By Chandra Muzaffar
On the 9th of April 2021, Ramsey Clark passed away in the States. He was ninety four. The former US Attorney-General had spent decades in the struggle for human rights both when he was in government and after he ceased to be Attorney-General. He had been in the forefront of so many human rights causes that it will not be possible to offer some reflections on them in a single obituary.
In this short tribute, I have chosen to highlight some of his outstanding achievements. At some point in the future, one hopes that some better qualified person will analyse in depth his impact upon American society and global politics.
It was Sara Founders, his close associate, herself a renowned activist, who conveyed news of his demise to me. I was deeply saddened by the news. The entire JUST family shares my profound sorrow.
JUST salutes Ramsey Clark as one of the greatest champions of social justice and human rights of our time. He fought for the marginalised and oppressed within his own country and in the world at large. His record of service to the weak and the vulnerable, whoever they were and wherever they were found, is without parallel.
JUST and I had the pleasure of hosting Mr.Clark when he visited Malaysia in the early nineties. We had invited him to speak on the Gulf War. His honest, candid views on the War and what its real motives were and how it served the vested interests of a few made a deep impression on the audiences he spoke to.
Ramsey will be remembered as a fearless opponent of US hegemony and its devastating impact upon people everywhere.A person of admirable courage, he was willing to sacrifice his own well-being and face grave dangers and immense hardships as he attempted to defend the victims of US hegemony. For the people of Cuba and Palestine and numerous other such places, Ramsey Clark was the voice of justice, the unflinching spokesman of the downtrodden who could not be silenced by the might of power.
Many will also honour him as the US Attorney-General who supervised the drafting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 which empowered the African American population as never before. He also enforced the desegregation of schools across the South. It is not widely known that Clark had also espoused the cause of another voiceless community in the US, namely native Americans.
The voice of the voiceless is no more. But the legacy of Ramsey Clark will live on. He will continue to inspire all those who are committed to justice and human dignity for centuries to come.
May God Almighty place him among the righteous in the hereafter.
Dr Chandra Muzaffar is the president of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST)
13th April 2021.