Monday, June 18, 2012

Week 25 - Archbishop Desmond Tutu: The Peacemaker

Beati pacifici

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Desmond Tutu, a South African activist who first rose to prominence as a result of his opposition to apartheid and would later become the first Black archbishop of South Africa. During the apartheid era, he was a strident opponent of the regime, but was avowedly dedicated to the use of non-violence.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has dedicated his life to the pursuit of peace and the betterment of all mankind. In my darkest moments, when the evil of people who professed themselves righteous had hardened my heart, I was glad for people like Desmond Tutu. He has been a moral conscience not just of a nation but of an entire planet.

He has shown through his actions that there is another way; a better way. Being Christian and being compassionate are not mutually exclusive. Christianity ought not to be solely a tool of majority oppression. I’ve learned from my research about the disgraceful actions of the South African churches as well as the Southern Baptists, who stridently supported both Apartheid and Slavery. Their disgraceful actions are tempered by the actions of people like Desmond Tutu, for whom religion is a force for good; a force for social change and not merely a tool of the powerful to control the masses, but a catalyst for positive social change. For these and other efforts, he has received quite a few accolades, including but not limited to:

1979 – Honorary D.C. L., Harvard.

1980 – Prix d'Athene prize, Onassis Foundation, Greece.

1984 – Nobel Peace Prize, Norway.

1984 – Martin Luther King Jnr Humanitarian Award.

1986 – Ordained as the Archbishop of Cape Town.

1987-97 – President All Africa Conferences of Churches.

1988 – Chancellor of the University of Western Cape.

1989 – Joint recipient Third World Prize.

1996 – Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town.

1996 – Order for meritorious Service (Gold) from State President, Nelson Mandela.

1992 – Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Award.

1998 – Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour from French President Jacques Chirac.
1999 – The Sydney Peace Prize
2005 – Gandhi Peace Prize
2009 – Presidential Medal of Freedom

He has been active his entire life in the defence of human rights and has campaigned to end racism, sexism, homophobia and poverty. In particular, he has worked to reduce poverty in the developing world as well as aid in reconstruction of war-torn areas and mediation in ongoing conflicts (particularly in places such as Sudan, Somalia and Angola). He still continues to this day to be actively involved in causes all over the world. More of his history and work can be found as part of the South African History Project

Greatest quote:
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

No comments:

Post a Comment