I can honestly say I almost had a heart attack when I heard about the passing of Nelson Mandela. Not because I was overwhelmed with shock — let’s face it — the man was 95 and spent half of his life in prison. I was surprised at the reaction of the people around me. Yes I follow the daily international news. And yes, I am that ‘wanna be’ activist who argues child labour laws and then buys the Nike sneakers. However, where have we gone so wrong that the majority of College students I spoke with tonight, don’t know who Nelson Mandela is? Or frankly they just didn’t care?
We are insensitive to the things that matter most in life!
I mean, I would put my money down that CNN has had the headlining for this event saved to a word document since this past summer when Mandela was admitted to hospital with Pneumonia. We are insensitive to these things! Either we care to much or we don’t care enough. How should we react to this? Should we go out and buy Mandela’s Biography at the bookstore? Go see the Mandela movie in theatres after the hustle and bustle of Christmas? Let’s face it:
As of 24 hours ago, we didn’t know who Nelson Mandela was.
24 hours later, starting to realize he was an important guy. “I mean like, you were watching Grey’s Anatomy, and then all of a sudden this streaming line of words showed up at the bottom of the screen. You know, like the ones that come up when there is a Tornado warning.”
24 hours from right now you are going to download his book on your e-reader. Your going to look him up on Wikipedia. And then you are going to tell your co-worker at the water cooler on monday what an influential human being he was. As if you’ve followed him for years.
This is not a cry fest for Nelson Mandela. Half the people in South Africa will mourn outside his home tonight — the other half will sing! They will dance! Show love for the man who changed their lives!
Discover Mandela now, despite him being passed on. But, make this a lesson. Those who are working to make a difference in our corrupt world should not be amongst the shadows of your hectic 9 to 5 life. These people matter. They fight for rights, feed the hungry and educate children. Acknowledge them!