Mon | Feb 19, 2018

Ali came, saw and conquered

Published:Saturday | June 11, 2016 | 12:00 AM


At the time of writing this letter, Muhammad Ali is being buried in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, in the United States. With the help of his wife, he had planned his send-off and some of the aspects of his remembrance.

He has demonstrated that coming from the segregated South of America, which still loves to hate its black citizens, did not stop him from asserting his greatness, his beauty and his power.

Many do not realise what it is to grow up in a country in which you are constantly demeaned and downtrodden because of the colour of your skin. Mr Trump, the Republican aspirant for US presidency, has articulated what might be the thoughts of the majority of white citizens about those who derive some of their ancestry from Africa or indigenous America. It is ironic that Mr Trump expressed a desire to attend the media-saturated event.

Ali used the powers he had developed as an athlete and a boxer to promote truth to power when his government punished him for failing to fight in what he considered an unjust war.


He was punished for his desire to become a practising Muslim in a country in which the collusion of Christianity with racism and slavery was clear and patent. He used the mastery of the media to promote positive thinking and action in the face of Parkinson's disease.

He was a man who loved his family, and listened to his brother, children and wife speak. On Father's Day, many men should reflect on him and try to emulate that which is positive.

Although he asserted his belief in self, he did not display the narcissism which now is evident in the celebrity culture of so many artistes and athletes.

He used his power to be an international ambassador and to demonstrate how a person can use his talent for good. He came into the world he saw and conquered. In death he may be more powerful than in life. His principles and humanity will be remembered forever.

Hilary Robertson-Hickling

UWI, Mona