I am afraid I must deviate from the original theme of my blog for once and do something I have never done before – to respond to being tagged!

“Vj” showered me with this surprise on the 24th of July and with that, nudged my equilibrium as I have never done that – and actually do not exactly know what I am supposed to come up with. Following the example of others though, I guess I need to present some things/names/people which/who I consider important, mean something to me and so I decided to mention five present as well as historical figures which I consider very special special, which did influence my way of thinking – and I’ll explain why. I intentionally stay out of religions and stick with social and political ones. Some of the ones I’ll mention are still with us, some died a natural death – and some were assassinated.

So here you go ..

1) Mahatma Ghandi
I could write pages and pages about this man who fascinates me since more that 30 years! Born in 1869 and assassinated in 1948 by a fanatic Hindu, he was THE example for “passive resistance” and “civil disobedience” – terms he created. He was a man of firm step, non-wavering in faith and loyalty to his way even in the darkest hours in prison, a shining example of truth and firmness, moral values, compassion … and selfless love for his people! “My life is my message” … that says it all. A GREAT role-model to follow.

2) Martin Luther King
Born 1929 and assassinated 1968, was Baptist minister and American political activist and the most famous leader of the American civil rights movement. He got the Peace Nobel Price before being shot. He promoted non-violence and racial equality under the most difficul circumstances, never shying away from spreading the word. He was a peace-maker and a martyr. Who does not remember the speach he held in 1963 on the steps of Lincold memorial … his “I HAVE A DREAM” is still ringing in my ears.
Today I do have a dream … and together with me MANY – will we realize it? Together? I think we can, no, – I KNOW we can it’s up to us alone!!

3) The Dalai Lama
Now you may say “what on earth does she have to do with the Dalai Lama” and you are totally right – it is very strange and actually I can not explain it. I started reading his books some thirty years ago … and loved his philosophy from the very beginning on. His heartwarming smile, honesty, warmth, compassion yet mental strength and firmness are striking. I will never forgive myself for not having gone to Dharamsala where he resides and receives guests and admirers when I was in India. I find him a wonderful human … a real soul-brother! Actually he IS a religious figure I just realize … well, but I must mention him if I want to remain honest as he certainly taught – and influenced me a lot.

4) Nelson Mandela
It’s impossible not to metion him! The icon, the freedom-fighter, the peace-maker! Born 18.7.1918, he just turned 88 … HAPPY BIRTHDAY – AND MANY HAPPY RETURNS!! Having been imprisoned for 27 years, his spirit did not break, hatred did not eat him up. After having fought in earlier days, he switched in policy to that of reconsiliation … something which requires REAL greatness and wisdom. The armed struggle was, for Mandela, a last resort; he remained steadfastly committed to non-violence. He understood that fighting – in the long run – won’t lead anywhere … and back-then President de Klerk finally came to the same conclusion – something which equalled a quantum-leap for him and I highly respect him for that!
Nelson Mandela is, in my eyes, one of the greatest .. I wish our politicians today would learn from him but, so far, they ALL pitifully fail, totally … and I have severe doubts that will change in the near future!! NONE of them is of the “material” of a Nelson Mandela …

5) Mother Teresa
Born Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu August 27, 1910 in Skopje, she made a major impact on me.
I went to visit the death-house she founded in Calcutta, “Kali-Gat”, a temple previously dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali or as it is called today “Nirmal Rhiday”, and, by helping the sisters, learned there within one short day a lesson for my entire life, one I never did – and will never forget. I was determined to go there (I was sick myself but would not have missed it for anything). I well remember the BIG room, one green stretcher near the other, clean and tidy, nothing fancy. I don’t know how many, sure more that 50, closer to 100 I suppose .. there was as well a smaller side room as well full with people. There was nowhere any vacant stretcher. Most of the people were full to the rim with Tuberculosis, on the brink of dying and were lovingly taken care of, fed, cleaned .. and accompanied by her sisters! I stayed there the whole day helping – and learning. Four to five dead were the norm every day … there I learned a lot about death which, for me, had lost it’s horror. I was not lucky enough to meet her herself – she was at the day in Rome, with the pope.
She’s for me a great symbol of strength, determination, perseverance … of doing what is right, nevermind the consequences.

I hope I did fulfill my “duty”, vj, … did I? I could add MANY, like Che Guevara, Joan Baez, J.F. Kennedy, Bishop Tutu, Nefertiti, and … and …. and!!

Hope you enjoyed!


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