Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
[William Ernest Henley 1849–1903]
This was his favorite poem, a light in the darkness in his years in jail. Thank you Mr. Mandela.
4 thoughts on “Thank you Madiba”
He was a giant.
In such an harsh and troubled century like the one that has just ended, we were blessed by people like Mandela, Gandhi and M. L. King.
Well, you’re right. The 20th century was a kind of neverending nightmare of conflicts and tortured ideologies. But the same century gave us access to the space, to the depth of the seas and a generation of statists. I can’t see by now anybody with that kind of attitude in this century. The third millenia is full of good people and remarkable changes but failed to produce giants.
The most wonderful thing, the one that really blow away what are now my usual cynicism and a rather pessimistic view of things, is that those true heroes have succeeded by choosing a path that, despite being long and hard, is without a doubt the right one.
We have a far to much long list of examples of how, standing in the face of difficult times, the quick, superficial but seemingly logical choices in the end only lead to solutions way much worse than the original problems; by looking at the examples of those men we really have much to learn.
You are right when you say that despite having many good people around, we lack giants. I think that the context that surrounds us has many influences on this: no matter how good a seed could be, it still needs a suitable terrain to grow to its full potential. And our present terrain is somewhat arid and sterile, as far as I can see…
If you look at some decades ago, I think until the seventies or maybe the eighties, in spite of all the problems that even then were making the world a not-so-good place (international and domestic terrorism, the cold war, and so on) there were also many positive instances that today seem to be lacking. In few words, we were looking forward. Science fiction had a positive view about the future (well maybe too much, but maybe that’s one of its roles), art was innovative, ideals seemed something to be achievable and not just some childish dream.
Where has gone all of this?
Once again, you got a strong point. The lack of a vision, the loss of a positive perception about future. How can we reach new heights if we don’t look up? We need more constructive thinking about what we can do, what we can set up for a future worth living for. A man like Mandela got a vision to die for, against all odds and in spite o fan overwhelming display of power.
What happened to our beloved country? Where are our dreams?