The founding President of the Seychelles, Sir James R. Mancham, sent an open letter to Mr. Andry Rajeolina, President of the Transition Authority of the Malagasy Republic, and Mr. Marc Ravalomanana, former President of the Malagasy Republic, on the meetings and talks held in Mahe, Seychelles.
“Gentlemen, from the island of Majorca in Spain where I am praying for a better world and reflecting over the situation in Madagascar, as I celebrate my 73rd birthday, I have decided that I should address you these few words of encouragement through the good office of President James A. Michel of Seychelles who is hosting you for a second time in our islands with a view to an agreement of reconciliation. The outcome of this meeting is so important that even President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa has decided to put aside many urgent national problems to assist wherever he can.
“Gentlemen, men of goodwill everywhere today stand for the permanent hopes of humanity and believe that history as an author who feels time and eternity with its purpose.
“You know that evil is real but that goodwill can prevail against it. This is the teaching of all faiths. You may not have asked for this mission, yet there is honor in history’s call. You have the chance to write the story of our times – the story of how Madagascar saw light overcoming darkness, with peace and reconciliation replacing unnecessary division and hostility.
“As I think of you both involved in this historic task before you, I cannot help reminding myself of the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
‘What makes a nation’s pillars high
and its foundation strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
the foes that round it throng?
It is not gold – its kingdoms grand
go down in battle shock
its shafts are laid on sinking sand
not on abiding rock.
Is it the words?
Ask the red dust of empires passed away;
the blood has turned their stones to rust
their glory to decay.
And is it pride? Ah that bright crown
has seemed to nations sweet –
but God has struck its luster down
in ashes at his feet.
Not gold but only men can make
a people great and strong –
men who for truth and honor’s sake
stands fast and suffer long.
Brave men who work while others sleep
who dare why other fly –
they build a nation’s pillars deep
and lift them to the sky.’”
Sir James R. Mancham, KBE
Founding President of the Republic of Seychelles
Member of the Committee of Elders of COMESA
Recipient of the Gusi Peace Prize 2011 for Statesmanship