Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

December 13, 2013

Like King, Gandhi, Mandela chose road less traveled

Refusing to accept injustice, he made world a better place.

Injustice seldom ceases easily. Humans rationalize entrenched systems of persecution. Oppressed people or ideas get painted as a danger to the peaceful social order — the status quo. Cast in that image, inequality appears acceptable, even necessary, to the masses.

Speaking up and challenging that mentality carries great risk. It takes a rare spirit to face retribution from the powerful. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Terre Haute’s own Eugene Debs all accepted those consequences and became prisoners of conscience. In doing so, all stirred changes to end long-held, unjust practices in their societies.

Nelson Mandela walked the treacherous path through historic change as well. The former South African president died last week at age 95, leaving a legacy of courage, sacrifice, reconciliation and forgiveness.

Mandela spent nearly a third of his lifetime — 27 years — in prison. He had led a resistance to South Africa’s centuries-old system of apartheid, which kept whites in charge of the government and denied rights to blacks who lived and worked in that nation. In the 1950s, as The Associated Press recounted last week, Mandela sought to break apartheid through peaceful means but eventually was imprisoned in 1964, accused of sabotage against the white South African government for his later involvement as co-founder of the military branch of the opposition African National Congress. The white government built up plenty of excuses for apartheid and the jailing of Mandela, an activist lawyer committed to ending the racist policies.

The wrongs, the inhumane unfairness, could not be explained away. Mandela refused to submit and accepted his life sentence.

A life sentence. Imagine that. While in prison, his mother died and his son was killed in an automobile accident. Mandela was denied the chance to attend their funerals. Of course, his own fate was representative of millions of black South Africans. Thousands of them suffered imprisonment, too, over the years. Many were tortured and died behind bars. Mandela could have avoided the fight and stayed out of jail. He fought on.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • BRIAN HOWEY: World is rising up to meet Putin's thuggery Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads

    July 28, 2014

  • LETTERS: Parents taking fun out of youth sports Parents taking fun out of youth sports I enjoyed reading the article, "Nation's youth sports leagues on troubling decline," by Bill Stanczykiewicz, CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute, and the last paragraph, a quote by Dr. Bill Dexter, president of t

    July 28, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: A trip to end all trips My wife is planning a very exciting vacation to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. This was a big surprise to me. Not the vacation part, but the 35 years. I thought it was 34. Right now she is on the back porch, the patio table stacked high with

    July 28, 2014

  • WEEKLY WRAP: Legal marriages should be honored Legal marriages should be honoredAn eager and probably nervous couple stands before a minister or a judge or a county clerk and exchanges vows, accepting the legal, moral and ethical obligations of a marriage.The couple has properly obtained a marria

    July 28, 2014

  • Right-to-work unnecessary It has been a crime for Indiana employers to enter into labor contracts that require workers to pay union dues since Feb. 1, 2012 — the day then-Gov. Mitch Daniels signed legislation making the Hoosier State a “right-to-work” state.Whether Indiana ke

    July 27, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Happy marriages do not just happen My wife, Marylu, and I met through a mutual friend. My wife had been involved with Campus Crusade at her university, where my friend, Norman, also attended. One Christmas break, Norman invited his friends from church (including me) to a party — along

    July 27, 2014

  • LETTERS: Putting economics before responsibility Veterans, retirees need tax deductionsAre you receiving either an Indiana property tax Veterans Disability Deduction or an Over 65 Deduction? I was, however, this year I learned otherwise. My property taxes payable this year, as compared to the prope

    July 27, 2014

  • MICHAEL HICKS: Truth about inflation Almost nothing in economics seems to confuse people as much as monetary inflation. That confusion leaves an intellectual void into which some of the least credible ideas of the modern world crawl.Goods and services typically have a price dictated in

    July 27, 2014

  • CHEERS & JEERS: Livestock donations appreciated; what's a GMO? Thanks to folks at Kokomo BeachCarrie Giannakos, professional relations coordinator at Jarrell Orthodontics, sends this Cheer on behalf of the dental practice:“Dr. Kevin Jarrell and the team at Jarrell Orthodontics want to send a Cheer to the staff a

    July 26, 2014

  • RAY DAY: Some laws will do us in In my opinion, we have made laws that are contrary to what they were intended. And this writer is going to let you in on his thoughts about them. One of the things that has been processed incorrectly is the child abuse law. When you tell the parent h

    July 26, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll