The Moment of the truth

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Life is everything but predictable. Your good and solid plans today may collapse tomorrow, while your present precarious situation could turn out to be stable and secure. What does that tell us? Life can be a present, wrapped in the packet of uncertainty. A good reason to utilise positively every single opportunity you have in life because you may not have the same chance again. Definitely, life comes with a moment of the truth.

As a human being, you may be bestowed with riches, education, knowledge, intelligence, moral authority, incorruptibility, mobilization skill …. You name them. The question is: what have you done with those unique qualities you have? Have you used them to bring meaningful changes in the lives of others? Or are you busy trying to use your position or power (yes, power, in the sense that those qualities above are a source of power, you only need to know how to utilize them well) to make the lives of other miserable and uncomfortable?

Once upon a time, there was a man sitting isolated in a miserably inhuman condition in prison on the Robben Island down in South Africa. His crime? He was fighting against apartheid, oppression and inhuman injustice against his people. He was resisting, perhaps the most brutal, repressive regime on earth. Nelson Mandela had the opportunity to renounce his opposition to the apartheid regime. He had the power to do that. He had everything personal to gain if he would renounce his opposition to the regime. Rather, he could never imagine a world, where his freedom from incarceration would have little or no effect on the brutality and suffering of his people. He chose rather, to remain in prison for 27 years and mortgage his life, freedom, and relationship with his family, including his young children, for the freedom of his people from the bondage of apartheid. To some, Nelson Mandela was a hero, a prisoner of consciousness, an icon worth emulating. To others, he was a terrorist. Never mind the definition of “terrorism.” Those who colonized a people, introduced an apartheid, segregation rule and brutalized the colonized majority or those who resisted the colonization and brutality?

Somewhere in the UK and around the world, many decent and socially conscious individuals and organizations were protesting against the tyrannical, inhuman apartheid regime in South Africa. They wanted one thing: to dismantle the repressive regime, which had caused unbearable hardship for the black South Africans and to release the moral authority, Nelson Mandela. The group proposed economic sanctions against the Pretoria regime to bring it to its kneel and free the colonised blacks from the oppression. Down on the Downing Street came an opposition voice. A resistant voice, who saw the political setting in South Africa differently, and labelled the world most respected prisoner of consciousness Nelson Mandela, a “terrorist.” Furthermore, the late Margaret Thatcher, the lioness at the Downing Street argued that sanctions against the apartheid regime “will hurt the blacks,” as such, they should not be imposed. It is left for political analysts and other experts amongst us to explain the rationale behind Mrs. Thatcher’s stand. Margaret Thatcher was not alone in her political ideology. She had staunch supporters, both in Britain and far beyond. One of these supporters of Thatcher’s political policies was Theresa May, the current British Prime Minister. That was a moment of the truth.

Like the Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, Theresa May the British Prime Minister, was last week on a trade mission to Africa. The mission took her to South Africa and Nigeria, amongst other African countries. It was a mission coated in the cosmetic package of diplomatic and charm offensive. So it was not so surprised to find Theresa May visiting former President Nelson Mandela’s prison on the Robben Island. It was a crafty marketed kit of a trip. Theresa May was to show the world how she identifies with the struggle the human Rights icon Nelson Mandela represented, as well as the fight for the black community in general. Then came a “stubborn” news reporter, who asked the Prime Minister repeatedly, albeit trying to dodge the question, what exactly she did to support the release of Mr. Mandela, who was left to rot in prison. That was one of Theresa May’s moments of the truth. Each time she tried to deflect the question and insisted the “British government” did all it could to release Mr. Mandela, the determined reporter kept on asking her what exactly she did herself. Yes, herself. Herself as an individual. It was a moment of the truth for the Prime Minister as well as for the black South Africans and the world in general. It is left to know how Mrs. May felt exactly being watched by the whole world on camera, trying to explain and defend her past actions. Yes, trying to explain how she used her power and position. If not anything, the whole scene clearly demonstrated the unpredictability and flexibility of life. Nelson Mandela, the once a “terrorist”  later became the first Black President of South Africa. A Noble Prize Winner. Arguably, one of the most respectful and respected human beings in this century. He could achieve these unimaginable accomplishments, simply for standing firmly for what he believed in and using his power, position, influence and, above all, qualities to change the world for good and make it a better place where we all can live in peace, harmony, and prosperity. A moment of the truth.

In life, we have to make a choice from different rocky roads. The choice we have made today could define our identity and those of others and change the lives of millions – positively or negatively. More than that, our choice could confront us later in life in a positive or negative way. That choice could simply influence and indeed define our moment of the truth. Which choices have you made in life?

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