MADIBA: South African state television played “Amazing Grace” following the death Thursday of South African leader Nelson Mandela. Mandela, 95, and known throughout the continent as “Madiba,” led his nation from white rule to multi-racial democracy and became a symbol for justice and racial equality around the world.
ESPN has captured the unique role of sports in the push to end apartheid. This two-year-old video tells the story of “the most important soccer game in the history of South Africa,” played at the Robben Island prison where Mandela and other leaders were imprisoned.
For books, the 2010 Conversations with Myself gives an unvarnished look at Mandela’s difficult life, told mostly through his own letters and journals. And here is a 2010 perspective from my visit to Robben Island.
When Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, posted a tribute to Mandela on Facebook, commenters went at each other.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to South Africa next week to attend Mandela’s Dec. 15 state funeral. (It seems worth noting that Obama did not attend or send any top official to the state funeral of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.)
IRAN: Imprisoned Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini is declining in health due to poor nutrition and lack of medicine, according to his father, who was allowed to visit him Monday. White House deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken told CNN last week that Obama has raised the issue of detained Americans with Iranian leaders, but by all appearances did not make it a condition of an interim nuclear deal with Iran. Three U.S. citizens of are currently held as political prisoners in Tehran.
LIBYA: A profile of Ronnie Smith, the American teacher gunned down Thursday morning in Benghazi, reveals a devoted teacher, family man, and Christian.
QATAR: The “art world’s most powerful woman” is a grad student at Columbia University. She happens also to be the sister of the emir of Qatar, estimated to have spent well over $1 billion acquiring Western art.