Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Desmond Tutu Speaks
In this video selection Riz Khan looks back at an interview he did with Anglican Archbishop Tutu in November 2006.
This is a longish interview but if you have 18:29 minutes it is worth the ride through a remarkable worldview and commitment to universal humanity.
Tutu was the chairperson of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and in this interview he reflects on the need to confront past injustices with open candor.
He touches on many issues but two stand out for me. The first is his recount of a conversation with Bill Clinton on the need for a TRC in the US. He mentions that African Americans and Native Americans could use such a forum to express the hurt they carry and the loss they endure.
The second is his forthright statement about the multifaceted character of God. This is a powerful commentary that shuns the notion that God is only a Christian God.
God for Tutu is an inclusive God and not a God of selfish division.
What I find most compelling about Tutu is the manner in which he speaks truth to power and does not hide his intentions. But at the same time he is not unkind in condemnation of those he singles out for rebuke.
Listen closely when he tells Riz Khan that he is happy that the former oppressors in South Africa have been freed from the need to oppress. What he is also saying is that the struggle for Black freedom ended up freeing whites too.
I respect this view, though I do not entirely embrace the power it expresses in redemptive forgiveness.