Saturday, February 19, 2011

One word of truth can outweigh the whole world 一个人,一句真言的力量

I am only one, but not alone 一瞬间的永恒/歌

Soviet Gulag photo

"It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul." (INVICTUS)

我是我灵魂之船的船长。” (INVICTUS)



One word of truth can outweigh the whole world

News Type: Opinion — Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:00 AM

By iqbal.latif

What brought Soviet Empire down was 'The Gulag Archipelago,' a book written by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn (based on the Soviet forced labour and concentration camp system) and the single-handed struggle against the system of 'Apartheid' by Nelson Mandela.

When Alexander Solzhenitsyn was put in Gulag he came out with the best of works, as there were prisoners like him who had total freedom to discuss anything since they were already in prison. Prisons are the best places through which totalitarians regimes are wiped out. Solzhenitsyn argued that the Soviet government in fact could not govern without the very real threat of imprisonment, and that the Soviet economy depended on the productivity of the forced labour camps, especially in so far as the development and construction of public works and infrastructure were concerned. 'The Gulag Archipelago' put into doubt the entire moral standing of the Soviet system.

Great people can single handedly break the system. Actually all of us have the inherent power to change the world for the better. Perhaps there may not be ready ears in the short term, but just as a steady drop of water can bore a hole through stone, so can every drop of human effort against injustice, oppression, racism and slavery. The fall of the Apartheid system or the Leninist and Stalinist rule are the consequence of people's inherent strength.

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

"Prison itself is a tremendous education in the need for patience and perseverance. It is above all a test of one's commitment"

In Nelson Mandela you see a man of immense personal dignity that reflects Victorian gentlemanliness that perhaps derives not only from a chieftain family but his profound respect for human dignity. Hostility and rage of his jailers can be seen in the long walk to freedom. Mandela in 20th century is a rare figure who has translated his sufferings into forgiveness.

Today, freedom movements in the Middle East are dealing with minnow dictators; far greater wicked systems and dictatorships were wiped out by the single handed struggle of people who stood up to these tribulations. I will choose Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Nelson Mandela as two who are the brave gens of the contemporary free world.

When you jail a person you free his soul. One word of truth can outweigh the whole world. David Aikman’s 'Great Souls: Six Who Changed a Century' is a great book published by 'Word'- a religious publisher.

From his unique vantage point as a senior journalist with TIME magazine, David Aikman witnessed some of the most important world events and interviewed many of the prominent global power figures of his time. Aikman profiles six of these figures who embody specific virtues sorely needed today: Billy Graham (salvation), Nelson Mandela (forgiveness), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (truth), Mother Teresa (compassion), Pope John Paul ll (human dignity), and Elie Wiesel (remembrance).

What all six of these prominent figures would agree to "is that individual people still count enormously, indeed infinitely, in our sometimes fearfully overcrowded world. They would also affirm that there are qualities of virtue throughout the human race that transcend politics, race, culture, language, epoch, or inherited religious background."

Mr. Aikman discusses the twentieth century as through a six sided prism of virtues -- compassion, forgiveness, truth, human dignity, remembrance, salvation. His portrayal of these six people with all their shortcomings and virtues intact inspired me. While we can never be (obviously) a Nelson Mandela or Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, we can be a better ‘us.’

All men have a core of decency, if their heart is touched, they are capable of changing. History is replete with the misdeeds of man. Cruelty and bestiality are an integral part of his character. This is a warm, human and deeply moving book, and you will be the poorer for not reading it.

A small thing can say so much; this is the beauty of art. Nelson Mandela’s 'forgiveness' can be epitomised by what he told his jailer, 'the things I live by are different from the way you live.' Remembrance of evil of the past protects us from repeating it in future.

Please watch the movie Invictus with Morgan Freeman playing the role of Nelson Mandela. I was very inspired by the movie and it encouraged me to circulate the poem ‘Invictus’ here. The poem has been inspirational to Nelson Mandela during his time in prison, helping him to “stand when all he wanted to do was lie down”.

It brings to fore the point, that we are the in charge by the way we think. We are the masters of our fate!


by William Earnest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
my head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

The greatness about great people is that they stand up against tyranny singlehandedly and break it;
this was so poetical about Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Nelson Mandela. Since the Soviet Union’s dissolution and the formation of the Russian Federation, Alexandr Solzehenitsyn’s book ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ is included in the high school program in Russia as mandatory reading so is Mandela’s autobiography ‘Walk to Freedom’ in South Africa.

In Western Europe the book came, in time, to force a rethinking of the historical role of Lenin. With The Gulag Archipelago, Lenin's political and historical legacy became problematic, and the fractions of Western communist parties who still based their economic and political ideology on Lenin were left with a heavy burden of proof against them. George F. Kennan, perhaps the most influential of U.S. diplomats, called The Gulag Archipelago, "the most powerful single indictment of a political regime ever to be levied in modern times.''

Oppressive minnow dictators of today, like Iran, don’t have much moral authority nor do they share the same depth and brand of Stalinist or Leninist ruthlessness. They recognize the malfunction within their regime and are afraid because of it. Just as the Gulag was the biggest indictment in the communist system that broke the back of the communist party, Iran, “the biggest jail,” will be broken by the Iranian Diaspora of the world. Salvation rules human life and behavior. If you look at the lives of the six great people as chosen by Mr. Aikman, while I may not agree with all the names, they represent integrity, compassion, and belief in fighting against inequity. Incarceration, frailty or old age were no hindrance; they stood up against evil to set an example that even the weakest in society has the power and capacity to make a change.

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