Nelson has no doubt proved to have touched the lives of millions. Evident across social media the past few weeks were his inspirational quotes that have moved many of us.
Who is this ambassador for peace?
In summary, Nelson was South Africa’s first black president (is black PC?), was instrumental in significantly reducing apartheid (entrenched racism) and was jailed for 27 years for doing so.
Nelson was not alone in his quest for us to treat each other with the respect and kindness we deserve. Martin Luther King’s dream was for ‘people to be judged by the content of their character not the colour of their skin’. As the Dalai Lama quotes we are all the same, we are one, we are humanity.
Nelson or ‘Madiba’ (the father) as he was known to many…showed the world that you can stand up for what you believe is right. Despite the harsh penalties for attempting to overthrow the policies of the South African Government decades ago Nelson fought for the rights of his fellow Africans. According to the Nelson Mandela foundation he ‘supports conflict resolution, poverty reduction and increased public health’.
The rejection of a class based society
If anyone has seen ‘The Help‘ you probably have experienced at least on film the abhorrent treatment of African Americans in the US as slaves in the 1970s. I was shocked after seeing this film and couldn’t believe there were people out there who could treat fellow humans this way.
KKK? Are these people kidding themselves? They dress like children who have been stuck in a room with their bedsheet and a pair of scissors. While membership over the past few decades has significantly declined (~6m to 6K) its unfathomable people could put that much energy into opposing those of a different skin colour.
The ‘Enlightenment’ or ‘Age of Reason’ in the 17th and 18th C created a significant rejection of class based society. The emphasis became on reason rather than tradition. Power inequalities started to fade however money still continues to play a central role in status today.
I recall a trip to Hobart where the anglo-saxon cab driver started whinging about an influx of Sudanese immigrants settling there, and that Hobart had the highest per capita anglo saxon population than any other place in the world (at 98%). I’m half Croatian and most of my friends have one or both parents born outside Australia and even grandparents.
Why is it many Australians shun migrants from less developed nations, war torn countries or countries with varying religious beliefs yet we have no issue wanting to obtain visas to migrate to the UK or the US etc? (or live there illegally…illegal immigrants?)
We are living in a global world where globalisation has reduced the barriers to live in other nations. We must remember this next time we assume someone is going to ‘take our jobs’ or ‘overrun our country’ that almost every one of us has lived overseas or know someone close to us who does.
I always get confused when people refer to those of oriental descent as ‘asians’. As if they are a collective group of people that all act in exactly the same way. I am caucASIAN and I’m a menace behind the wheel too!
How can we be heroes?
In an earlier post I talked about ‘standing up or sitting back’ – since then I’ve been shunned and ripped off by three homeless people after trying to buy them a cupcake, a coffee and a big issue. Good intentions aren’t always received as envisaged, but I’m sure they appreciated the gesture and I brightened their day.
I registered to volunteer with the Rural Fire Service to help the catering unit, which I then had to defer as working full time and studying part time it wasn’t going to be humanly possible. I will volunteer when Uni finishes and found a way to act rather than to simply have empathy toward victims.
One of the easiest things any of us can do in this life is sit by and absorb information… Its up to us what we choose to do with that information, hence the theory that actions speak louder than words. As Ghandi says ‘be the change you want to see in the world’.
I highly recommend the new Mandela film – it is truly inspiring to see how a visionary like Mandela can defy social norms and eliminate anti-social behaviour, like racism, through courage, determination and sacrifice.