Tuesday, March 5, 2013


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Sunday, February 17, 2013


It was supposed to be a day of love and heart-smiles, not a day of loss and heartache.

It was to be a day to pass by in a blur of warm gestures and words, simple acts of loving kindness.

Yet for tens of millions of South Africans across the southern tip of Africa, and across the globe, Valentine's Day 2013 will forever be marked as a day when shock united one and all. Hearts were broken as a hero fell, taking with him the pride of a nation, removing the brilliant golden glow from the rainbow.

The tragic events of the morning of February 14th put South Africa's gold-medal Olympian in the global spotlight once more, just months since medal-winning Olympic glory gripped the nation, yet this time leaving a nation feeling deeply bruised. Millions today are feeling a sense of personal ache, a sense of mourning, a deep loss. 

Suddenly, heroic efforts are having to be made by millions to find light in the darkness of possibility, faith in the face of fear of “could it be true?”, and in the case of one lovely South African voice tasked with speaking to the international news world, finding poise, perspective and professionalism in the presence of so deeply felt sadness.

The loss?

The loss is not just for a beautiful woman now departed too soon, or a national hero and role model facing devastating questions that could leave him facing a lifetime behind bars. Tears are falling across a nation for these two losses, but also for millions more. The ’bladerunner’ has fallen, his blades cutting through the cloth of the nation’s flag, his fans and followers once proudly cheering his name and wearing their national colours united in a state of disbelief, now patiently yet painfully waiting to hear the fate of their patriot. 

And deep down, they know. Their beautiful flag, the image of the country that so many have worked so hard, for so long, to stand and fly proud for all the world to see, now falls in hurt. At this moment, instead of striking a confident pose, the stance of South Africa has changed. Whether true or not, there is a feeling that the world once again stands in judgment of the nation, each and every one of its people, because of the acts of one person.

The disappointment goes beyond the one. It is the millions of consequences of that one moment in time.

As was the case when the life of a young woman was ultimately taken from her after she boarded a bus in Delhi, leaving Indians feeling shame and outrage.

As was the case when twenty tiny, young lives were taken by the gun-charged hands of a young man in Sandy Hook, leaving Americans horrified and demanding of new debate re. rights.

As was the case when a group of Spanish tourists had their holiday turned to horror in a beautiful Acapulco 
beach house, leaving Mexicans once again exasperated as labels of violence once again crept into coverage.

As was the case when a kidnapping of a tourist in the Sinai, leaving hopeful onlookers of the Arab Spring questioning if the nation can indeed move on.

As was the case when the Swiss bank account details were revealed for Grecian politicians, leaving the people of Greece trying to regain national solvency and dignity feeling bewildered and betrayed.

As occurs across the world, especially in (re)emerging nations trying to rebuild their strength of national 
identity, image, reputation, and so importantly, strength of spirit.

In our world on the move, through all of the often super-human efforts to break from the pack and move ahead of not just competition, but expectations and stereotypes, it is so easy to forget how much it takes, at so many levels, to remain hopeful, faithful, optimistic, idealistic. Especially when one person, one action, can break millions of hearts.
Yet, as much as in these times it can feel as though God too is crying, stuck in the ‘how could this happen’, it is the few, the few remarkably and fiercely determined, who find the strength to stand up and say through their words and/or actions, ‘this is not who we are’, that inspire a tomorrow that offers not only a Band-Aid, but a hope, to help us get past today.
The tears must fall, the ache must be felt, if we are to move forward with a burning determination to be more than simply this.

- This month’s article is dedicated with immense respect to Robyn, Miller and Jerry. x

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2013  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


As the last days of the first month of a new year draw near -
WEF delegates now back home facing post-Davos diets,
economic systems re-engineered in 2012 now starting to turn their wheels,
revolutionary aircraft launched to great fanfare now facing groundings that have even competitors respectfully silenced,
legal systems and voiceless citizens now standing up to fight for the protection of those put in harms way by simply being present,
nations of the Arab Spring now facing lightning storms beyond expectation, comprehension and faith in how, oh how, there can be peaceful conclusion,
- first impressions of the year ahead can easily leave one feeling deeply uncertain.

Dreadfully unsure.

Yet, not alone.

For the challenges that are to be faced in 2013, once again, show how borderless our world has become.

One cry out for help now draws the attention of millions.
One world now ties together 7 billion.

2012 was a year of re-building, and re-activating, global economies - global minds.
2013, from what first impressions reveal, will be a year of re-aligning, and re-inspiring, global hearts. Our ability to connect across borders, across systems, and across ideologies, will require a digging deep beyond anything experienced before. Calculations will no longer be about what we can gain - it will be about what we have to lose. And that goes so much farther than commerce, cliffs, commoddities, credit lines and currencies.

The test is clear. The time is now.

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2013  

Monday, December 24, 2012


A year of love,
a year of loss.

A year of unions,
a year of partings.

A year of commitments,
a year of convictions.

A year of giving,
a year of blessing.

A year of discovery,
a year of seeding future curiosity.

A year of milestones,
a year of miracles.

Most of all, a year never to be forgotten, for all of those moments, memories, people and places, that have embedded themselves into our hearts, into our identities.

As our world moves forward, 
may the steps that we take leave only footprints that truly being us closer together.

God bless.
Happy 2013.

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2012 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


November 07th, 2012. Depending on their locations, their times zones, and their levels of excitement, millions of people across the world chose to forfeit sleep the night before to be able to stay awake into the early hours of this new day, whist others were waking up early as the new dawn broke. A new day, and a new time.

Why the lack of sleep? What could possibly draw such global attention?

As the 07th of November tick-tocked into its first minutes and hours across the eastern regions of the world map, polls were closing and ballots were being counted across the map of the USA. It was the morning after the US Presidential Election Day of 2012.

Who would it be? Who would be the leader of people of the US for the next four years? Who, therefore, would be the greatest individual source of influence on the rest of the world? 

Who would it be occupying the White House?
And what would be the global implications in homes across the globe?

Throughout the presidential race, the world has watched, and watched, and watched, with unprecedented interest. Positions were learnt, personalities were analysed. Why? Why all of the personal investment in leadership choices when the leader was not to be one's own?

One simple reason: borders and ballot boxes no longer separate people. While an event of north American geography, the far reaching implications of this one nation's political leadership race was clear. If the choice was red, a new path would be taken - dramatic policy positions would shift, relationships with global leaders be altered, and international markets would recalibrate. If the choice was blue, the four years ahead would be continued careful journey on a path of known direction, with the destination a continued source of hope and faith - for Americans and the rest of the world.

Aside from the remarkable, often shameful levels of attacking campaign commentary and rhetoric, and of course funds, what has been astounding to see has been the levels of global interest in how America casts its vote - global interest wide and deep enough that the watching world spent the day hiding yawns from sleep deficit. From well known world leaders to unknown nations from regions beyond America's borders, the final count brought a cheer of victory as though these foreign hands had themselves ticked the box for their preferred candidate. 

America has cast its vote, the people of the USA have chosen, the Empire State Building is illuminated in blue, global headlines are expressing excited announcement of President Obama's four more years, and the people of the world are now ready to walk with America into the next stage of shaping a collective, interdependent future.

With a sense of relief in the minds and hearts of millions across the world, it is safe to, for the moment, shut their eyes and get some sleep. Hope endures.

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2012 

Friday, October 19, 2012


As occurs every year, on the mid-October day of the announcement of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Peace, audible speculation occurs around the globe. Who will it be? Who would be called out as the exemplary manifestation of all that the concept of peace represents. Who, or what? And why?

How does one decide? How does one possibly identify a single individual or entity that can be praised for peace?

Since 1901, on an annual basis this question has been posed by the Norwegian Nobel Committee as they judge nominations from across the globe for those deemed to have "done the most or the best work for the fraternity between nations." (Nobelprize.org)

The winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Peace, announced on October 12th, was in the end more reason for pause and appreciation than actual celebration. 

Why? Because the winner - the European Union - acts as a powerful reminder of what so many across the globe have forgotten - that peace is a process of continuous commitment and effort, not an assumption.

As eloquently expressed by CNN's Jonathan Mann, who has covered the Nobel Peace Prize for 17 years, when asked in an interview minutes after the announcement by the Nobel Committee what the Nobel Committee was thinking when awarding the EU the prize for peace? 


60 years of peace through tireless efforts for unification across European nations.

In these times of aggressive economic, social and political change, times that see:
  • a young Pakistani girl fighting for her life as a result of a gunshot wound to punish her for her quest to allow girls to be educated;
  • the endless horror as Syria's leaders seemingly defy all sense of civility against its own people, sending refugees fleeing to neighbouring nations facing their own challenges;
  • two powerful Asian nations flexing their political muscles and verbal threats of war over one disputed island; 
  • iconic sports heroes falling from well engineered and embedded pedestals; 
  • presidential candidates in the US intellectually fighting it out in town hall debates and investing an estimated US$ 2 billion in the quest to secure the nomination for president of the United States of America in 2013,
the connections of our world today - Damascus a mere 9187 km away from Washington DC where global Ambassadors to the UN struggle to secure a lasting peace, Karachi a mere 8499 km from Birmingham where young Malala now fights for her life, Senkaku island and Diaoyu island the exact same coordinates - often reveal the sadness of how far apart we can be, despite being just a flight, boat trip, or thought away. Hot spots remain, fear remains. the risk of life being taken, unjustly, unfairly, and unexpectedly, remain.

And yet, through the noise, peace is able to prevail. 

Because of efforts - often intense efforts - to sustain prevent outbreak of war during times of potential clashes within or across borders, as a result of economic crisis, lack of natural resources, political clashes or other threats to stability of psyche and nations, billions are able to look on, safe and secure in their corners of the world, viewing conflict through the screen of a television, computer or mobile phone.  

In many parts of the world peace, living within a peaceful society, has become an assumption. 

Such is the case in the EU.
As expressed in the official announcement of winner of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize:

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 is to be awarded to the European Union (EU). The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe. 

"The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU's most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights. The stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace. 

The work of the EU represents "fraternity between nations", and amounts to a form of the "peace congresses" to which Alfred Nobel refers as criteria for the Peace Prize in his 1895 will." http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2012/press.html

The Nobel Peace Prize has always been awarded on the basis of the bigger picture. Standing back, looking at the world map as it appears today, there are clear, constant conflict zones which continue to ache. And then there are those that, through a shared quest for peace, remain connected as communities.

 As was expressed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu during different times yet with enduring sentiment: "When God looks at ---, he shakes his head and cries. And then he looks at (the EU), and he smiles..."

During these ever-changing times - times of crisis at natural, political, economic, environmental and social levels - 'peace' should be seen and appreciated as a verb, not a noun. 

And a blessing to be able to feel when we shut our eyes at bedtime.

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2012


Wednesday, September 19, 2012


September 11th, 2012. Eleven years on, the world pauses to remember, ritualistically, a day that changed the world we know. The terrifying acts of a few changed the lives of all. Losses of lives stand as legacies of conscience, and conviction. Borders remain erased as it is clear that we are all united, regardless of passports and policies.

One day on, flags fly at half mast on US embassies and on the lawn of the White House as, once again, remembrance of loss dominates thought and ache of heart. The loss is not over a decade old, however. It is just hours old. It occurred not on US soil, but in a US-supported nation half way across the world. Libya, a nation recently liberated with the courage of its revolutionaries, has lost one of its greatest allies – the Ambassador of the USA to Libya. Though the rebel attacks that shook the US consulate and took the life of its highest diplomat, three other Americans and numerous Libyans, have ended, the ground is still shaking. The vibrations are felt in Afghanistan, Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world.

To defuse the shaking and limit the spread of the flames, YouTube has begun to block access to a particular piece of content. The video? A low-budget, independent film produced in the US, carrying a distinctly anti-Islamic message, provoking anti-American sentiment.

As time passes and details emerge, the role of this poor quality, poor taste film is deemed not to the primary spark that has ignited flames of anti-American protests, and possibly even actual attacks. Still, the movie is out there. It was produced. And its fire is spreading, widely and wildly. From Tunisia to Yemen, American flags burn, alerts on foreign embassies continue, fear of further spread of the fire grows. Lives lost. Foreign relations inflamed.

And now, one week on, a week filled with widespread, often deadly protests regarding the anti-Islamic, indy film, a French magazine - Charlie Hebdo - has taken a decision to take a bold step in publishing cartoons depicting, in various provocative ways, the Prophet Mohammed. Its overtly stated desire in publishing the cartoons? To be outrageous.

The response of French officials? Condemning the publication, the French Foreign Ministry closing embassies and schools in as many as twenty nations countries this Friday, the main Muslim day of prayer, as a precautionary measure. The ground is starting to shake again…

Immediately, sharply, the thought emerges: why? Why provoke further fury? Why invite further spread of the flames?
The argument of both the filmmaker and the cartoonist: ‘free speech’. We live in democratic times – freedom of expression is a right.


Indeed. Freedom of expression is a part of our society. 

However, does freedom give people the right to consciously offend other people, cultures, communities, without consideration of impact, implications? 

Does freedom make recreational journalistic culture-mocking an acceptable course of action? Does freedom allow us to think only of our pleasure, regardless of another's pain?
What ever happened to the principle of "what good will come of this?"

What we must never, ever forget is that with freedom comes responsibility of freedom. Responsibility for actions. And, in cases such as these, reactions.

Being part of the global community brings with it remarkable strength, access and opportunity. The blessings are far too many to count.

In our uber-connected, fast moving, world - a world with ever increasing understanding of differences and yet inter-connectedness, global citizenry should,
one would hope, increase our sensitivity towards the wellbeing of others. We need to be able to count on one another.

Does “because I can” have the right to step on, and over, others?

There is so much more to be gained through stepping up, and reaching out.

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2012