Letters: Mandela saw the ties that bind us
Madam -- In the Nelson Mandela supplement (Sunday Independent, December 8, 2013) Niall Mellon writes about his many meetings with the South African President, and the Irish people who travelled to South Africa and volunteered with the Niall Mellon housing project. According to Mr Mellon, Mandela "loved our willingness to care for others, people not of our own tribe".
On Tuesday at the special memorial service in Soweto attended by 90 world leaders, President Obama in his speech spoke about Mandela's understanding of the ties that bind the human spirit; "his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that can be invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us".
These characteristics of empathy and willingness to give have traditionally been strong points in us Irish. In the World Giving Index 2012 Ireland was named the most charitable country in Europe for the second year running and the second most charitable in the world, after Australia.