Nelson Mandela, Madiba to his people, has passed away, aged 95. He had to live to that great age so as to see a number of things. First, if he passed almost a quarter of his life in jail, as he did, that life had to be a long one, considering that he spent 27 years in jail. When he went to jail, Martin Luther King, Jr, was just beginning his effort to get civil rights for Black Americans. When he died, a Black American was President.

However, those two bastions of racism, the Alabama cracker and the South African Boer, are alive and well. In the American Deep South, it is still dangerous for nonwhites (like Pakistanis) to travel in interracial couples. We Pakistanis experienced something of the South African Boer in Faf Duplessis, when he scuffed the ball on his zipper in a cricket match with Pakistan, and being white, got away with it. The drone strikes owe a lot to the Alabama cracker mentality, which was behind the theory of the only good Injun being a dead Injun, which led to the wholesale slaughter of the Native American, just as the Boer mentality led to the South African blacks not just being discriminated against, but virtually deprived of citizenship.

Of course, it’s not all over. Israel continues to practice what amounts to apartheid against its Arab citizens, both Muslim and Jewish. Israel is apparently not just a Jewish state, but also a Zionist one, a place where Ashkenazim, or white European Jews, can boss around Arabs, both Jewish and Arab, doing so and getting American support before 9/11. After all, Holocaust guilt has been around for 68 years. And the Zionist occupation of Palestine, known as An-Nakba, or the Catastrophe, goes back 65 years.

One reason why Mandela was popular over here was Benazir Bhutto’s espousal of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission he had to deal with the effects of apartheid. The idea was not dropped by the PPP after Benazir’s murder, but it was not implemented when it came to office. I suppose all attempts to extract 10 percent from the victims were treated with disdain, while those responsible for the crimes of the past refused to pay on principle.

Now that the opportunity has been lost, we either need more Truth and Reconciliation, or we could just leave it to time. I mean, the induction of Ch Pervez and Ch Wajahat, the nephew and son of the late Ch Zahoor Elahi, was reconciliation enough. It only needs Ijazul Haq to join a PPP Cabinet, or maybe Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in one headed by Ijazul Haq, or Pervez Musharraf to join the present one, for the cause of Reconciliation to be served. Truth would be served by an explanation of why Ch Shujaat’s father venerated the pen with which Chief Justice Maulvi Mushtaq signed the order sheet sentencing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to death, or why Ijaz’s father had him executed. And any jiala to explain why there is no point to any Truth or Reconciliation, until there is democracy in the country, which means that a Bhutto or a relative is either President or PM.

Of course, Mandela’s death should not be confused with that of Shamsur Rehman Muavia, of the Jamaat Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, formerly the Sipah Sahaba Pakistan. I don’t think his killing was necessarily sectarian. Sectaries have also sought communal targets, mostly churches. The latest example, the Peshawar church attack, was horrific, for it provided an example that Christians have not had, of churches attacked under Muslim rule.

I suppose it is some sort of comment on the Umayyad dynasty that no one names a son Muavia. It seems that all these Muavias we hear about are actually names they have been awarded by their friends and acquaintances. The failure of the Umayyads can probably be judged from this. As a matter of fact, the only really popular name originating with an Umayyad caliph is Usman. Funnily enough, the descendants of the Caliph Muavia did not constitute the bulk of the Umayyad dynasty. After Yazid’s son Muavia II, the dynasty was continued by Marwan bin Al-Hakam, who was a relative of Muavia.

The murder of Shamsur Rehman Muavia did not have anything to do with the retirement of Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as Chief Justice of Pakistan. It’s a little sad when you think of it. Someone who could have removed a Prime Minister, can now do nothing.

But then that’s how it is with people. With institutions, it’s different. Look at the Islami Jamiat Tulaba. An institution by now. After all, it must be something more than just the Jamaat Islami’s student wing. It has given the Jamaat its latest two Amirs, and its current Secretary-General. Yet it still gets involved in violence. I suppose the reason is that young men, who are very strong in the IJT, are usually hot-blooded.

The Jamaat has found the IJT very useful as a recruiting ground. One disparity seems to be that the IJT has been electorally vastly more successful than the Jamaat, which has generally gone down to electoral defeat except in alliance with someone or the other. But the IJT has not fought an election in the Punjab University, where it used to win regularly, since the unions were banned 30 years ago.