20 September, 2020

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The Long Walk Never Ends

By Malinda Seneviratne –

Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

The world’s most respected and loved elder statesman has passed on.  Nelson Mandela for reasons that do not require elaboration was the one and only person who deserved the epithet ‘Global Citizen’; he did not belong to South Africa alone, he belonged to every continent, every country.  He was grandfather, father and brother to the entire global family.

The entire world mourns today.  The condolences of the powerful, naturally, make the ‘visible afterword’ of this most distressing piece of news.  Perhaps it is as much a comment on hypocrisy as the stature of the man that today his former detractors are falling over each other in eulogizing Mandela.  Nations whose capitols fly national flags at half-mast would do well to reflect on the ‘national positions’ taken on Mandela not too long ago.  That is another story. For later.  What is important is that even when they are disingenuous, they have to tell the truth.

President Barack Obama, for example, got it right when he said that Mandela was ‘influential, courageous and profoundly good’.  It is the ‘profoundly good’ element that stands out because it is a rare commodity among politicians, which is why the world is poor in its endowment of statesmen.

A Sri Lankan octogenarian who has spent many years in Zimbabwe notes that his goodness ‘allowed him to persuade the black majority to stretch out their hands in reconciliation to the white minority and this was his greatest victory’.

Mandela chose to walk a long road where destination was known but the distance to ‘end’ was not.  As often happens, when destination was reached it was found that other destinations beckon and that there is more walking to be done.  Mandela walked.  All his life.  This is why, today as the world remembers Nelson Mandela, all countries and communities would do well to reflect deep on destinations, distances and walking, especially those collectives that are embroiled in conflict or who find it hard to bury the suspicion and anger that precipitated and sustained conflagration in the first place.

The great man observed, ‘No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.’

Love is a non-factor when it comes to certain processes in which conflict is inherent; capitalism, for example.  We would need more than a Mandellian approach to resolve the depravations, violence and destruction of that particular .global phenomenon.   When it comes to inter-communal conflict, however, Mandela in word and deed showed the world a pathway to a destination where co-existence and harmony are possible.

The one thing that counts in the matter of love and loving is that they are not predicated on the guarantee of being loved in return.   One does not have to be loved back to love.  Mandela did not ask ‘Do you love me?’ before declaring ‘I love you’.

The world can learn.  Sri Lanka can too.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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  • 2
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    Yes you are correct
    Mandela chose to walk a long road where destination was known but the distance to ‘end’ was not. As often happens, when destination was reached it was found that other destinations beckon and that there is more walking to be done. Mandela walked. All his life. This is why, today as the world remembers Nelson Mandela,
    He walked for freedom
    But in Sri Lanka. JR Jayawardana walkers to destroy the Tamil’s freedom
    Most of the younger generation doesn’t know the history
    Before any one make comment on this find out why JR walked to Kandy?

    • 1
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      How come Rajapassa the war criminal rushed off to attend the funeral of profoundly good Mandela? Rajapassa should be stripped of the Commonwealth of Clowns headship and the at British COLONIAL organization should be SHUT DOWN!

      In Delhi the anti-corruption party run by academics and activists has swept the polls. Sri Lanka today needs an anti-corruption movement and the so-called Prime Minister and President Jarapassa should be forced to resign for CORRUPTION and FRAUD and nepotism.

  • 4
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    What about your hero Percy Mahendran Rajapaksa?

  • 4
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    “..his goodness ‘allowed him to persuade the black majority to stretch out their hands in reconciliation to the white minority and this was his greatest victory’”.
    Where are the Sri Lankan Majority Statesmen who will ‘stretch out their hands’ to the ethnic/religious minorities to bring about Reconciliation in our troubled Island?
    Our Politicians are too busy creating new forums of hatred and disharmony to keep themselves in Power for ever!

  • 3
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    malia, I tried looking for some regime crap in your article, but none was to be found. Finally….Clap, Clap.. Hopefully Mandela will make you see the truth and set you free brother.. Please please please don’t write anything about Mahinda going to South Africa in your next article.. That will just wreck the good work you done here..

  • 1
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    I am a really big fan of M.A. Sumanthiran who also praised Mandela, but both of you are wrong on this. Mandela was a communist. He was associated with Joe Slovo who was the leader of the communist party in South Africa. This is the same communist party that has accounted for more murders than the Nazis. Mandela’s ANC was notorious for bombings particularly malls at Christmas. Many innocent people were targeted in these bombings which he approved of and was in charge of the terrorist group behind them. Amnesty International never took up Mandela’s case because he was not a prisoner of conscious, but rather a terrorist. He was offered a release from prison by the South African president who visited him in prison and offered that release if he renounced violence, but he refused to do so. When he became president, Mandela was friendly with dictators in Libya, Cuba and Indonesia. When Mandela took power in 1994 he nationalized several sectors of the economy which caused a collapse in it. The Rand was once very strong and it is weak because it has been so devalued by 70 percent. The economy since the British left has delivered less to everyone than it did when it was under colonial control. It is now a corrupt nation and is the rape capitol of the world. Things have gotten so bad there that blacks and whites are actually suggesting in polls that they were better off under Apartheid. The colonialists never committed the types of genocidal murderous acts committed by blacks in Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria and on and on which have killed millions of blacks.

    • 0
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      Wyatt K….What tosh!!!!!!

      Did Mandela turn South Africa into a communist state?….Did he nationalise state enterprises?…Did he arrest and put behind bars his opponents?… Did he engage in oppression?…. Did he dismantle the capitalist system?
      …During the liberation struggle when white western interests were threatened Mandela was termed a “terrorist” (as Thatcher did)..USA removed Mandela from the terror list only recently!…Attempting to devalue Mandela the person by referring to economic issues and foreign policy (he condemned the real terrorists Blair and Bush for the illegal invasion of Iraq)is the height of absurdity….In which planet are you living Wyatt? History abounds with volumes of evidence of your Colonial heroes robbing, pillaging and raping all over Africa and other parts of the world…. Mandela was without doubt one of the greatest figures of this century..Mandela is dead….Long live Mandela!

      • 0
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        Mandela was a communist. No other system in the world has been more responsible for more murders in human history than communism. When Mandela nationalized various areas of the South African economy, the national economy sagged for everyone. He also spent so much money that he devalued the Rand about 70 percent. Under the ANC, South Africa has come to the verge of being a failed state. Its government is rife with corruption and it is also the rape capitol of the world. I would also add that even under Apartheid, people from all over the continent were trying to get into South Africa because of its stability and vibrant economy. For all that can be said about the colonialists, they never committed acts against people similar to how blacks committed them to their own in places like Uganda and Liberia and on and on.

        • 0
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          “No other system in the world has been more responsible for more murders in human history than communism.”

          I thought world has seen more killings in the name of the RELIGION(S) than communism in human history.!

          • 0
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            Communism also a Religion to many and Hiding behind the communist religion most politicians committed crimes, did looting of public properties, did Raping, and destroying societies.
            OUR POLITIKKAS STILL DOING IT WITH THEIR HENCHMEN and FAMILY CLANs.

  • 0
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    Malinda, You are certainly the Buddha Bumi’s Mandela is waiting. All you need to do a bit of reality check. I suggest this for you. Why not go to slave island which had been cleansed of Muslims and Tamil residents recently. Why not invite your friends from Sinhala Urumaya, BBS and some white van drivers and ask them to do you a favour – deliver a thundering slap. After that please check of you puny racist Sinhala Buddhist brain has been dislodged and in the ground, and then if it is the bigger portion and you able to operate with what is left – you are most certainly our Mandela.

  • 1
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    What’s next? Satan’s half-brother extolling the virtues of Jesus Christ, Gautama Siddhartha and the Prophet Mohamed?
    This shameless sycophant will write anything about anyone as long as his patrons don’t object!
    The unfortunate thing about this kind of stuff is that there is a tendency to downgrade the subject when one applies the old expression, “Consider the source!”

  • 0
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    Wyatt,
    You said “Mandela was a communist”, and then put lot of your historical understanding as facts, may be true, I don’t know….. In 60s, 70s and until 80s, lot of intellectuals or people with brains and wisdom, believed that communism could be viable solution for the world…why violence used for that humane aim could not be justified or understood..
    Anyway, when a journalist asked Mandela how he became rugby (white sport) fan so suddenly after became president, his famous answer was “If I can’t change, how can I ask millions of South Africans to change”..
    Economies getting worse after SUDDA management is very obvious in Asian and African countries. However, Mandela is/was respected not for his economic management skills or leading people for economic success… Hitler was very good at both, but very few respect his character…
    Anura

  • 0
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    Malinda;
    As you said Mandela was a freeman after his Release from prison and BUT NOT HIS PEOPLE.
    They have become Lawless society like sri lanka.
    Some of our friends who visited South Africa recently given precautions not to go out without Escorted security by the sponsors.
    Now they have become one of the Poor countries even though they have vast natural Resources.
    To remember you, Now your boss and his clan also started a long March, With Loots from Tsunami, LTTE COFFERS and Sri Lankan Tax money.
    So please Help him and his clan Singing MAHA Rajanani,

  • 0
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    Wonder whether anyone seen Cameron’s speech ????…..

  • 0
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    I read an intersting article by Slavoj Zizek.

    Where he says;

    “If we want to remain faithful to Mandela’s legacy, we should thus forget about celebratory crocodile tears and focus on the unfulfilled promises his leadership gave rise to. We can safely surmise that, on account of his doubtless moral and political greatness, he was at the end of his life also a bitter old man, well aware how his very political triumph and his elevation into a universal hero was the mask of a bitter defeat. His universal glory is also a sign that he really didn’t disturb the global order of power.”

    There’s more to learn from the triumphs and failures of Mandela’s journey and the unfinished business he has left for the next generation. It is doubtful the current SA leadership is equipped to progress from here and provide leadership to whole of the suffering masses of Africa who are continued to be exploited by big powers and whose precious resources are robbed on a daily basis.

  • 1
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    Malinda
    Print out Obama’s speech and give it to our President.

    • 0
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      Can he read that and understand that Obama’s speech.

  • 2
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    ‘‘No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.’’

    Indeed.

    Malinda, what has been making our people hate the Tamils?
    Our politicians’ behaviour and speeches to get to power and not to lead the country to peace and prosperity, contents in textbooks, improper control of educational institutes, ….:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/158649137/Sri-Lanka-Must-Transform-Its-Education-for-War-Into-Education-for-Peace

  • 0
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    Wyatt K. Certainly Mandela was labelled a terrorist (and communist) by his white opponents-and with cause. He was ANC. he was fighting for the freedom of his people. He won. He changed. He realised that hate would win nothing. His essential goodness allowed him to question himself, change and compromise. That was his greatness and his strength. Obama said that
    ‘Madiba freed the prisoner and the gaoler’. Think about it.

  • 1
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    I am relieved as Malinda did not try to parallel Mahinda Rajapakse with Nelson Mandela for liberating the people!

  • 0
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    What has happened to Malinda S? Has he been overcome with Mandela’s eulogies and starting to see sense? If, it is a big if, MR had stretched his hand to accommodate the minorities empowering them as per the promises made to the IC, MS would have been up in arms! Selling out to the Tamils would have been the cry! Ok, now MS has seen the wisdom, what is his advice to MR?

  • 0
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    Essentially Mandela was against racial superiority and discrimination. He followed the path of peace and reconcilliation to solve the problem of apartheid. The message was echoed by millions worlwide and was the topic of many of the funeral orations. Hope MR gets the message.

  • 0
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    You guys are praising Mandela, but you condemn the LTTE. Same thing…

    • 0
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      [Edited out]

      Please write instead of posting links – CT

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