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  • Originally published 07/08/2013

    As Mandela lies dying, disputes over his legacy are taking hold

    JOHANNESBURG — The nasty family squabble over where three of former President Nelson Mandela’s children, and eventually the leader himself, will be buried drew to a close on Thursday morning in a small village on the Eastern Cape.But not before it had thrown into relief the perhaps inevitable disputes over the revered leader’s legacy — both the financial legacy, which his family is wrestling over, and more broadly, the political legacy of how Mr. Mandela will be remembered and how his story will guide the country he led.Mandla Mandela, the former president’s eldest grandson and heir as tribal leader in the region, held a news conference in his compound in Mvezo saying that he would cease his legal battles to have the bodies kept there. In 2011, he moved the bodies to Mvezo from another small village, Qunu, where the rest of the Mandela family wanted them and where the anti-apartheid leader is said to wish to be buried himself. By late afternoon, the bodies were reburied in Qunu....

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Saddam’s specter lives on in Iraqi landmarks

    BAGHDAD — The soaring half domes of the Martyr Monument stand out against the drabness of eastern Baghdad, not far from where Saddam Hussein’s feared eldest son was said to torture underperforming athletes.Saddam built the split teardrop-shaped sculpture in the middle of a manmade lake in the early 1980s to commemorate Iraqis killed in the Iran-Iraq War. The names of hundreds of thousands of fallen Iraqi soldiers are inscribed in simple Arabic script around the base.Today the monument stands as a memorial to a different sort of martyr. In recent years, the Shiite-led government has begun turning it into a museum honoring the overwhelmingly Shiite and Kurdish victims of Saddam’s Sunni-dominated regime....

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Saddam’s specter lives on in Iraqi landmarks

    BAGHDAD — The soaring half domes of the Martyr Monument stand out against the drabness of eastern Baghdad, not far from where Saddam Hussein’s feared eldest son was said to torture underperforming athletes.Saddam built the split teardrop-shaped sculpture in the middle of a manmade lake in the early 1980s to commemorate Iraqis killed in the Iran-Iraq War. The names of hundreds of thousands of fallen Iraqi soldiers are inscribed in simple Arabic script around the base.Today the monument stands as a memorial to a different sort of martyr. In recent years, the Shiite-led government has begun turning it into a museum honoring the overwhelmingly Shiite and Kurdish victims of Saddam’s Sunni-dominated regime....

  • Originally published 03/05/2013

    60 years after Stalin's death, Russia still divided on legacy

    MOSCOW — Devotees of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, whose brutal purges killed millions of innocent citizens and made his name a byword for totalitarian terror, flocked to the Kremlin to praise him for making his country a world power Tuesday, while experts and politicians puzzled and despaired over his enduring popularity.Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganov led some 1,000 zealots who laid carnations at Stalin’s grave by the Kremlin wall in Moscow, praising him as a symbol of the nation’s “great victories” and saying that Russia needs to rely on this “unique experience” to overcome its problems....