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 Blooming Stars

Mandela a Miracle

            If you were to ask me what would be that one person living in the world that I would like to meet, my immediate answer would be Nelson Mandela of South Africa. Why? Like in Olympics the various athletes stretch their limits and set new world records, Mandela for me set a record of human endurance in the most trying and hostile circumstances of South African prisons for no crime he committed. In fact the prison guards gave him opportunities to escape from the prison so he could be, perhaps, shot and conveniently gotten rid of. He was too inconvenient for the then racist government of South Africa. Why was he inconvenient? Because he was the conscience of an inhuman and unjust society in a so-called civilized world. Why was he in jail? Because he dared to stand for his fundamental right – freedom that we all take for granted – for himself and other fellow humans of his country from the descendants of white colonizers who were deluded in their thinking that they were superior beings, and that they had a God-given right to rule the Africans whose skin was dark. These Afrikaners thought that the overwhelming black majority of South Africans were sub-human beings who were created to serve them. Interestingly, their religion – a variety of Christian belief, I must say, – sanctioned the government that oppressed the blacks.

            Mandela is a miracle in that it is difficult for me as a human being and as a clinical psychologist to believe that he endured 27 years of degrading prison life of hard labor without losing his mind. Not only that he did not become insane through long years of ill-treatment in prison but also became the president of the country that imprisoned him. He did not seem to suffer from the bitterness of long-term imprisonment. He did not take out on persons who caused him extreme long-term hardship and suffering. He was a great example of forgiveness and reconciliation that Christ taught. As the first president of South Africa Mandela used the mandate that the multi-racial elections gave him to abolish the institutionalized racism, - the apartheid - and pave the way for a multi-racial society through racial reconciliation. Soon to be 95 (July 2013), Mandela is in his last lap in a hospital with serious health problems. His frail body may not last long, but his brave spirit that fought injustices and brought unity to his country will be a marvelous example for the entire world. He has received the most important honors including the Nobel Peace Prize that the world can give. I have no doubt that his spirit in due time will take its deserved place as a star in the spiritual firmament enlightening the world. His autobiography - Long Walk to Freedom – that was ingeniously smuggled out of the prison in small bits and pieces of papers cannot but inspire all persons of good will.

 

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