City of Côte Saint-Luc to honour Nelson Mandela on Human Rights Walkway
December 19, 2013
Canada, Events, Historical
Anthony Housefather, Irwin Cotler, Nelson Mandela, South Africa
The City of Côte Saint-Luc will unveil a plaque honouring former South African president and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela on the city’s Human Rights Walkway next summer.
“What makes Nelson Mandela’s story most compelling is not just that he helped end an unjust political system, but that he ensured the new political system didn’t create new injustices,” Mayor Anthony Housefather said. “All too often, new regimes use their new-found power to take revenge against the ones they overthrew. Mandela chose reconciliation over revenge and made the transition in South Africa a model for the world. That’s his legacy.”
The unveiling will take place on July 1, 2014, at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park as part of the annual Canada Day event. More details on the unveiling will be released next spring.
In 2007, Côte Saint-Luc honoured South African parliamentarian Helen Suzman on its Human Rights Walkway. Suzman was a vocal critic of the policy of apartheid. After apartheid ended and when free elections were held, Ms. Suzman was by the side of President Nelson Mandela when he signed the new constitution in 1996.
The Human Rights Walkway, inaugurated in 2000, is located at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park (6975 Mackle Rd.), and is dedicated to men and women who have promoted human rights. The public can learn more about the past honourees at www.CoteSaintLuc.org/en/Walkway
Last night I attended a tribute event for Nelson Mandela put on by the Cote des-Neiges Black Community Association together with MP Irwin Cotler. The room at Hotel Ruby Foo’s was packed with an overflow audience including mayors Anthony Housefather and Bill Steinberg, Councillors Ruth Kovac, Mitchell Brownstein, Leon Elfassy, Karen Zajdmen, Marvin Rotrand and me, MNA Pierre Arcand as well as members of the diplomatic corps. We were entertained with musical chorus, dancers, poetry and keynote speeches by Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz, Reverend Darryl Grey and MP Irwin Cotler.
Cotler had just returned from the Mandela state funeral in South Africa with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Canadian delegation. He recounted his anti-apartheid advocacy as part of Mandela’s international legal team, his detention in South Africa in 1981 and his encounters with young South Africans living a free life thanks to the legacy of Nelson Mandela.
Prof. Cotler announced, on behalf of Mayor Anthony Housefather that the City of Cote Saint-Luc will honour Mandela on its Human Rights Walkway which was greeted with much enthusiasm.
The evening was stirring, emotional and inspiring. I learned much about the man who is a legend around the world.