Thursday, December 5, 2013

What Nelson Mandela means to Afghanistan?

The world mourns the death of Nelson Mandela and commemorates the life of a legendary “civil rights” hero who endured 27 years of prison never once relenting on his struggle to end Apartheid and never losing faith in his dream to remove the chains of oppression from the deprived masses in South Africa. While South Africa continues the journey to equalize the playing field, the country is a beacon of hope in a continent plagued by turmoil.

Thanks to the Mandela's vision, South Africa is a unified mosaic country where black and white and gay and straight citizens stand tall and live with equal protection under the law. South Africa is the most humane and progressive from the 55 recognized states in Africa as it was the first country in the continent and fifth in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex South Africans have the dignity to honor their sexual orientation, live without fear of criminalization, and since 2006 they can marry whomever they love.

As Afghanistan struggles to terminate its own battle against gender segregation and the institutionalized pedophilia, persecution of (LGBTIQ) sexual minorities, and crimes against women, we must ask ourselves how long must our “watan” endure hatred and violence before we embark on our revolution to become a civilized, free, and just society.

An Afghanistan that embraces love and dignity, the hallmark of Mandela’s wisdom, is one that will end the civil conflict, come closer to reconciliation, and serve as a model for all conflicted countries in the Islamic World. Why not show humanity that Afghans despite suffering from decades of strife and centuries of foreign conquest can be a nation that rises up to liberate its own people and live in peaceful coexistence?

Today, as we look at the state of disarray in Afghanistan, ask yourself, how can we become like South Africa when there are so many reasons to be negative and pessimistic. To eliminate all your doubts, I leave you with this quote by Mandela about the power of positive thinking. As Madiba once said, “I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

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