but that we are powerful beyond measure.'
Now, I can hear readers say, 'Ellis-Jones, are you blind to all the evil and suffering in the world? Were not Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and so many others, evil beyond belief?’ Yes, dear readers, they were indeed evil beyond belief, and there are many like them in the world today, but they learned to be evil, and to do evil, because they were taught to be evil. My approach? I remember some words from the Bible, 'Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good' (Rom 12:21). That was also the approach and philosophy of Nelson Mandela. Non-resistance. And non-violent protest. (Yes, he did support armed struggle---against, relevantly, the grossly immoral and sinful apartheid regime (which regime was an appalling and veritable 'crime against humanity')---at times throughout, and perhaps even before, his imprisonment, and perhaps also on occasions thereafter, but only in rare situations where violence was inevitable and overwhelming in its intensity and brutality, in circumstances where governments or other instrumentalities continued to meet peaceful demands with brutal force, and even then only when 'all other forms of resistance were no longer open.')
Why mention Norman Vincent Peale in this particular post? Well, it's like this. Dr Peale was once asked if people were inherently good or bad. He replied, ‘They are inherently good---the bad reactions aren’t basic. Every human being is a child of God and has more good in him than evil, but circumstances and associates can step up the bad and reduce the good. I’ve got great faith in the essential fairness and decency---you may say goodness---of the human being.’ So do I … and so did the societal and moral transformationist Nelson Mandela. Rest in peace, Madiba.
Yes, you've got to be taught to hate and fear. You've got to be carefully taught.
Postscript. Shock, horror! Today, in Roseville, New South Wales, Australia, not far from where I live, the minister of St Luke's Presbyterian Church, the Rev Cornelius P. J. Nel, an Afrikaner Australian (I assume the latter, the former is beyond doubt), stated in an address to his congregation that, despite all the good that Nelson Mandela did---Mr Nel did mention that---we gloss over the fact that he (Mandela) was a 'convicted terrorist.' OMG! Did I hear you right? You must be kidding. That's like saying Lindy Chamberlain was a 'convicted murderer,' without telling the rest of the story (namely, that, among other things, the poor woman was wrongly convicted). Yes, Rev Nel, Mr Nelson Mandela was indeed convicted of terrorism---assuming, for the moment, that it was a lawful charge and offence, which it certainly wasn't---for his strong opposition to a monstrous crime against humanity (immoral and sinful apartheid) which far too many Afrikaner South Africans (and the Dutch Reformed Church) shamefully, indeed wickedly, supported for far too long a time. (As an aside, it's amazing how many Afrikaners have left their beloved country and come to countries such as Australia---after their country became a democracy. Funny, that ... and quite unique.) Now, back to Mr Mandela, I see his purported 'conviction' as a badge of honour, Mr Nel. Yes, a veritable badge of honour. His conviction was as grossly wrong and false as the horrible, evil apartheid regime as well as the illegitimate, oppressive, brutal and violent white minority government he so rightly, morally and lawfully (yes, lawfully---under international and human rights law) opposed. Thank God Mr Mandela did what he did---and if he was a terrorist then so was George Washington and a hell of a lot of other people we remember and revere. Come, now! As I say, did I hear right? I'm afraid I did. Jeez, you've got to be taught to hate and fear. You've got to be very carefully taught, but it seems to come easier to some than others. Ian Ellis-Jones, Lawyer and Minister of Religion. Sydney, Australia, 8 December, 2013.