WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) today released the following statement after participating in a celebration of Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his 95th birthday. Leader Cantor joined bipartisan leaders in the House and Senate, as well as guests from Virginia’s 7th District, in the celebration:
“Nelson Mandela embodies the love of liberty and equality and virtue of service that betters communities and transforms whole nations. Both as prisoner and president, Mr. Mandela demonstrated how the dedication of one individual could bring about democracy and freedom in even the most dire of circumstances. Today, we celebrate his lifelong commitment to human rights and justice for all. My best wishes are with Mr. Mandela on his 95th birthday, and we pray for his speedy recovery.”
During the ceremony, Leader Cantor read part of a letter Mr. Mandela released on South African Freedom Day:
“I am informed that a warrant for my arrest has been issued, and that the police are looking for me. ... I have had to separate myself from my dear wife and children, from my mother and sisters, to live as an outlaw in my own land.
“I shall fight the government side by side with you, inch by inch, and mile by mile, until victory is won. … Will you come along with us, or are you going to cooperate with the government in its efforts to suppress the claims and aspirations of your own people? Or are you going to remain silent and neutral in a matter of life and death to my people, to our people?
“For my own part I have made my choice. I will not leave South Africa, nor will I surrender. Only through hardship, sacrifice and militant action can freedom be won. The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days.”