Nelson Mandela, July 4 1993. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” ~The Honorable Nelson Mandela
President Mandela broke every chain. In breaking his chains, he always lived free. Prison may have confined him, but the burning core of unity in diversity and the cause of freedom for humankind was his everlasting freedom song.
“I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.” ~Rolihlahla Mandela
The summary of his life, the longevity of his struggle, and Mr. Mandela’s compassion ultimately formulated his resolve. Human rights, peaceful struggler, and learned fearless leadership are limited descriptions of this insightful man who defied prison and chains.
Madiba Mandela was a humanitarian. His foundations, including 46664 – his number while at Robben Island – embeds engagement. This indefatigable, renowned world leader engaged the consciousness of nations and individuals to speak and live peace.
Peter Beinart, in a recent article, Don’t Sanitize Nelson Mandela: He’s Honored Now, But Was Hated Then, reminds the world, especially Americans, that Mr. Mandela struggled, yet stood firm in his clarity that America “was not pure.” Thus, according to Beinart, “not long ago, in Washington‘s highest circles, he was considered an enemy of the United States. Unless we remember why, we won’t truly honor his legacy. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan placed Mandela’s African National Congress on America’s official list of “terrorist” groups. In 1985, then-Congressman Dick Cheney voted against a resolution urging that he be released from jail… As late as 2008, the ANC remained on America’s terrorism watch list, thus requiring the 89-year-old Mandela to receive a special waiver from the secretary of State to visit the U.S.”
In spite of his “enemy” status, Nelson Mandela came to America in 1990; I was among one of the cheering crowds who were honored to be in the presence of this humble giant who championed the prize of freedom. How long, not long could have been his mantra since he knew his freedom, in spite of the oppression of apartheid every day. Not long, but at least 27 years of unjust confinement, never truly imprisoned the spirit of the man.
Freedom and restful peace, Mr. President Mandela