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This day in Dublin, Mandela shakes my hand. It's a most peculiar moment. I look into his eyes, he looks into mine, and somehow I know I'm in the presence of sheer, bloody greatness. Not because of what he's done or had done to him, but simply because of who he is.
Since I read Mandela's book, Long Walk to Freedom, in Iran's Evin prison in 2000, I felt stronger and more committed to my activism work. He gave me hope and power to fight against the Iranian dictatorship. What's even more amazing is that every one of my cell mates were reading his book as well. I'll never forget what his words gave me.
For most South Africans, that long walk to freedom Mandela wrote about is on a much longer, stonier and more dangerous road than they ever expected. And it's taking far more time than their well wishers around the world ever predicted. Considering what's happening to his dream of a new, democratic and rainbow nation, maybe it's best that Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela has gone.