10/12/2013 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Jeremy Paxman.

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Ffi Nelson Mandela won't be buried for a while yet, but today the world


said goodbye to him. Was the spirit of reconciliation all too strong to


prevent old enemies making up? President Obama and the Cuban leader


shook hands. We discuss the significance of that handshake with


the former Foreign Secretary Lord Owen. It will come to more and more


of us, and there is no cure. He said on one occasion this is actually


happening to me isn't it? And he used to describe feeling as if he


only had half a head. We talk among others to Sir Terry Prachett as he


feels dementia taken a ever-stronger grip on him. And is a super-max


prison any place for a person who is mentally ill. We report from


California. They know that this is inconsistent with mental health


care, it will make people worse. It wasn't the final farewell but it was


perhaps the last hurrah, the Johannesburg rain late, and apart


from the boos that greeted the current South African President were


good-natured and even joyous, the attendance of dozens of world


leaders saw the memorial celebration for Nelson Mandela bounce around the


world. We were there. It is high summer in Johannesburg, though you


wouldn't know it. But they came even so, not to mourn but to celebrate


Mandela's life. In that life the private and the public were


interwoven. Winnie Mandela has led her whole life in the public gaze,


she took her place alongside 100 foreign political leaders. Four


British prime ministers came, past and present. And celebrities from


showbiz, such was the breadth of Mandela's reach. Long live the


spirit of Nelson Mandela, long live! Long live. Viva Nelson Mandela,


viva. It was easy to forget in this atmosphere that there was family at


the heart of this, the eyes of the world intruding on their private


grief. Mandela's widow, Graca Machel, rarely left his side in the


last months, she seemed utterly striken. The two women who loved


Mandela not as a leader but a husband, were united in their loss.


I apologise for the rain, in our African tradition, when it rains and


you are buried it means that the gates of heaven are most probably


open as well. Mandela liberated his people and gave them their voice. Mr


Robert Mugabe. They cheered Robert Mugabe. But George W Bush whose Iraq


War Mandela condemned was briefly booed. Tony Blair sat quietly at a


distance. Barack Obama's sudden appearance lifted the mood


dramatically. He stopped to shake the hand of Raul Castro of Cuba.


This apparently friendly exchange after 50 years of enmity. He seemed


to identify personally with the experience of many black people here


and he quoted Mandela liberally. And we know he shared with millions of


black and coloured South Africans the anger bourne of a thousand


sleights, a thousand inat thissingties, a thousand


unremembered moments, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my


people, he said. In strong uncompromising language he laid down


this challenge to political leaders both at home and assembled here


today. There are too many people who happily embrace Madiba's legacy of


reconciliation but passionately resist even modest reforms that


would challenge poverty and growing inequality. There are too many


leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba's struggle for


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