I think I said it all yesterday, except for the “I told you so.”
Even John Stewart went off on how ridiculous the criticisms of the Handshake that Shook the World were…
But if you listen all the way to the end, you’ll hear John Stewart say that the “selfie” (actually taken by the Danish Prime Minister of herself, President Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron) “kind of fucked up.”
No Jon. What’s fucked up is the holier than thou attitude of the pundits (yourself included) who are ignoring the fact that it was a memorial, not a funeral. It was a celebration of all that was Nelson Mandela, where people where dancing and singing in joyous remembrance of the man.
From the podium, Obama had just qualified Mandela as a “giant of history who moved a nation towards justice.” After his stirring eulogy, America’s first black president sat about 150 metres across from where I was set up. He was surrounded by other foreign dignitaries and I decided to follow his movements with the help of my 600 mm x 2 telephoto lens.
So Obama took his place amid these leaders who’d gathered from all corners of the globe. Among them was British Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as a woman who I wasn’t able to immediately identify. I later learned it was the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt. I’m a German-Colombian based in India, so I don’t feel too bad I didn’t recognize her! At the time, I thought it must have been one of Obama’s many staffers.
Anyway, suddenly this woman pulled out her mobile phone and took a photo of herself smiling with Cameron and the US president. I captured the scene reflexively. All around me in the stadium, South Africans were dancing, singing and laughing to honour their departed leader. It was more like a carnival atmosphere, not at all morbid. The ceremony had already gone on for two hours and would last another two. The atmosphere was totally relaxed – I didn’t see anything shocking in my viewfinder, president of the US or not. We are in Africa.
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. For me, the behaviour of these leaders in snapping a selfie seems perfectly natural. I see nothing to complain about, and probably would have done the same in their place.
Touché. As someone just said on Twitter (I followed the person, but lost the tweet!)
Shake More Hands, Drop Fewer Bombs
I like it.
And Dave Johnson joined in too, to discuss the scary efforts of the administration to “Fast Track” the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the sad fact that it looks like the Democrats will allow the Republicans to cut unemployment compensation for millions of long-term unemployed in a few weeks.
Tomorrow, we’ll end the week with absurd news from Julianna Forlano, fabulous female facts from She’s History’s Amy Simon, and the Florida blogger who’s erecting the Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Can Festivus Pole at the Capitol in Tallahassee!