“I am not a saint, unless you consider a saint a sinner who keeps on trying.”
[ Nelson Mandela ]
How fitting that on this day, Human Rights Day, a nation and the world would stand united to honor a man who will likely be remembered as one of the greatest champions of human rights in all time — Nelson Mandela. How appropriate that on a day that celebrates Mandela’s endless pursuit of reconciliation instead of retribution, the US president would reach out and shake the hand of a Cuban named Castro.
For the past year and a half, I have broken bread, shed tears, and delighted in laughter with brothers and sisters from various nations, tribes, tongues, and religions from around the globe — people who have endured injustices so incomprehensible that most Americans have no context for comparison; people who have risked their lives to secure even a fraction of the freedoms that Americans enjoy every day; people whose abuse and exploitation at the hands of those charged with their protection would make your stomach churn.
I’m grateful to come from a nation where such atrocities are not considered normal, nor are they acceptable; where justice is something we talk about, believe in, and strive for, not a concept we’ve never heard of and struggle to grasp.
So as we reflect today on the life of one who accomplished great things, let us also remember, as President Obama said, our progress should not blind us to the fact that there is still much work left to be done.
And reaching out to shake the hands of our adversaries seems like a great place to start.