Address at the Day of Affirmation at the University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

June 6, 1966


Cape Town, South Africa

Each nation has different obstacles and different goals, shaped by the vagaries of history and experience. Yet as I talk to young people around the world I am impressed not by the diversity but by the closeness of their goals, their desires and concerns and hope for the future. There is discrimination in New York, the racial inequality of apartheid in South Africa and serfdom in the mountains of Peru. People starve in the streets of India; a former Prime Minister is summarily executed in the Congo; intellectuals go to jail in Russia; thousands are slaughtered in Indonesia; wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere. These are differing evils; but they are the common works of man. They are like the imperfection of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion, the defectiveness of our sensibility toward the sufferings of our fellow human beings; they mark the limit of our ability to use knowledge for the well-being of others. And therefore they call upon common qualities of conscience and of indignation, a shared determination to wipe away the unnecessary sufferings of our fellow human beings at home and around the world. It is these qualities which make of youth today the only true international community.