At 17, I had to write and orally present an argument essay on a topic of my choice. It was 1979 (the age of Aquarius?, some cynics might gibe) and I chose a subject related to nonviolence being a remedy to most of our international issues. I remember taking the examples of three different countries and three similar emblematic figures: Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Thirty-seven years later, I still remain inspired by these three pacifist leaders.
Even today. As Berlin mourns for the loss of German citizens, I wonder where humanism, compassion and tolerance have gone. When I was a teenager, I thought I was living in troubled times but I had this confident hope that new Kings, new Gandhis and new Mandelas would peacefully stand up for the rights of the oppressed. I somehow had faith in the advent of a fresh awareness era. I do not know whether it is because I am at the change of life but I have lost that conviction. My high ideals have been drowned in the present sea of mediocrity. The world today leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. It seems like our ability to think, dispute and buck the trend has substantially been shrinking. Where have our dreams run away?
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” (Martin Luther King)
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
“As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.” (Nelson Mandela)