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Jumblatt calls for Arab Mandela to save region
File - PSP leader Walid Jumblatt is seen in Beirut, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
File - PSP leader Walid Jumblatt is seen in Beirut, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt called for an Arab-Muslim Nelson Mandela in the Middle East to rescue Islam from the cycle of violence and forge a path to forgiveness and reconciliation in light of sectarian fighting in Syria and Iraq.

In his weekly stance to be published in the PSP’s online Al-Anbaa newspaper Tuesday, Jumblatt praised Mandela, the former South African president who died last week, as “a great struggler and a symbol of liberation who revolted against tyranny and domination.”

“He had spent more than 27 years in a prison cell struggling to get rid of the Apartheid system between blacks and whites with the aim of reaching a community of equality,” Jumblatt wrote. “He had succeeded in shattering many of those political, social and humane restrictions, even though economic activity is still mostly monopolized by the whites.”

Noting Mandela’s defense of the Palestinian cause, he said: “When will a man like Mandela emerge in Palestine and Israel to conclude a historic settlement based on the two-state solution, the dismantling of settlements and the return of the Palestinian refugees?”

“What’s more important is when will an Arab-Muslim Mandela emerge and dare to destroy the old inherited cultural restrictions founded on wrong and misleading concepts that have plunged the Muslim world into sectarian fighting from Syria to Iraq, Yemen and other Arab and Muslim areas,” the PSP chief said. “When will an Arab-Muslim Mandela show up to bring Islam out of the cycle of violence and open a page of forgiveness, reconciliation and accepting the other?”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 10, 2013, on page 3.
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