Mateen Leo Ram, elev ved International School of Stavanger, vant tredjepremien i Ungdomskonkurransen Fritt Ord 2009 med bidraget “The path we choose to take in life…”. Prisen er på 7000 kroner og vinnerne vil i tillegg få reise og opphold i Strasbourg høsten 2009 eller våren 2010 for å besøke Menneskerettighetsdomstolen og Europaparlamentet. Vox Publica presenterer her utdrag av Rams arbeid, hentet fra den avsluttende analysen og konklusjonen. Du kan også laste ned bidraget i sin helhet (pdf, 0,1 MB).
Shoghi Effendi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela are three amazing leaders with different backgrounds and upbringing who confront the problems of the world during the 20th century and try to address them. They share many similarities; they try to do something with the opposing forces in the world they live in. And even though they confront different parts of ´evil ´- they are passionate about the same solution. Shoghi Effendi is concerned about good versus evil in society and employs the metaphors of light versus darkness and successfully explains how one can onlyovercome darkness with more light. Martin Luther King accentuates more on theemotions of love and hate, but also employs the metaphors of light and darkness andthat the solution can only be achieved by love eradicating hate. Lastly, NelsonMandela stresses the opposing forces of freedom versus apartheid and like the two previous leaders, uses light and darkness as metaphors, pointing out that one can only overcome apartheid with freedom.
All three leaders are referring to the opposing forces of good and evil and what humanity must do to exchange evil for good. It seems that part of their mission is to establish the reality of ´evil´ in order to be able to create a change. And in their speeches and their writings they are able to inspire people to believe in warmth and light and goodness and freedom. They convince one that light too exists, and then follow and explore its beauty. This is what good leaders do. Or is it? What exactly is a good leader? Plato, the Greek philosopher, in Allegory of the Cave, contemplates upon life and what we perceive to be true light and darkness. One of his main interpretations is that we cannot understand the reality or the truth until we have experienced it and put it through practice. In Allegory of the Cave Plato describes what it is like for man being inside a cave filled with darkness and only exposed to light from the fire. All his reality is inside that cave, and he cannot understand anything beyond it. Plato goes on to describe that if man is exposed to the world with “true” light from the sun, some people will be frightened and run back into their fantasy, however others will want to explore further. Those who show interest and are willing to accept the new reality are the ones who are leaders. Shoghi Effendi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela can all be said to have not only accepted this reality – but truly understood it and been able to convince others of its existence. In a sense, one can imagine that “the sun of truth” has shone its light upon them, and they have reflected this light upon the people of the earth as pure, polished mirrors – displaying the suns beauty, warmth and rays of light.
I have undertaken the task of looking at three diverse leaders in the 20th century who had never met each other and whom have very different backgrounds. During my research I have come to discover that they are closely related through their speeches and writings. They have addressed many of the same issues, had the same good intentions, and used several of the same metaphors to describe the problems and their solutions. Their purpose has been the betterment of the world — to create unity in diversity — and their appeals as to how this must be accomplished also correlates. They have enlightened the world in emphasising that although goodness cannot exist without evil, nor can love or freedom exist without hate and apartheid – it is the balance between them that matters.
Today, even though technology has developed exceedingly well, and communication has evolved beyond the borders of countries, mankind’s knowledge and understanding of how to implement the good force in our aspects of life is limited and on a global scale the expressions of hate and ignorance still flourish. The balance has still not been achieved on a global level, and these negative forces still live on. However, we have learned from these three great men that we can only heal something with its opposite. For example, if a feeling of hate should enter the heart, we can only surmount it with a stronger feeling of love. Should a thought of war come to mind, we must conquer it with a stronger thought of peace. These opposing forces are part of our lives, and one cannot live without the other. Like the stars – they constantly shine, but are only visible to us when they are surrounded by darkness. Humanity’s job is to strengthen the light and become like a brilliant star that undermines the darkness in the universe. Today it is our job as individuals to shine the light of freedom, love and unity to each other – and to follow the example and advice of these leaders that all lived what they preached. We must try to live and emulate the light of truth that Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Shoghi effendi reflected to us and try to act upon it.