Volume XXVIII Issue 23 April 3, 2003

Browse Past Issues

  Tutu offers peaceful words of inspiration
Lindsay Porter - News Editor

Tim Rosner/Photography Editor

Archbishop Desmond Tutu addressed a sold-out crowd of 2,800 at Spring Convocation for Honors in Alumni Gym Wednesday. Tutu’s speech, “No Future Without Forgiveness,” discussed his endeavors in South Africa’s struggle for racial equality. He also stressed the importance of world leaders uniting “as God’s children.” “When all live as God intended us to live, we will see true security,” Tutu said.

“God has a dream that one day we, God’s children, will realize that we are all members of a family.” Tutu, a 1984 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, is perhaps best known for his tireless activism against apartheid in South Africa. He serves as chancellor at the University of the Western Cape.

Tutu studied to be a teacher at Pretoria Bantu Normal College before graduating from the University of South Africa in 1954. He was ordained as a priest in 1960 after he took an interest in the study of theology. Tutu spent time in both England and South Africa studying and teaching theology from 1967-1972 before he became the first black to be appointed Dean of Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg in 1975. He served as Bishop of Lesotho from 1976-1978. Tutu was appointed the first black General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches.

Tutu offered anecdotal stories of the importance of forgiveness, explaining how his quest for the disbandment of apartheid in his country led him to believe that peace could not be attained without forgiving wrong doings of the past.

Tutu, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from Elon recognizing his humanitarian efforts, said little about his views on the war in Iraq. But at a press conference earlier in the day, Tutu said he believed the war was unnecessary. “I share views with the Pope, the Bishop of Canterbury, Nelson Mandela and the rest of the world—this is not a war that should have happened,” Tutu said. While he called the United States “a great country,” he expressed concern over America’s military involvement with Iraq. “Why should a country 10,000 miles away feel more of a threat than countries that are miles closer, such as France and Germany,” Tutu said. “It’s a great oddity; it’s almost bizarre. “This is not a war that is not justifiable, therefore it is immoral,” Tutu said.

The archbishop said he hoped America was not attempting to stress imperialism or colonialism in Iraq. “It reminds me of where I came from, when people used to tell us what was good for us,” Tutu said, referring to apartheid. “The example [America is] giving now is if you are powerful, you can thumb your nose at the rest of the world -you can do what you want. It’s a sad pattern one would have hoped would not be the case. This is not what makes your country great,” he said. Tutu also expressed concern with America’s “investment in Iraq’s reconstruction.” “We in South Africa learned that true security cannot be procured from the barrel of a gun,”

Tutu said, “It looks like a far better way of resolving conflict is not from a barrel of a gun.”

Print Advertising  Staff Info  Contact Info

Elon University Pendulum © 2003