Snapshots of Nelson Mandela continue to swell the collective, global memory as deeply personal tributes pour onto the web. In the Canadian psyche too, is the imprint of a giant. It happens to be another man who made news this month: Roméo Dallaire, the retired Lieutenant-General who witnessed genocide in Rwanda.
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You never took the easy route, you understood that great anger and violence can never build a nation, and you united a divided country. It is time Canada learned from you and reached out in friendship, nation to nation, to our First Peoples. Thank you for teaching us grace.
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The Canadian media has missed, or, rather, sidestepped the opportunity to truly learn the lessons Madiba taught the world. Politicians and establishment hacks invariably give empty words. The juxtaposition of Canada's multicultural crown and the apartheid-like pyramid of pundits is a cross Canadians will have to bear. But, there are a few notable (positive) exceptions in the coverage of Mandela's death.
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Mandela was a towering figure of our time, a key person in the struggles for human rights and social justice. The 20th century was a century that saw some of the worse violence in human history, two world wars, brutal dictatorships, colonization of developing countries by imperial powers, and threat of nuclear war.
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The other night I was in Regent Park, near downtown Toronto, at the Nelson Mandela Park Public School observing a small candlelight vigil. I was also was there with my family and my incredible wife, who was born and grew up in Apartheid South Africa before moving to this beautiful country of Canada when she was 12.
I will never forget what he said as he greeted us, "Hello" he said in a quite but firm voice, "I'm Nelson Mandela and it is truly an honour to meet you." The humility of his greeting shook me to my core. In those few words I understood the essence of Nelson Mandela.
This week, Former South African president Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95. Unlike so many bloggers and journalists, I didn't have a formative experience where Mandela changed the course of my life. He was mostly a far-off figure to me at a time when I was too young to fully appreciate the strength and dignity he maintained while making previously unthinkable strides for human rights. But I do remember this: being an undergrad reading about South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and thinking, how could a man who had suffered so much injustice, and seen so much suffering, focus so squarely on forgiveness?
News of Nelson Mandela's death resulted in a deluge of reactions and condolences from the world over, including musicians from every genre. "It was as if he was born to teach the age a lesson in humil...
Mandela spoke often about the mountains we all have to climb in life. It can be hard and exhausting, and once you reach the summit, he would say, you look over the top and what do you see? Yet another mountain. But you must keep going. And he always did.
It's the eve of the 1994 general election in South Africa -- first democratic election in the nation's 342 years. Nelson Mandela comes to the South African Broadcasting Corporation for an election rally. The black working classes abandon their jobs, flow in a mighty river through the dank corridors to the rally in the basement. No-one with that colour skin has ever before been invited to a South African national election rally, much less been asked for their vote. Mandela speaks slowly, saying words the people gathered here want and need to hear. The beast that is apartheid is dead, he tells the crowd.
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OTTAWA - They were a government in waiting — ready to follow their fearless, newly freed leader, Nelson Mandela — except for one major problem.None of the heady, young members of the African National...
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I was born in South Africa, under apartheid -- a white child with every privilege. It was the year 1969, five years after Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison. In my first year at Queen's University, in 1990, Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison. My classmates were euphoric about what this would mean for South Africa. My optimism was more cautious.
On Vacay.ca, a list has been published of the five Nelson Mandela attractions visitors to South Africa will have to make a point of seeing. The list includes Robben Island. This 12-square-kilometre dot of sand and limestone is where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years of incarceration.
If ever proof were needed that one person can change the world, Nelson Mandela was that proof. His unwavering commitment to peace, tolerance, justice, and equality embodied those very concepts. Mandela inspired a movement, transformed a country, and reshaped our understanding of what the world could be. With the leadership of his External Affairs Minister Joe Clark and the influence of Canada's UN Ambassador Stephen Lewis, Prime Minister Mulroney diverged from his Conservative cousins in the U.K. and U.S. and stood strong against apartheid -- heeding the call of Mandela. Canada's stance in those days continues to be a source of pride for all of us.