World says good­bye ....

Pakistan Observer - - PAGE 07 -


But Ali later earned global re­spect as a civil rights ac­tivist who preached re­li­gious tol­er­ance, and for his pub­lic bat­tle with a dis­ease that rav­aged his once pow­er­ful body. - Tyson joins pall­bear­ers Ac­tor Will Smith — who earned an Os­car nom­i­na­tion for his por­trayal of Ali on the sil­ver screen — and former heavy­weight cham­pi­ons Mike Tyson and Len­nox Lewis will be among the pall­bear­ers at the burial, which is closed to the pub­lic.

Tyson’s par­tic­i­pa­tion was only con­firmed early Fri­day.

“The grief that he showed was im­mense, he did not know at the time if he could do that emo­tion­ally... but ap­par­ently yes­ter­day he de­cided he had to be here,” fam­ily spokesman Bob Gun­nell said.

An anony­mous donor has pledged to cover the fi­nal path to the grave with red rose petals.

On Fri­day af­ter­noon, Ali will be hon­ored at an in­ter­faith me­mo­rial ser­vice at a large sports arena that will bring to­gether VIPs and fans alike, with former US pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton and co­me­dian Billy Crys­tal to give eu­lo­gies.

Some 15,500 peo­ple are ex­pected to at­tend — with free tick­ets snapped up in a half-hour and a black mar­ket for the cov­eted tick­ets sprout­ing on­line. - ‘Lost an icon’ Barack Obama will not be present at the fu­neral of the man he calls a “per­sonal hero” since it co­in­cides with his daugh­ter Malia’s grad­u­a­tion from high school.

But the US pres­i­dent pub­lished a video mes­sage Thurs­day in which he dis­played two me­men­tos given to him by “The Champ” — a book of pho­to­graphs and a set of gloves — which he has kept near to him through his time in the White House.

“This week we lost an icon,” Obama said in the mes­sage. “A per­son who for African Amer­i­cans, I think, lib­er­ated their minds in rec­og­niz­ing that they could be proud of who they were.”

“I grew up watch­ing him. I grew up hav­ing my iden­tity shaped by what he ac­com­plished,” he said. “The in­cred­i­ble ges­tures of love and sup­port that he showed me was one of the great bless­ings of my life.” - ‘Float like a but­ter­fly’ Turkish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan had been sched­uled to at­tend Fri­day’s me­mo­rial ser­vice but cut short his trip to the United States af­ter a dis­agree­ment with fu­neral or­ga­niz­ers, Turkish me­dia re­ported.

Er­do­gan’s body­guards and US Se­cret Ser­vice agents had also clashed briefly at Thurs­day’s Is­lamic prayer ser­vice as they jointly guarded the Turkish pres­i­dent, the news­pa­per said.

On Thurs­day, thou­sands came to­gether for the Mus­lim ser­vice in re­mem­brance of the cham­pion, who con­verted to Is­lam in 1964, chang­ing his name to Muham­mad Ali. Mus­lim men and women prayed in sep­a­rate rows, most of the lat­ter with their heads veiled.

The brief cer­e­mony brought to­gether dig­ni­taries and or­di­nary fans, honor­ing a man known for both his tenac­ity in the ring and his so­cial ac­tivism out­side of it. “My hero was locked in his body,” said Louisville taxi driver Fred Dillon, re­fer­ring to Ali’s fight with Parkin­son’s.

“Now he can float like a but­ter­fly.”—AFP

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