War Resisters' International joins the world in mourning the passing of Nelson Mandela

Madiba Nelson Madela with WRI activist Bill Sutherland. Photo: Matt Meyer, 1992Madiba Nelson Madela with WRI activist Bill Sutherland. Photo: Matt Meyer, 1992War Resisters' International joins the world in mourning the passing of Nelson Mandela – a statesman and an activist, a lawyer and a political prisoner, an advocate of direct action and reconciliation. Mandela’s life symbolizes, as few others have ever done, the long road to freedom, peace, and justice which can nevertheless be won (at least in part) through determined commitment and struggle. He lived his convictions, spending 27 years behind bars without wavering from his core convictions, ready still to play a crucial role upon release to ensure a transition away from formal apartheid through compromise and negotiation. That the transition which ended white minority rule took place with a minimum of bloodshed is one of the great victories of modern times, a victory Mandela helped lead by example.

The struggle against apartheid was also a hallmark of successful international solidarity, one that War Resisters International was proud to have a played a role in. From organizational alliances built in the early 1950s, to promotion of the boycott and divestment campaigns, to our coordination of support work for the End Conscription Campaign, WRI understood that South Africa’s liberation was connected to our own. Next year in July, in conjunction with Pan-African nonviolent activists and peace-builders, we will hold an international conference “Small Actions, Big Movements: the Continuum of Nonviolence” in Cape Town. We will come to South Africa to learn from the experience of those who worked and walked with Mandela, and from those who today continue the struggle for human rights, economic equality, and social justice the world over.

WRI's Executive Committee