Saints are part of our shared humanity. Mandela has gone, but not really. He is still with us and has left such a powerful legacy that it is still alive within our consciousness. We are so sad that he has finally left this life, although we all knew that his body was finally getting old and tired.
Humanity is also a religion with its moral code and laws. What truly defines us as human beings? Mandela has been an incredible messenger in this world where we suffer from inequality, from violence, from wars. He came to show us the example of forgiveness, by the power of truly experiencing it. Finally released after twenty seven years of jail his sole desire was to make peace with the men who treated him with violence, threatening his life and showing him extreme disrespect. He was born in a society where the colour of one's skin was a crime, black people treated like a sub-human race. How can you live under such extreme abuse yet still appear with an extraordinary sense of dignity and peace-making? To be able to understand that the men in front of you are misled by false judgements, to be able to understand that in them was laying the truth, no matter what they had been taught, what they had been raised into, what they had been mentally brain-washed with.
Nelson Mandela was confident that his acts of peace and forgiveness could trigger in them the real truth of a human being: to have compassion and to show love. He knew that he could find in them the light and so began the opening of a dialogue. And, yes, listening to De Klerk after Madiba passed away you could hear that this man had indeed been moved beyond his normal understanding, in order to make peace with the black race in South Africa. Mandela was carrying an exceptional force in him, maybe something irrational that belonged to some "other dimension". What I truly believe is that Mandela came to this earth with an extraordinary quality as a warrior for truth, for freedom and he had the courage to stand for who he was and the values for which he was fighting.
"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." Mandela's statement to the court during the Rivonia trial, April, 20, 1964.
Nelson Mandela came with a message that goes beyond politics, it reaches deep into our humanity, the definition of who we are as human beings: we are truly loving people, we are all equal. His story has shown us that we are not living according to our true nature, that we are looking for separation all the time between humans. Something is twisting who we are in this world, and then raising us and pushing us to believe in differences, in separation, in segregation, in unfair comparison between one human being and another. The world is instilling in us the fear of the different, of the foreign, and this is building in each of us such an unconscious force. Children are losing their innocent love of others, adults are building up walls everywhere between races, factions, religions and countries. The world can be seen to be built on a big lie of separation and that is what Mandela came to fight against. And he succeeded.
Humanity has its saints. We had Ghandi. We have Mandela. They leave us with a treasure of understanding humanity, of opening our eyes and our hearts to who we are. This is not a simple political act, it is a universal, non-temporal wake-up call to who we can be. Seeing Mandela talking, listening to his story, it gives us all hope of a better world, hope to become better ourselves, believing we are NOT meant to live a life of fighting and separation. Yes we all have a religion, we all belong to communities, to countries, we are all born to different races, tribes, languages and colours of skin. How odd would be a world of people be, all looking the same, having the same tastes, the same habits, the same traditions? But truly there is one common belief across all humanity, the human nature of loving the beloved. This is the main belief of who we are. In that belief, that core value that describes us as human beings, we have the amazing opportunity to receive this gift. A man walked through his life with this truth. A man left the proof of our common belief, of our true nature. A true saint for all humanity.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, 1918-2013.