A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) and the Middle East

Amidst the mourning and the praise, it may be worth recalling that "Madiba" was always an iconic figure in the Middle East: to Kings and Revolutionary regimes alike; South Africans knew the Arab World had staunchly worked against apartheid; Arab leaders hoped Mandela's charismatic leadership and popularity might rub off on them (it didn't); Arab populations dreamed of finding such a visionary leader (they're still waiting). One may wonder what the Arab Spring might have produced with an Arab Mandela, but there was only one Mandela. A quick and incomplete collection of photos below.

Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.  May Madiba rest in peace and may other nations hope to find such leaders.
With King Fahd

With Mubarak

With Iran's President Khatami

With King Hussein

With Qadhafi
With Shimon Peres
With Yasser Arafat

With Tariq Aziz

1 comment:

David Mack said...

Some Arab leaders did more than pose for pictures with Mandela. In addition to Algerian military training, he got financial support from Qadhafi. He repaid the latter by interceding with President Clinton to resume relations with Qadhafi. It may have helped persuade us to start secret talks in the late 1990s.