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My Heroes By Soham Basu

MY HEROS Soham Basu November 12th, 2010

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born 18 July 1918 in a village near Umtata in the Transkei, South Africa. His father was Chief Henry Mandela of the Tembu Tribe. He grew to be an ardent opponent of apartheid, a South African policy of racial segregation. The South African courts convicted him for crimes committed while he led the movement against apartheid. In accordance with his conviction, Mandela served 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island prison.

During his years in prison, Nelson Mandela's reputation grew steadily. He was widely accepted as the most significant black leader in South Africa and became a potent symbol of resistance as the anti-apartheid movement gathered strength. He consistently refused to compromise his political position to obtain his freedom. Both in South Africa and internationally, Mandela’s opposition to apartheid made him a symbol of freedom.

Nelson Mandela was released on February 11, 1990. After his release, he plunged himself wholeheartedly into his life's work, striving to attain the goals he and others had set out almost four decades earlier. He supported reconciliation and negotiation, and helped lead the transition towards multi-racial democracy in South Africa. He was elected as President of the country (1994-1999), in the country’s first truly democratic election.

Mandela has received more than 250 awards over four decades, most notably the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. In South Africa he is often known as Madiba, an honorary title adapted by elders of Mandela’s clan. The title has come to be synonymous of Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela is my hero because he showed extreme perseverance, after going through prison for so many years he still continued to be a peace maker following the path of non-violence. William Henry "Bill" Gates III was born October 28, 1955 in Seattle, Washington. Considered a “geek” by many, Gates in his early 20’s, founded a small company for pennies, that is a multi-billion dollar corporation today, called Microsoft. His company revolutionized the computer industry in software, hardware operating systems and gaming; just about anything having to do with a computer. He is one of the world’s richest men.

More importantly, he and his wife Melinda, created the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This foundation donates billions of dollars to charities ranging from Aids research to providing bed netting to fight Malaria.

Bill Gates is brilliant example of the Taekwondo tenet of Community because he has supported many charities and scientific researches for worldwide causes using the money he is earning from his company. So he is my hero. James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. was born October 1, 1924, in the small farming town of Plains, Georgia. He was the son of a peanut farmer and his mother was a registered nurse. He was educated in the Plains public schools, attended Georgia Institute of Technology, and received a B.S. degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1946. In the Navy he became a submariner. When his father died in 1953, he resigned his naval commission and returned with his family to Georgia. He took over the Carter farms, and he and his wife operated Carter's Warehouse in Plains, a general-purpose seed and farm supply company. He quickly became a leader of the community, serving on county boards supervising education, the hospital authority, and the library. In 1962 he won election to the Georgia Senate. He was elected Georgia’s governor in 1971 and then in 1977 he was elected as the 39th President of the United States. He was a controversial President. However, it is his work, after leaving the White House that has earned him the most respect. In 1982, he opened the Carter Center to promote humanitarian works and ease suffering throughout the world. He and his wife, Rosalynn, actively participate and support Habitat For Humanity, an organization dedicated to building homes in poverty stricken areas. [Our Taekwondo Academy participates in the activity of this organization.] His work was recognized in 2002, when he was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the prize after leaving office. President Carter is the author of seventeen books. His first novel, The Hornet's Nest, is a story of the American Revolution.

I think President Jimmy Carter’s deep sense of community [one of our Taekwondo tenet] and tremendous dedication to serve his fellow-people raised him above all criticism and odds. He started from a farming family then became the governor of Georgia and he soon elected as the U.S president. After leaving the White house he continues to serve humanity. He is regarded as an ambassador of international peace. Stephen William Hawking is a theoretical physicist and mathematician. He was born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford, England. His father, a well-known researcher in tropical medicine, urged his son to seek a career in medicine, but Stephen found biology and medicine were not exact enough. So, he tried to do the study of mathematics and physics.

Hawking was not an outstanding student in his School, nor later at Oxford University, where he studied later. He was a social young man who did little schoolwork because he was able to grasp the essentials of a mathematics or physics problem quickly. At home he reports, "I would take things apart to see how they worked, but they didn't often go back together." His early school years were marked by unhappiness at school, with his peers and on the playing field. While at Oxford he became increasingly interested in physics (study of matter and energy), eventually graduating with a first class honors in physics. He immediately began postgraduate studies at Cambridge University.

The onset of Hawking's graduate education at Cambridge marked a turning point in his life. It was then that he embarked upon the formal study of cosmology, which focused his study. And it was then that to be first stricken with Lou Gehrig's disease, a weakening disease of the nervous and muscular system that eventually led to his total confinement in a wheelchair. At Cambridge his talents were recognized, and he was encouraged to carry on his studies despite his growing physical disabilities. Hawking received his doctorate degree in 1966. He then began his lifelong research and teaching association with Cambridge University.

Stephen Hawking has made fundamental contributions to the science of cosmology—the study of the origin of our universe, its structure, Black Hole and space-time relationships of the universe. In the 1980s Hawking answered one of Einstein's unanswered theories, the famous unified field theory. The unified theory explains the conditions that were present at the beginning of the universe as well as the features of the physical laws of nature. When humans develop the unified field theory, said Hawking, they will "know the mind of God." [I do not yet understand this – they just sound interesting now – I read them in science fictions - but some I will.]

As Hawking's physical condition grew worse his intellectual achievements increased. He wrote down his ideas in several books: A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to [It sold over a million copies and was listed as the best-selling nonfiction book for over a year.] Black Holes, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, The Nature of Space and Time, The Universe in a Nutshell. I hope to read and understand them sometime soon.

Hawking's work in modern cosmology and in theoretical astronomy and physics is widely recognized. He became a fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1974 and five years later was named to a professorial chair at Cambridge University that was once held by Sir Isaac Newton. In 2009 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. By the end of the twentieth century Stephen Hawking had become one of the best-known scientists in the world. People with disabilities look to him as a hero. In an interview he told "My goal is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all."

Stephen Hawking’s is my hero because he is knowledgeable. He is an example of creative genius who continues to achieve one great thing after another, rising above his physical disabilities. Aung San Suu (Kyi Ong San Soo Chee) is the leading face of the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar. Suu Kyi is one of the world's most renowned freedom fighters and advocates of nonviolence.

Aung San Suu Kyi was born on 19 June, 1945 in Rangoon, capital city of Myanmar (then Burma). Her father, Aung San, was the architect of Burma’s independence. Her mother Daw Khin Kyi was working in the External Affairs Ministry and was appointed Myanmar's ambassador to India in 1960. Suu Kyi’s father was assassinated when she was barely two years old.

Born to a Burmese military officer Aung San and Daw Khin Kyi, Aung San followed the footprints of her father and emerged as a central figure of the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar. Active in politics since 1988, Aung San has spent most of her time under several house arrests and bans and is currently under detention by the military junta. The venerated leader has won many national and international awards including Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament in 1990, United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Jawaharlal Nehru Award from India and Rafto Human Rights Prize and was awarded the honorary Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent struggle against the dictatorship in year 1991.

Aung San Suu Kyi completed her basic education at schools in Rangoon and moved to India. Suu Kyi continued her studies in India and graduated in 1964. After graduating she went to Oxford University for further studies and completed her BA in philosophy, politics, and economics at, Oxford University in 1967.

In 1988, Suu Kyi returned to Myanmar and plunged into the nationwide uprising for the establishment of democracy curbed by the military junta. On 8 August, 1988, people, raising pro-democracy slogans assembled at the prominent places of the capital. The event led to a mass slaughter carried out by the ruling junta against the uprising throughout country. On July 20, 1989 Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest in the city of Rangoon. Unable to maintain its grip on power, even during her detention, the “junta” was forced to call for a general election in 1990. Despite being held under house arrest, her party went on to win a staggering 82% of the seats in parliament. But, the junta regime refused to recognize the results. Kyi was arrested.

Her popularity across the world and international political powers were compelled to intervene to resolve the issue. Though the western countries tried to put pressure on the ruling junta by curtailing economic aid, the neighboring countries continued to encourage the commerce. The military rulers increasingly restricted Suu Kyi's movements and put under house arrest. She was finally released few days ago. The people of Myanmar are thrilled to get their leader back.

Suu Kyi has won numerous international awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent struggle against the dictatorship in year 1991, Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament, United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Jawaharlal Nehru Award from India and Rafto Human Rights Prize.

Aung San Suu Kyi showed and continued to demonstrate the tenet of courage. She had continued to fight for peace and democracy for her country. She was under house and jail arrest but she could not be deterred away from her mission of promoting human rights. She never deviated from following the path of non-violence.

Someone hit our mailbox over the weekend. They jumped the curb and whamo! No not either.

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