What I Did On My Covid-19 Vacation

Chapter Three

From Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

The Rivonia Trial and Companion piece The Beast Is at the Door

The Rivonia Trial, often referred to as “the trial that changed South Africa,”  was conducted in October 1963. Ten leading opponents of Apartheid went on trial for their lives on charges of sabotage.

In what was arguably the most profound moment in the trial, Nelson Mandela made a speech in the dock in which he condemned the very court in which he was appearing as ‘illegitimate’. He then proceeded to argue that the laws in place were equally draconian and that defiance of these laws was justified.

Nelson Mandela
PRISON NOT ONLY robs you of your freedom, it attempts to take away your identity. Everyone wears the same uniform, eats the same food, follows the same schedule. It is by definition a purely authoritarian state that tolerates no independence or individuality. As a freedom fighter and as a man, one must fight against the prison’s attempt to rob one of these qualities.

The Beast Is at the Door

The beast is at the door
and we must fly or hunker down
each in our separate lairs
our enclaves of evolution
our tomes of voluntary entrapment
Help may not be on its way
The end is not in sight

And what of hope we ask
What might be left of this life
when the beast decides to leave
Do we thrive on lessons learned
or forge a brave new world

But mostly what of you and me
Will they ever or do we even want
things between us to remain the same

Was our separation as voluntary
as we made it out to be
Or was it rooted in a certain discontent
beneath the surface of out togetherness
A wanting to be free in ways we never dreamed of
The beast is at the door
and we must fly or hunker down

The Bard of Appanoose

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