Nelson Mandela (1918- ) at 90
of Robben Island prison. The picture was taken secretly by
a fellow prisoner and smuggled out. Photograph: Hulton.
I lifted this photograph from a slide show at The Guardian honoring Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday today. I've tabbed this 'our criminals' to stress that we have often labeled those we now honor as "terrorists" and treated them as such. There is no need to canonize Mandela or any other political leader. But it also is crucial not to let historical amnesia obscure our bad behavior. Maybe there are lessons here?