President Obama Remembers Nelson Mandela (FULL TEXT) + VIDEO

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  • JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Celebrating one of his personal heroes, President Barack Obama praised Nelson Mandela as the last great liberator of the 20th century, urging the world to carry on his legacy by fighting inequality, poverty and discrimination.

    At a memorial service in Johannesburg, Obama compared the former South African President to Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln. He said Mandela had earned his place in history through struggle, shrewdness, persistence and faith.

    “For nothing he achieved was inevitable,” Obama said. “In the arc of his life, we see a man who earned his place in history through struggle and shrewdness, persistence and faith. He tells us what’s possible not just in the pages of dusty history books, but in our own lives as well.”

    In a rain-soaked stadium where world leaders gathered to honor the anti-apartheid leader, Obama traced the influence that Mandela’s story has had on his own life, disclosing that he asks himself how well he’s applied Mandela’s lessons to himself as a man and as president.

    He said in the U.S., South Africa and around the world, people must not allow progress that’s been made to cloud the fact that more work must be done.

    “We, too, must act on behalf of justice. We, too, must act on behalf of peace. There are too many of us who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality,” Obama said, referring to Mandela by his traditional clan name.

    Joining Obama on the 16-hour trip from Washington for the ceremony were first lady Michelle Obama, former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter also attended the memorial service.

    Read the entire speech below.

    To Graça Machel and the Mandela family; to President Zuma and members of the government; to heads of state and government, past and present; distinguished guests – it is a singular honour to be with you today, to celebrate a life unlike any other. To the people of South Africa – people of every race and walk of life – the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us. His struggle was your struggle. His triumph was your triumph. Your dignity and hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy.

    It is hard to eulogise any man – to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life, but the essential truth of a person – their private joys and sorrows; the quiet moments and unique qualities that illuminate someone’s soul. How much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice, and in the process moved billions around the world.

    Born during world war one, far from the corridors of power, a boy raised herding cattle and tutored by elders of his Thembu tribe – Madiba would emerge as the last great liberator of the 20th century. Like Gandhi, he would lead a resistance movement – a movement that at its start held little prospect of success. Like King, he would give potent voice to the claims of the oppressed, and the moral necessity of racial justice. He would endure a brutal imprisonment that began in the time of Kennedy and Khrushchev, and reached the final days of the Cold War. Emerging from prison, without force of arms, he would – like Lincoln – hold his country together when it threatened to break apart. Like America’s founding fathers, he would erect a constitutional order to preserve freedom for future generations – a commitment to democracy and rule of law ratified not only by his election, but by his willingness to step down from power.

    Given the sweep of his life, and the adoration that he so rightly earned, it is tempting then to remember Nelson Mandela as an icon, smiling and serene, detached from the tawdry affairs of lesser men. But Madiba himself strongly resisted such a lifeless portrait. Instead, he insisted on sharing with us his doubts and fears; his miscalculations along with his victories. “I’m not a saint,” he said, “unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

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    8 thoughts on “President Obama Remembers Nelson Mandela (FULL TEXT) + VIDEO

    1. Conservative/bigots are at it again. Bitching about POTUS demonstrating manners and breeding by shaking hands with someone! Are you afraid that two Men of Color might find some common ground? Fidel survived 7 American presidents and is still alive with our present POTUS. How’s hating the Castro family working for you?

    2. President Obama,

      Yes, Nelson Mandela stood for “FREEDOM”.

      All religious leaders embrace this same “FREEDOM” for their ‘religions’.

      Mankind embraces this same “FREEDOM” so that each can do what is right in their own eyes.

      President Obama, you have proclaimed that this “FREEDOM” is the LIGHT.

      You have confessed in Jerusalem that the will of the “common god” of the “christians”, the “muslims” and the “jews” is that of “FREEDOM”.

      And this “FREEDOM”, this image that speaks and has authority, proclaims and confesses that it is RIGHT to worship ANY god. This is the ‘god of all fortresses / beliefs’ which professes that it is right to live according to self-rule, to serve and magnify the self (XES).

      BUT there is Only One Creator Yehowah… and His Identity is clearly defined by His Son Jesus Christ. The Lord and Master Jesus Christ said that one is to worship the One Lord Creator and Him ALONE to serve.

      …..and it is Only Christ that will rule as the One King according to and in obedience to the Will of the One Creator and NOT according to man’s first love for his FREEDOM will.

      The signs are here, and the return of Jesus Christ is soon.

      John Stefanyszyn
      …a bondman of the One Lord, Master, and King Jesus Christ, Son of One Yehowah Elohim.

    3. RJJ-Ditto on that one also! and did you read about the President taking a “selfie” with other diplomats and of course they ragged about that. it was a celebration of the life of a wonderful, great man who relished in the last few months of his life with joy! if Mr Mandella was alive, he would have done the same thing! geez!

    4. The POTUS gave an inspiring eulogy for a man who inspired so many. The newscasters immediately had much to say about him shaking the hand of Raul Castro – Good Lord!!! He was being polite, respectful, and a great leader. God Bless him cause he sure is catching hell in these our very own United States of America – I hope the love he received from Mandela’s people helps him to deal with these crazy ass politicians we have as leaders.

    5. the President as usual was very forthright and oh so elegant in his speech. that is why he graces my home. thank you mr President for being the product of such a wonderful, powerful man we shall never forget, President Nelson (Mandiba) Mandella

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