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Editorial-The harvest is rich, the labourers few

13 December 2013 07:20 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Madeba Nelson Mandela, widely acclaimed as the world’s greatest statesman since the legendary Abraham Lincoln of the United States, will be laid to his eternal rest in his home town tomorrow with virtually the whole world watching and in the afterglow of the memorial service attended by more than 100 world figures – the biggest gathering of world leaders in history. What matters even more than all this is the legacy this enlightened selfless and sacrificial leader leaves behind and the vital lessons that other world leaders need to take if we wish to transform this world to bring about lasting peace and social justice. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the closest friend and advisor to Madeba Mandela, underlined the importance of not only admiring and praising the former South African President, but practising what he proclaimed and following his ethics-based policies and principles in national and international affairs.

Speaking at last Tuesday's memorial service, the Prelate who like Mr. Mandela is known and respected all over the world, pleaded with world leaders that if they sincerely revere this great statesman, they must do what he did instead of hypocritically babbling about what he did and what they admired in him.

Foremost among Madeba Mandela’s virtues was his inner liberation from selfishness or self-centredness or the desire for personal gain and glory – desires or vices which tragically most political leaders including those in Sri Lanka appear to be enslaved to. Though they believe they have covered it up with puritanical platitudes or deceptive proclamations, most people know they are hypocrites or sanctimonious humbugs. These leaders also suffer from the delusion that their unlimited power, excessive wealth and glory are not transient and impermanent. These leaders are clinging to dust, they will end up in dust or biting the dust, unlike Madeba Mandela who with his death has come alive for his spirit to live in the hearts and minds of billions of people now and forever.

Madeba Mandela, because of his inner liberation, had the power to sincerely lead his people on the Long March to Freedom which has now been made into a boxoffice movie that is likely to win top Academy awards. Like all great leaders Madeba Mandela also was ready to suffer for his people and for the goals of freedom, equality and justice. Suffer he did for some 27 years in one of the most notorious prison camps, but even there he was anointed with the grace of loving his enemies, blessing those who cursed him, helping those who tortured him, and praying for those who persecuted him. Madeba Mandela’s courage and optimism were based on his belief that faith is the assurance of what we hope for, and the certainty of what we cannot see. This extraordinary courage and hope not only turned calamities into blessings but also inspired his colleagues to whisper the words of hope – wait till the darkness is over, wait till the tempest is done, hope for the sunshine tomorrow, after the shower is gone.

After liberation finally came Madeba Mandela’s work on the everlasting transforming principles of justice and peace for all, accountability transparency and integrity, truth, reconciliation and forgiveness. Even the leaders of the tyrannical white minority, apartheid leaders were given the opportunity to confess their sins, apoloyise to the people and play their role in society so that the most despised nation in the world has today become the most respected. Sri Lanka also has this chance. If we miss it now we may not get it again.

Hail and farewell Madeba Mandela. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the priceless  virtues and principles you lived for, virtues that will flourish in the hearts of all people of goodwill who work to bring peace on Earth.
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