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article imageOp-Ed: Nelson Mandela and the power of the human spirit

By Ruth Hull     Dec 6, 2013 in Politics
Nelson Mandela had the courage to stand up to the Illegal foreign terrorists who had taken over South Africa’s government. His example proved that evil cannot defeat the human spirit. Though his body may have passed, his memory will be eternal.
In risking his life and freedom, Mandela was standing up for his people, for his children and for all the children of the world who believed in the right of self-determination.
Honor, spirit and hope cannot be killed and eventually, after almost 28 years, Nelson Mandela was released and became the president of the nation that had been so heavily oppressed. In becoming president of South Africa, Mandela became a symbol of hope in a world that often seems almost hopeless.
Imagine if foreigners took over our country, rounded up the majority of citizens, separated families, and forced everyone to live in townships that were regularly plowed under. Imagine that the police could torture citizens — including children — at will as if they were animals. For daring to tell the truth, anyone could be silenced and "banned" from being in a room with more than one other person. People could be thrown in jail for no reason and when they were murdered by prison guards the allowable excuses were clearly bogus — like pretenses that the prisoner threw himself down a staircase or some other nonsense. Imagine your nation's resources and wealth were given to invaders who ignored the plight of the rightful citizens who had lost their citizenship rights though they did most of the nation's labor while enjoying none of the country's wealth. (Actually, this doesn't take any imagination at all — given what is going on and has gone on in America.) Now imagine that the conquerors, the terrorists, are the only ones allowed citizenship rights.
The genocidal parallels to our country's history may be related to the fact that the conquerors came from Europe but even the sordid history of the United States cannot compare with the horrors of Apartheid. Throughout history, there is no parallel to what the rightful citizens of that country underwent at the hands of their European invaders.
On the passing of Nelson Mandela, former Congresswoman and international hero Cynthia McKinney stated:
My condolences to the family and loved ones of Nelson Mandela and to the people of the Republic of South Africa and all of Africa. I had the opportunity to meet Nelson Mandela on several occasions. It is true that he was a transformational leader; I also visited Robben Island and saw the prison where he lived and worked and the cell in which he was incarcerated. Mandela’s is a very moving journey, one that carried the dreams and aspirations of an entire nation and world of people ready for change and alleviation of suffering. And to all of us who work for the day that oppression is a phenomenon unknown to humankind.
I, too, was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to see Nelson Mandela in person. It was one of the most inspiring moments I can recall. It gave me hope that, if change could come in South Africa, change could come anywhere.
Though many feel the reforms in South Africa did not go far enough, with some people even crying that a sell-out took place, the release of Nelson Mandela and his elevation to presidency of South Africa became a symbol that people could rise from the depths of a humanoid hell and change the world without one shot being fired.
To get another glimpse of the nightmares of Apartheid, check out Cry Freedom, a movie about another great South African hero — Steven Biko — martyred but never forgotten.
If South Africa could recover from Apartheid, couldn’t the U.S. recover from Guantanamo, the PATRIOT Act, the Drone wars and all the other nightmares inflicted on the world and the American people by our government?
The legacy of Nelson Mandela is that there will always be hope for mankind. Maybe one day one of our great political prisoners will ascend to the Presidency of the United States and maybe the American government will become the Government of the People that our founders intended for it to be.
Former South African leader Nelson Mandela
Former South African leader Nelson Mandela
With permission by Reuters / Photo by Mike Hutchings
The United Nations Security Council observes a minute of silence upon the news of the death of forme...
The United Nations Security Council observes a minute of silence upon the news of the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela, at the U.N. headquarters in New York December 5, 2013
With permission by Reuters / Eskinder Debebe
A woman cries as the United Nations Security Council observes a minute of silence upon the news of t...
A woman cries as the United Nations Security Council observes a minute of silence upon the news of the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela, December 5, 2013
With permission by Reuters / Siphiwe Sibeko
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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