» Mandela. What a man. He comes out of prison after spending 30 years locked up in a cage and says » "Let's put that behind us. Cuz we need to move on."
I mean, even Dostoevsky, the man who wrote the book on punishment (literally) ..
.. and who certainly knows his shit when it comes to suffering ..
.. even he only did 4 or 10 years, depending whether you consider his forced military service a form of incarceration.
Now if you gave me a choice, I would choose Robben Island over Siberia, sure. But not if it came with 30 years attached. Feel me?
"Siberia, here we come. Where's my ski parka? Pass the hot chocolate, comrade. Where do they keep the Jacuzzi? Shut the window, will ya? I feel a draft coming in."
» Of All Time
That's why I put Mandela up there with Gandhi and the other greats. Of all time. Ever. (Or "ev-vuh," as they say in Brooklyn.)
Cite whatever history book you like. Declare your favorite century. Bring your champion. We will throw his ass in the slammer and come back in 30 years.
Oh, look! Vegas odds-makers are betting that your champion will be a broken man when we return in 2043. Drooling on a bib. Babbling incoherently.
Because thirty years in a cage is a long-ass time. (I did but a few days and already I was climbing the walls.) Still want to bring your boy?
You dont want to be standing in a moral boxing ring with Mandela on the other side.
Huge shoes. Almost super-human. The results. The demonstration.
The flexing of his muscle. And the *way* he did it. Like he came from a different planet.
In this photo here .. to your right, where Mandela is handing the trophy to Francios ..
.. is such a great moment, because it follows a much earlier conversation, where Mandela basically tells Francois,
"Dude, I need you to win the World Cup .. to keep our country from fragmenting."
And you can almost hear Francois saying to Mandela, "You said to win the World Cup, right?"
And it's like neither one of them can really believe it .. but lookie here at this trophy.
When I think of Nelson Mandela, I am reminded of what Peter said to Cornelius, the Roman centurion.
And also what the Psalmist said.
» Successfully Resisting the Megalomania the Comes with Deification
Let me quote for you from the eloquent Zakes Mda, who describes Mandela as » ".. the universally adored elder statesman who successfully resisted the megalomania that comes with deification."
How do you *do* that? How do you resist (successfully) the megalomania that comes with deification?
Do you first have to spend 28 or 30 years in prison? On Robben Island? Or get nailed to a tree? Maybe you need to read poetry in prison.
I took a lesson from Mr. Mandela and memorized Invictus before I went to jail (.. both times). I figured, "Hey, it worked for Mandela, right?"
Whatever the trick, the new pope seems to have figured it out. Because, when I think of the new pope, I think of » what Paul wrote to the Philippians. And what Mark wrote.
I dare you to read this passage and NOT think about the new pope.
Whether or not the new pope is successful .. where others have failed .. remains to be seen. But one thing has become clear » the shit is on. Yes, the shit is on, dawg.
I love this photo .. because it shows the genuineness of their love for the man. Arms high and wide.
You reckon those gals might be glad to see him?
I find it interesting that Mandela's tribal forename [ Rolihlahla ] is colloquially translated » Troublemaker ..
.. because Einstein could also be a rebellious shit. Definitely Tolstoy.
So was Jesus .. from what I can see. (American Christians need to be more like Jesus. Because the money changers are at it again.)
Sometimes the old ways need to be shaken. Updated. Revised. Improved. Rebuilt. Restored.
[ If you are a regular, then you know that I resonate with many things that Mandela has said.
But none more strongly than » this.
Dostoevsky echoes a similar sentiment.
Jesus himself said that the whole kingdom of God is for » "such as these."
That's good company there. Jesus, Mandela and Dostoevsky. "Where you guys wanna go today? What should we do? Kick ass and take names of people who steal from kids?"
After you read these two quotes by Mandela .. go watch this video.
December 5th, by the way, the day Mandela died, was also the date Mandela was first arrested ('56). ]
I do what I consider my best writing .. when I am both inspired and out of my comfort zone. Mandela inspires me. And the 30 years he spent caged should make any compassionate person at least a little uncomfortable.
••• today's entry continues here below •••
As a writer, I am most challenged when I feel like I need to say something .. that needs being said. Things I'd rather not write. Feel me?
The feeling is something like this » you can't, but you have to. So inside there is a struggle. (Which can be most unpleasant.) So maybe today I will be saying things that need being said. (I sense something coming. Better take cover.)
Look at this picture here of him. How he has aged. What a beautiful man.
You think he had any regrets lying there on his death bed?
Mandela's life inspires me. His courage. His determination. His resilience. His humanity. His humor.
His humility. His insight. His values. His vision. His sense of right & wrong. His spirit.
I see parallels between what Mandela has said .. and what other great men, such as the Apostle Paul, have said. [ Tho see » here for a distinction worth noting. Here, too. ]
Doesnt this quote here remind you of what Marianne said? The biggest lesson that our (dysfunctional) government needs to learn is » this one. (Feel me?)
» Intimate Photos from a Friend Outside Mandela's Home
I have a friend who lives in South Africa. In Johannesburg. Jo-berg, or 'Jozi,' as he calls it. He works in the Film industry there, which is how we became acquainted.
He took his camera over to Mandela's home, where he took some intimate photos, which he kindly sent .. so that it feels like I was there, participating in the goings on outside Mandela's house.
I am just getting around to posting them now. They are very colorful (as the African people usually are) and he is a good photographer ..
.. and he likes the finest equipment (.. even if maybe he can't really afford it, yet). He writes, directs, shoots, edits (.. and will even sell popcorn, if he has to).
Okay, I have posted the first six photos. Links at bottom of each page:
- Father & Children Pay Respects
- Africans Gather Outside Home of Nelson Mandela
- Africans Sing African Songs
- Light a Candle
- Africans Gather Outside Mandela's Home
- Single Raised Fist
Every few months, he sends me a link to some photos of cool, exotic places (foreign lands).
So I kinda live vicariously thru him. His brother went to Brown.
Being able to post here these intimate photos from a friend ..
.. who himself, is obviously qualified to speak on anything related to South Africa ..
.. makes me feel somehow qualified to speak on Mandela the man.
Hmm. I somehow thought that Chelsea Clinton went to Brown, too. But I see now that she didnt.
I recall that some famous person, maybe it was a celebrity, went there .. somebody, I recall, who could have gone anywhere their heart desired.
And I remember thinking that they had made an unlikely but wise choice.
(The timing of this strange reflection is kinda trippy, no? .. when contrasted with the photo of Mandela standing there in jail. I didnt plan it that way, no.
Doesnt seem fair, does it?)
Anyway, my point is » we both have brothers who went to Ivy League schools. (And we both like to hike in the mountains.)
Just today, in fact, I received a post card from him .. from Iguazu Falls, one of the world's great waterfall wonders. Very cool stamps from Argentina. I must say .. that boy gets around. Waldo has nothing on him.
The most interesting photos he sent were of Swaziland, a very different looking country. But I never got around to sharing them.
So let me post these new photos for you (.. okay, now done) .. because it feels like a local friend has taken me right to Mandela's front door. So we can join in and pay our respects to a great man .. by pretty much any human standard you care to craft.
Here is what my South African friend said in response to my condolences (my links):
Been a strange weekend. I went round to the street outside Mandela's house a couple of times, lots of flowers, singing and dancing (photos attached).
Mandela did a good job of preparing us for this, slowly departing from public life.
While still a big blow, I think everyone is coping well and pulling together like we haven't seen since the 2010 world cup.
Zakes Mda's article seems excellent to me, too. That man can write beautifully, and his sentiment was dead on.
I feel Mandela was a legend not because of his perfection, but because of his resistance to dogma ..
.. his ability to recognise the possibility of his own flaws, while somehow still transcending them.
Funeral tomorrow. Rest of the week, really.
I was standing in a Radio Shack when I heard the news. "Oh my God," a girl there exclaimed. "Nelson Mandela died." Before covering her mouth and staring silently at the screen.
Let me get busy posting those photos (now done) .. so I can take you along to the happenings outside Mandela's house. We will go with locals. And be among friends. Where we can offer our condolences. As part of the wider world community.
We will sing African songs. We will dance African dances. We will pay our respects. To a great man.
» One Tough Mutha
I noticed that Nelson Mandela was born (1918) whilst World War 1 was still raging.
What is so extraordinary, I think, about Nelson Mandela .. is that he brought about impossible political change ..
.. by the sheer force of his will. By sheer grit and determination. By refusing to back down .. come hell or high water.
Like he is the toughest dude you will ever meet. [ Or does it only appear that way? ]
Which begs the question » Where lies the line between faith and will power?
Does one affect the other? (Can one affect the other?) That's your homework assignment.
While you're there, find out what separates stubbornness from conviction. And locate the line between dedication and fanatacism.
Rest in peace. ■