Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Nelson Mandela:

"In a world driven by violence and strife, Gandhi's message of peace and non-violence holds the key to human survival in the 21st century. He rightly believed in the efficacy of pitting the sole force of the satyagraha against the brute force of the oppressor and in effect converting the oppressor to the right and moral point."

I once read a very interested interview with Mandela - by Bill Clinton of all people. Clinton asked Mandela if he had feelings of anger on release from prison. Take a moment to wipe from your memory all that you know of Mandela, his presidency of South Africa and all that has happened since.

Nelson Mandela:

"Yes, I was angry. And I was a little afraid. After all I've not been free in so long. But, when I felt that anger well up inside of me I realised that if I hated them after I got outside that gate then they would still have me. I wanted to be free so I let it go."
That was the measure of the man - he felt angry, and yet however much he was justified in his anger, he realised that freedom was worth more than retribution. An eye for an eye would have just made the whole of South Africa blind. And in that moment, Mandela moved from a cultural icon and freedom fighter to someone who lived the essence of Gandhiism - that whilst there is legally and morally nothing wrong with seeking justice when wrongfully accused, it is a far far greater thing to offer the hand of friendship and the gift of grace. That while violence may be the most natural tool to use to oppose tyranny, almost always the power of the tool of soul-force is far greater.

Oh for more like these. With a hundred, the world wouldn't stand a chance.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home