Barack Obama received a letter just hours before he took the oath of office. It was from a man who also had experienced racial prejudice but endured in order to bring his nation together in a new birth of comradeship and hope for a unified society. Nelson Mandela told the new president: “We are in some ways reminded today of the excitement and enthusiasm in our own country at the time of our transition to democracy. People, not only in our own country but around the world were inspired to believe that through common human effort injustice can be overcome and that together a better world can be achieved. You, Mister President, have brought a new voice of hope that these problems can be addressed and that we can in fact change the world and make of it a better place.”
In his closing words to the young president, a man who suffered so much but never lost his hope in the dignity of humanity. “You will always be in our affection as a young man who dared to dream and to pursue that dream. We wish you well.”
To be praised by Nelson Mandela is to receive an accolade from a man who stands above most world leaders in respect for the goal of peace and justice.