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One individual can begin a movement that turns the tide of history. Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement, Mohandas Ganhi in India, Nelson Mandela in South Africa are examples of people standing up with courage and non-violence to bring about needed changes.
Nelson Mandela went to jail believing in violence, and 27 years later he and his colleagues had slowly and carefully honed the skills, the incredible skills, that they needed to turn one of the most vicious governments the world has known into a democracy. And they did it in a total devotion to non-violence.
I met Nelson Mandela, and I really didn't know what to say. It was years ago at a benefit. I was just in awe of this man because of what he'd done.
I haven't spent years, like Alyse Nelson of Vital Voices, toiling for female economic empowerment on five continents.
Now, I know you expected me to say that, well, I just kick back in the rocking chair, fished a little bit, listened to Willie Nelson tapes and watched old baseball games on the Classic Sports network. And, tell you the truth, I have done that for maybe about five total minutes.
Nelson Mandela is awe inspiring - a person who really sacrificed for what he believed in. I feel truly humbled by him.
I have been working for Africans since I was 18, when I got involved with the Nelson Mandela concerts. I got involved with debt cancellation because Desmond Tutu demanded that the world respond to that situation.
When Nelson Mandela walked free, the world sang with joy. Ever since, South Africa has stood as a beacon of hope for Africa.
We're trained to see the world in terms of charismatic organizations and charismatic people. That's who we look to for leadership and change, for transformation. We're awaiting the next J.F.K., the next Martin Luther King, the next Gandhi, the next Nelson Mandela.
I think there's a mythology that if you want to change the world, you have to be sainted, like Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela or Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Ordinary people with lives that go up and down and around in circles can still contribute to change.
Willie Nelson is the perfect person, it seems to me, to think about. Because something tells me that he operates on his own frequency.
I've been a fan of old country music, like Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline. I think I'm drawn to it because of the sense of sadness and sort of loss that a lot of good old country music has.
If Willie Nelson had been Rosa Parks, there never would have been a civil rights movement in this country, because he refuses to leave the back of the bus.
We'd go out in Larry's hippie van and drive out all around Dallas. He loved Chinese food, he'd go in and say. Remember me Major Nelson, me and my friends here are making this show called Dallas, have you got a table for us? It would work every time.
Before Nelson Mandela was arrested in 1962, he was an angry, relatively young man. He founded the ANC's military wing. When he was released, he surprised everyone because he was talking about reconciliation and forgiveness and not about revenge.
This may be a dream, but I'll say it anyway: I was supposed to be married last year, and I bought a gown. When I meet Nelson Mandela, I shall put on this gown and have the train of it removed and put aside, and kiss the ground that he walks on and then kiss his feet.
It's a blessing that South Africa has a man like Nelson Mandela.
I don't have a favorite song that I've written. But I do have a favorite song: 'Always on My Mind,' the Willie Nelson version. If I could sing it like he do, I would sing it every night. I like the story it tells.
B. B. King
Just look at the great Nelson Mandela. He came out of prison and saved his entire country. Some of the best people in the world have spent time in prison.
I have learned so much from Nelson Mandela, and he has been my leader. He is a perpetual inspiration for me and millions of others around the world.
Nelson Mandela is, for me, the single statesman in the world. The single statesman, in that literal sense, who is not solving all his problems with guns. It's truly unbelievable.
I had the honor to meet Nelson Mandela, and I heard him explain his forgiveness of his captors of 27 years by saying hatred and bitterness is destructive - the power is in love and forgiveness.
The 'New York Honk,' as it was called, was the most fashionable accent an American male could have at that time, namely, the spring of 1963. One achieved it by forcing all words out through the nostrils rather than the mouth. It was at once virile... and utterly affected. Nelson Rockefeller had a New York Honk.
The leaders who we admire who have been able to bring great change in the past - Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela - they're all inspirational religious leaders and smart tacticians. It would be nice to find the Muslim Gandhi, wouldn't it?
Dennis C. Blair
As Nelson Mandela has pointed out, boycott is not a principle, it is a tactic depending upon circumstances. A tactic which allows people, as distinct from their elected but often craven governments, to apply a certain pressure on those wielding power in what they, the boycotters, consider to be an unjust or immoral way.
C. S. Lewis
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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