* I used to think that I was terribly deprived because I was not in that tavern having an ale when Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe would stop in and discuss our business.
Now I find myself doubly blessed to have met and witnessed South African leader Nelson Mandela, and the birth of another great new nation. We are with you, President Mandela!
ROSS S. CLARK
* As a child growing up in South Africa of the 1960s I used to dream of living in a "magical" place far from the senseless violence and madness, and far less dusty. Ironically, I now live on a smog-infested, dusty piece of reclaimed desert surrounded by mounting violence and madness--right down the road from the Magic Kingdom--and I watch "magic" events unfolding on TV in the land of my birth.
Almost unbelievably, a handful of extremely courageous people have achieved the impossible in negotiating a peaceful revolution, and with minimum bloodshed, against all odds. Obviously even one life lost to violence is one too many; nevertheless given the potential powder keg that more than 40 million South Africans have been sitting atop for the last 40 years, it is amazing that a democratic election took place, rather than a bloody civil war, and it is even more amazing that leadership was able to prevent a military or police force coup.
Clearly Nelson Mandela and Frederik W. de Klerk have earned their Nobel prizes--and a unique place in world history. More power to the nation as it now rebuilds and prepares for its destiny as the engine that will propel the sub-Saharan African region into the 21st Century.