Nelson Mandela, the most towering personality of contemporary world passed away after an eventful and epoch-making life of ninety-five years. He had become a living legend for his successful struggle against the apartheid system, another shameful symbol of British colonialism. He was praised even by his ideological antagonists such s George Bush and David Cameron, who’s predecessors and their crony South African white minority ruling class previously called him a terrorist.
South Africans were a chequered, disintegrated, subjugated, politically, economically and psychologically enslaved nation ruled by the minority of whites (Britishers) who had occupied their land and usurped rich natural resources such as diamond and gold.
He built confidence in his nation and successfully led them to the struggle for independence and human equality. He was a messenger of human love and forgiveness. Not only that he achieved equal rights for his native blacks but also created harmony and integrity between blacks and whites. He was a visionary, he established Truth and Reconciliation Commission to unearth the plunder and atrocities committed in the past but he forgave in order to move forward as a single nation.
Back in early eighties in Karachi, as a student activist, I saw his name for the first time with the caption Release Nelson Mandela the ‘prisoner of conscience’ on a painting symbolising resistance. Those were the days when Pakistan was undergoing her darkest days under Zia regime. It strengthened my belief in human values and motivation.
Nevertheless, one cannot ignore the fact that leaders are not sent from heavens. His party African Nation Congress (ANC), Communist Party and all working class and patriotic forces were behind the eighty years long struggle. He was imprisoned for twenty-seven years until his release in 1990 but his party continued national struggle and paved way for the end of apartheid system. Political freedom achieved by South Africans in 1994 has not yet translated into economic freedom and justice. It is because of the fact that ANC has not given a solid economic program to its nation. Despite economic progress, poverty and backwardness are still problems ANC has not succeeded in despite nineteen years continuous democratic rule.
We the people of Gilgit Baltistan, another victim nation of British colonialism, need to learn from the struggle of Nelson Mandela and ANC. Man is dead but his ideals and struggle are to last forever.
Pamir Times is the pioneering community news and views portal of Gilgit – Baltistan, Kohistan, Chitral and the surrounding mountain areas. It is a voluntary, not-for-profit, non-partisan and independent venture initiated by the youth.