Mandela tribute from Galatasaray stars, Drogba and Eboue | Bulent Gokay

Mandela tribute from  Galatasaray stars, Drogba and Eboue and the lack of vision of the Turkey’s leaders!

Didier Drogba revealed a T-shirt with the text “Thank you Madiba” at the full-time whistle, while Emmanuel Eboue wore a jersey with the text “Rest in peace Nelson Mandela” following their 2-0 win against SB Elagizspor.  Meanwhile, their team Galatasaray has responded by displaying a picture of Mandela on the Turk Telekom Arena with the caption “Brotherhood of Colours: Your legacy is in our hearts”.   However, the disciplinary committee of the Turkish Football Federation thought very differently and summoned the Ivorian internationals to mete out some form of retrospective action for displaying political messages during football matches!

Drogba also took to Facebook to express his tribute  for the former South African leader:

“Nelson Mandela did not only impact Africa, but also the rest of the world. This is a great loss to humanity, because he was a man who refused to abandon the struggle in the face of suffering and was able to change mentalities across the globe. I want to offer my condolences to his family and loved ones and to the entire South African people.”


There are moments in history when the world stands still: the passing of Nelson Mandela was one of those occasions.  Mandela was truly a great man, such only comes to this world once in a century or less often.  “The last great liberator of the 20th century,” said Obama in his speech at Soweto.  On that memorable event, on 9 December 2013, the heart of the world was beating in Soweto in a strong  remembrance of this great individual for the world peace and reconciliation.  US President Obama attended the service in Soweto alongside with three of his predecessors, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.  United Kingdom was also represented by the current Prime Minister David Cameron and three previous Prime Ministers.  Besides Obama, eulogies were delivered by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao and Cuban President Raul Castro.

Drogba and Eboue not only expressed the feelings of millions of people all over the words but also provided a clear lesson to the top political leaders of Turkey who obviously failed to understand and appreciate Mandela’s great contribution to world peace.  Despite the attendance of over 90 heads of state and tens of thousands of  world leaders and mourners, Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan sent Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay in his stead!   And that is when the entire world sneered at Turkey’s low level representation at Mandela Memorial Ceremony in Soweto.

Ironically, there is another leader,  who and Erdogan had serious conflict in recent past, who followed the same route — Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.   Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled his scheduled trip to South Africa for the funeral of Nelson Mandela, explaining that it would be too expensive!  

As a result, Turkey and Israel became two of the very few countries not to send their top leaders to South Africa for memorials to Nelson Mandela.  Madiba, the clan name by which Mandela was known, the Great Peace Maker, achieved another significant reconciliation even in his death by bringing Turkey and Israel together in their absence during this historic world event.


Keele, 12 December 2013

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