As a kid in the 80’s, I had a few distinct moments of clarity and inspiration; There was Princess Diana cradling the Aids Baby in her arms.
There was Mother Teresa fed her daily rations to a skeleton child in Ethiopia.
Then there was this
I remember wondering why we don’t play South Africa in the Cricket, Dad said “It’s the Apartheid son” like I was supposed to know what the hell that was, Dad explained and I was completely shocked, that was my introduction to Racism and Segregation, understanding that people think that way, but never being able to wrap my head around why.
But my Dad was great, he knew how to show perspective to me; I have Aboriginal heritage on my Mothers side and Dad said it wasn’t any different here not too long ago, that I can talk to my Nan about it, what it was like for her.
Then Dad would show the other side of the coin, saying that in Australia Aboriginals are a minority, but in South Africa there are far more Indigenous people than White people, it is a humanitarian gesture of equality to give everyone the right to vote but it would mean that White people would largely lose government, and certainly never lead it again. But that is not the bad part; it is possible that the new government may do exactly the same thing to Whites as Whites did to Blacks, a 180 Apartheid, maybe even chase Whites out completely.
I couldn’t see that happening, people from all over the world of so many different Races and Nationalities have supported Nelson Mandela and the Anti-Apartheid, not to mention how many White South Africans are unified under this cause, surely Mr Mandela knows this and knows how to love as one great diverse family?
And sure enough he did, he built a legacy; not one that ushered in Black domination of South Africa, but one that brought Equality, Compassion and a strong sense of Justice.
As for my Nan, I spoke to her about life with “The White Australia Policy” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Australia_policy and second class treatment of indigenous Australians http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_Australians
My Nan never complained a day in her life, not then and not when I asked her, I never got the real story from her, but in hindsight I can see how damaged she was; she never complained because she never thought she had the right, even long after the policy was gone, even til the day she died.
She spent 30 FUCKING years with an absolute CUNT who would beat her, and she never complained, it never occurred to her that she could just leave, she thought it was normal.
@trek79, sorry to hear about that last bit, Ray. I can’t imagine what it’s like going through life in similar conditions and never thinking I have a choice to leave…thinking that that was all I was stuck with.
At least we can say that as time passes, we seem to be getting more civilized in this regard. I know it isn’t much consolation to those who’ve had to go through the bad times, or to those whose whole life was spent in the bad times. But at least they are wearing away with each generation, and I think they are doing so at a faster rate too.
PS after reading your post, I read up a little about Princess Diana. It turns out that not only did she go to college without really having to, but also worked actual jobs without having to. She was a nanny in her youth, which, well, is a job and bears quite a bit of responsibility. While I have not much love for working for others, it did make me feel a bit sheepish about all the times I’ve complained about work, thinking of how even someone of noble birth, who never really had to have a job, still worked one anyway.
@theskafish, Yeah, Mandela brought some emotions up that I felt I should share, those days may be over but we still have scars from them and we still have the kinds of elements that led to that in the first place. With humanity it really is a case of messing up, learning, cleaning up, forgetting, messing up again…in a continuous loop :p
I think with Mandela; he was a good kid who was driven to extremes, became jaded, plotted revenge, had intentions for flipping the board, but somewhere along the line he saw that all people in all the world were standing behind him for equality, he just wanted the power to take South Africa but found himself with the burden of being an icon for such a strong and just cause.
Not only did he change the world but the world changed him, or maybe saved him. It has happened all over Africa; Whites conceded power and were subsequently driven out, but it seems that because of Mandela, that is not going to happen in South Africa, not in the foreseeable future anyway.
But I’m a big Diana fan :)