Prince Harry reflects on a "painful year" during UN speech
The British royal honored the legacy of the former South African president and anti-apartheid activist on the international day in his honor, but said the world Mandela left behind is in trouble.
Harry said Mandela "endured the very worst of humanity: vicious racism and state-sponsored brutality." And yet, he was "still able to see the goodness in humanity, still buoyant with a beautiful spirit that lifted everyone around him."
The 37-year-old continued to say this was "not because he was blind to the ugliness, the injustices of the world – no. He saw them clearly. He had lived them," but rather because "he knew we could overcome them."
Like Mandela, we should find light in the darkness, Harry said, before he acknowledged just how dark the world is.
"How many of us feel battered, helpless, in the face of seemingly endless stream of disasters and devastation. This has been a painful year in a painful decade. We’re living through a pandemic that continues to ravage communities in every corner of the globe," he stated.
"The right thing to do is not up for debate"
Harry continued to shine a light on the major challenges the world faces.
"Climate change [is] wreaking havoc on our planet, with the vulnerable suffering most of all. The few weaponizing lies and disinformation at the expense of the many," Harry noted. "From the horrific war in Ukraine to the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States, we are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom – the cause of Mandela’s life."
To his audience specifically, Harry urged their representative countries to make "daring, transformative decisions that our world needs to save humanity" while ignoring politics and powerful interests.
"The right thing to do is not up for debate," he said.
Harry did share a few of his own bright spots, including his mother Princess Diana, his wife Meghan Markle whom he called his "soulmate," and their two children, Archie (3) and Lilibet (1).
Cover photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP