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Mandela’s colossus legacy versus Ethiopia he once loved – By Robele Ababya

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By Robele Ababya, 07 Dec 2013

The indisputable Great Statesman Nelson Mandela glorified Ethiopia in these immortal words in 1961 at a conference in Addis Ababa:  “Ethiopia has always held a special place in my own imagination and the prospect of visiting attracted me more strongly than a trip to France, England and America combined. I felt I would be visiting my own genesis, unearthing the roots of what made me an African. Meeting the emperor himself would be like shaking hands with history.”
Nelson Mandela
He has now gone home to his final resting place leaving behind him enduring legacies. This Icon of Apartheid will at his new home find Menilik II of Ethiopia – the Icon Victor in the famous Battle of Adwa over Italy, the victory that has become a lasting beacon of hope for all black colonized people struggling for freedom and independence in Africa and in the Diaspora.
At their heavenly home, the beloved Mandela will narrate to Menilik the sad saga of apartheid policy in Ethiopia that been in effect for the last 23 years of dictatorship of TPLF leaders shunning the exemplary peace and reconciliation legacy he (Mandela) has left behind for all African countries to emulate. He will also tell the Monarch that: His Statue was saved from removal by popular anger; the tri-color – Green, Yellow and Red – Ethiopia Flag is disgraced; sellout or mismanagement of all vita national assets is rampant.
Glowing Tributes to Mandela
World leaders and dignitaries on our globe have affirmed Madeba’s enviable qualities as a Great Leader by crowning him with deeply moving accolades with gratitude, which he so richly deserves. Here below are few tributes gathered from Aljazeera and BBC media:-

  • President Obama said in a televised White House address held shortly after the death of the 95-year-old was announced, paid solemn tribute to Nelson Mandela, dubbing him “influential, courageous and profoundly good.” The President went on to say: “Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, he transformed South Africa and moved all of us”; “That he did it all with grace, good humor and ability to acknowledge his own imperfections only makes his achievements more remarkable”; “As long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him”. “I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life,”
  • British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “one of the greatest lights has gone out in the world”; “Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time”.
  • Speaking on behalf of the United Nations, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hailed Mandela as a “giant for justice” who had inspired freedom movements the world over; “Many around the world were influenced by his selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom. He touched our lives in deeply personal ways.”
  • China’s President Xi Jinping said “Chinese people would always remember his extraordinary contribution to the development of bilateral relations and the cause of human progress”.
  • Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Mandela was “a truly great man”; “Nelson Mandela was one of the great figures of Africa, arguably one of the great figures of the last century”; “As president, I watched in wonder as Nelson Mandela had the remarkable capacity to forgive his jailers”.
  • Bill Clinton said: “Today the world has lost one of its most important leaders and one of its finest human beings.”
  • Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan dubbed Mandela “one of mankind’s greatest liberators”
  • Mexico’s Enrique Pena Nieto said: “Humanity has lost a tireless fighter for peace, freedom and equality.”
  • Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said: “The example of this great leader will guide all those who fight for social justice and peace in the world.”
  • French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Mandela “a charismatic giant”. “With Nelson Mandela, the father of South Africa has died, the driving force for freedom and for reconciliation,” Fabius said.
  • New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said: “Nelson Mandela was an inspirational leader and a remarkable man”. “For years he symbolized South Africa’s hope for a future free from apartheid”. “He was a force for change, not only in South Africa, but around the world.”
  • The UN Security Council interrupted a meeting on the tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and stood for a minute in silent tribute to Mandela.
  • Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who has turned over his business acumen and part of his fortune to battling disease in Africa, said he and his wife had been personally inspired by the statesman. “Every time Melinda and I met Nelson Mandela, we left more inspired than ever. His grace and courage changed the world. This is a sad day”.
  • His fellow Nobel laureate, the Egyptian former head of the IAEA nuclear watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei, declared: “Let freedom reign. Humanity has lost its greatest son”; “In the years since his retirement as South Africa’s elected leader, Mandela became a magnet and an icon for celebrity activists fighting for social causes.”
  • Brazilian football legend Pele declared Mandela “was a hero to me. He was a friend and a companion in the popular fight and the fight for world peace.”
  • “Over the past 24 years Madiba taught us how to come together and to believe in ourselves and each other. He was a unifier from the moment he walked out of prison,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
  • Citizens of RSA dubbed him Father of their Freedom, Founder of RSA, Moral Compass of their  nation.

Above all, Nelson Mandela is a uniquely unselfish Icon for his pursuit of peace and reconciliation with his enemies that had locked him up in prison for 27 years – 18 years of which in the isolated Robben Island in an inhuman condition. He shall forever be remembered for conceiving and successfully implementing the virtue of truth, peace and reconciliation and creating the Rainbow Nation, which we now know as the Republic of South Africa – by far the leading economic and military powerhouse on the African continent.
It would have been a grand welcome-home for Mandela to visit Ethiopia officially or otherwise in the last 22 years. But he did not. In my opinion the visit of apartheid Ethiopia by Great Statesman Mandela would have been contrary to his beliefs of a great unifier.
In closing I would like to ask why the TPLF regime has so far shunned the virtue of peace and reconciliation. The G7 has responded responsibly to the call of the TPLF regime for negotiations; why is the regime dragging its feet to respond? Is it in self-denial that popular uprising is inevitable otherwise? Why did the regime deny the request of the Blue Party to hold memorial services of the 100th anniversary of the death of Menilik II at a public gathering? Is it fear of massive turnout of the people?
The TPLF/EPRDF regime should immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience including Andualem Aragie, Eskinder Nega, Bekele Gerba, Reeyot Alemu, Leaders of the Ethiopian Muslims et al!
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