Thanks for reposting a Mandela quote. Are you ready to die?

The world responded immediately to Nelson Mandela (Madiba)’s death: with Facebook posts. Twitter and other social media websites were blown up with pictures and quotes of one of Africa’s most notable contemporary elders.

Days later, the status updates have not ceased. One would think that the people of the world are ready for revolutionary systemic change, given Mandela’s niche in the universe.

But that is doubtfully the case. Rather, people are becoming comfortable admiring radical proponents of social change from a safe distance. They are our heros. Their quotes exist to inspire us intellectually or feel a little bit better about humanity.

Reposting a link to an Upworthy video or an insightful article isn’t necessarily bad. The issue is that we do not allow ourselves to take action as a result of our reflections on great leaders’ photos, videos, speeches, or writings. And reflection without action is empty, aimless, even counterproductive.

There is plenty of good reflection out there on the internet. But our musings on Madiba are made in vain unless we too act radically to the point that we are willing to endure chronic imprisonment and torture. If we are not willing, we are not sincere about reposting quotes and photos. I would really like to believe I am wrong – that I have many Facebook friends ready to do what it takes, but the evidence (as displayed in their comfortable orientation to the world) suggests otherwise.

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