This morning, in response to the death of Nelson Mandela, I posted the following tweet:
There already is a ‘Mandela Day’, and it’s officially recognised by the UN: 18 July, Mandela’s birthday. But it’s not a public holiday, and it’s not exactly universally acknowledged.
My idea is simple: let’s make 18 July the first truly international public holiday: a global day of collective consciousness, but without religious or nationalist overtones, on which we celebrate the life, the ideas and the promise of a man who inspired every generation that knew him – and in the process bring the world community a little bit closer together.
One of the things that binds people together is common symbols, and as the reaction to Mandela’s death has shown – with flags flying at half-mast in capitals across the world – there is no-one who can unite the world community like he can.
What better way to honour Mandela and his trademark promotion of tolerance and respect than by dedicating one day every year to reminding ourselves of the gift he gave to the world and reflecting on what all of us can do to maintain and further his legacy?