'Mythic' Mandela Dominates Front Pages

Papers around the world pay tribute to a hero
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2013 1:05 PM CST
Updated Dec 6, 2013 1:57 PM CST
Front pages of the New York Post, the New York Times, center, and Daily News carry the news and photos of the death of Nelson Mandela.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – As the world mourns Nelson Mandela, newspapers around the globe have turned their front pages into tributes to the South African statesman who died yesterday at 95. Here's a look at some highlights:

  • "Mr. Mandela was that rarity among revolutionaries and moral dissidents: a capable statesman, comfortable with compromise and impatient with the doctrinaire," Bill Keller writes for the New York Times in a lengthy obituary. The headline describes him as "fighter, prisoner, president, and symbol."
  • While admiring that he "sometimes chafed at the saintlike celebrity that cloaked him late in life," the Los Angeles Times notes in a 4,000-word obit that Mandela was "an inspiration to millions" and a "revered symbol of racial reconciliation around the world."
  • Not only that, "he was indeed the father of the nation," writes Alec Russell for the Financial Times. "Don’t put me on a pedestal, I am human, he liked to say. He once bemoaned his image as a demigod. Yet who could dispute that he presides over the pantheon of great leaders of the 20th century?"
  • He was "a leader of mythic stature" who "radiated an image of moral rectitude expressed in measured tones, often leavened by a mischievous humor," the Chicago Tribune notes.
  • But perhaps the best way to remember him is with his own words. "He stays behind the flock," he wrote of a tribal council chief in his autobiography, per the NY Times, "letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind."

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