No words can be written to describe the individual and collective loss – in terms of our humanity – that we faced yesterday when Nelson Mandela, the international emblem of dignity and forbearance, passed away.
For as long as he lived, Nelson Mandela stood a symbol of peaceful change; and now this is our mantle to carry forward. He had always been the change that he wanted to see in his people. He followed the diplomatic path in his journey to create an appropriate future for his nation, and he armed people with education, hope and courage – rather than weapons and fear – in order to get ready for the change battle. He believed in human regardless the ethnicity, in philanthropy more than any religion.
Mandela was imprisoned in a damp concrete cell measuring 8 feet (2.4 m) by 7 feet (2.1 m) for 18 years, and because people can only arrest the body but not the mind or the spirit, Mandela chose to free himself by whatever means possible. Mandela took advantage of his arresting period and began correspondence studies for a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of London.
When Mandela was released on the February 2nd 1990, and he came back to his political activity because he still believed in peace as a method to be apply in order to change his country through a change in mindset and spirit; and he advocated reconciliation, forgiveness and justice.
Mandela’s long journey culminated in victory when he became South Africa’s first black president on May 10, 1994. This date should be memorized for those who believe that change come only from the barrels of rifles.
Mandela had a long-term plan, and he worked hard and sincerely to fulfill his dream and take his people to the safe side. I will always remember a quote by Confucius that should be considered as a principle to change the society “If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for ten years plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years educate children.”
Ten years ago Mandela said,
“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.”
Mandela you did your duty, not only for your people but for the human kind in general, so may you now rest in peace, your story will be always told as a prove of peaceful change, and you will always be a remarkable imprint in the human memory.
About the Author:
Born in Damascus, Syria, Safouh Takrouri is currently a 4th year student at Illinois Institute of Technology with earlier studies at Damascus University. Safouh’s concentration of study is Electrical and Computer Engineering at Illinois Tech with an extensive focus in the areas of renewable energy and sustainability. While in Syria, Safouh was a participant in one of the earliest cohorts of students whose focus was centered upon the new field of sustainability. Since arriving at IIT, Safouh and his colleagues are working to develop a “beta organization” to document the current research projects of Syria’s undergraduate and graduate students and to create a forum and platform for knowledge sharing and exchange and to provide a “virtual incubator for ideas” during a period of extreme stress to the higher education network in Syria. Safouh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Academic Major: Electrical Engineering
Expected Year of Graduate: 2014