Stephen Lewis (on Nelson Mandela)

“He turned the other cheek.”

Stephen Lewis was a leftist Canadian politician, and remains among the most articulate and passionate champions of social justice in the world. He was Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations, and a Special Envoy from that body for the cause of AIDS in Africa. He was also a friend of Mandela and especially his wife, Graca Machel. Lewis could unleash a tidal wave of scrupulously chosen words, but in a CBC interview on hearing of Mandela’s death, his most powerful were these five. They enshrine the courage, the wisdom, the Christian forebearance to seek only justice, only forgiveness, only the future good of his country, when revenge might have seemed a necessity.