The lesson a great man taught

December 11, 2013
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

Every now and then, history giftshumanity someone who embodies all that we aspire to but did not havethe courage to pursue. Nelson Mandela was just such a man. Togetherwith the rest of world, the SDP mourns the passing away of this trulygreat man.$CUT$

Universally beloved, Mandela’s legacyis not that he possessed riches or power, for he craved neither.Rather he leaves behind a vision of peace brought about by compassionand the unwavering love for justice. He cherished freedom, fought fordemocracy and celebrated human rights.

South Africans are, indeed, a fortunatepeople to have had such a leader who put them, not profits, first.Even when Western corporations enticed him with wealth in exchangefor his people’s freedom, Mandela had the wisdom to choose to put inplace first a sound foundation of democratic practices for hiscountry.

This is a lesson that Mandela hastaught the world – that money cannot buy what is right and just.Alas, even as our Government leaders sing the praises of SouthAfrica’s first democratically elected president, they have not heeded thelesson that another great leader, MartinLuther King, Jr, had taught: “True peace is not merely the absence ofviolence but the presence of justice.”

With the Internal Security Act still inplace, our country cannot be blessed with true peace. Just as Mandelawas imprisoned for nearly three decades, we have Singaporeans whohave been just as harshly incarcerated. The tragic difference isthat while Mandela has been exonerated, justice has not yet been wonin Singapore.

Perhaps the wrong will be eventuallymade right. Perhaps we may require a truth and reconciliationcommission of our own to close the chapter on the abuse of ourpeople. Until then, Mandela’s immortal words will inspire all freedom-loving Singaporeans to workeven harder for true peace.