• The Left Chapter

"Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural" - Nelson Mandela

In Memory of of Nelson Mandela who died December 5, 2013.


-Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.


In Memory of of Nelson Mandela who died 7 years ago today. He was one of history's greatest freedom fighters and heroes. Mandela, of course, endured 27 years of imprisonment in his struggle against the racist Apartheid system in South Africa. He went on to become South Africa's President in 1994. We celebrate his life with some his quotes:


- Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times - times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation - that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.


- We thank you for coming here today. Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom. Of course the task will not be easy. But not to do this would be a crime against humanity, against which I ask all humanity now to rise up. Make Poverty History


- No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.


- There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.


- When in 1977, the United Nations passed the resolution inaugurating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, it was asserting the recognition that injustice and gross human rights violations were being perpetrated in Palestine. In the same period, the UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system....We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.


- We also find inspiration in the life and example of Jose Marti who is not only a Cuban and Latin American hero, but an admired symbol for all those who fight for freedom. We also honor the great Che Guevara whose outstanding revolutionary efforts, even on our continent, were of such magnitude that no prison nor censorship could conceal him from us. His life is an inspiration for all those who love freedom. We will always honor his memory.


- I should mention that when we wanted to take up arms, we approached numerous Western governments in search of help and we could only talk with the lowest level officials. When we visited Cuba we were received by the highest authorities who immediately offered anything we wanted and needed. That was our first experience with Cuban internationalism.


- What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.


- I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.