RIP Mr. Mandela, fellow freedom fighters

courage, freedom fightersHe had a long life filled with noble work that we all admire and will remember for years to come.  

It took me a few days to digest the news about his death. The world knew he was sick, but I was still shocked when I found out he had passed…and I couldn’t stop the tears from rushing down my face. I was at work, it was a bit past lunchtime and I was about to finish working on a project so I could prepare for a 3:30 meeting I had that day. A coworker in the next cubicle yells gently over to me ‘hey, have you heard about Mandela? He passed away’. My heart dropped instantly and I was a bit delayed in processing what I had just heard. I got on the Internet right away and started searching. My first search came back with nothing about Mandela passing. I gave it another go right away and the only news information I found was from UK’s The Telegraph. More searches after that came back with floods of information about his death. I sat in my cubicle, frozen, still crying and a bit hyperventilating.

I spent the rest of my afternoon at work (3:30 meeting and all) and the days after thinking about the freedom fighters and social activists (alive or passed on) who’ve shaped my world—the legends who went through turmoil I could never imagine and gave up so much for me to be where I am today. I wept for Mr. Luther King, Sojourner Truth, Fela, W.E.B Dubois, Langston Hughes, Bob Marley, Rosa Park, Desmond Tutu, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nina Simone, Malcom X, Chinua Achebe, Rosa Parks and Booker T. Washington. I felt disgusted, disappointed and ashamed that I take so much for granted today.

One word that’s been on my mind for as long as I can remember, especially since Dec. 5, 2013 is courage. Would I have stood my ground like the freedom fighters if I had been born during the hardship of those eras. Would I have had the courage to challenge the status quo, the courage to persevere—the courage to be the change?

Would you—regardless if you’re African, Asian or European?

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~ by omonaij on December 22, 2013.

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