I have just heard on the news that Nelson Mandela has died. Like Churchill and so many other World Leaders, nearly all of them in fact, I don’t buy the idealised image of Mandela that we are expected to believe. But right now I find that this is irrelevant. Mandela did a lot of good. That is a fact that I cannot and would not argue with. He is also a member of an elite group of people who I admire, respect, and hold as role models. He was a prisoner who made a difference.
I’d like to correct that. He was the type of person who had the ability and the will to make a difference, and at one point he happened to be a prisoner.
In one of my previous posts I quoted Churchill as having said that there is a treaure in the hearts of all people, if only you will find it. Nelson Mandela said something similar in his book ‘Long Walk to Freedom’.
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
I pray that more prisoners are taught how to love rather than hate. And I pray that those prisoners will themselves teach others how to do the same just as Nelson Mandela, Henry David Thoreau, E. V. Debs, and countless other prisoners have done before them.
Rest In Peace, Madiba. The man who has done his duty on earth.