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Nelson Mandela, the South African revolutionary and freedom fighter who, after 27 years in prison emerged as a remarkably inclusive and dignified figure of reconciliation, who became the president of South Africa and who never lost sight of his ultimate goal - the abolition of apartheid policies in South Africa - passed away last night. He was 95.

Former Secretary of State James Baker this morning called him "a beautiful human being … a man of endearing and enduring dignity."

There are four Mandela quotes that I would like to share this morning, that I think illustrate both his unique ability to go through a public maturation and to equate economic and social justice in simple yet elegant terms:

• "What has become of our rationality, our ability to think? We have used our reason to make great advances in science and technology, though often using those for warfare and plunder. We have placed people on the moon and in space; we have split the atom and transplanted organs; we are cloning life and manipulating nature. Yet we have failed to sit down as rational beings and eliminate conflict, war and consequent suffering of innocent millions, mostly women, children and the aged."

• "When I was released from prison I announced my belief in nationalization as a cornerstone of our economic policy. As I moved around the world and heard the opinions of leading business people and economists about how to grow an economy, I was persuaded and convinced about the free market. The question is how we match those demands of the free market with the burning social issues of the world."

• "There is at times a tendency to view civil liberties as distinct from socio-economic rights. They are sometimes postulated as the more abstract part of democracy and as of less immediate relevance to the masses of people who are poor and in want. There can be no more forceful refutation of that false distinction than the manner in which President Roosevelt formulated the generic freedoms of democracy."

• "Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life."
KC's View: