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Madiba is alive!

George Emile Irani is Associate Professor of International Relations at the American University of Kuwait                        — Editor

Another of humanity’s giants is gone. After years of jail and struggle to free his people from the yoke of apartheid Nelson Mandela died. South Africa is a better place but it is also a country wracked with violence and poverty

Mandela strongly believed in the power of reconciliation a badly needed concept in a world where hatred and misperceptions dominate.  Madiba, as Mandela was known to his people, understood that creating enemies and wallowing in revenge will not lead to the liberation of his country from the scourge of apartheid. A scourge by the way supported by the US UK and other countries who believe in basic human rights.
Unlike other leaders in recent history Mandela empowered himself while in prison. He understood that the only way to create a viable South Africa was to initiate a process of policing the past and look towards building a society based on equal justice for all. Mandela empowered and liberated his people
In contrast to Mandela’s giant efforts to free his country from apartheid other leaders preferred fomenting hatred and evil.

Take for instance Slobodan Milosevic the late Serbian dictator. He played on the sense of victimization his people felt towards other ethnic groups in Yugoslavia. His fiery speeches and violent actions led to the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. It also led to a senseless and violent war. Had Serb, Croat and other leaders opted for reconciliation the peoples of the Balkans would not be hostage to hatred today
In the Middle East we badly need someone like Mandela. This is more so today when various groups in the region have opted to follow the violent option. The breakup of Iraq and possible fragmentation of Lebanon and Syria are a striking example for the urgent need of an Arab Mandela.
In the Middle East the past is heavily laden with all kind of injustices-cultural,social, economic, political and religious. It is high time to foster justice to consolidate peace. Years ago Dr Martin Luther King, Jr was quoted as saying:  The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
Is this an impossible dream or should the peoples of the Middle East wait for another Mandela to rise from the ashes of history?

By George Emile Irani


By: George Emile Irani

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