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Nelson Mandela's "Speech From the Dock"

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Just under 50 years ago, Nelson Mandela stood before Pretoria Supreme Court in South Africa and delivered a moving 176 minute speech explaining the conflict that was tearing South Africa apart in some of the most eloquent prose one could imagine. Mr. Mandela forcefully defended his and his groups nonviolent actions that were aimed at ending apartheid in his country. He saved the best for last, ending his speech by promising that he will never give up: "During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realized. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

    Mr. Mandela may be nearing the end of his life, but he is an individual that is larger than life and his memory will live on for many years to come. His life's story is one of tragedy and triumph. He is still revered years after he led his country out of apartheid and on a path towards democracy in this deeply troubled nation. Conflict is still alive today, showing that no one man, no matter how popular and powerful, can change the hearts and minds of people that refused to be changed. Mr. Mandela realized that there is a generational struggle underway in South Africa and that one can never cease working towards peace and equality for all South Africans.