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Morgan Freeman’s message at the FIFA world cup is of benefit to us all

Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman attended the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar on November 20, 2022, where he gave a stirring speech about inclusion, unity, and respect that would still be relevant to all of us today.

Because of his charismatic delivery and gravelly voice, Morgan Freeman was a wise choice for the opening ceremony.

The 85-year-old, five-time Oscar-winning actor from Hollywood gave a wonderful speech alongside Ghanim al Muftah, a young influencer from Qatar born with Caudal Regression Syndrome, a rare condition that prevents the lower spine from developing normally.

As Ghanim al Muftah said, “Come on over,” Morgan Freeman entered the stage.

Freeman retorted that he is unsure of whether he is welcome.

“We sent out the call because everyone is welcome,” Ghanim then responded. “This is an invitation to the whole world.”

Freeman carried on his conversation with al Muftah about unity and respect with a composed demeanor and a commanding voice.

He said “What unites us here in this moment is so much greater than what divides us. How can we make it last longer than just today?”

Then, in a very symbolic move, Morgan Freeman extended his hand to shake Ghanim al Muftah’s hand.

The Hollywood star faced a great deal of criticism from people all over the world who branded him a “sellout” for agreeing to work with a nation that is allegedly actively complicit in human rights violations.

Even though his participation in the ceremony was heavily criticized, we cannot dismiss his entire message.

Freeman’s message was all about uniting as one. Let’s make it more personal.

It is critical that as Africans, we work together to build a resilient future. Africans have been divided for as long as we can remember, according to many analysts and opinion writers.

Even today, we can see how divided we are; consider how South Africa is still divided even after Apartheid, Ethiopia and Eritrea, some regions in Eastern Africa, and many more.

It is not limited to Africa, but when we look at the global West and East, we see the same pattern.

One factor that keeps Africa vulnerable even today is division. As the famous proverb goes, “the divided ones are easily conquered.”

It happened in Rwanda 28 years ago. Because of the division within the unforgettable occurred; the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

However, thanks to good leadership that shaped Rwandans’ unity, the country has seen visible growth and development in just 28 years.

In a National Geographic interview four years ago, Rwandan President Paul Kagame told Morgan Freeman that reconciliation was the only way to rebuild Rwanda.

“We knew we couldn’t go forward unless we reversed hate politics, separation, and division,” he said.

In his remarks at the Unity Club’s 25th anniversary in 2021, the President came to the same conclusion.

“We cannot achieve development, we cannot have abundant security unless we strengthen our unity,” he said.

How are we as Rwandans achieving this sense of unity, according to Freeman’s message? Do you hold your brother’s hand in the face of adversity? How do we, as Africans, come together, regardless of our origins?

We do portray unity and respect on occasion, but as Morgan Freeman noted, we must make sure it endures over time.

Every nation, every leader, and every person must carry out this duty.

Despite facing criticism, Morgan Freeman and Ghanim al Muftah’s message touches on a delicate subject that ought to stimulate a lot of thought.

Morgan Freeman together with Ghanim al Muftah as they participate in the opening ceremony
Freeman extending his arm to Ghanim al Muftah symbolising unity

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