Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Mr. President

Like some twisted Zen koan, the names Nelson Mandela and Amy Winehouse have surfaced together. Apparently she performed, in London, at a 90th birthday celebration for Mandela. I'd love to hear the rationale for this one. Yet, in meditating further, the synchronicity of this pair of prisoners makes sense. Yes, they both have spent time in cages; Mandela is, of course now free. I don't think folks expect either to live more than 10 more years. At 24, Winehouse has been alive fewer years than Mandela was incarcerated. Her death wish is no doubt equally as strong as Mandela's will to live.
Racism seems to have played a major role in the drama of both actor's lives. Violence too. What must go through Mandela's mind as he enjoys his birthday concert? He does enjoy it, doesn't he? Mandela, and South Africa may be best known for the Truth and Reconciliation committee. The will to bring to the surface the horrors of Apartheid, admit culpability, deal with the consequences, and attempt to move on is admirable. It is something few countries with similar backgrounds in oppression have done. It's a form of rehab, isn't it?

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