Nelson Mandela was a great leader who took his people from oppression to freedom. Apartheid was a diabolical regime which should never ever be equated to anything we have in the West for fear of degrading the heroic fight of many brave souls for the right to exist as equal human beings. Mandela served his time in jail and thanked G-d that his single violent plan was stopped by the authorities that he could live his life with his head held high. His words about Israel will undoubtedly take pride of place for CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera but frankly my dears, I don't give a damn. He retracted his unwise words and his greatness should not be tarnished by a slip of the tongue. May he rest in peace.
Here in Thailand we celebrated the 85th birthday of Rama 9th, the King who is the only monarch to serve longer than Elizabeth of the UK. The demonstrations in Bangkok not only stopped predominantly in honour of the birthday and the demonstrators cleaned up their own mess in the streets. The people of Bangkok elebrated into the night but here in Lana Province they remember that they were a separate people with their own King until Siam absorbed Lana and became Thailand. The celebrations were much quieter here but then this is a gentler and quieter people than those of Southern Thailand. Here too there are check points - here too there are infiltrators - here too there have been wars with their neighbours and here too there are illegal workers from Myanmar and Laos.
On that note I wish you a Shabbat Shalom wherever you are