BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri paid tribute Friday to Nelson Mandela saying that the late president demonstrated that a diverse society could become a successful model of democracy.
“The true legacy of Mandela is that of a man who continued, after 27 years in prison, to defend justice in the face of revenge and reconciliation in the face of violence,” Hariri said in a statement.
“He proved that a society with all these racial and religious differences and this violent heritage can become a successful pluralistic democracy.”
Mandela, South Africa's first black President and anti-apartheid icon, died Thursday night after battling with chronic lung infection for months.
Hariri said that Africa and the world had lost “an exceptional man.”
“[Mandela’s] outstanding personality, which became a symbol of struggle for justice, freedom, and peace and fight against racial discrimination, has marked human history,” he said.
“It was not surprising that humanity honored this man in his life, that he received more than 250 honor medals... particularly in the capitals of great countries that compete to follow his example, he who was guided by the sufferings of his people and was a witness to the injustice that fell on them, and discovered that true freedom cannot happen without forgiveness and adherence to the values of justice and coexistence,” Hariri said in his tribute.