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Learn a lesson from Mandela, pacifists urge

Gen Ekkachai Srivilas, director of the Office of Peace and Governance at King Prajadhipok's Institute said Nelson Mandela's death should serve as a reminder for Thai people to think about losses and try to stop conflicts from going too far.

"Mandela's death at this time should serve as a reminder for Thais to wake up and think about the conflicts that caused so much loss in South Africa, and the patience and time it took for Mandela's peaceful fight to be successful," Ekkachai said.

Chaiwat Satha-Anand, a political scientist with Thammasat University and a prominent peace scholar, said Mandela was an ordinary man who managed to change society completely.

"Nobody is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, his background or religion. Hatred is learned, and if people can learn to hate, they can also be taught to love, because love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."

Opposition Leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said Mandela's death was "the world's loss" as he was a good example of those who fought for justice and boldly faced legal action.

"Historically, law has been violated many times for the sake of justice. These fights were legitimate and the law was not violated for personal interest," he said. "Those who broke the law had to be ready to face legal action, and [people] cannot claim that they are fighting for the public interest just so they can be above the law."

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Mandela's death was the loss of a great advocate of peace.

"He is a symbol of the fight for democracy and human rights. He was a person who sacrificed for the public and was given the Nobel Peace Prize for offering reconciliation so the [South African] people could live together peacefully."


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