A tribute to Mandela
Shireen Huq

I grieve the passing of Nelson Mandela, and I grieve for the fact that my country did not have the good fortune of a leader like him

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    Photo- AFP

As the world mourns the passing of Madiba, I thought I would share with you this beautiful tribute to him. It is a creative work of art consisting of 50 steel rods symbolic of his years in prison.

The world has lost one of its greatest leaders, who was undeterred in his fight against apartheid, and when the struggle was won, when the most horrific of revenges would have been “justified,” demonstrated even greater courage in forgiving those who had carried out the wrongs and injustices of the apartheid system. He showed the world that there could be justice without retribution, and saved his country from anarchy and further bloodshed.

I grieve the passing of Nelson Mandela, and I grieve for the fact that my country did not have the good fortune of a leader like him.

Our president went to South Africa to attend the memorial service in Pretoria, leaving behind a country burning as a result of a political impasse between the two major political parties. There have been more than 55 deaths in the last one week, mostly ordinary people trying to go about earning their livelihoods. Appeals to the president to intervene have fallen on deaf ears, as has a three-day hunger strike for peace organised by freedom fighters last week.

I hope that the recalling of Mandela’s life on television channels around the world will offer a fresh opportunity for world leaders as well as political leaders in Bangladesh to consider seriously and sincerely what Mandela stood for and struggled for.

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Shireen Huq

Shireen Huq is a women’s rights activist.

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