Monday, April 4, 2011


I watched an inspiring film last night. I was supposed to go to bed early as I was not feeling too well and had been suffering from a two-day headache.... But I could not stop watching this film... I was taken by it... mesmerized…. Glued to the TV set…

I was flicking through the channels one last time and I came across Morgan Freeman dressed in African clothes and it caught my attention. He looked so much like Nelson Mandela and something drew me. I just had to watch the whole movie. the name of the movie and what an inspiring movie it was!

Morgan Freeman was indeed playing Nelson Mandela with Matt Damon. I was hooked, had goose bumps throughout the movie and was inspired by Nelson’s vision. He had seen something no one else saw… he managed to bring a segregated nation together through sport. How genius was that? He had a tough time bringing people together… had a tough time getting people to support him and his vision but he persevered and in the end was victorious.

Such a soft spoken man! A man to be admired and revered… Despite all the hardship, humiliation and injustice that he faced he rose above all that to become one of the most influential presidents of all time. He served 27 years in prison, 18 of which were on Robben Island. He read books and poems and wrote his manuscript that was smuggled, between the covers of a photo album, out of prison by an Indian prison-mate.

The poem that inspired him was by the Victorian English poet William Ernest Henley


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

My husband and I visited the infamous Island while I was pregnant with my first child. I cannot describe the feeling that swam through my veins. Looking at his miniscule cell, wondering how on earth such a tall man could fit in it, made me wonder about many issues; how people could treat others that way, the power in each one of us, how humans are capable of building as well as destroying, how life is not over even behind bars, how one must fight to live and make a difference, how one must overcome hardship, reconcile and forgive.

I look around me in the world and I find that hurt people, people who have been persecuted, humiliated and driven out of their homes, have turned around and done the same onto others…. Driven others out of their homes, killed, persecuted and humiliated them. It is as if they take life as a revenge… it is as if they believe that because it was done to them, that it is their right to do it to others.

Shouldn’t it be different? Shouldn’t it stop somewhere? Shouldn’t people prevent what happened to them from happening to others so that hate, hurt and humiliation would be ceased from spreading? It is like a disease that we need to treat and cure. We need a vaccine to prevent it from spreading to the rest of our bodies and to other people… that vaccine is a complex mixture of love, understanding, acceptance and forgiveness.

Tolerance would not do… it just means that we allow others to live the way they want but that we do not understand, appreciate and respect their way of life deep down inside and that feeling would fester, boil and then who knows, maybe even blow up… we do not need tolerance… we need acceptance.

We should learn from prominent figures like Mandela. He is a beacon of hope for the rest of the world. He rose above it all… he forgave his assailants, saw an opportunity for reconciliation, grabbed it and brought a whole nation together. What a magnificent model of a human being! And what a great nation South Africans are. I respect them and their efforts to make one nation despite the million differences that separated them.

Call me a dreamer but….May the world be one big diverse nation one day!

One of the songs from the movie sound track, listen to every words and enjoy.


With Lyrics:


Maximus said...

How ironic, I was just talking about this film with my closest work colleague. He also thoroughly recommended it. Another interesting post, Lana!

paula devi said...

We just ordered Invictus from Netflix. I've been wanting to see it for so long. Wonderful and thoughtful and sad post. Sad because of all the ignorance and suffering ignorance causes.