It goes without saying that Nelson Mandela was a great man who had a hugely positive effect on South Africa in particular and the world in general. But while he was a total champ in many ways, he certainly wasn't a saint. And I think that is being forgotten in the emotive orgy of idolatry following his death.
Then there's the bizarre PC double standard displayed by so many Aussie commentators and activists. The line that all local lefties are dutifully following is that Mandela's great gift to the world was to show that rather than wallowing in bitter divisiveness you can actually forgive your enemies and affirm the humanity you share with them. In short, you can create a better world by seeing people as individuals rather than members of a group. In this interpretation, Mandela is seen as a visionary unifier in the tradition of Martin Luther King, who famously urged us to judge people by the content of their character, not the colour of their skin. I'm in furious agreement with this view.
But what do these same people do when it comes to racial politics in Australia itself? They endorse the polar opposite line. They say that Indigenous Australians are a very different mob to ol' whitey (and everyone else, for that matter). They must not be judged by the same standards everyone else is -- and woe betide anyone who dares criticize them! They must be encouraged to live their lives according to separate customs and laws in lands cut off from those dominated by eeevil European society. And rather than being urged to move on from bitterness over past injustices, they are reminded of them at every opportunity and encouraged to stew in their angry sense of victimhood (much as grizzled Whitlamites are told to "maintain the rage").
While this different treatment is not nearly as brutal and wrong as the system Mandela helped overcome, it's still undeniably toxic and subtly racist. It's kind of like apartheid with a smiley face badge whopped on it. And isn't it ironic that over the last coupla decades, just as institutionalized racism was being dismantled in South Africa, the local caring, sharing version was being increasingly firmly entrenched here.
It's revolting as all get out. Don't these leftie hypocrites just make you wanna vomit?