It was with great sadness and disappointment that I noticed this morning, the major news networks had not mentioned in their online headlines, the 93rd birthday of former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. If he was mentioned, I’ve yet to locate the media. Yes, I know the story is there. But it’s buried amidst other, more important news. I know this because I went searching for it.
I did however, learn what it is like to live with 26-inch long fingernails. I saw something about a crane that can’t “whoop.” Even now, there’s more to Casey Anthony than any sane American could ever need to know. And of course, we can’t forget the current media sensation of the Mudoch fellow or the marital woes of Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.
I don’t watch television, so I cannot say whether or not anyone bothered to say “Happy Birthday” over the airwaves; however, the idea that the man who has long been recognized for his struggle and sacrifice against racism and inequality, has received at best, blasé coverage of his birthday, really kind of ticks me off.
As a result of his fight for freedom, he was sentenced to prison in 1962, six years before I was born. As a child, I was unaware of who he was and what he fought for. But I remember the day he was released. February 11, 1990, the day after my twenty-second birthday.
I remember his pleading for peace and equality. And as I sat holding my young daughter and watching the news, I simply could not fathom, even as an American Indian and our continued struggle for equality, the concept of such resistance to freedom, justice, and equality for everyone. Especially by one’s own people.
Twenty-one years after his release, President Mandela remains the icon of sacrifice, struggle, and peace.
At least for some of us.
Happy Birthday, President Mandela. Some of us still remember who you are.
Some of us, still care.
Photo from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela