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An 'inspiring man'

In the Middle East, Israeli and Palestinian leaders offered tributes to a man who had been a staunch supporter of and role model for the Palestine Liberation Organization but who had also recognized what he called "the legitimacy of Zionism as a Jewish nationalism."

Mandela and his African National Congress resented the close military and intelligence ties that Israel maintained over decades with South Africa's apartheid leadership, and one of his first acts as a free man was to visit Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader.

On Friday, Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian leader imprisoned since 2002, declared in a statement: "From within my prison cell, I tell you our freedom seems possible because you reached yours," according to a translation released by the PLO.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel called Mandela "a paragon of our time" and a "moral leader of the first order," while President Shimon Peres said his "legacy will remain etched on the pages of history and in the hearts of all those people whose lives he touched."

New York Times

B ritons often claim a particular bond among the many Europeans who supported South Africa's struggle against apartheid, leading efforts to impose an international boycott on South African sports figures and gathering frequently to protest outside the country's high commission, or embassy, in Trafalgar Square in London. A line formed outside the building Friday as scores of people waited to sign a condolence book. Prince William, spoke to reporters on Thursday, calling him "an extraordinary and inspiring man.''

New York Times

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a letter of condolence to South African President Jacob Zuma, saying China will remember Mandela's devotion to "human progress."

By 10:22 p.m. Friday in Beijing, the number of comments related to Mandela reached 491,364 on Sina Weibo, the Chinese microblogging website.

New York Times

D esmond Tutu, former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town and Mandela's friend and fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, offered comfort to South Africans, brushing aside assertions that without Mandela's presence, the country would swiftly go downhill.

"What's going to happen to us now that our father has died? Does it spell doomsday disaster for us? Some have suggested that after he's gone, our country is going to go up in flames," Tutu said.

But Mandela's legacy of peace and goodwill is stronger than that, he said.

"The sun will rise tomorrow and the next day and the next. It may not appear as bright as yesterday, but life will carry on," Tutu said.

President Jacob Zuma urged South Africans to work hard to create a memorial worthy of Mandela.

"We call upon all people to gather in halls, churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and in their homes to pray and hold prayer services and meditation reflecting on the life of Madiba and his contribution to our country and the globe,'' he said.

"We'll always love Madiba for teaching us that it is possible to overcome hatred and anger in order to build a new nation and a new society."

Los Angeles Times

W hite South African women pulled up in SUVs, bringing their children and their maids, clad in neat uniforms, aprons and kerchiefs.

Well-heeled members of the nation's growing black middle class posed for iPhone photos in front of mountains of flowers, pictures and letters left outside the home of Nelson Mandela.

For black small-businessman Guntu Shabalala, 43, Mandela's death Thursday was just beginning to sink in.

"I started to realize when I went out in the morning that we were waking up to a different day. The traffic was different, the world was different. Life had changed, for everyone," he said.

In his 95-year life, Mandela was able to distill moments of togetherness and national pride — and Friday proved he could do the same in death, as the multiracial nation, two decades removed from the shackles of apartheid, shared its grief and celebration for the man they called simply "Tata," or father.

South African President Jacob Zuma declared 10 days of mourning, as the nation prepared for the logistical and security challenges of hosting hundreds of dignitaries planning to attend Mandela's state funeral Dec. 15.

Mandela's funeral is expected to draw almost all of Africa's leaders, the living U.S. presidents and heads of state and royals from around the world.

"We'll spend the week mourning his passing. We'll also spend it celebrating a life well lived, a life we must all emulate for the betterment of our country and Africa," Zuma said. "Long live Madiba.''

Los Angeles Times

An 'inspiring man' 12/07/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 6, 2013 11:39pm]
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