Archbishop Desmond Tutu on South Africa, Poverty and Militarism
Thursday, February 24th, 2005
Nobel Peace prize-winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks after receiving an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Fordham University. He says, "South Africa, improbably, divinely amusingly, has become a beacon of hope. If peace could come to South Africa, then peace could come any- and everywhere."
South Africa has become a beacon of hope, because South Africa was helped so wonderfully by the international community that supported us in our struggle against that horrendous system of apartheid. We were prayed for. People were prepared to go to prison on our behalf. People were ready to boycott South African goods on our behalf.
And when we overcame apartheid, that victory was not just our victory, it was a victory that belonged also to the world. And one of the great privileges one has is going around to places where we used to come and say, "Please, help us in our struggle." To go back to those places and say, "We asked for help, you gave it, and today, we are free. We are free. " And it is just a tremendous, tremendous thing to be able to come back and to say, "Thank you, thank you. Thank you for helping us to become free."
Now, I know, I know, I know that you are very reserved. You are very shy. So, I discovered -- I discovered a few years ago that I actually have a wonderful magic wand. When I wave it over people, hey, presto! They become instant South Africans. So, I wave it over you, and so now I can say: Fellow South Africans, how about giving these people a real humdinger, eh? Yes. Thank you. Oh, yes, no, and I wave my wand and you revert to your normal shy selves.
God is saying to the world through us, "Look at them. They had a nightmare called apartheid. It has ended. Your nightmare, Northern Ireland, Middle East, Sri Lanka, D.R.C., Burma, Rwanda, Darfur, Chechnya, et al., that nightmare, your nightmare, will end." They used to have what many thought was an intractable problem. It has been solved. Nowhere can they ever again say, "Ours is an intractable problem." South Africa improbably, divinely, amusingly, has become a beacon of hope. If peace could come to South Africa, then peace can come any and everywhere. If an equitable settlement could be achieved in South Africa, then this must be possible any and everywhere. And god says, "Yeah. Peace is possible. Yeah." They will beat their swords into plowshares. They will turn their spears into pruning hooks. Yeah, the lion will lie down again with the lamb, for God dreams. God dreams for when you and I and all of us are going to realize, "Hey, we belong together." We -- each one of us -- are members of God's family, a family in which there are no outsiders. All, all, all, all are insiders. This incredible Jesus we worship speaking about his coming deaths says, "I, I, if I be lifted up, will draw..." -- he didn't say, I will draw some. He says, "I will draw all." All, all, all -- black and white, rich and poor, beautiful, not so beautiful, clever, not so clever, Arab, Jew, Sharon, Abbas, Bush, bin Laden. Incredible. Incredible, the family of God.
The family of God, which will be held in this incredible, divine embrace that allows no one, no one to step outside. All, all, all belong. God says, "Ah, it's beginning to happen in South Africa. It's going to happen everywhere." Thank you.