Fellow panelists; Participants from all over the world; Comrades and friends in the struggle:
I send you warm greetings from South Africa and our continent. A week from now we celebrate International Nelson Mandela Day and honour one of humanity’s leading lights in the fight against racism and colonialism. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela not only abhored racism he understood its insipid effect on human dignity; he understood that it impacted both victim and perpertrator. but he remained always clearly on the side of the victim, the victimised and of justice!
He dedicated his life to the fight against racism and colonialism and always maintained that it’s the actions and resolve of ordinary men and women that can make a difference in history. Today, we demonstrate the power of that statement as we rally together and say fearlessly to the racist demogogues of the world:
You can trample on our dignity, but still we will rise!
You can knock us down and violate our human rights but still we will rise!
You can belittle us, demean us and throttle us but still we will rise!
You can brandish your racism on statuette books and flog our bleeding bodies but still we will rise!
We have defied you in every generation and resisted your racism in every land. Today, we unite and still we rise.
Today, we meet as fellow activists to rid our world of this scourge which has plagued humanity for centuries. We meet not to lament the injustice inflicted upon us and our ancestors. We meet to tell the world that enough is enough.
The struggle against racism has been paid for in full by the broken bodies that litter our history, by the headlines that have knocked out our breathes, by the bruises inflicted on us when we protest, by the systemic injustice and inhumanity meted out to us because of our race, colour, creed, ethnicity, sexual orientation, geographic location or social status. Enough is enough!
We have risen in protest many times and been knocked down many times more. We have challenged the racism of institutional apathy, we have challenged the racism and bigotry of our multilateral institutions who are content with remedying our suffering with toothless resolutions. Enough is enough.
How many more George Floyds, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks do we need before we force the hands of change and transformation. How many more resolutions must the UN pass before we put an end to Apartheid Israel’s racism, ethnic cleansing and genocide. How many annexations of Palestinian land does the world need to stop this racist state in its tracks. Enough is enough!
Today, we join our brothers and sisters in Minneapolis, London, Soweto, Occupied Jerusalem and beyond; we are all united in saying lets put an end to racism and Israeli Apartheid. United we stand, divided we fail. Today, we call on human rights activists and anti-racism movements on every continent as we say we will not tolerate racism of any kind or form and we will not countenance discrimination in any shape or form.
We will fight racism in Latin America, in the USA, in Europe, in India, in occupied Kashmir, we will fight racism in Australasia and Africa and everywhere it raises its ugly head. And still we rise!
We say to the racists that perpetrate crimes against humanity in Occupied Palestine that the annexation of occupied territory is a serious violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the Geneva Conventions, and is contrary to the fundamental rule affirmed many times by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly that the acquisition of territory by war or force is inadmissible. In the face of your belligerence we will still rise!
Today, as a network of activists against racism we declare that the international community has prohibited annexation precisely because it incites wars, economic devastation, political instability, systematic human rights abuses and widespread human suffering. In the face of your blatant racism and the suffering you mete out to innocent elders, women and children; we shall still rise!
We remind you of the words of President Nelson Mandela in the face of the brutal Apartheid regime in South Africa: “we will not surrender. Whatever the time it will take, we will not tire. The very fact that racism degrades both the perpetrator and the victim commands that, if we are true to our commitment to protect human dignity, we fight on until victory is achieved.
And still we rise!!
Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and grandson of famed South African President Nelson Mandela. Member of Parliament (MP) South Africa National Assembly. All articles by Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela