How to shine like a guiding star

Wed, 1 Apr 2015 Source: Mohammed, Inusah

and inspire acts of courage, tolerance and unselfishness in the world


On the 17th of December 2013, under the theme “100th Birthday Dinner Commemoration of Raoul Wallenberg: A Hero for All Time”, the world gathered to celebrate a sun that never sets. It was heartwarming when Vera Koppel, 76, told her story. And that she is alive today due to the efforts of Raoul Wallenberg, the man who brought sunshine into the lives of others.

Through the actions of this hero, Raoul Wallenberg, the power of one man can never be underestimated. Contrary to the statement that one man alone is insufficient for the full deliberation of an undertaken; Wallenberg has taught the world that it takes a courageous one man to cure the malaise of disinterest in the participation of people in matters that will lead to fairness and a beneficial and prosperous future in the world.

It was Mother Theresa who said “It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”. And this great man the world is celebrating unabatedly realized this that is why he never sat lamenting and wailing over the inhuman treatments meted out to Jews by Adolf Hitler and his hordes, rather decided to save over 100,000 Jews in the Budapest ghetto from the death camps in 1944. The youth must take it upon themselves to make even one life breathe easier because of their existence.

Today in the world, the sheer dip in courage has rendered the youth inactive in the conscious effort to uplift others. Most are apathetic towards the cause of sacrificing for humanity and this is the opportune time for we to get that necessary inspiration from Raoul Wallenberg. Perhaps this should be reflected in the whole world.

Dr. Joseph Frager has said it more succinctly. “The fact (was) that he was a real hero, who brought (the) light of goodness, of kindness, of generosity to the world and the Jewish people. What we need now is a Raoul Wallenberg to save us from this incredible nightmare.” This statement signifies how intensive the world needs courage and acts of heroism in the youth.


To shine and act like a shining star is not easy. It comes with challenges. Having been a victim, I know what I am saying.

In 2008, when I started my Polytechnic Education, I found out that the youth of our community were living wretched and hopeless lives due to how porous the community was. The porosity of the community was so profound that a cross-section of the youth had decided not to go to school because of the view that school is a waste of time and resources. I read the book Greatness Guide by Robin Sharma and learnt that living for others is the only way to have yourself still on earth long after your death and that the world will be clean if each of us decides to clean his doorstep.

I therefore formed ELEMENTS OF CHANGE, a community-based organization to champion the cause of the youth by giving them the platform to grow and take over the world through acts of volunteerism, philanthropy and self-development. Today, a considerable number of the youth in our community are now making positive strides in life. Some are becoming reference points to the younger ones who have taken them as role models.

We can inspire acts of courage in others when we build ourselves and get interested in others by doing these.


The more we read, the more we enlarge the lens through which we focus the world. I came across the sheer story of heroism of Raoul Wallenberg when I was surfing the net to find something worth-reading. To be able to solve the myriad of problems bedeviling us, we must learn beyond the requirements of academic work. We must read voraciously so that a gale of ideas will be infused into us to overturn the appalling situations we find ourselves in.


This involves preparing the mind for creative thinking. It might include formal education, experience and taking advantage of other working experiences. Raoul Wallenberg before embarking on his mission had already built himself by becoming an Architect in the first place, a Businessman and then a Diplomat. He later got recruited by the US War Refugee Board (WRB) in 1944 to travel to Hungary. This further helped him in acquiring the protective passports he provided to Jews and sheltered them in buildings designated as Swedish territory.


There is no better way to inspire these virtues in others than to get involved. You have to involve yourself in as many social activities as possible and be committed just like Raoul Wallenberg was committed to the cause of humanity till he drew his last breath.


The good thing about our global world now is that everyone knows everyone else’s business. This can be a cardinal tool in making you a shining example. You can help someone in dire need or another who has found himself despondent.


All of the following are certainly great ideas for planting seeds of courage into others but not everyone can do it. A lot depends on the setting in which you find yourself in. if you have faced fierce resistance in your community, then reaching out to someone who is an avowed adversary can be dangerous. In this case, the best course of action is to make your presence felt in the community.


“Courage is not the absence of fear but the overcoming of it” as stated by our elders. We all have fears but how we approach them determines failure or success. Fear is a traitor which makes us lose what we might have achieved by making us not to try. Raoul Wallenberg persevered even in all the vagaries of war and tyranny. And as he liberated himself off his fears, his presence automatically liberated others as one poet said.

Inusah Mohammed

NB: The writer is a National Service Person at the Graphic Communications Group Limited.

Columnist: Mohammed, Inusah