Fatherland,’ ‘truth,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘justice’: such words don’t come cheap. Real blood flows in them, which can’t be counterfeited with ink.”
If you blog about social issues you should never point out that we are all responsible for the state of the world as we see it. For example, many people willingly buy an IPhone knowing how terrible the factory conditions are for the child labourers who assemble them. Pointing this out as well as the consequences of our profligate use of technology is highly unpopular.
What troubles me is that despite our finger-tip access to knowledge we wilfully choose to remain ignorant. We resign ourselves to hashing and rehashing tired platitudes instead of sincere words. We love talking about coming together and “being the change” but that is as far as it has gone. Last I checked things haven’t gotten better we are still headed toward a massive ecological crisis, what we put into our bodies are making us increasingly sick, and world-wide we have a growing population of displaced, dispossessed poor people.
The article entitled: “Nelson Mandela knew when to talk and when to fight” says it all.
Most of the stories being told about Mandela concern his extraordinary efforts as a practitioner of dialogue. But some of them have recalled that he was also a fighter. Before he went into prison, he led illegal marches and other campaigns against the apartheid government, and he was the first commander of the armed wing of the African National Congress. After he was released, both during the negotiations leading up the 1994 elections and then during his presidential term, he often pushed forcefully against opponents from other political parties and from his own to advance his positions. Most people focus on stories about his post-prison efforts at dialogue because they contrast so sharply with his pre-prison fighting, and because they think that such fighting was the normal and expected thing for him to continue to do.
I believe that having a dialogue while a great step-forward will not cure our ills. I believe that there is also much value in not pandering to people’s want to feel good about themselves and speak the truth of one’s experiences as best as one can, although that isn’t celebrated in our culture. There is much to be said for people who are fierce at times in bringing up issues such as poverty, race, class inequality, jingoistic foreign policy etc.We need more people like that I feel.
To quote further from from Aviva Shen’s article: “Mandela was a political activist and agitator. He did not shy away from controversy and he did not seek — or obtain — universal approval. Before and after his release from prison, he embraced an unabashedly progressive and provocative platform.“
I believe you have to stir things up a bit. However that comes with a price always, the nasty comments, the arguing in the comment section do take a toll after a time, but we have an example of what persistence can do in Mandela. I see a lot of bloggers actually talking honestly and sincerely, questioning, reaching out to others to talk openly, and I wanted to write a post for them, a thank-you if you will, for giving us a platform to talk and for encouraging us to speak the truth.
A special than you to the following bloggers for what they write, for supporting my posts on social ills and justice and being really great addition to the community
- Mandela’s Legacy (freshwaddabrooks.com)
- Why we have to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s revolutionary past (thegrio.com)
- The legacy of Madiba (spyghana.com)
- Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk (louisproyect.org)
- When Nelson Mandela came to Australia (sbs.com.au)
- Nelson Mandela leaves a legacy of struggle (altahrir.wordpress.com)
my name’s on that list!! I’m too pleased for words to make a list of uppity social agitators 🙂 And I tip my hat to you for keeping up the fight with a healthy side of humor.