Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Free Mandela

In the mid-1980s, as the anti-apartheid movement was gaining strength in South Africa, students at The George Washington University, consistently named by US News and World Report as the most politically active student body in the United States, added their own voices in a small, and--and what's the adjective form of vandalism?--way by inscribing "Free Mandela" into freshly poured concrete.  For years, the inscription was hidden in an alleyway leading into Kogan Courtyard on the GW campus. When Mandela was finally freed in February of 1990, after 27 years in prison, the narrow, cramped passageway next to the fire department was a place of celebration.  In 1999, the slab was carefully removed from the alley and put in a place of honor in the middle of the courtyard, a constant reminder that no matter how far away injustices may occur, every act of opposition counts.  Apathy is as dangerous as apartheid.

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