‘Why was that stadium half empty?’ Glenn reacts to the media coverage of Nelson Mandela’s memorial service

Last week, Glenn reflected on his conflicting feelings about Nelson Mandela, and ultimately asked his audience to remember Mandela for his principles not his politics. On radio this morning, Glenn furthered that theme as he reacted to the bizarre media coverage of the Mandela’s death and memorial service.

Though the photos and video coverage of today’s memorial service in Johannesburg, South Africa often showed tight shots of the crowd gathered, Glenn could not help but notice what appeared to be a half-empty stadium.

“I’m watching the coverage and no one will talk about why that stadium was half-empty. Now, I don’t have the answer. I don’t know why. I know it was raining. I know on the radio listening coming in, they were saying people were jammed outside trying to get into the stadium. I saw the pictures on CNN with the reporter standing outside an empty parking lot saying a lot of the people just went home. I know that people lined up at midnight to get in,” Glenn said. “But it was half-empty. The field was empty. That might have been for security. I don’t know. But the seats were half-empty, except under cover. Now, that’s still a lot of people, but I wonder why the networks framed almost every shot so you didn’t see the half-empty stadium. Now, is it possible that it was because of rain? Yes, it is possible.”

While much of the world as deified Mandela, Glenn questioned whether South Africa looks at their former leader in the same way.

“South Africa does not look at Nelson Mandela the way the rest of the world looks at Nelson Mandela. They don’t deify him. He’s not a god there. He is a guy who changed the world, who could have gone for violence and instead went for peace. He is a great man. He is also a communist,” Glenn said. “But why was there no comment on where were the people of South Africa? Now, I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of people, you know, lining the streets, I would hope. But they don’t look at him the same way. And I think we’re already rewriting history.”

President Obama gave a speech during a memorial service that Glenn described as “fine,” even though it was a tad self-serving.

“So then the President gets up today, and he gives a fine speech – I think makes it about him again, what a surprise – but gives a fine speech. And he says the world will never see another Nelson Mandela,” Glenn explained. “Well, I don’t know… that is true in any way, shape, or form other than that individual soul will not be reincarnated… I disagree with [him] wholeheartedly.”

While Stu argued President Obama probably meant the world would never see someone as great as Mandela again, Glenn disagreed with the logic. Instead, Glenn contended that you are capable of being the next Nelson Mandela, or George Washington, or Ghandi. It is up to the individual to decide:

See, this is the problem. The president has got to single this man out and say he is unique. And don’t get me wrong. Nelson Mandela is unique. He had the chance to turn South Africa into a blood bowl, and he instead chose peace. Remarkable choice. Remarkable choice. Look at the whole man, and that’s where the President is conflicted. And I think that’s where a lot of people in South Africa are conflicted. The guy is a Communist. And I love these communists that come out… and tell you, ‘Well, I’m special, but you can never be special. You will never be this way.’ That’s why the President had to get up and say there will never be another man like that.

Instead the President should have said one man did make a difference. He did make a difference. And don’t let me or anyone else tell you that you cannot make a difference because you can…. In the quiet times in prison, he was blessed to understand the power of the individual. He believed in his heart and in his soul that it only takes one. It only takes one, one that truly believes in the power of love.

Why was Nelson Mandela in prison for so long? Nelson Mandela was in the prison for so long because the government was terrified of him. You couldn’t print a picture of Nelson Mandela. Why? They wanted people to forget who he was…. And I would like an answer on the numbers of the stadium because it’s important that we understand: Are people forgetting who he was already? Do people in his own country have a different view of him? Why was that stadium half-empty? It puzzled me, and I haven’t heard anybody talk about it. Why? It’s important to know the answer because if people don’t know who Nelson Mandela is, they need to know who he is: A man who believed in the power of one; a man who could have chosen hate. He could have chosen and said, ‘I’m going to get even,’ or he could have just given up. But he didn’t.

You see, governments fear the individual. That’s why governments tell you can’t do it. They fear the individual. They fear the next Nelson Mandela. And I tell you: You are the next Nelson Mandela. You are the next Martin Luther King. You are the next Gandhi. You are the next Abraham Lincoln. You are the next George Washington. Or you will be the next bum in the street. You will be the next Jim Crow. You choose. You will be the next Al Capone. The choice of the individual is clear. It is there every single day. What do you choose today? Will you choose to be quiet? Will you choose to hate? Will you choose jealousy, envy, pity, or do you seek out those things that will uplift and inspire? Will you seek out those things that are the true you?


We have not seen the last Nelson Mandela. We have not seen the last Martin Luther King or the last Gandhi because you are here. You can do what they did. And you can do more. Be an example for others. Realize your full potential. That shining city on the hill is just over the horizon. Stake your claim in the town square. Stand tall in it. Let your voice be heard. If you happen to be listening to me in prison right now, know that is the place that made Nelson Mandela. Your life belongs to you.

Nelson Mandela taught us one thing: That one man makes a government quake. One man staking his claim and being his highest self brings the world to its knees. One man makes a difference. Be that one man.

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Front page image courtesy of the AP

  • http://www.artinphoenix.com/gallery/grimm snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    The coverage was staged for the benefit of propaganda, same with Obama’s speech of self-centered self-serving interest.

  • tobias smit

    Glenn, my South African friends see him in very different light I do not agree with apartheid either and neither did most South Africans. the sad thing is that for whatever reason Africa as a whole ( Continent ) since the Colonists from Europe were ousted , violently in a lot of cases, it has returned to tribal warfare in a not just a few areas. School, Hospitals and infrastructure destroyed etc all over the Continent. From what my friends have told me if they would leave SA would head the same way . They LOVE SA it’s their homeland, I have tried many times to convince them to leave and even with all the current unrest they will not. And it is them that keep the whole country afloat not the black tribes.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8FvmesaxXg Sam Fisher

    They must seem him in a different light than we do because that is not right if he was loved in that country.

  • Guest

    THis asshole can see a consiracey in a fucking ham sandwich.

  • Stephan Bruno

    This asshole clown can see a conspiracy in a fucking ham sandwich.

  • Anonymous

    Do you have a point in your post or do you just like to lob insults and use the f bomb? I guess you think it makes you look cool, or smart or something. It does not.

  • Anonymous

    I honestly think that the limited number of people inside had to do with security. The number of threats and the number of foreign leaders gathered in a small area had been foretold would be a security nightmare. They were scrambling for security personnel, that was announced yesterday. The government did not want a mass murder terror attack during the ceremony on their watch. That was obvious. In order to make sure no one got in with a suicide vest or people with suicide vests I would imagine the security checks were more than many wanted to endure. And if the weather was also bad, and most other than the dignitaries would have had to sit in the rain, that would have caused many but the most devoted to just go home and watch it in the comfort of their homes. I do not think it is of any real concern, I think it is people who were turned away for security or chose not to sit in a storm for something they could view easier at home.

  • Anonymous

    If Mandela was a true man for peace, he certainly didn’t do much for Africa. Africa continues to be mostly unstable, full of feuding lords and corrupt governments. Africa is not doing much to change from their usual ways and that’s because they never had a unifying individual to give them hope and vision for self-improvement.

  • Murtud Lubadus

    I doubt whether Glenn reads any of your comments.

  • Anonymous

    Seems to be that the “One Man” that Glenn is talking about, is often two persons in their life. How many of the great people have started out in a negative situation, and then turned their life around to become great in whatever it is they then accomplish in their life.

    Now, that being the case, we need to not hold the negative portions of their life against them, but laud their accomplishments for good. THIS was the thrust of Glenn’s comments about Mandela, to be aware of his past, yes, but not hold it against him, but look at his later work, and the positive things accomplished, despite opposition.

    AND THE SPIRIT IN WHICH IT WAS DONE. That is the important thing.

    Laus Deo

  • landofaahs

    Why? There was no promise of free food.

  • http://suzeraining.wordpress.com/ suz

    in my book if you stand w/those who are senselessly violent, you support violence as he did. just as a george clooney gives money to further obama’s agenda, so then he is himself, at minimum, a socialist.

    mubarak was not at all an ideal middle man to protect our interests in the mid-east, but he was all we had and so we propped him up because the alternative was more senseless violence.

    to celebrate mandela’s turn from that world of radical rioting is what is to be celebrated — the turning point and his desire and ability to spread that view.

  • Anonymous

    Clean up your act, or keep quiet. You do not add anything to the conversation by writing such filth. You are a none entity!

  • Anonymous

    “One man with courage is a majority,”
    Thomas jefferson

  • Elena

    I, too, have SA friends who pretty much say the same thing.

  • Elena

    The authorities feared Mandela because he killed people w/bombs aimed at civilians. Mandela was in prison not for his politics but for his violence.

  • BlueMN

    And these people eat it up with a spoon.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe we could send them Obama for that hopie changy thing.

  • BlueMN

    I wonder why Beck didn’t use the whole President Obama quote.

    “We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. But let me say to
    the young people of Africa, and young people around the world — you can
    make his life’s work your own. Over 30 years ago, while still a student, I learned of Mandela and the struggles in this land. It stirred something in me.”

    In other words, “Mandela was a truly great man, but you young people can follow in his footsteps too. When I was young, he inspired me.”

    That’s a lot different than, ‘Well, I’m special, but you can never be special. You will never be this way.’ Oh well, I’m sure Beck has a reason for distorting something and misleading his followers again.

  • Fat Lip

    Wonderful to see you think that opinion of yours matters very unfortunate though.
    Beware reality creeps in .

  • John Scott

    Well, I think a lot of South Africans don’t really have that much better of life and that poverty is still a huge problem. I don’t think a lot of problems have been solved. Maybe Mandela was a catalyst at one time. But like the Martin Luther King in the US. Things only improved so much and then kind of stayed the same. The US still has a huge amount of Blacks in prison, their High school drop out is high and so is poverty.
    I think South Africa did succeed in eliminating Apartheid. But has failed in improving fundamental conditions for many.

  • John Scott

    But many reporters said they came and went from the stadium throughout the day without so much a look from security which appeared to be scant and not concerned? They did not even do searches and the entrances. My feeling is a lack of good weather and a somewhat disinterest kept many from attending. I think Glenn is right, South Africans do not put him on a pedestal as the World does.

  • Kllr

    Mandella was nothing but a communist thug (“America is a heinous global war criminal, Castro is great, etc.”). As to the statement that he opted for peace… well, that was just intelligence and self-preservation. Had the blacks rose up against the SA Army it would have been an all-out slaughter. Apartheid would have ended all right…. there wouldn’t have been any blacks left in SA.

  • Anonymous

    LOL! Love it!

  • Benjamin Dover

    Fact: More than 31,000 scientists recognize that there is no convincing scientific evidence of man-made global warming.