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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Nelson Mandela: une œuvre universelle

by Patrick Le Hyaric

Nelson Mandela : A Universal Project

By Patrick Le Hyaric, Director of L’Humanité

Translated Saturday 7 December 2013, by Harry Cross

The passing of Nelson Mandela plunges us into a sadness of the same degree as the joy we felt of February 11th, 1990. That day, on television screens we were millions around the world watching event unfold. A wide smile and the fist in the air, he was handsome and full of life, proud and happy to be free, paid for by 27 years of imprisonment in Robben Island and then at Pollsmor. He told us that the struggle for justice and equality would continue. This was true thanks to his incredible perseverance which saw united in one same country the enemies of yesteryear, who had once imprisoned him and made him and his people suffer so. His entire life is an example of unique tenacity, of courage and of political intelligence.

Courage. This is the world which has forever been used to describe this great man, this activist, this head of state who gave his life to the struggle against racism, against segregation and the negation of a universal destiny to the individual. In the name of equality and dignity among all people, he deconstructed the disgraceful Apartheid regime whilst refusing to cultivate hatred and a desire for revenge. On the contrary, he pursued without relent reconciliation, knowing that any other option could lead to a blood-bath. Mandela will remain an inspiration for many generations to come as a rare individual who transcended civilisation and is remembered by all as one of our greats.

While the whole world mourns the passing of “Madiba”, our newspaper is proud to have been by his side from the earliest of days. This was not forgotten by the great man when he pronounced these simple and touching words the day after his liberation: “L’Humanité has pursued a long struggle against apartheid and for my freedom”!

Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, his friends and comrades in struggle, the people of South Africa and the African Continent. His words during his trial in November 1962 in Pretoria still ring true: "I have done my duty to my people and to South Africa. I have no doubt that posterity will pronounce that I was innocent”. Nelson Mandela undoubtedly remains an icon of our times.

The entire planet is in mourning. The life and the activism of Nelson Mandela will forever inspire humanity.

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