In thinking about Nelson Mandela, his life and his legacy, a metaphor comes to mind: that of a great, one-for-the-ages comet -- not unlike the Comet ISON that recently traveled around the sun. Mandela was a great comet of a man; we are not likely to see someone like him again anytime soon. He was a man who made a towering difference in history by the sheer force of his character. This included his steel determination, his dedication to forgiveness of and reconciliation with his enemies, and a willingness to grow, adapt and change for the better, for the betterment of his country and, no exaggeration, the world.
That was Mandela's third visit to Spain, during which he spoke to us about the beginnings of decolonization and the acceptance of the idea that every nation has the right to belong to and participate equitably in the global community. He said that countries cannot be based in the oppression of other nations.