Greece Pays Tribute to Mandela

Greek politicians on Dec. 6 cited anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela who died aged 95 at his Johannesburg home in South Africa as a statesman who sought peace and reconciliation.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras hailed Mandela as a “symbol of struggles for human dignity, equality and freedom,” describing the former South African president as a model of humility and selflessness.

“Today we, and the rest of the world, farewell a hero who wrote unique pages in modern history, a symbol of struggles for human dignity, equality and freedom in a better and more fair world,” Samaras said in a statement.

“We Greeks will always honor his memory,” the Greek premier said calling Mandela “a model of humility, selflessness and humanitarianism… a fighter against violence, apartheid and all types of racism.”

Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, the PASOK Socialist leader, called Mandela a symbol of “the universal struggle against racism and xenophobia.”

“Nelson Mandela had the privilege of entering the realm of global history many years ago as a figure emblematic of the universal struggle against racism and xenophobia; as a symbol of the ongoing struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom,” Venizelos said

“All humanity bids him farewell at a time when, unfortunately, many of the attainments of democratic political culture are being called into question. Let us hope that his name and his image will always serve as point of reference with substantial institutional and social content,” he said.

SYRIZA MP Rena Dourou called Mandela “a universal symbol of social justice, equality, dignity and solidarity.

“[Mandela] symbolized and will always symbolize the importance of the constant struggle to defend those non-negotiable values [and] the importance of the struggle against racism and racial discrimination,” Dourou said urging people to rally against the bourgeoning threat of neo-Nazism.

Greece’s Communist Party (KKE) expressed its “deepest condolences” over Mandela’s death while praising his battle against discrimination, poverty, unemployment, and inequality.

“Madiba, as the working classes called him, identified with the struggle against colonialism and racial discrimination and against hunger and poverty,” the party said in a statement.