Prince Harry challenges a divided world to bring back democracies

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Britain’s Prince Harry challenged people everywhere Monday to embrace Nelson Mandela’s spirit of hope in today’s divided world to bring back democracies and leave a better future for children, citing poignantly the inspiration of the anti-apartheid leader in his own life and in his life. memories of him from his late mother, Princess Diana.

In a keynote and often personal speech at the UN General Assembly’s annual celebration of Nelson Mandela International Day on Monday, the 37-year-old Duke of Sussex said a photo on his wall of his mother meeting Mandela in Cape Town in March 1997, just five months before his death, he is “in my heart every day”.

He spoke about his first visit to Africa when he was 13 years old and how the continent has not only given him hope, but has become “my lifeline, a place where I have found peace and healing time and time again”.

“It is where I felt closest to my mother and sought comfort after her death, and where I knew I had found my soulmate in my wife,” Harry said as his wife, Meghan, listened as she sat outside the grand General Room. Assembly hall, packed with diplomats from many of the 193 UN member countries.

As the father of two young children, Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1, the prince expressed concern for the planet they and millions more will inherit.

The world is at “a turning point,” he said, facing converging crises including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, a small number of people “weaponizing lies and misinformation at the expense of the many,” war “horrible” in Ukraine and “the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States. That was an apparent reference to the recent US Supreme Court decision that struck down a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.

“We are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom, the cause of Mandela’s life,” the prince said.

Harry said that people have a choice: become apathetic, angry and desperate or do what Mandela did every day during his 27 years in prison and the rest of his life, including as South Africa’s first black president, which was to “find meaning and purpose in the difficult.”

He said the parents he has met around the world are as determined as Mandela to “give their children a better chance at a brighter future…because they know the price of inaction will be paid by the next generation.”

The General Assembly established July 18, Mandela’s birthday, as an international day to honor him by not only celebrating his life and contributions, but also carrying out the tradition of participating in a community service activity.

Harry challenged people around the world to commit to celebrating Mandela Day not just once a year but every day by performing acts of service to improve the world.

“We have an obligation to give as much, if not more, than we receive,” he said. “Let us look for what we have in common, let us empower all people to take back our democracies, and let us harness the light of Mandela’s memory to illuminate the way forward.”

In January 2020, Harry and Meghan stepped down as senior members of the royal family and moved to the duchess’s native Southern California, citing the unbearable pressure of their roles and the racist attitudes of the British media. They visited South Africa in 2019 with her son Archie on their first official tour as a family before stepping down from their royal duties.


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