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Turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones

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By Hyon O'Brien

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) once said, "There will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how you use them."

I think of the 27 years that Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) spent in prison: it is pretty clear from his biography, "Long Walk to Freedom," that he used those long years of confinement as stepping stones to lead the country when he was finally freed in 1990 and was elected as the first black president in 1994 in the first multiracial general election. The rock of the unjust and immoral system of apartheid was dissolved. The oppression of the black majority by the white minority was finally over. Mandela's 1993 Nobel Peace Prize was the proof of his endurance and of the transforming power of justice triumphing.

Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983), a Dutch Christian lady who together with her family saved many Jews during World War II, wrote about her time in a Nazi concentration camp in one of the chapters in her book, "The Hiding Place." One thing from the book that sticks in my mind is that her cell was infested with fleas. As a result of the cell's reputation for vermin, the prison........

© The Korea Times