As the world paid tribute to the legendary Nelson Mandela, Conor Shiels couldn't help but take a closer look at the global leaders spearheading the condolences, including one David Cameron who'd previously wanted Mandela hanged.
This weekend saw the passing of one of the world's greatest icons, Nelson Mandela. As expected tributes poured in from almost all world leaders describing the South African freedom fighter as a 'legend', a 'towering figure' and an all round nice guy.
Many of the tributes were warm and appeared genuinely heartfelt, others seemed hypocritical and downright disrespectful, not only to the great man, but also to the intellect of the general public as though we all suffered from some sort of collective amnesia.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron lead the tributes to Nelson Mandela on what presumably was a day of quiet victory for the man who, during his heyday, had called for Madiba and his fellow freedom fighters to face the death penalty.
Cameron said: "A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time: a legend in life and now in death - a true global hero. I believe that his inspiration for the future will be every bit as powerful as the extraordinary things he achieved in his remarkable life."
In 1985 the UK Conservative party's youth wing, of which Cameron was a 'rising star' called for Mandela and his fellow ANC members to be hanged. The current UK PM even embarked on an all expenses paid “fact finding mission” to apartheid South Africa in 1989, in an attempt to curb sanctions against the race hate state.
Meanwhile, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu also gushed in recent days, as he described the deceased former president "one of the outstanding figures of our time.” All very touching except, this is the same man fronting an entity which Mandela saw as a 'terrorist' state. In fact the 95-year-old even went as far as to say that his freedom remained “incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
Even China, widely known for throwing anybody who dares to speak out against the government into prison – ya know, similar to the one where Mandela was held for 27 years – sent out their condolences.
And of course (as with all of these things), the US was quick to chime in as the friendly face of drone strikes, branding Mandela as an “influential, courageous and a profoundly good human being.” What they forgot to add was the fact that the so-called land of the free kept Mandela on a terrorist watch list until 1998.
Of course, the flood of nauseating pseudo-grief wasn't limited to the rich and powerful. Across Egypt, the twittering classes were poking, liking, tweeting and insta-whatevering all over Mandela's memory.
Oddly, nobody from the grief squad seemed to see the irony in mourning one of history's greatest freedom fighters while just hours later beating the shit out of protesters or whooping whooping the arrest of demonstrators who dared to stand up to the Egyptian police state.
And right in the middle of it all, Paris Hilton made her own touching tribute to Mandela, making particular reference to his 'I have a dream' speech.
While I'm all for the need to remember the dead, I think that before jumping on the Mandela grief bandwagon, many of the world's chief mourners should take a look closer to home while others would be better off maintaining a dignified silence and just shutting the hell up.