2nd Session, 41st Parliament,

Volume 149, Issue 24

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

The Late Nelson Mandela

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, it is with a heavy heart that I rise today to honour the passing of Nelson Mandela. I know that I speak for everyone here when I say we have all lost someone very close to our hearts, and the void he has left will never be filled.

Mandela was a friend of Canada, but more than that, he was a guiding light for all humanity. Honourable senators, we all remember Madiba for how he gave us courage to fight the impossible, to erase injustices in this world. He showed us the way.

As a law student at the University of London, I was one of the organizers lobbying the British people to boycott the services of Barclays Bank, as it supported the South African regime of apartheid. To this day, I very clearly remember the choice words of the bank manager who implored me not to “worry my little mind” with such issues; to be “a good little girl” and go back to studying; as well as many other offensive words. The phrase that I often think about when I want to give up working on difficult human rights abuses is from the manager who told me that “apartheid will always exist in South Africa.”

Honourable senators, today South Africa no longer has an apartheid regime. Mandela and many other people changed that, including former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and I also want to recognize his efforts today.

I will never forget the day that Nelson Mandela was released from jail. The thought that went through my mind that day was that, with belief, persistence and a lot of courage, you could erase injustice. In the same way, we can continue to fight to eradicate other injustices. Mandela showed us the way to erase injustice. Through his own example, he pushed us all to look within ourselves and ask whether we were doing all that we could to progress humanity.

For a man who was all so eloquent, I could not put it in any other way than to use his own words:

When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.

Madiba, you have done your duty for all of humanity, and may you rest in peace.

Now the task is upon us to continue erasing injustices in this world. We have to continue your work with the same belief, persistence and awe-inspiring courage.

 

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