We present two tributes to this Nobel Peace Prize laureate, one, highlighting his contribution to the struggle against apartheid and the other, touching on his broader activism.
Desmond Tutu – the staunch and steadfast healer of a nation
“It was an era when the leadership of the liberation movements was banned, jailed or in exile, and here was this person who was saying what most black South Africans felt. Tutu really was public enemy number one, when Mandela was out of sight, out of mind. He had this extraordinary power to communicate. He would not honey his words so as not to offend white Anglicans,” said Allen.
From his pulpit, Tutu spoke out against apartheid in a city where black people – their lives controlled by strict racist laws – required special passes simply to walk into “white” neighbourhoods.
“Tutu wasn’t a front for political movements. I think that’s what gave him his moral and spiritual freedom,” said Peter Storey, who led South Africa’s powerful Council of Churches. “It made him very powerful because he was up against an apartheid government that wrapped itself in the Church… and yet here was this black Anglican, able to hit the regime at one of their most vulnerable points. Full article on BBC website
Tutu opposed capitalism, Israeli apartheid and US/UK imperialism, too
by David Rovics
Yes, for those of us who were involved with the social movements that were active when Tutu was a spry young man of 70 or so, we will remember him as a fierce critic of capitalism, of Israeli apartheid, and of US and British wars of aggression. And we know why he is being praised now by media outlets and politicians who have had no time or space for him since 1998 or so.
Desmond Tutu failed to remain in his historical place. Had he played his cards differently in the post-South African apartheid period, he could have been a very rich and even more venerated man, winning lots more awards and schmoozing with the world’s power brokers. Instead, before his official retirement from public life at the age of 79, he spent his seventies campaigning around the world as part of social movements for equality, dignity, and peace, and being a thorn in the side of so many of the rich and powerful people praising him today.
Dead people can’t speak out in their own defence, which makes them much less dangerous than when they were alive (especially if they died of natural causes). So it’s up to those of us who are still here to speak, and to remember. Long live Desmond Tutu. Long live Desmond Tutu’s vision of a world free of oppression – a world in which so many of the politicians praising him today would be in front of a truth and reconciliation commission tomorrow, if Tutu were calling the shots. Amandla awethu. Our time will come. Full article on ZNet