Two farewells for a pair of towering figures in world history: the 2005 funeral of Pope John Paul II and Tuesday’s mass public ceremony to mark the death of Nelson Mandela.
Not since the global public outpouring in Rome more than eight years ago to pay respects to the Polish pontiff has the world come together to mark a life that shaped our times.
Though the personal biographies are quite different, the Roman Catholic monarch and South African freedom fighter shared that unique mix of political and spiritual leadership that extended far beyond their own respective flocks.
Tuesday’s memorial for Mandela is also a chance to take stock in what has and hasn't changed since John Paul's passing: the global economic crisis and election of the first African-American president, the Arab Spring, Afghanistan and Iraq, exploding Facebook and Twitter, imploding Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus.
Here are some points of comparison:
St. Peter’s Square
Soweto's FNB Stadium
John Paul II: 300,000
Notables: The Vatican funeral in 2005 was limited to official political and religious dignitaries — while such celebrities as Bono, the Spice Girls, Charlize Theron and Oprah Winfrey are on hand for Mandela’s farewell.
Here are the officials who showed up, then and now:
|John Paul II funeral||Nelson Mandela memorial|
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President Jacques Chirac.
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|President Hamid Karzai.||President Hamid Karzai.|
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|Minister of Culture
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|Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma.||No representative.|
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|President Viktor Yushchenko.||No representative.|
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|George W. Bush with his wife Laura,
George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton.
|Barack Obama, George W. Bush,
Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter.
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American dignitaries at John Paul II's funeral — Photo: White House
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|President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.||President Dilma Rousseff.|
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|President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
|Prime Minister Enrico Letta.|
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| Charles, Prince of Wales, Tony Blair
— but not the Queen.
|Charles, Prince of Wales
and Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Queen wished to attend but
has been advised against it by doctors.
[rebelmouse-image 27087620 alt=""Flag" original_size="30x17" expand=1]
|President Mohammad Khatami.||Although President Hassan Rouhani was rumoured to go, he tweeted Monday that his VP for Executive Affairs Mohammad Shariatmadari would be attending the memorial.|
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|Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei.||President Mahmoud Abbas.|
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|Robert Mugabe.||Robert Mugabe.|
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|Vice President Jacob Zuma.||President Jacob Zuma.|
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|No representative.||Vice President Li Yuanchao.|
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|President Moshe Katsav.||President Shimon Peres is not attending,
citing health problems. Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu won't be there either,
citing high travel costs.
[rebelmouse-image 27087627 alt=""flag" original_size="30x15" expand=1]
|President of the National Assembly
Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada.
|President Raul Castro.|