These are a selection of quotes from political legend and civil-peace activist, former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela:
1. “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
Working with our enemies—those with divergent values sets—takes courage, stamina, tolerance... in sum, maturity. It takes a higher mind with vision beyond the present, to a world as yet uncreated. That world is the destiny of those who’ve the temerity to change it.
2. “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.”
The teaching of hatred is a vast sin and the propagation of hopelessness for humankind. It makes absolutely no sense and this lovelessness is beyond the sanity of even the worst lost. It is the core of genocide and dictatorship and behind perhaps every atrocity known throughout human history.
And still there is love. Mandela, here, is the champion of the turnaround heart—the belief that anyone may be turned around to love... even those seemingly lost to hate.
3. “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
Children are our future and yet they’re the silent majority so far as the continuation of the human race is concerned. We can achieve so much more in our investment with children now—for the time to come—than we can placating the senseless pigs of humanity that would abuse children, loners, prisoners, pensioners and the disabled—those depending on the capable to protect them.
The trouble is children don’t vote, they can’t speak eloquently, and they will not often defend themselves against an all-seeing and all-knowing world.
We must be our children’s voice; for children we shall be, despite childish adults to the contrary.
4. “Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfil themselves.”
There is enough to go around. This earth and its God provides bountifully. It is not for anyone to hoard or gather or reap beyond the next person’s ability to do the same. We owe it to God to share what we have in even slight abundance so that the whole world can enjoy what we enjoy—until the very last vestiges of human need are at last satisfied.
5. “When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.”
A master of bringing about change, Mandela captures the essence of a resolve to continue what is started, bringing it onto completion... bringing the gestation of change to full-term.
Again, this takes much courage; to smile through the piqued mood and establish order through chaos.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.
Picture Credit: from site: http://ted.coe.wayne.edu/sse/wq/rainer/7rsaconclusion.html