Then the very next day...I am back in the same ballroom, listening to the remarkable Barbara Hogan from South Africa. She was receiving an honorary doctorate from UMass-Lowell for her life-long struggle for the end of apartheid and the development of a free and democratic South Africa.
Again, here is an endarkened photograph of her in her robes:
ANC, tried and convicted of high treason, jailed for 8 years, freed as apartheid came to an end, she went on to be part of the transitional government, then Minister of Health and Minister of Public Enterprises.
This was a different kind of freedom fighter than the two women I had heard the evening before. They demanded peace as women--refusing to take sides or arms; she participated in a political group that supported armed resistance (not terrorism as she carefully defined it). She worked in an environment that had powerful racial issues to sort out, much different than the Liberian context. However, the Liberian context provided an opportunity for religious differences to be bridged. She also worked as an insider in a government that included men and women, whereas the women's movement in Liberia drew upon women for its numbers.
In both cases there were lots of "lessons to be learned"--a great opportunity to compare two different and related cases of the search for peace, safety, and freedom.
Again, I was so glad that UMass Lowell brought these speakers to campus.