Quotes About Humanity
War. Poverty. Crime. Hunger. With all of the injustices that exist in today’s world, it can be easy to lose faith in humanity. We may ask ourselves, “Why should we care if no one else does? Nothing ever seems to change or get any better, so we might as well accept the world as it is.”

Although it is important to acknowledge the existing injustices and view them as serious issues that need to be resolved, it is equally important for us to realize our own part in seeing those solutions become part of reality. The following quotes about humanity may explain and hopefully inspire us:

  1. “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  2. “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” – Nelson Mandela
  3. “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama
  4. “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  5. “What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly – that is the first law of nature.” – Voltaire
  6. “World belongs to humanity, not this leader, that leader or that king or prince or religious leader. World belongs to humanity.” – Dalai Lama
  7. “When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society.” – Pope John Paul II
  8. “One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that.” – Joseph Campbell
  9. “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” – Leo Tolstoy
  10. “During bad circumstances, which is the human inheritance, you must decide not to be reduced. You have your humanity, and you must not allow anything to reduce that. We are obliged to know we are global citizens. Disasters remind us we are world citizens, whether we like it or not.” – Maya Angelou
  11. “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” – Albert Schweitzer
  12. “The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane.” – Mahatma Gandhi

As these quotes about humanity reveal, it can be difficult to explain human nature, but that does not mean we should lose faith or hope in ourselves or others. The Borgen Project promotes the idea that we each have the power within ourselves to change the world, which is one of the most beautiful abilities of humanity.

– Meghan Orner

Sources: Brainy Quote, Good Reads
Photo: Flickr

Top Humanitarian Quotes
It’s important that we remember and memorialize the great humanitarians that have left their marks. Here are some great humanitarian quotes: 

  • “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity, it is an act of justice.” – Nelson Mandela
  • “Do your little bit of good where you are.  It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu
  • “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “I think we all want justice and equality, a chance for a life with meaning. All of us would like to believe that if we were in a bad situation, someone would help us.” – Angelina Jolie
  • “True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.  It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” – Arthur Ashe
  • “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” – Bill Gates
  • “Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back. – Princess Diana
  • Don’t look for big things, just do small things with great love….The smaller the thing, the greater must be our love.” – Mother Teresa
  • “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “Therefore I feel that the aforementioned guiding principle must be modified to read: If you desire peace, cultivate justice, but at the same time cultivate the fields to produce more bread; otherwise there will be no peace.” – Norman Borlaug

These humanitarian quotes will hopefully inspire you to become a more active member of society while always staying mindful of those less fortunate. If each of us plays our part, our journey toward harmonious peace will be accelerated.

– Sunny Bhatt

Sources: Brainy Quote, Brainy Quote The Givers
Photo: ZA News Network

Nelson Mandela’s legacy looms large over South Africa. Everyone agrees that his death will mean something significant to the country, but few agree on what that will be. Mandela’s death on December 5 left behind a country still rife with painful inequalities, an African National Congress no longer bolstered by their famed leader and a new generation of “born frees” who have never known the pain of apartheid though they live its aftermath every day.

South Africa’s Persistent Inequalities

Though it has made huge strides since the end of apartheid, South Africa continues to be plagued by massive racial inequalities.

Between 2001 and 2011, the annual income of black households nearly tripled while percentages of the adult black population who have completed high school have grown and are continuing to do so. There has even been an increasing, if only by a tiny amount, segment of the black population going to college. These numbers seem to represent real progress, until they are compared to the statistics for whites. In 2001, white households earned an average of $17,000 more than black households, a disparity that grew to $30,000 by 2011. And while a national increase in high school education for blacks certainly represents some positive change, this is a barrier most whites, who have also attended college at higher rates than blacks since apartheid ended, will never face. Unemployment among young black people is, furthermore, at an all time high. Such statistics make it clear that there is much more work to be done.

ANC at the Polls

With the loss of its most beloved leader, the ANC may be facing its most competitive election yet. The party, which came to power in 1994 with Mandela’s election, has lost its “biggest link to its glorious past,” says William Gumede, the author of numerous articles and a book concerning the ANC.

Despite his retirement from politics, many believed Mandela to still be involved in the decision-making of the party which allowed the ANC to enjoy the electoral bump that the legend provided for many years. Now, without him, the party is forced to confront the staggering economic and social inequalities that they have done little to eradicate. Not only are allegations of corruption abound, but the party has been unable to both alleviate unemployment and reduce crime rates.

Moreover, it is likely than many disillusioned ANC supporters will accept how far the party has fallen from its revolutionist ideals now that Mandela has died. Some predict that the weakened party will splinter and fall out of favor. As the ANC is proving, in many ways, to be an inadequate leader of South African democracy, perhaps a change is necessary.

Born Frees: The Next Generation of South Africans

The “born frees,” as the generation born at the end or after apartheid are called, make up about 40% of South Africa’s population according to census data. As one of the largest population segments, their views on the future of the country have the potential to change much of it.

Many born frees feel that the best way to honor Mandela is to focus on the future of South Africa instead of dwelling in the past. They often resent the frequent references to apartheid from their elders, wanting instead to address the problems currently facing the country. Such focus tends to cause tension with older generations, who often feel born frees are too distanced from the harsh realities of apartheid to fully understand the importance of political involvement.

“It’s not a matter of not understanding apartheid; it’s just a matter of us having different challenges,” Akhumzi Jezile, a 24-year-old producer, television personality and speaker, told the New York Times. Jezile cited youth-run efforts to reduce drug use, crime and HIV rates as evidence of changing priorities.

A 2012 Reconciliation Barometer report revealed changes in the born free generation that may hint at a changing social and political landscape for South Africa. The report found that born frees were more likely than older generations to be friends and socialize with people of a different race. The report also found that they were less likely to trust political leaders.

– Sarah Morrison

Sources: The Guardian, New York Times: A Test at the Polls, New York Times, New York Times,Real Truth

For the last five years, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has been detained and serving a sentenced term in prison.

In 2008, Liu was confined for participating in Charter 08, which was a manifesto that called for democratic reforms in China. Due to this, Liu is now serving an 11 year sentence “for inciting subversion of state power.”

In light of Liu’s fifth anniversary of imprisonment, the world also experienced a devastating loss with the passing of Nelson Mandela. Coincidentally, Liu has been dubbed the moniker of “The Nelson Mandela of China.”

Both individuals earned prison time for the same efforts that also landed them their Nobel Peace Prizes. The Chinese government became highly uncomfortable at the similarities of these two individuals, and at the timing of the events.

No different than the rest of the world’s media, China aired coverage of the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The coverage was censored, however, and excluded any “sensitive topics” that would have correlated directly to human rights and democracy or South Africa’s close diplomatic relationship with Taiwan.

United States Secretary of State John Kerry honored the anniversary of Liu’s imprisonment by providing a statement, prodding China to release Liu from prison, and his wife from her house arrest. Chinese foreign ministry responded by saying that Kerry “had no right to comment on the fate of Mr. and Ms. Liu.”

Chinese foreign ministry also went on to say that “China’s 1.3 billion people have the best right to talk about the country’s human rights.” Although various parts of the world consider Liu to be the “Mandela of China,” Chinese government abhors the comparison between the two individuals.

An editorial in Global Times was quoted saying, “Mandela was a Nobel Peace Prize laureate for leading African people to anti-apartheid victory through struggles, tolerance, and efforts to bridge differences. However, awarding a Chinese prisoner who confronted authorities and was rejected by mainstream Chinese society derides China’s judiciary system.”

Yet at one point in time, South African authorities also considered Mandela a “prisoner who confronted authorities and was rejected by ‘mainstream’ society.”

As of November of this year, Liu’s lawyer released a statement saying that “the dissident intends to ask for a retrial.”

Retrials are not common, but with so much pressure from western countries, there may be an interesting turn of events. Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights was quoted saying that the chances of winning a retrial were small, but nonetheless, worth a shot with new leadership in place.

Liu Xia, the wife that is on house arrest, is believed to be suffering from severe depression. She has been denied any private medical care, and was financially dependent upon her brother until he too was jailed in 2011.

Xia and her brother have yet to be charged with an actual crime, other than the support of Liu and his efforts. Chinese officials have yet to acknowledge that Xia is even being detained. As the U.S continues to build a relationship with China, they hope to see progress made for Liu and his loved ones.

– Samaria Garrett

Sources: The Guardian, The Guardian, US News

nelson mandela quotes love
Nelson Mandela will forever have a place in the hearts of those who follow him. His words will guide his followers through life trials and tribulations and bountiful celebrations. Let us remember a month after his passing Nelson Mandela’s quotes on love and coming together as one.

1. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
2. “Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each body, the mind, and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.”
3. “You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than through acts of retribution.”
4. “A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
5. “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
6. “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
7. “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
8. “I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now and will do so until the end of my days.”
Amy Robinson

Sources: Salon, BrainyQuote, UN Foundation, USA Today

Last month, one of the greatest inspirational figures this world has ever seen died. Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa, and long-time sufferer and activist to end South Africa’s apartheid, died on Thursday after a battle with lung infection. People across the world are mourning Mandela’s death and honoring his long life and incredible achievements. Below are five amazing things about the life of Nelson Mandela.

1. Nelson Mandela broke the rules in order to bring peace In 1943 Mandela became a member of the African National Congress. Five years later, when apartheid laws were instituted across Africa Mandela began an intense defiance campaign against the apartheid system. In 1956 Mandela and over a hundred other political activists were charged with treason. Four years later the African National Congress was banned, and Mandela formed an underground military group called The Spear of the Nation. After leading a guerilla movement, Mandela was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison, but went on the run.

2. Mandela was sentenced to life in prison, but remained politically active After Mandela was recaptured after fleeing from his five-year imprisonment sentence, he was tried for treason and sabotage and sentenced to life in prison. Mandela began his sentence at age 46, and spent the next 27 years in prison. During his imprisonment Mandela was often forced into labor, which consisted of breaking rocks into gravel. While in prison he was only allowed one visitor a year and could only write or receive a single letter every six months. Despite Mandela’s harsh imprisonment conditions he remained significant in leading the movement against apartheid. He was able to organize protests from his prison cell, and help rally activists to make gains in ending apartheid.

3. Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize Mandela was released from prison in 1990. After the ban from the African National Congress was lifted, Mandela joined and became the president. In 1993 Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk received the Nobel Peace Prize.

4. Mandela was elected as South Africa’s first black president After huge political gains were made in the fight to end intense racial segregation, Mandela was elected as the first black President of South Africa. Mandela stressed peace and unity, encouraging Africans to forgive the white governments that had treated them so brutally.

5. Mandela extended peace to whites, including his prison guards On the 20th anniversary of his prison release Mandela partook in a huge celebration held in his name. Even Mandela’s former prison guard was included in the celebration. At the age of 91 Mandela took this day to celebrate and further emphasize his message of peace to both blacks and whites.

Chante Owens

Sources: Nelson Mandelas, BBC, The Daily Beast, ABC News

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In the midst of international mourning for Nelson Mandela and in an attempt to drive home the message of International Human Rights Day, a Brazilian NGO posed a provocative question on Tuesday, December 10.

A billboard designed by Conectas Human Rights, featured an image of Nelson Mandela and the question, “Do you feel moved by his legacy?” The text then urged the Brazilian population to act upon their emotions and “Do more than be moved.”

This campaign is driven by recent public opinion polls that reveal a negative feeling toward human rights issues in Brazil and support for more stringent laws and regulations.

Respondents to surveys administered across 134 municipalities in June 2013, support the reduction of maximum crime penalties from 18 years of age to 16, based on a belief held by 60% of the sample population that criminality is the result of ‘bad character.’

Moreover, the Datafolha Research Institute released data that reveal 26% of self-identified conservative-leaning respondents believe that homosexuality must be discouraged by society as a whole, whilst 33% believe that poverty is the result of laziness.

These emerging public opinions are linked to a reduction in funding for human rights groups, namely through foreign aid.

Brazil is widely considered to be an emerging market, the country’s role as 2014 World Cup host is evidence of this image but it disguises the fact that a growing economy does not automatically address human rights issues as seen through the need of foreign aid in assisting structural development.

It is estimated that 60% of the country’s NGOs relied on foreign aid for 80% of their budgets in 2003. Between 2008 and 2009 this aid decreased by 30% and again by another 49% in 2010 alone.

Executive Director of the Brazil Human Rights Fund, Ana Araújo, reminds us that Brazil was marked by dictatorship as recently as 30 years ago, a type of legacy that differs greatly from the one being celebrated across the globe on International Human Rights Day 2013.

Araújo argues that domestic support for human rights groups is the next, though not imminent, step, suggesting that emerging powers require more support, not less, to ensure that their emergence is ‘just.’

– Zoë Dean

Sources: Global Voices Online, Universo Online: CNT, Universo Online: Rightist Leanings, Open Democracy

1. “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

2. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

3. “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is people who have made poverty and tolerated poverty, and it is people who will overcome it. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”

4. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

5. “Difficulties break some men, but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.”

6. “For to be free is not to merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

7. “A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”

8. “Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”

9. “I was called a terrorist yesterday, but when I came out of jail, many people embraced me, including my enemies, and that is what I normally tell other people who say those who are struggling for liberation in their country are terrorists. I tell them that I was also a terrorist yesterday, but, today, I am admired by the very people who said I was one.”

10. “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.

11. “I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.”

12. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

13. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

14. “It is now in the hands of your generations to help rid the world of such suffering.”

15. “Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished”

– Stephanie Lamm

Sources: Dose.Ca, USA Today, Quartz
Photo: BBC UK

Rolihlahla  Nelson Mandela was born in Qunu, South Africa on July 18, 1918. He was the youngest son of Nonqaphi Nosekeni and Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela. His father was the principle advisor to the Acting King of Thembu, Jongintaba Dalindyebo. When Mandela was a child, his father died and he became a ward of Jongintaba Dalindyebo and lived in the Great Palace in Mqhekezweni. He attended primary school in Qunu and his teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave him the Christian name Nelson.

During Nelson Mandela’s early life, he was raised hearing stories of war and oppression from his elders and knew from a young age that he wanted to make a contribution to freeing his people. He attended Clarkebury Boarding Institute and then went to Healdtown for secondary school. Nelson Mandela first attended the University College of Fort Hare but was expelled for participating in a student protest. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of South Africa.

The King had arranged a wife for him when he graduated but idea of arranged marriage made Mandela flee Qunu and head to Johannesburg.  He worked as a mine security officer and then law at the University of the Witwatersrand and later at The University of London. He was a poor student though and never finished his law degree.

His political life started in 1942 when he joined the African National Conference, (ANC) an organization that lobbied to the South African government for African rights and political change. Mandela was an influential member of ANC and he helped form the ANC Youth League.  In 1948, the South African government instituted apartheid, apartheid was a government-instituted segregation of people based on their race that oppressed non-whites.  ANC and Mandela instituted passive resistance including non-violent protests, boycotts, and non-confirmation to apartheid polices and rules.

In 1944 Mandela married a nurse, Evelyn Mase. They had two sons Madiba Thembekile ‘Thembi’ and Makgatho and daughter named Makaziwe who died at at young age. They later had another daughter who they also named Makaziwe. The couple separated in 1955 and later divorced.

In 1952, Mandela became one of the ANC’s deputy presidents. The ANC Youth League with Mandela’s help implemented The Programme of Action, a racial mass-based policy.  In 1956 Mandela went on trial for treason and five years later was acquitted.  The government began to shut down all anti-apartheid groups and ANC was declared an illegal organization and shut down in 1960.

Lisa Toole 

Sources: Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund, Nelson Mandela Foundation, BBC
Photo: This Bug Life

Below are 10 global poverty quotes from awe-inspiring people like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Winston Churchill.

  • “In this new century, many of the world’s poorest countries remain imprisoned, enslaved and in chains. They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” – Nelson Mandela
  • “It would be nice if the poor were to get even half of the money that is spent in studying them.”  – Bill Vaughan
  • “True compassion is more than flinging a coin at a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “Witnessing the extreme poverty in remote parts of Africa can make you feel sad and powerless until you realize how little it takes to change these people’s lives fundamentally in sustainable ways.” – John Legend
  • “Such is the scale and depth of poverty in many parts of the world that it won’t be ended overnight. That is why if, like me, you want to see an end to poverty, you need to be in it for the long haul.” – Annie Lennox
  • “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life . . .” – Nelson Mandela
  • “We live in the richest country in the world. There’s plenty to spare and for no man, woman, or child to be in want. And in addition to this our country was founded on what should have been a great, true principle — the freedom, equality, and rights of each individual. Huh! And what has come of this start? There are corporations worth billions of dollars–and hundreds of thousands of people who don’t get to eat.” – Carson McCullers
  • “Pay attention to the hungry, both in this country and around the world. Pay attention to the poor. Pay attention to our responsibilities for world peace. We are our brother’s keeper…” – George McGovern
  • “Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn’t commit.” – Eli Khamarov
  • “Of course I am frustrated with regard to extreme poverty, to violence that never seems to cease. Greed is the key. It’s easy to sit in relative luxury and peace and pontificate on the subject of the Third World debts. Not many of us are willing to give up everything we have. We can however give some, and millions of people do, governments do, but there is so much more to be done.” – Sir Roger Moore


– Chante Owens


Global poverty quotes