Sunday, September 21, 2014

Forgiveness and liberation

My wife and I enjoyed watching Mandela: Long walk to freedom
Here are a few impressions.

It is tragic to see the inhumanity of humanity. In order to stoke racism, prejudice, and maintain power and privilege, the powerful will intimidate and humiliate their opponents: from draconian laws to random house searches to solitary confinement to taunting by prison guards. These silly psychological games are not just games and thuggishness but sometimes well thought out strategies to squelch dissent.

The double standard of violence. When governments and police use it against their own citizens to "maintain law and order" it is claimed to be justified, legitimate, and moral. When others use violence in a desperate response to oppression it is deemed to be unjustified, illegitimate, and immoral.

Ultimately pragmatic economic considerations [the potential collapse of the South African stock market] forced the government into negotiations with Mandela. To me this highlights the positive influence of the divestment movement on university campuses in the USA and the value of the Sullivan principles.

The "impossible" does happen. Only 30 years ago, the end of the Soviet Union and apartheid seemed inconceivable. But the end did come.

But most striking was Mandela's ability and willingness to forgive, extend grace, and move on, working for the good of the country.

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