Anti-apartheid icon mourned world over

Published: Friday | December 6, 2013 Comments 0

The death of Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, who fought apartheid both as a prisoner of that system and later as a political leader, has drawn an outpouring of messages from around the globe. Here are some of the reactions:

Former US President Jimmy Carter, who fought for human rights advances around the globe during his administration, said he and wife Rosalyn were saddened. Carter had worked closely with the former South African president as part of a group of world leaders formed by Mandela in 2007.

"The people of South Africa and human rights advocates around the world have lost a great leader. His passion for freedom and justice created new hope for generations of oppressed people worldwide, and because of him, South Africa is today one of the world's leading democracies," Carter said in a statement released by the Atlanta-based Carter Center.

In Washington, the first African-American president of the United States, Barack Obama, declared that the world has lost an influential, courageous and 'profoundly good' man with the death of the anti-apartheid icon.

Obama said Mandela "no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages."

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair praised Nelson Mandela as a "unique political figure at a unique moment" in history.

"Through his leadership, he guided the world into a new era of politics, in which black and white, developing and developed, north and south, despite all the huge differences in wealth and opportunity, stood for the first time together on equal terms," Blair said. "Through his dignity, grace and the quality of his forgiveness, he made racism everywhere not just immoral but stupid; something not only to be disagreed with, but to be despised. In its place, he put the inalienable right of all humankind to be free and to be equal."

In the island nation of Haiti, which became the world's first black republic in 1804 through a successful slave revolt, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said Mandela won't be forgotten.

"The world has lost a great leader and an inspiration to humanity today," Lamothe said in an email. "We wish the people of South Africa and in particular President Mandela's family our deepest and sincerest condolences - Haiti will never forget this great leader."

In Louisville, Kentucky, US boxing great Muhammad Ali recalled Mandela as a symbol of forgiveness who overcame racial injustice and inspired others to "reach for what appeared to be impossible."

- AP



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