Four hours ago President Zuma of South Africa announced the death of Nelson Mandela at age 95. All men are mortal, but I always hoped Mandela would be the one exception.
Yes, he plotted terrorism, but the regime was unjust, and he more than paid his dues, spending 27 years in prison—many of them breaking rocks in the sun—and in the end renounced terrorism. He negotiated the end of apartheid and urged forgiveness of and reconciliation with his oppressors, winning the Nobel Peace Prize and then the presidency of South Africa. His character and political astuteness may well have staved off a horrible civil war in his country.
We all knew he would go soon, but we already have too few heroes among us, and now there’s one fewer.