The symbol of South Africa’s unity, the most respected leader Nelson Mandela passed away recently. His funeral is said to be the biggest funeral of half a century. Mandela and Gandhi are both considered to be the greatest leaders of all time. However, no matter South Africa or India, Asia or the whole world, it is not enough to only have Mandela and Gandhi.
The most obvious similarity between Mandela and Gandhi is that they were both educated in a Western way, they both stood out to be against Western countries or Western forces. When they succeeded, they both started to use the Western political frame. This kind of twist might be one of the reasons why Westerners paid great attention to them.
Although both of them succeeded in changing their countries, societies there seem to have more problems than before. If we only consider democracy, India cannot even be compared to Indonesia and Malaysia, which had just turned to be democratic. South Africa, a country which could compete with Korea and Taiwan for economic power, nowadays has fallen behind. If we still say that Mandela and Gandhi are the greatest politicians in the world, then these problems might have arisen from the people within these two countries, who may be having problems in following the footsteps of their leaders. The two leaders learned the weaknesses of Western people and defeated white leaders, but did not know how to defeat the problems within their citizens. Maybe it would have been much better for South Africa if the policy with obvious white discrimination had not been established, and white people had not been eliminated from important jobs. Maybe security and economy would have develop more rapidly, but it is just maybe.
Real democracy cannot be achieved by only the leader of a country, its concept must be planted into all citizens’ minds and boost the development of society. Otherwise it might become a harmful tool for people. For India and South Africa, they have just made a small step on the road to democracy and they still have a long way to go. I think people should realize that the formation of democracy cannot be achieved by only Mandela and Gandhi, they are far from enough. Democracy needs all people’s support and power, economic and social development, and better education.
Last but not least, to one of the most influential person in the world, Mandela, may you rest in peace.
(inspiration taken from some blogs in China)