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Mandela: A Symbol of Struggle and Emancipation Has Left Us

Declaration by Pierre Laurent, (National Secretary of the French Communist Party)

Translated Saturday 7 December 2013, by Harry Cross

It is with great sadness that I learn of the passing of Nelson Mandela. A great man has left us. Nelson Mandela will always be symbolic of the struggle for human freedom, a universal figure who will mark history. Faced with an Apartheid regime which denied humanity whilst entrenching racism and humiliation in the political system, he never once cowered. This cost him 27 years in prison, but it also brought him to the presidency of South Africa. With his comrades in the ANC, in alliance with the Communist Party of South Africa and the Congress of South African Trade Union, he fixed as his objective the seemingly impossible task of uniting all his people behind the Freedom Charter of 1955. The destiny of an entire people was embodied in him.

Mandela was the first president of his country elected by non-racial universal suffrage. The Communist Party in France is honoured to have contributed from the first day to an unrelenting and overwhelming movement of international solidarity with this long march to freedom by the South African people.

The struggle to the end against apartheid, and the struggle for the liberation of Nelson Mandela will be leave long-lasting memories with the French Communist Party (PCF). They were, for me personally, primary areas of struggle in my youth. From the occupation of the South African embassy – painted entirely in black in order to denounce the regime it represented – to the large protests in Paris, not forgetting the tragic assassination of Dulcie September in Paris, the PCF and the Young Communists of France were active throughout this long struggle.

Yesterday, the freedom of Mandela and all the people of South Africa was a victory for all humanity. Today, all of humanity is now in mourning.

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