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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Mandela Memorial Circus

I have a hard time being a fan of the late Nelson Mandela.  Yes, I've actually written such a sacrilegious statement.  It's definitely not very pc,  politically correct. As my regular readers know well, the only "pc" I like is the old-fashioned desktop computer that lives in my den, where I am at this very minute.

Photo: Courtesy Knesset
The Israeli Government has gotten a lot of negative airtime, reactions from the Israeli media for not sending either the Prime Minister, President or other super-top officials.  Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein did his best praising Mandela.
"I hope our region will have leaders like Mandela, who will say no more violence, no more armed battle, it's time for peace," Edelstein told The Jerusalem Post from Johannesburg.
Personally, I have trouble praising the situation in South Africa.  Granted that South Africa was never a country I could relate to, whether under white or native black rule.  But considering that personal safety is a very difficult issue there, I don't consider the country a good place to live or visit.  Read this:
Though an extremely beautiful country with wildlife and gorgeous mountain ranges reaching its spectacular coast line, South Africa in notorious worldwide for its violent crimes and has been called “The Crime Capital of the World”. Last year’s World Cup put this country and its cities of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg into the world’s spotlight. It is within these cities where its vulnerable residents are forced to cope with a violently dangerous lifestyle.
During my long journey to South Africa, I sat next to a mother of five (5) children living in Cape Town. I asked about crime in her country and her eyes opened widely. She exclaimed, “You have to always be expecting an attack!” She went on to use the word “hi-jack” several times during our conversation which made me a little uncomfortable since we were on an international flight which departed from Heathrow of all places. I soon realized a South African “hi-jack” is when criminals steal your vehicle or force their way into your home at gun point and rob you and then leave in your car. She went on to say, “Everyone knows someone in South Africa who has been hi-jacked. You must always be ready. We also never send text messages while walking down the street. We must always be alert!” - See more at: http://www.personalsafetyexpert.com/_blog/Safety_Expert/post/Lessons_from_South_Africa/#sthash.7txYQMmq.dpuf 
One thing that South Africa has that we don't here in Israel is space.  It's enormous, while Israel is tiny. But from what I've read and heard, South Africa is a much, much more dangerous place, especially for whites, to be than Israel. That means that the Mandela, post-apartheid rule has not yet been very successful.  If Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had attended the Mandela funeral, I have no doubt that the security dangers would have been tremendous.  By sending a lower level delegation, Israel took the focus off of itself and allowed other players to star.

No doubt that the big "hit" of the day was the Obama-Castro handshake.  I certainly doubt (hmm that word again) that Obama checked the advisability of the move with his advisors.

CREDIT: REUTERS/KAI PFAFFENBACH

Obama's broad grin made it clear that this was something very personal for him.  Israelis know much too well what his fake grin, more like grimace, looks like.  He uses it frequently when in the presence of our Prime Minister.

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