The nation's editorial pages recall Nelson Mandela

December 6, 2013 

Editor’s note: The nation’s editorial pages memorialized the passing of one of the world’s great leaders, Nelson Mandela. A sampling of their comments:

• Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Poverty would not entrap him, the vile system of apartheid could not destroy him and the bars of a jail cell were never able to imprison his awesome spirit and amazing mind. And although he has succumbed to death, not even the grave can entomb that extraordinary passion he had for his fellow citizens of South Africa and, indeed, all of humanity.

• The Chicago Tribune: (Nelson) Mandela, who died Thursday, was more than just a symbol. His name was a clarion call for people across the globe in their struggles against oppression. He personified the triumph of nearly unimaginable perseverance over nearly unimaginable tribulation. After 27 years in prison, Mandela ... refused to show bitterness to his enemies, preferring instead to seek reconciliation. His actions were, and continue to be, a model for peaceful conflict resolution worldwide.

• San Jose Mercury News: If ever there was a political leader worthy of profound admiration and thanks, it was former South African President Nelson Mandela. ... The world has lost one of its greatest, most inspiring and visionary leaders.

• The Philadelphia Inquirer: An irony of Nelson Mandela’s life is that the African National Congress freedom fighter will forever be remembered as a man of peace. ... Mandela was a strong man, having lived to the age of 95 despite his 27 years of imprisonment and the ailments associated with it, including the tuberculosis he contracted on Robben Island. But his strength wasn’t just physical. It was his intellectual capacity and spiritual growth that made Mandela such an effective, commanding agent of change.

• Newsday: With an ironclad commitment to human equality and a magnetic talent for leadership, Nelson Mandela helped crush South Africa’s apartheid laws and lead his country through a stunning transition. (He was) an irrepressible force for justice. ... The United States had Abraham Lincoln. India had Mohandas Gandhi. And South Africa – along with the world – had Nelson Mandela.

• Los Angeles Times: Nelson Mandela was one of the towering figures of the 20th century. ... He was revered around the globe for his vision and courage, and for the enormous personal sacrifices he made to right the wrongs that plagued his country. ... Mandela deserves all the adulation that will undoubtedly be heaped on him in the days ahead. But to truly honor his memory, the world should keep a wary eye on what is happening in his country, where a new generation of leaders has put his legacy of inclusiveness, selflessness and moderation in jeopardy.

• Bloomberg News: The great conciliator is gone. ... Always his goal was to unite, not divide. His moral leadership, in turn, made possible South Africa’s rapid transition from a sanctioned pariah to an emerging-market powerhouse. Mandela guided his people out of a wilderness of hatred and injustice. Next year’s general election would be an appropriate occasion to revive his inaugural plea: that “there be work, bread, water and salt for all.”

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