Dec 11, 2013

Let's put the FUN in this Funeral!

President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a picture with Denmark's Prime Minister, Helle Thorning Schmidt, during the memorial service for Nelson Mandela Tuesday in Johannesburg, South Africa. First lady Michelle Obama (possibly displeased by the lack of tact at a funeral service by her fellow heads of state?) is on the right.

Ever wonder why Nelson Mandela was in prison so long? Because he was black, and the Man was keeping him down... for standing up to what he believed in, and because he was a political prisoner... and, er, racist white colonial overlords, amiright? But then I looked it up. Nelson Mandela went to prison for battling South African apartheid - which is great - but the part that everyone seems to have forgotten and left out of all those nice obituaries and speeches was that he was caught with Soviet weapons, and was planning to overthrow the government with violence. Not just a couple guns, but 48,000 anti-personnel mines, and some 210,000 hand grenades. On June 12, 1964, eight of the accused members of the African National Congress including Mandela, were arrested. Nelson Mandela was then released on February 11, 1990. He was offered a chance to leave every single year if he would renounce violence. He never did. 

The world-wide media, however is much more preoccupied with a photo...
“I took these photos totally spontaneously, without thinking about what impact they might have. At the time, I thought the world leaders were simply acting like human beings, like me and you. I doubt anyone could have remained totally stony faced for the duration of the ceremony, while tens of thousands of people were celebrating in the stadium.”

“I later read on social media that Michelle Obama seemed to be rather peeved on seeing the Danish prime minister take the picture. But photos can lie. In reality, just a few seconds earlier the first lady was herself joking with those around her, Cameron and Schmidt included. Her stern look was captured by chance.”

-Roberto Schmidt (photographer)

Meanwhile, speaking of fun - the guy doing sign language at Mandela’s memorial service was a fake. Complete gibberish. 

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