Tuesday, December 10, 2013

RIP Nelson Mandela

There was a big ole memorial service today in Johannesburg to honor the memory of Nelson Mandela--he will lie in state and be buried on Sunday--a hero of conscience, a person who stood out and will be celebrated and remembered for his willingness to forgive. The flood of tributes that have poured in from every corner of the world since his death last week is a testament to the way common humanity recognizes uncommon humanity.

Mandela may have been a political prisoner for a large chunk of his life, he may have been a revolutionary who didn't eschew violence against his oppressors, he may have been a symbol for the aspirations of the oppressed all over the world. All of these things, but first and foremost a human being of great heart and soul, a man who forgave his enemies. What a power that is! The power to touch the souls of other people, it doesn't matter who they are. And it's the cold human soul that doesn't respond to such a witness with joy because of the recognition of what it really means to be a human being, and the love and commonality that links us all as brothers and sisters on this planet. Alas, we have far too few such witnesses.
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