November 21, 2014

Partly cloudy

Speakers: Nelson Mandela provided universal lessons

Joanne Eldridge

Library director Joanne Eldridge helped organize a Nelson Mandela remembrance ceremony Saturday at the Lorain Public Library. CHELSEA MILLER/CHRONICLE

LORAIN — Nelson Mandela’s influence goes beyond the borders of South Africa, according Imam Paul Hasan, who led a remembrance ceremony for Mandela at the Lorain Public Library on Saturday.

Hasan, of Interfaith Ministries in Lorain, said Lorain residents can learn from Mandela’s struggle and his efforts to end apartheid — racial segregation in his homeland. He was imprisoned for 27 years for his fight against the government before becoming the nation’s first black president.

Hasan said it’s important to remember Mandela’s contributions to end oppression. Since the 95-year-old’s death on Dec. 5, commemorations have been held for him around the world.

“We want to make sure we made our contribution and recognized his greatness,” Hasan said. “It’s for us to recognize the sacrifice he made, not just for South Africa, but worldwide, for human dignity.”

Imam Paul Hasan speaks about the lessons that can be learned from Nelson Mandela’s struggles.

Hasan said Mandela’s sacrifices were especially significant to him, as an African-American man. He called upon those who attended Saturday’s commemoration to follow in Mandela’s footsteps and improve the city of Lorain.

Hasan, Tim Carrion, Marcus Atkinson and Ricky Smith organized Saturday’s ceremony with the help of Lorain Public Library System director Joanne Eldridge. The event was sponsored by International Urban Peace, Justice & Empowerment of Lorain County; Interfaith Ministries and the Lorain community.

Those who attended discussed Mandela’s life as well as how they could improve their community.

“There are many, many people who are not taking control of their destiny … We’re all in this together,” Atkinson said. “We can look at people like Nelson Mandela, and people before that and after that, to empower ourselves.”

Carrion said there are disparities between races in the U.S. He said it’s important for the city’s leaders to work together.

The Rev. C. Roger Dickerson also spoke and said a prayer.

“Christ was chosen to die for the sins of the world. Nelson was chosen to prove a point that no one else ever has,” he said. “Yes, he did 27 years, but he came out stronger after those 27 years. He left us a legacy.”

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.

  • Mark B

    How cool is it to honor a Terrorist

    The ‘Black Pimpernel’
    By 1962, Mandela was already an underground “terrorist,” wanted by the police and living an outlaw existence who the media had dubbed the “Black Pimpernel” — a twist on the fictional “Scarlet Pimpernel” who struck at will and, Zoro-like, always avoided capture.

    That year, according to multiple historical accounts, he made a secret, six-month-long trip to a dozen African states, seeking political support and money from other African revolutionary armies. He returned to South Africa with about $30,000 in funds and a revived enthusiasm for guerrilla warfare.

    He even underwent his own military training, having spent weeks on the firing range and perfecting his explosives skills in Moroccan and Ethiopian military camps. The night before his arrest on charges of treason and sabotage, Mandela was reportedly seen at a party in Durban proudly sporting khaki fatigues, with pistol at his side.

    “Now all over South Africa we had buildings that said ‘Non-Europeans and Dogs Not Allowed,’” Ahmed Kathrada, one of Mandela’s earliest surviving comrades, recalled to NBC News this week. “So the recruits had to lay bombs, but an oath had to be taken that when the bombs are placed, there’s no injury to human beings. So this had to be done at night, when nobody was around.”

    “He openly talked about the necessity to move toward guerrilla warfare,” wrote Max du Preez in his book, “The Rough Guide to Nelson Mandela.”

    But “Plan M” — Mandela’s plan for insurgent victory — left many good intentions in its wake. Over the next 30 years, the MK launched more than 3,000 attacks and killed at least 100 people, mostly civilians, according to subsequent reports from South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission

    • Phil Blank

      Skip the videos and read the article.
      He was one violent SOB!.
      Australian spellings:

      From the Herald Sun News Australia:

      by: Andrew Bolt

      December 09, 2013 12:00AM

      “The dark side of Nelson Mandela”

      MUCH of the sanctimonious grieving for Nelson Mandela is not just a sin against history – but a danger.

      It is true Mandela rose to greatness. Freed after 27 years in a South African jail, the anti-apartheid fighter emerged not bent on vengeance but healing.

      He negotiated a peaceful end to apartheid, and as the first president of democratic South Africa, preached – and practised – reconciliation. In this he was great. A healer. An inspiration.

      For many whites abroad, he seems even Christ-like – someone who’d suffered for the sins of white guilt, and absolved those who believed in him of the sin of racism.

      But Mandela was no Christ nor even Gandhi nor Martin Luther King. He was for decades a man of violence. In 1961, he broke with African National Congress colleagues who preached non-violence, creating a terrorist wing.

      He later pleaded guilty in court to acts of public violence, and behind bars sanctioned more, including the 1983 Church St car bomb that killed 19 people.

      Mandela even suggested cutting off the noses of blacks deemed collaborators. His then wife Winnie advocated “necklacing” instead – a burning tyre around the neck.

      Mandela argued the apartheid regime left him no option but to fight violence with violence, but it is too easy to claim events proved him right. His legacy is not yet played out.

      Current president Jacob Zuma until recently still publicly sang the anti-apartheid song, Shoot the Boer, in a still-divided country where many white farmers have been shot.

      Mandela’s support for other leaders of violence is even less forgivable. He maintained close ties to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and backed Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat. As president in 1997, he gave his country’s highest award for a foreigner to Libya’s dictator, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who’d donated $10 million to the ANC. He gave the same award to the corrupt Indonesian president Suharto, who he said had donated $60 million.

      He supported Nigerian coup leader Sani Abacha, refusing to say a word publicly to stop the 1995 hanging of activist Ken Saro-Wiwa.

      I repeat, Mandela did great things. But many of his more radical supporters in the West now use that greatness to wash clean his record of political violence – and his support for dictators who’d used it.

      That is dangerous.

  • Tommy Peel

    Do you support apartheid?

  • taxpayer89

    I just hope we don’t have Mandela day where they close the schools and government buildings. If that’s the case then my kids will not go to school on veteran’s day!!!

  • Smira29595

    But I loved him in Shawshank Redemption & the Bucket List……………..

    • Phil Blank

      You do know that was actor Morgan Freeman, or were you just being funny.

      • Smira29595

        Being funny, there is a resemblance………….

  • Phil Blank