Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013, is one of my favorite examples of what peace can achieve. In the face of a ruling elite, a long prison term, a communist perspective and a stance for the equality of every man, his peaceful step by step demonstrations for doing the right thing are to be studied by all school children. When we ask students to use their heads instead of their fists, we mean them to emulate Nelson Mandela. And when we turn to our children and ask them to think of their heroes, hopefully, Nelson Mandela’s name will lead the list of those we turn to in times of education, danger and resolution through peace.
“What has become of our rationality, our ability to think? We have used our reason to make great advances in science and technology, though often using those for warfare and plunder. We have placed people on the moon and in space; we have split the atom and transplanted organs; we are cloning life and manipulating nature. Yet we have failed to sit down as rational beings and eliminate conflict, war and consequent suffering of innocent millions, mostly women, children and the aged.” — Address on receiving the International Gandhi Peace Prize, March 2001. (Washington Post, December 5, 2013)