World News

World Leaders Remember Nelson Mandela

World leaders, past and present, are remembering anti-apartheid leader and former South African President Nelson Mandela.

At the White House, a solemn President Barack Obama called Mr. Mandela an influential, courageous, and profoundly good human being.



"I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life. My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue, or a policy, or politics, was a protest against apartheid. I would study his words and his writings. The day he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they're guided by their hopes and not by their fears."



Mr. Obama said flags at the White House and other public buildings will fly at half staff through Monday, in a rare gesture toward a foreign leader.

F.W. de Klerk, South Africa's last apartheid leader, said Mr. Mandela's greatest legacy is his emphasis on reconciliation. De Klerk won a Nobel Peace Prize alongside Mr. Mandela, whom he freed from prison in 1990. He said their relationship was "often stormy," but that they were "always able to come together at critical moments."

Many African leaders, who were in Paris for a security summit Friday, vowed to live up to the example Mr. Mandela set.

South African Archbishop and anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu called his friend a "precious diamond" who emerged from prison "virtually flawless." Tutu said instead of "calling for his pound of flesh, he proclaimed the message of forgiveness and reconciliation."

Ex-U.N. chief Kofi Annan, who along with Tutu and Mr. Mandela formed a group of statesmen known as The Elders, said South Africa was fortunate to have a leader that inspired forgiveness so that the country "did not go up in flames."

Fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi paid tribute to Mr. Mandela as a "great human being who raised the standard of humanity."



"He made us all understand that nobody should be penalized for the color of his skin, for the circumstances into which he is born. He also made us understand that we can change the world. We can change the world by changing attitudes, by changing perceptions."



The Dalai Lama, another Nobel Peace laureate, said he will "personally miss a dear friend" he had hoped to meet again. He said that although Mr. Mandela has physically departed, his "spirit will go on"



India's Prime Minister Manmohan Signh called Mr. Mandela "a giant among men," and compared him to India's own icon of freedom and reconciliation, Mahatma Gandhi.

Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on people to be inspired by Mr. Mandela to keep working for a better and more just world.



"Nelson Mandela showed what is possible for our world and within each one of us - if we believe, dream and work together for justice and humanity. His moral force was decisive in dismantling the system of apartheid."



Former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush also praised Mr. Mandela as a champion of freedom, human dignity, and equality.

Another ex-U.S. president, George H. W. Bush, called Mr. Mandela, "a man of tremendous moral courage, who changed the course of history in his country."

British Prime Minister David Cameron emerged from 10 Downing Street to call Mr. Mandela a true global hero, saying a great light has gone out in the world.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called him a man of vision who rejected violence and was one of "the most honorable figures of our time."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, hailed Mr. Mandela as a "symbol of freedom from colonialism and occupation," calling his death "a great loss."

Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed "deep grief" at the death of what he called a "world-renowned statesman." He said Mr. Mandela, who visited China twice, will always be remembered for his contributions to China-South African ties "and the cause of human progress."

Haitian President Michel Martelly said Mr. Mandela remains a "symbol of democracy" whose courage and "faith in the true struggle for equality" continue to guide mankind.

Pope Francis also expressed condolences, and said he prays that Mr. Mandela's example will inspire generations of South Africans.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs