Nicholas D. Rosen (ndrosen) wrote,

Nelson Mandela RIP

Sometimes we see a man whose character exposes the rest of us for what we are, and yet may inspire us with a vision of what we could be. Such a man was Nelson Mandela. No doubt he had his faults, and was great despite or even because of them. No doubt South Africa today is a mess -- what country in the world is not a mess? -- with high crime rates, severe poverty, AIDS, and social tensions.

Nonetheless, this man who had been imprisoned for twenty-seven years reached out to his people's oppressors, forgave his enemies, and assured whites that they could have a place in the new South Africa. When I compare this to my own grudges over far smaller wrongs, I feel ashamed.

Let us also remember that Mandela served as President for a limited term, and then, like George Washington, left office. That is an admirable precedent that offers hope for his country. When I thinks of how many Presidents-for-Life Africa has suffered under, I must say that the people of South Africa, black, white, and of intermediate shades, have been blessed to have a Mandela rather than a Mugabe or a Mobutu.

Rest in peace, old hero, and may others strive to follow your shining example.
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