There are not many politicians whose behavior could be held up for emulation unless it was for ‘political acumen,’ a euphemism for slippery maneuvering, ruthlessness and knowing how to use people. An exception to this would have to be Nelson Mandela. He emerged from 29 years of harsh inceraration without any rancor or bitterness. He has constantly spoken up for reconciliation and forgiveness as the best way to heal the ugly wounds of apartheid and his words come across as completely sincere. A few years ago he went out of his way meet the wife of one of his former tormentor, Mrs. Botha. He held out his hand to her, she refused to take it, and yet throughout the proceeding conversation he remained his usual polite smiling self. We need more people who survive injustice without turning their victimhood into a means of self-promotion or who insist that they can only get ‘closure’ by extracting an apology from their oppressors. The Buddha said;
He who, though innocent, patiently bears
abuse, flogging and imprisonment,
with endurance as his only strength;
him I call a true brahman.Dhp.399
Nelson Mandela is 90 today. I wish him a Happy Birthday and hope that he has many more.