first obfuscation, and then uterus-obsessed madness. But if I’m remembering correctly, he wrote, or quoted from someone who wrote that once Nelson Mandela was triumphant in South Africa, the nation ceased to be a news story in American media. Good people are now in charge of a nation, therefore no bad things could possibly be happening there. (See also: Walter Duranty, the New York Times in general, and the Soviet Union.) But today at David Horowitz’s Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield brings the story of the American left, its news media, and South Africa up to date:


The history trapped in Mandela escapes with his death forcing both those inside South Africa and those outside it to come to terms with all the complex realities of history packed away into one man’s life.

Like Gandhi, Mandela became an iconic figure who appeared to encompass the moral of his own story. The fictional Nelson Mandela has appeared in dozens of movies. He has been played by everyone from Danny Glover to Sidney Poitier to Morgan Freeman. And each of those movies has made the real man and the real South Africa that he leaves behind in death seem that much more unreal.

Western liberals like simplistic stories and Mandela was their happy ending. His very existence freed them from the need to learn anything more about what happened after apartheid. By knowing him, they knew, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story. Mandela freed them from knowing history.

Everyone knows the history of South Africa and no one knows it. The dynamics of a troubled past that were reduced to a happy ending built around one man are still playing out in South Africa. Even as the mourning for Mandela goes on, one child is raped every three minutes in South Africa and three children are murdered every day.

If there is anything that the world ought to mourn, not only today, but every day, it is a horrifying reality in which a South African woman is more likely to be raped than to learn to read, a quarter of the men admit to having raped and men with AIDS believe that they can find a cure by raping a baby.

Troubling facts like these defy the easy inspiration of the happy ending. They remind us that history does not stop the way that a film script does. There is no moment when the crowd cheers, the camera pans up and the audience is free to leave the theater and look no further because the story has ended.

South Africa’s story did not end with apartheid. It does not end with Mandela’s death. South Africa remains in twilight. The credits do not roll. The happy ending has not come.


Read the whole thing, which was found via Kathy Shaidle, who linked to Laura Rosen Cohen’s summation of Greenfield’s article, which is the source of our headline above. And then check out another Greenfield item also linked by Cohen: “Nelson Mandela in 4 Photos.”

Update: David Horowitz himself writes:

South Africa today is the murder capital of the world, a nation where a woman is raped every 30 seconds, often by AIDs carriers who go unpunished, and where whites are anything but the citizens of a democratic country which honors the principles of equality and freedom.

Liberated South Africa is one of those epic messes the Left created and promptly forgot about.



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