No Mr. Mandela

I was not intending to write anything this side of 2012 but today I read something on my Facebook timeline that made me angry. It was one of those photoshoped/powerpointed images with fancy background and fanciful font, another one of those quotes to live by. This feeling was compounded by another piece of news in the Reuters website entitled Yale under fire for new campus in restrictive Singapore. The Facebook quote I read was from Nelson Mandela.
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world"
You are so wrong Mr. Mandela and for me that is very hard to swallow as I have you in such an high esteem. I guess I never came across this statement before or only now completely understood its cruelty. As you are an educated man, you fell into the fallacy that poverty and inequality exist because people have no education, do not go to school, can't read or write, do not know the capital of Papua New Guinea or the fission of the atom. And that is so cruel and unfair to those people. You think that an educated man has more chances of success, forgetting that those chances will only be valid if there are still uneducated men and prizing success as the ultimate goal of man's journey on Earth. You confound "uneducation" with ignorance and they are not the same. Education is not the opposite of ignorance neither is knowledge... wisdom is. There are so many ignorant doctors, lawyers, engineers, politicians, presidents, kings... You are right in one point though, where you say that education is a weapon. Unfortunately you forget once again that weapons never changed the world, at least the world of harmony and equality you dream of and where in so many ways you are its truest human representation. So many weapons have been used for centuries with derisory increments to human fairness and happiness. You forget that in "educated" countries, with "educated" people, Sandy Hook School moments will occur and so will LIBOR manipulations.

The education you refer to is yet another import/export from the Western "Civilization". The Third World (the poor) bought their needless airplanes, cars, motorways, high speed trains, jet fighters, tanks and machine guns; education is now the new must have. Because education can be bought, someone had another eureka moment "If it can be bought damn sure I am going to sell it!". Education is now sadly a commodity, an object of desire no different from a Smart Phone, sold in exchange for oil, diamonds, gold and sweat and tears. Education is becoming massified, where knowledge is getting diluted into more and more people, millions of graduates becoming billions, with no change whatsoever in human relationships. You can spend all the money in the world in education, everyone may become a doctor, engineer, lawyer or just be able to read and write. The world will not change a bit. How many educated dictators has this world seen that spend years treading through the corridors of Yale, Oxford or Sorbonne? The next dictator, mass murderer, ethnic cleanser, financial scammer, drug baron, will surely be "educated" to Western "standards".

No weapon will change the world, ever! Save your money, your resources, use your money wisely... You should not try to "educate" your people because that only shows that you are not happy for what they are already, and they always have been. Respect yourself and mankind for its infinite wisdom and resourcefulness! 

Respect... now that's a word that could change the world. And it is reassuring to know that it cannot be bought or sold or taught, only learnt.


  1. LOVE... now that's a word that could change the world. And it is reassuring to know that it cannot be bought or sold or taught.

  2. I thought of LOVE too but it is also more and more of a commodity. Too close to hate too. So much cruelty has been done in the name of LOVE... That is why I settled for RESPECT!

  3. Dear Paulo, did you write this with me in mind?

  4. I always write with everyone in my mind. I write for people to read. Thank you and Happy 2013.


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