USA - Clinton Global Initiative - Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson has blogged about the violence in the U.S.

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Sir Richard Branson has delivered his “Thoughts On America” in a blog post Friday, claiming that the “mob violence” last week in Washington had left him “in greater despair than ever before.”

The Virgin founder criticized those who “embrace the big lie of a ‘stolen election’, spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories shrouded in an idea of ‘patriotism’ that rejects pretty much everything that truly makes societies and nations great, like tolerance, diversity, compassion, or solidarity.”

Branson, who lost his mother to Covid-19 last Friday, writes that he sees the violence and “outpouring of hate” as stemming from a “large portion of America’s electorate … gripped by fear of a rapidly changing world and the dismantling of privilege and power generations of white people have come to take for granted, knowingly or not.”

He adds that “the complexity of a modern, globalized world is daunting and overwhelming … rather than making America work for everyone, the goal seems to be to burn it down to its foundations.”

Luminaries Gather At Clinton Global Initiative Meeting

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson (R) speaks during a press conference while former U.S. … [+] President Bill Clinton (L) listens

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Truth And Reconciliation?

Branson, who lives in the British Virgin Islands, closer to the groundswells of U.S. politics than those of the U.K., suggests an approach from history, namely the Truth and Reconciliation Commission used to help ordinary people reconcile the evils of Apartheid era South Africa in the years after President Nelson Mandela’s long walk to freedom.

“President Mandela and my dear friend Archbishop Tutu knew that the only way to unite their broken and divided nation and prevent a perpetual cycle of violence and armed conflict was to start a national conversation – an honest and truthful conversation about the past, held in a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness,” he writes, adding, “Perhaps this is what America needs now: open, honest conversations in local communities. A collective effort to confront the past and find common ground, to see, as Bobby Kennedy put, that “what unites us is greater than what divides us.”

US-POLITICS-ELECTION-TRUMP

Supporters of US President Donald Trump fight with riot police outside the Capitol building on … [+] January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

AFP via Getty Images

He strikes a conciliatory note to the “74 million people [who] voted for Trump,” writing, “They can’t be written off. They must be engaged if America and Americans are ever to understand and overcome the roots of their division.”

Branson, who Forbes estimates to be worth $4.9 billion, ends on a positive note for the future: “America’s best days can be ahead … I am hopeful that Joe Biden will be President for Blue and Red, willing to build bridges and ensuring that these States remain United.”

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Roland Millaner


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