Nelson Mandela is a symbol of freedom.
These are not hollow words as the true meaning of freedom can only be understood by those who are incarcerated and harassed by authoritarian forces and those who are constantly discriminated for one reason or another. Especially when it is the color of the skin.
Some people learn the price of freedom, peace and democracy the hard way. Even if they would apparently not even understand these ideas fully. Nelson Mandela became the greatest embodiment of this realization over time.
Nelson Mandela is a symbol of freedom because he experienced authoritarian oppression first hand and in one of the cruelest of ways that any political leader of the modern times could suffer.
Nelson Mandela was a Democratic Socialist by political persuasion, who had been a lifelong communist, therefore gathering the criticism from the anti-communist West at the time, who would demonize communists at any opportunity that presented itself.
His critics in the West may have a point, but Mandela did not establish an authoritarian government in South Africa on the abolition of Apartheid. But it also goes to show the hypocrisy of the democratic West, which would support Apartheid regimes while trumpeting principles of liberty and democracy.
But more than his later commitment to non-violence, it is his struggle against colonial and racist captors of his people that immortalizes this great man. Arguably, the greatest since Gandhi.
Who but Mandela could be the greatest inspiration to the West and to everyone else for how demonizing someone for their ideology is wrong, and authoritarian in its own right.
But this is not the first time, or last for that matter, that you would find people taking refuge in an authoritarian ideology in order to fight the persecution from another. Anything that offers some hope. In this case, social equality and justice.
Most sympathizers of authoritarian ideologies are kind, well meaning and passionate people, who just don’t know what they are taking about. Some of them then end up discovering the price of freedom the hard way.
Who but Mandela would know the price of freedom. Who but he can tell what authoritarianism and totalitarianism mean.
RIP Nelson Mandela
It has been a privilege to be alive during your lifetime.
I hope you keep on inspiring for the pursuit of freedom, which continues to elude those who value it.
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