Tag Archives: Apartheid

Nelson Mandela…….

I read this evening of the passing of Nelson Mandela.  As my mind absorbed this piece of information, a quiet sadness stole over me.  I know of no other way to describe what I felt.  Our world lost a wonderful person today, a person of stature and of honor.  Nelson Mandela was one whose life was wisdom defined.  And I do not speak of the watered-down intellect that passes for wisdom so often in our societies today.  I am speaking of wisdom that is true and pure.  Nelson Mandela traveled the roads which lead to true wisdom. He was indeed mindful that the trek would not be always a pleasant one and that those roads, the roads of Love and of Tolerance would be unpaved and unfrequented by the masses.  Yet he freely chose to undertake this journey which is ironic since he was imprisoned for the choice he made so freely.  Truly an amazing gentleman, this Nelson Mandela.

What you have just read are but a few of the thoughts I was having this evening.  But then something unusual, even extraordinary began to happen.  I began to wonder what Mr. Mandela’s view on his passing would be.  It seemed almost that I could hear his voice in the room and he was saying, “My friend, do not weep nor be saddened by my passing.  My life was of my choosing.  Would you be so foolish as to believe that I did not know where the road I travelled would take me?  I knew well the possible consequences of the stand I was making. But I chose to make that stand.  There was no other choice for me.  It was the reason I was placed upon this earth, my purpose for being here.  You see, as much as I valued my own freedom, I valued the freedom of humanity even more.  So please do not be sad for me, kind sir.”

I thought about this for a bit but could not be completely satisfied with the words I had heard.  There was still another issue that disturbed me greatly.  It was the injustice served upon this fine man.  27 years of imprisonment no less!  One may as well say that one-third of Nelson Mandela’s life had been stolen from him.  Where is the justice in that?  I do realize that he experienced years of freedom upon his release from prison. But this is just wrong, isn’t it?  Where is the retribution for those who so blatantly imprisoned this fine spirit?  What of that?

As if hearing my thoughts, Nelson Mandela gently interrupted me and asked if I would listen for just a few moments and then perhaps I might come to understand his answer to my angry questions.  He spoke to me then and I will never forget his words for as long as I have breath in my body.  “I appreciate your concern for me”,  said he. “But I would like you to do something for me just now please.  Close your eyes for a moment and I will take your hand.  When I do so, you will see the world of Apartheid as I saw it then. However, I only intend to give you a brief look for that is all you will need to see.  Will you take my hand now?”

I did as he asked and took his hand in mine.  What I saw in those few seconds was more horror, more pain and more hatred than you could possibly imagine. Tears flowed from my eyes and my heart broke as I saw thousands of people, good and kind people being beaten and being burned alive.  There were bodies everywhere it seemed.  I looked to my left and there was a mass grave where bodies lay one upon another.  I swung my gaze to the right so as to escape the horrible vision of that grave and was only given a moments relief for there in front of me was one of the members of the Apartheid with hatred in his eyes and laughter on his lips.  He was in the process of laying to waste a family who lived in a local village.  It was much too much for my spirit.  I broke down sobbing as I released my grasp on Nelson Mandela’s hand.  When I opened my eyes, I was back here once again with tears running down my cheeks.  The kind Mr. Mandela spoke once again to me in a voice that was as gentle as it was strong.  He said, “My friend, perhaps you now see more clearly what this was all about, yes?  Perhaps you know now why I made the choices that I made.  Was it a sacrifice for me to do so?  Indeed it was.  Was it too great a sacrifice you might ask?  No, it was not too great a sacrifice.  It has been said that there is no greater gift then that a man lay down his life for a friend.  As it turned out, I did not have to lay down my life but I would’ve done so had it come to that.  You said the 27 years that were taken from me angered you?  Well, I would be lying if I said that I was happy and in good accord with losing those years.  But can you see what was gained here by the sacrifice that one person was willing to make?  I showed to you a glimpse of Apartheid and the horror and injustice that ran rampant then.  I was instrumental in ending that horror.  It was the reason for my life, my purpose if you will.  And by accepting and travelling the road appointed to me by Life, I was able to change the lives of millions of people.  I may have some regrets but I do not regret taking the road chosen for me by my Creator.  Oh and one more thing, if I may?  You mentioned before that they had imprisoned my fine spirit for 27 years.  You could not be more wrong.  It was my body that was locked away.  My spirit and my mind were always free and always will be.  No one can imprison your spirit unless you give them permission to do so.  Are we clear on that point as well?”

I could only nod my head in the affirmative at this point.  My thoughts were swirling about in my mind, torn between the anger I had felt and the stunned disbelief I was now feeling.  I mean, everything he had said made sense, of course.  But I sensed there was something else present in this fine man who stood here.  I knew what it was but couldn’t comprehend how it could be possible.  You see, Nelson Mandela carried within him the Spirit of Forgiveness.  He had forgiven those who wronged him long ago for all they had done to him.  I looked at him again for he seemed to know my thoughts tonight.  He smiled that great smile of his and whispered into my mind then….”Yes, good friend.  You have the complete formula now.  Love and tolerance = True wisdom.  And when one has true wisdom, one truly knows the value of forgiveness because our greatest strength lies in the power of forgiving others.  Now I would ask what it is you intend to do with this formula.  For you see, with wisdom comes accountability.”

With my eyes brimming and tears spilling onto my cheeks, I bowed my head for I knew Nelson Mandela was correct.  There was unforgiveness which was very much alive in my heart.  I had always known that to forgive is divine and all of that.  But I never had truly realized how much it was damaging my spirit.  I determined then and there to make forgiveness a priority going forward.  It will free those that I forgive, yes.  But just as importantly, the act of forgiveness will give me permission to live fully and become strong in my heart once more.  Love + tolerance=True wisdom=Forgiveness=Strength and Power!  Wow!!

I raised my head to give a sincere thank you to Mr. Mandela, to shake his hand and see once more his smile.  I was not altogether surprised when I saw he had left however.  But the gift he bestowed upon me remained.  I wish for you to have this formula as well.  I am sure that Mr. Mandela won’t mind terribly.  So, here it is for you one more time.  Love and tolerance=True wisdom=Forgiveness=Strength and Power.    Avail yourself to these words and apply them to your respective lives.  Share this formula with those you know for it is the truth of life.  Be blessed.

One last note here, if I may.  I was hesitant in writing this and actually did not plan on it coming out the way it did.  But I felt compelled to do so.  With that said, I truly hope I did not take any careless freedoms with Nelson Mandela’s good name.  He is a hero of mine and I would never disrespect him or the legacy he left us.  Let us allow his wisdom to imprint upon our hearts and minds, yes?  Nelson Mandela, I thank you for your goodness and for what you accomplished for this world with your life.  You are a good man with a fine spirit which will continue to live among us, if we are wise.

Authored by William J. Thompson, Jr.

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The Color Of Racism Is Fear……

The color of racism is fear.   What better description could ever be offered as a definition for that word racism.  The embodiment of this word has caused more problems in this, our world than any other word ever has or ever will for that matter.  Racism is at the base of all divisiveness and hatred.  It was racism that gave rise to the Holocaust and it was racism that brought forth Apartheid in South Africa.  Racism was at the core in the Bosnian war where genocide was the ultimate goal.  The faces that racism chooses to wear are many, some of which are blatant and others which are not so easily seen with the latter being done by design.  This evil has been with us since time eternal. It can be called racism or it can be referred to as bigotry or prejudice as well.  Racism is the reason that there was ever such a thing as slavery.  The very idea of buying and selling human beings is abhorrent to me.  Each human being carries within it a soul, a radiant spark of the Divine.  No one has the right to buy or sell Divinity.  Is this not the truth?

And I will say that if I chose to do so, I could give to you immeasurable examples and instances of how as well as where and when racism has been permitted to control so much of our world.  I speak of ages past and of our world today.  And that, my friends is most unfortunate.  You see, in today’s world we are supposedly so much more enlightened and vastly more intelligent than those of bygone eras.  So why is it that racism is still so much a strong force that runs rampant across this Earth of ours?  Why do people hate or even dislike another person because of the color of their skin or because their belief system differs from our own?  People, human beings which are born of our Creator are still being terrorized, being victimized and ostracised and even killed simply because of their race, religion or gender preference?  “The evil that men do…”.  We have all heard these words before.  I will tell you that if we were able to trace back each evil deed ever committed, I would wager that it was somehow brought about by some form of racism.  So, I would repeat my query here……If we are so much more intelligent and enlightened, why in God’s name is there such an abundance of prejudice, racism or whatever else you wish to call it in our world??

Well, perhaps the first item I would call to your attention is that there is a huge difference between intellect and wisdom.  So many of folks today have MBA’s, PhD’s and a number of other college degrees behind their name and I applaud them for their tenaciousness in obtaining such an education.  I am not against education and schooling.  It is a part of a strong societal backbone, if you will.  But intellect is not wisdom and it is wisdom we lack, my friends.  Wisdom is knowledge tempered with discernment and cloaked in compassion.  We must allow wisdom back into our hearts and then into our minds.  Therein lies the difference and I believe I am just now able to see this truth.  Wisdom begins in the heart and wisdom once received then involves the mind.  Intellect has always been and always will be relegated to the mind.  So let us first gain wisdom.  This is to be our armour when in combat with the enemy called racism.  Agreed, yes?  We have an accord then.  Good.

Now to truly bring about change, to truly hit racism where it lives, we need to be able to do what?  In any battle (And make no mistake about this.  This is a battle) we must be able to recognize the enemy for we cannot possibly win the war if we are unable to discern who the enemy is.  Which brings me to our original point.  The color of racism is fear.  All racism, all prejudice and bigotry are deeply rooted in a particular soil called fear.  So perhaps we have been attacking this problem of racism the wrong way?  We, often with considerable effort, attempt to uproot the weeds of racism from the garden which is our world.  And many times we do meet with some measure of success.  But still we wonder and are puzzled why these same weeds return again and again to plague our world.  I believe the problem to be not so much the actual weeds of racism as it is the very soil, the soil of fear that feeds and allows those same weeds to return and they often return with more strength than those that came before them.  Does this make sense at all?  If so, then what is truly the answer to this question, this problem we have called racism? 

The answer, as most answers usually are, is simple but it is hard.  It is the soil, the soil of fear that must be addressed here.  This soil of fear is rancid.  It is poison, to be quite honest.  The soil of fear is soil that has not been tended to properly for a very long period of time.  In large part, the soil I speak of is representative of the Heart of our World.  In order to bring the soil back to its original goodness, we must once again give heed to what is allowed into this soil, yes?  And for any garden to grow abundantly and in goodness, the soil therein must be tilled, turned over and aerated so as to permit Life to enter in anew and afresh.  And how do we accomplish this task, you might ask?  We accomplish this through by using the wisdom we discussed a bit earlier.  The formula for racism is not difficult to understand if we think for a moment about it.  The formula is simply this  –  Ignorance of any given situation by any individual brings forth fear.  And fear gives birth to the problem at hand which in this case happens to be racism.  So, if we can bring wisdom and enlightenment into the places where ignorance resides, we can effectively cast out the fear which is indeed the basis of racism.  People are afraid of what they do not understand, whether it be consciously or subconsciously and what we fear we perceive as threatening in some fashion.   The answer then is to gain understanding and in doing so, we obtain wisdom.  And in obtaining wisdom, we learn what tolerance really is.  And my friends, if we can understand the true meaning of tolerance, it is then that this issue of racism will no longer be the issue that has plagued us for so long now.  It is then that we will have truly been brought forward into wisdom.  Wisdom is based in love and understanding, yes?  So, it is in true wisdom that we will know peace in this, our world.  If you would, please give this some thought for I believe it has much merit.

As always, I thank you for taking time from your day to read these thoughts that have been given me, thoughts that I truly enjoy sharing with you.  Be blessed abundantly in your day and please be sure to share the blessing with all those round about you.  Take care with yourselves.

Authored by William J. Thompson, Jr.

 

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