Dear AISE West community,
All of us have spent the weekend thinking about Nelson Mandela. I am sure we feel sad and happy at the same time that we could witness such an extraordinary life, even if most of us have done so at some distance.
I remember teaching Apartheid in a 4 week unit of Gr 7 history at the UN School in New York, in the 70s. I had a huge box of documents, pamphlets, statistics etc, provided by the UN as well as by the South African government at that time. My students had to find their own way through all these sources and they detected the grave injustice of the system themselves. Awareness and admiration of Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko etc came later.
Please find your own way to talk to your children about him this week. I will put his portrait and a blank book for memories and tributes into the entrance hall of the school. Staff, students, parents, we can all contribute. But it would be sad if we celebrated his life and legacy without realising what he would tell us about the situation in Egypt, in the Middle East and all other places in the world which are marked by deep conflicts and have to overcome them. I posted the following on facebook yesterday, as so many tributes all over the world now state, reconciliation is a vital part of his legacy.
"If we define ourselves by the people we genuinely admire then all of us now should feel part of a global community dedicated to conciliation after conflict .... something sorely needed in Egypt right now too".