Who Do We Love?

Published: 28th January 2011



Filed in: Expressions

Nelson Mandela on his release from prison

The outpouring of heartfelt emotion all over the world at the news that Nelson Mandela was ill in hospital straightened our backs and concentrated the mind.

We all prepared for the moment we knew was never too far away, yet nonetheless are all unwilling to accept will inevitably arrive.

Madiba is still with us, and for that we are all relieved. We’re all still very wounded following the global grief which followed the loss of Michael Jackson.

Perhaps, our collective chord of compassion is still far too frail to confront the tragedy of an even bigger legend’s departure.

And this got me thinking; for whom else, and where else, would there be either a national or global outpouring of grief?

Who in the world do we really love? Whom, upon hearing had become critically ill today, would we lay vigil outside a hospital on freezing winter days for? Whose funeral would a nation, or at least a city, actually grind to a halt for? As the world did for Diana, Pope John Paul II and Michael Jackson. As a nation did for John F Kennedy

I’m not suggesting I have a finger on the pulse for the sympathies of the populations of every city, nation or continent but I’ll list some names, and what I think would be the scope of their ‘vigil’.

Icon Occupation Impact
Nelson Mandela World Statesman Global
The Queen Head of State, United Kingdom Global
Barack Obama President, United States Global
Oprah Winfrey Television chat show host Global
Jay-Z Rapper, Businessman New York
David Beckham Footballer Global
Amitabh Bhachan Bollywood Actor India, Pakistan
Ivete Sangalo Singer Brazil
Diego Maradona Footballing Legend Global
Hillary Clinton Secretary of State, United States Global
Bill Clinton Former President, United States Global
Vladimir Putin Prime Minister, Russia Russia
Muhammad Ali Former Heavyweight Champion Global
Madonna Singer Global
Sachin Tendulkar Cricketer Asia
Justin Bieber Singer North America

I’ve suggested some here but please feel free to agree or disagree with me. More importantly, please add more and ask your friends in places far afield to contribute with their local knowledge.

I’m woefully conscious that the list is missing many icons from Africa, Middle East and Asia, particularly the Far East. Rather than chastise me for being so Western-centric, please help by adding them. A couple of lines about them and perhaps a link to their Wiki too would be great

This is just hypothetical, of course, there is nothing to suggest that any of these icons are on the Grim Reaper’s hit list, and neither would I want anybody to assume that I’m hoping for the swift expedition of their time with us. Well, maybe one of them…


11 Responses to “Who Do We Love?”

  1. avatar Steve says:

    What about the leader of China. Hu Jintao is the leader of the Nation with the largest Population as well as the fastest growing economy.

    China is a SuperPower and sure he would make the World take note if he died. The British Press would not cover it as much as the rest of Asia.

    Hu Jintao is another to add to the list.

  2. avatar Missy says:

    i can't actually think of anyone other then Nelson Mandela at the moment who would bring the whole world together in grief.

    But there is an interets or morbid list of well known people who may not have long left http://deathlist.net/

  3. avatar Prodigal Son says:

    Guys thank you, some excellent (and very suspect suggestions here)

    They're mostly all good, and the ones I agree with (not that I'm an expert) are:

    – Lech Walesa, I vividly remember the Solidarinosch (sp?) movement and it's impact. Poland would definitely stop

    – Stevie Wonder – though I think USA, and minor reverberations in some other regions

    – Paul McCartney, but I think mainly UK

    – Jackie Chan, I think China (I actually thought about including him in my list) – where did you meet him? Photo?

    – Elizabeth Taylor, yes and no… ummm… would the world stop? Today? Really?

    – Janet Jackson, yes I think so too. But scope? I think USA

    Some people seem to have missed the point, however, as I've received messages and tweets guffawing at my inclusion of Justin Bieber (not you Grenada Spice). I think those people should re-read the article. I'm not a fan of Master Bieber, but to deny that his sudden death or illness would rock North American teens is somewhat…

    Please keep them coming in

  4. avatar aga says:

    Love your site and what a great article!

    The person that comes to my mind is LECH WALESA.

    He is a human-rights activist who co-founded Solidarity in Poland. He won the Nobel Peace Prize and served as President of Poland (80-95).

    He is highly respected and would bring my country to a standstill.

  5. avatar GrenadaSpice says:

    LetsGoDeeper, you know Im your biggest fan but JUSTIN BIEBER!!!, please don't mention that name again EVER!!!

    My list would include:

    Stevie Wonder – Global

    Paul McCartney – Global

    Jackie Chan – Global(I met him you know)

    Elizabeth Taylor – Global

  6. avatar DAN says:

    Where would Gorbachev fit? Iconic in the 80's and no mention of him today.

  7. avatar Wendi B says:

    Michael Jackson's was always the one I dreaded the most in life (celeb-wise). How do you think Janet would fare? Not that I'd like to find out any time soon of course…

  8. …booooy… I wouldn't like to say, a little morbid.

  9. A few more:

    Maya Angelou

    Iyanla Vanzant

    Doreen Laurence

    Janet Kaye

    Pattie Labelle

    Morgan Freeman

    Sidney Potier

    Trevor McDonald


  10. avatar Jennifer says:

    The only person on your list I would cry about, apart from Mandela, is Ali. I did cry when Keith Floyd died though.

  11. avatar Steve says:

    WOW Great Article and where do I start? Here is someone I think that should be on the list as they are important to me in my life.

    HULK HOGAN – The Man put Pro Wrestling on the Map today. He dwarfed Mr T look in Wrestlemania!

    Where would Julian Assange fit?

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