12/06/2013, 00.00
ASIA- SOUTH AFRICA
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The world bows down to Nelson Mandela

by Paul Wang
The South African leader passed away last night at the age of 95. He was the first black president of his country. Tributes of Desmond Tutu and FW de Klerk : He taught a divided nation to live together. Also from Nobel Peace Laureates Aung San Suu Kyi and the Dalai Lama. Even China calls him "friend", although many of Mandela petitions for Tibet and dissidents have been ignored .

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The death of Nelson Mandela , the anti-apartheid leader that led to the liberation of South Africa and reconciliation in the country, has affected the entire world. Statesmen, Nobel Prize winners, prisoners of conscience have joined a South Africa in mourning.

Mandela, who had been ill for some time with lung problems, died last night around 9pm , at the age of 95. His death was announced by President Jacob Zuma with the words: "Our nation has lost its greatest son ."

His ally in many struggles, the Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu , commented on the leader's death that " God has been good to us in giving us Nelson Mandela as president of South Africa in a crucial moment in our history." Referring to the end of apartheid and the new South Africa born in 1990 without bloodshed, he added : "In a divided nation [ he] taught us to live together."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called him "a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration...Many in the world have been influenced by his selfless struggle for human dignity , equality and freedom" .

Mandela, the first black president of South Africa, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993along with FW de Klerk , the last white president of the country. De Klerk, who in 1990 released Mandela from a long imprisonment, described him as a "unifier" and a person who - in spite of what happened to him - "had a remarkable lack of bitterness ."

Aung San Suu Kyi , another Nobel Peace Laureate, who like Mandela spent many years in detention. She lamented the passing of a "great human being who... made us understand that we can change the world".

The Dalai Lama , also a Nobel laureate , said he would miss a "dear friend." "The best tribute we can pay to him is to do whatever we can to contribute to honoring the oneness of humanity and working for peace and reconciliation as he did".

Curiously, even China joined the chorus of praise alongside the Dalai Lama. Hong Lei , spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, said that Mandela "is not just looked at as ' the father of the nation ' of South Africa, but has also earned the respect and love of people throughout the world " and added that Mandela made a historic contribution to the development of Sino - South African relations.

It must be said that Mandela - along with Tutu and many other Nobel laureates - have often championed the cause of Tibet and other Chinese dissidents like Liu Xiaobo, but their calls met with the deafness of the Chinese regime.

On one of the many posts scattered on the internet, it says: " A great man has died. Mandela is great because he continued to fight on a non-violent way, even in the face of an unjust world, after he came to power, he promoted reconciliation, not revenge between different ethnic groups, and he also willingly relinquished power ... he was a man with a real sense of his mission - the type of person that is missing in today's China . "

 

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