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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: Nelson Mandela was “a singular figure on the global stage – a man of quiet dignity and towering achievement, a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration.
“Remarkably, he emerged from 27 years of detention without rancor, determined to build a new South Africa based on dialogue and reconciliation. No one did more in our time to advance the values and aspirations of the United Nations.”
U.S. President Barack Obama: “He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today he’s gone home and we’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth.”
French President Francois Hollande: “Nelson Mandela has made history. The history of South Africa. The history of the entire world... Nelson Mandela’s message won’t disappear; it will continue to inspire freedom fighters and to give confidence to people in the defense of just causes and universal rights.... He has shown that human will can not only break the chains of servitude, but also free the force needed to succeed in building a shared destiny.”
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott: “Nelson Mandela will forever be remembered as more than a political leader, he was a moral leader. He spent much of his life standing against the injustice of apartheid. When that fight was won, he inspired us again by his capacity to forgive and reconcile his country. While the world may never see another Nelson Mandela, he has inspired countless men and women throughout the world to live more courageous and honest lives.”
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu: Nelson Mandela “transcended race and class in his personal actions, through his warmth and through his willingness to listen and to empathize with others. And he restored others’ faith in Africa and Africans.”
South African golf legend Gary Player: “Nelson Mandela is one of the great heroes in my life and I believe did more for our country than any other person in our history. As a proud South African, I am certain Mandela’s legacy will endure in our nation and across the world as a figure of courage, value, spirit, and above all else, love.”
Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair: “He was 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. 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.”
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton: Nelson Mandela “taught us so much about so many things. Perhaps the greatest lesson, especially for young people, is that, while bad things do happen to good people, we still have the freedom and responsibility to decide how to respond to injustice, cruelty and violence and how they will affect our spirits, hearts and minds.”
Nelson Mandela, in his own words, July 2008
“As the years progress one increasingly realizes the importance of friendship and human solidarity. And if a ninety-year-old may offer some unsolicited advice on this occasion, it would be that you, irrespective of your age, should place human solidarity, the concern for the other, at the center of the values by which you live.”
[Sources: Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Bloomberg]
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