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Marwan Barghouthi on Mandela: ‘Our freedom seems possible because you reached yours’

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The following is being circulated by the Palestinian Mission UK.

Message of Marwan Barghouthi, following the announcement of Mandela’s death

Hadarim Prison, December 6, 2013

“Our freedom seems possible because you reached yours” 

During the long years of my own struggle, I had the occasion to think many times of you, dear Nelson Mandela. Even more since my arrest in 2002. I think of a man who spent 27 years in a prison cell, only to demonstrate that freedom was within him before becoming a reality his people could enjoy. I think of his capacity to defy oppression and apartheid, but also to defy hatred and to choose justice over vengeance.

Barghouthi appearing in a Tel Aviv court in 2002. (Photo: AP)

Barghouthi appearing in a Tel Aviv court in 2002. (Photo: AP)

How many times did you doubt the outcome of this struggle? How many times did you ask yourself if justice will prevail? How many times did you wonder why is the world so silent? How many times did you wonder whether your enemy could ever become your partner? At the end, your will proved unbreakable making your name one of the most shining names of freedom.

You are much more than an inspiration. You must have known, the day you came out of prison, that you were not only writing history, but contributing to the triumph of light over darkness, and yet you remained humble. And you carried a promise far beyond the limits of your countries’ borders, a promise that oppression and injustice will be vanquished, paving the way to freedom and peace. In my prison cell, I remind myself daily of this quest, and all sacrifices become bearable by the sole prospect that one day the Palestinian people will also be able to enjoy freedom, return and independence, and this land will finally enjoy peace.

(Image: IMEU)

(Image: IMEU)

You became an icon to allow your cause to shine and to impose itself on the international stage. Universality to counter isolation. You became a symbol around which all those who believe in the universal values that found your struggle could rally, mobilise and act. Unity is the law of victory for oppressed people. The tiny cell and the hours of forced labor, the solitude and the darkness, did not prevent you from seeing the horizon and sharing your vision. Your country has become a lighthouse and we, as Palestinians, are setting sails to reach its shores.

You said “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”. And from within my prison cell, I tell you our freedom seems possible because you reached yours. Apartheid did not prevail in South Africa, and Apartheid shall not prevail in Palestine. We had the great privilege to welcome in Palestine a few months ago, your comrade and companion in struggle Ahmed Kathrada, who launched, following this visit, the International Campaign for the freedom of Palestinian prisoners from your own cell, where an important part of universal history was shaped, demonstrating that the ties between our struggles are everlasting.

Your capacity to be a unifying figure, and to lead from within the prison cell, and to be entrusted with the future of your people while being deprived of your ability to choose your own, are the marks of a great and exceptional leader and of a truly historical figure. I salute the freedom fighter and the peace negotiator and maker, the military commander and the inspirer of peaceful resistance, the relentless militant and the statesman.

You have dedicated your life to ensure freedom and dignity, justice and reconciliation, peace and coexistence can prevail. Many now honour your struggle in their speeches. In Palestine, we promise to pursue the quest for our common values, and to honour your struggle not only through words, but by dedicating our lives to the same goals. Freedom dear Madiba, shall prevail, and you contributed tremendously in making this belief a certainty. Rest in Peace, and may God bless your unconquerable soul.

Marwan Barghouthi
Hadarim prison
Cell n°28

Marwan Barghouthi
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8 Responses

  1. just
    December 6, 2013, 1:19 pm

    An incredible eulogy.

    May Marwan Barghouti and the Palestinians find the peace, freedom, justice, and the respect that they so richly deserve– and soon.

  2. dbroncos
    December 6, 2013, 7:37 pm

    A moving eulogy. Let freedom ring for Barghouti and the Palestinian people!

  3. gingershot
    December 7, 2013, 11:49 am

    Where is Barghouti going to fit or create in the coming One State?

    • annie
      December 7, 2013, 2:22 pm

      hopefully he’ll be the first president or prime minister.

      • just
        December 7, 2013, 2:31 pm

        my earnest hope as well.

      • ivri
        December 7, 2013, 2:59 pm

        Well, Annie, given what you expect from Marwan Barghouti you should, as they say, be careful with what you wish for… Barghouti is a realist and may very well be also the candidate of choice for Israel. It is little coincidence that he chose to write this (and almost nothing until now) since he may very well see Mandela a role model also in yet another respect – Mandela, after all, has become upon his rise to power a close ally, a darling, of the West.

      • annie
        December 7, 2013, 3:28 pm

        and almost nothing until now

        last year, Marking the tenth anniversary of his imprisonment

        I call on the Palestinian Authority to end all forms of coordination, security and economic, with the occupation,” wrote Barghouti…..

        “The job of the Palestinian security services is to provide security and protection to Palestinian citizens, not to protect the occupation,” said the man widely recognised as the driving force behind the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, and who still commands great respect among Palestinians.

        The letter also called on Abbas to “stop marketing the illusion that it is possible to end the occupation through these negotiations.”


        “We must affirm the absolute right of our people to resist occupation in all ways, and in the way appropriate to the situation — and at this stage, popular resistance serves our people,” he said.

      • Walid
        December 7, 2013, 3:01 pm

        Annie, the Barghouti you’re talking about was a student of Arafat and he’s no Mandela. Do the Palestinians need another Arafat? If it’s a statesman that’s needed to steer a Palestinian state, that choice should be Mustafa Barghouti the pacifist, not Marwan the rock ‘n’ roller. If the Palestinians are intent on going into another intifada, then their man should be Marwan Barghouti. Given the choice between the 2 options, I think the Palestinians should go for the second.

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