Certain (not insignificant) reservations about his record in office notwithstanding, Nelson Mandela was certainly among the most influential and remarkable statesmen of his and our time and has left a lasting legacy of courage, generosity and a commitment to genuine reconciliation and the healing of memories following the appalling trauma of apartheid, not just in his homeland of South Africa but throughout the world. That by itself is so (genuinely) unique an achievement as to rank him among the very highest.
Yet, of course, to detract from the occasion, the western media is reacting to the clearly not unexpected news of his death with all the hyperbole and hysteria to which we have all now become accustomed [one particularly crass headline can be found here] : hence this delicious piece of satire from Eccles & Bosco:
Today the World was in a state of total shock as it was announced that veteran activist and leader Nelson Methuselah had died at the tender age of 969.....". [here]I particularly like the last photo caption:
"Have YOU left flowers? If not, we know where you live!"
This is the ending of Ralph Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem: it seems in many ways appropriate: