[APPLAUSE] HUNTER R. RAWLINGS III: Good evening. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to welcome all of you to this Bartels World Affairs lecture and especially to welcome to Cornell Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Bartels World Affairs Fellowship was established at Cornell in 1984 by Hank and Nancy Bartels, who are both members of the Cornell Class of 1948. The fellowship is designed to broaden the perspective of Cornell students by bringing to campus persons who have distinguished themselves as international public figures. Bartels World Affairs Fellows, who are hosted by the Einaudi Center for International Studies, give a major public lecture and also spend time in close interaction with Cornell students and faculty members. Hank and Nancy are here tonight with their son, Phil Bartels, Cornell Class of '71, and Phil's daughter Katie. Please give them around applause as they stand.
It is a measure of Archbishop Tutu's stature that we had to move the site of this lecture from the Statler Auditorium into this arena. And even with that change, tickets have been in great demand. The pages of history are filled with struggles to replace the old order with a new one.
But replacing the brutal system of apartheid with a representative, multiracial, democratically elected government in South Africa must count as one of the most dramatic shifts in the world order ever to be brought about in a single generation. Unlike America's own struggle for civil rights, where equality has a basis in the Constitution, in South Africa the law itself worked against the black majority.
As Desmond Tutu explained to an American audience in 1986, when apartheid in South Africa was still a fact of life, "Ours is not a civil rights movement. At home we are struggling for fundamental human rights. And we are excluded by the Constitution from any meaningful participation in decision-making. The law of the land is against us." Archbishop Tutu deserves an enormous share of the credit for changing South Africa's inherently racist paradigm.
Growing up under apartheid, he nonetheless made the most of the educational opportunities available to him, and he became a teacher. By all accounts, he was a gifted educator, despite having to teach as many as 70 to 80 students at a time in a makeshift classroom-- actually a church, where students knelt on the floor and used the seats, the pews, as their desks. But when the Bantu Education Act made already substandard education for blacks even worse,
Desmond Tutu decided against supporting its provisions and trained to enter the Anglican priesthood instead. Ordained in 1961, he spent two years studying at King's College, London, and worked in England for the World Council of Churches before being appointed dean of Saint Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg. He first came to worldwide attention in 1975, when as dean of Saint Mary's Cathedral, he warned South African Prime Minister B.J. Vorster about the smoldering anger in the country's black townships.
His warning was ignored. And a few weeks later, riots erupted in Soweto, leaving over 600 dead. In 1978, he was appointed General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, an affiliate of the World Council of Churches that represented 13 million Christians of various denominations in South Africa. Under his leadership, the SACC became a vital part of South Africa's spiritual and political life and an effective global voice against apartheid.
"I became a leader by default," Desmond Tutu has said, "but I knew that an authentic Christian life is one that is firmly anchored in an authentic spirituality. And precisely because you have an encounter with God, you have to have an encounter with God's children." Early on, he realized that changing apartheid would require an international effort. And he used opportunities for international travel to bring worldwide attention and international economic pressure to bear upon the South African government.
In 1984, he received the Nobel Peace Prize, the highest award the world can offer for his efforts to bring racial justice to South Africa. His efforts culminated a decade later, when South Africa held its first free elections and elected Nelson Mandela as president. With Mandela's election, Desmond Tutu, by then archbishop of Cape Town, was preparing to step into the background and let South Africa's new, younger leaders take over.
Instead, Mandela appointed him to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Commission's mandate was to chart a so-called third way, to heal the wounds and right the injustices that had occurred under apartheid without Nuremberg-style trials, but also without letting the nation forget what had taken place. Archbishop Tutu, with his reputation for political independence and courage, was the ideal choice.
A man keenly attuned to the political process, he remains fundamentally a man of God. Although well aware from personal experience of the brutalization of blacks by whites under apartheid, he has also seen the other side. More than once, he had personally intervened in a neck lacing where a police informer was set on fire with a gasoline-soaked tire around his neck.
And he had faced down both riot police and angry mobs. Archbishop Tutu describes his experiences on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in his book, No Future Without Forgiveness. During the Commission's inquiry over the course of nearly three years, the Commission heard some 20,000 cases involving brutality on both sides. The work was difficult and controversial.
And it spurred criticism from both the white minority and the black majority. But Archbishop Tutu maintained a focus on forgiveness and reconciliation, realizing that both sides needed to learn to live together in South Africa. It is the message of truth and reconciliation that he brings us here this evening at Cornell University. And we welcome him to this university.
ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Mr. President, Mr. and Mrs. Patel, very distinguished ladies and gentlemen, very dear friends, I greet you in the name of our Lord and Savior. Good evening. Oh. You gave me such a nice, rousing ovation. And now, let's try again. Good evening.
AUDIENCE: Good evening.
ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU: Ah. That's much better. I was about to go away. Thank you very, very much for this wonderful privilege of participating in what is becoming a prestigious series. I follow in the footsteps of some really quite outstanding people who have stood at this podium before me. Many, many, and really sober people had made predictions about the awful disaster that was about to overtake us in South Africa.
And on the eve of what were going to be our historic first democratic elections, it seemed as if all those dire predictions were being fulfilled. Bombs were going off all over the place. Massacres were happening by the day. Violence was seemingly becoming endemic in our country. People were dying like flies.
You might have heard the story of the man who was driving his car up a mountain road, when it came to grief and he was thrown clear of the car and managed to cling to a somewhat flimsy twig which stopped his drop all those many, many feet down and onto the rocks there.
And he hollers, "Help! Is there anyone up there?" And the voice says "Yes, my son. Do you trust me?" "Yes." "Let go of the twig and I will catch you before you hit the folks at the bottom." Silence. "Help! Is there anyone else up there?"
Well, many times we felt like crying out. "Is there anyone else up there?" as the mayhem and the gory, awfulness was happening here below in our country. Things where so bad that whenever they published the statistics of the casualties that had happened in the last 24 hours and they said, six, seven people have died, we actually had many of us sigh with relief.
Only six, only seven people have been killed. That we were in a real pickle-- up a creek, as you probably say in your part of the world. And then-- and then as the world was expecting this disaster to overwhelm us, and then-- and then the world watched a veritable miracle unfold before its very eyes.
As they watched those many, many South Africans of all races standing in those long lines snaking their way slowly to the polling booths on that quite, quite remarkable day, the 27th April, 1994. The world saw many, many of us vote for the first time in our lives in the land of our birth. Nelson Mandela was 76 years of age before he could vote for the first time. I was 63. It was-- it was breathtaking.
And many people have found that-- I mean even the most secular have found that the most adequate way of describing what did in fact happen there was to say-- use religious language and say, this is nothing short of a miracle, that this thing should have taken place in this country of all countries, that this should have happened, and happened so relatively peacefully.
And then the world was enthralled as it watched Nelson Mandela inaugurated as the first democratically elected president of this quite, quite extraordinary phenomenon in the world, this new South Africa-- this democratic South Africa, this free southern Africa, this South Africa that was pledging that it would become non-sexist, non-racial.
We had won a victory, a spectacular victory over the ghastliness of apartheid. Why? Why? How did this get to happen? I want to say to you that one of the most crucial ingredients in this victory was the fact that we had received such extraordinary support from the international community, from yourselves.
I don't believe that there's any other country in the world that has been prayed for quite so intensely and for so long as South Africa has been. And if miracles are to happen anywhere in the world, South Africa was one of the best candidates for that. Many of you and others were ready to boycott South African golds on our behalf.
Many were ready to participate in rallies and demonstrations on our behalf. Many were ready to support our calls for punitive economic sanctions to be imposed on racist South Africa. It has not just been a figure of speech, using a figure of speech to say that our victory is your victory. It couldn't ever have happened without your support.
And I want particularly, not exclusively, but want particularly to identify student. I used to come to this country, visiting college and university campuses such as your own and would come round about May, about this time when people should have been worrying about grades, about degrees, about all of that. It was fantastic.
It was fantastic to come to university campuses and discover that students-- extraordinary-- cared, cared so intensely about something happening 10,000 miles away, that instead of worrying about their grades, about their degrees, about the jobs that they were going be able to do, here there were many of them demonstrating in rallies, seeking to persuade their institutions to divest.
I've never have discovered what cockles are, but whatever cockles are, what the students did warmed the cockles of my heart. And I would want to have given you an real humdinger of an ovation. If I did it on my own, they'd say, well, yes, we did sometimes think that there was a screw loose in that guy's head.
But I've discovered something. I know find that I in fact have a magic wand. And when I wave it over you, it turns you into instant South Africans. So I wave it over you. And now you are instant South Africans and-- no,no, no, no, no.
You've got to do it properly. When you have been unfree and people have helped to free you, you don't clap them lackadaisically. You give them a real, rousing, standing ovation. Now, fellow South Africans, let's give these Americans who helped to free us, a real, roof-splitting standing ovation. Come on, let's give them--
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Now, I must make sure I return you to your former shy, reserved-- and so I wave my wand and you're back to your old selves-- reserved Americans. But thank you. You've been fantastic. You have been quite, quite, extraordinary.
And it is one of the great privileges that I have to have been able to come out and say, I know, I speak on behalf of millions, millions of my compatriots when I say, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for having helped us to get where we are today-- free, democratic, striving to be non-sexist and non-racial.
Having got there, we then had to decide how we were going to take account of our past, a past of conflict, of oppression, a past of injustice and exploitation, a past of gross violations of human rights. And those who were negotiating a transition from repression to democracy, from oppression to freedom, theoretically had two options available to them, two extreme opposites as options.
The first and the most obvious would have been following the Nuremberg trial option. Bring all perpetrators of gross violations to book. Let them run the gauntlet of the judicial process. Those who were negotiating this transition rejected this option. In many ways, of course, it wasn't a real option. Nuremberg could happen because the Allies defeated the Nazis comprehensively and therefore were able to impose what is frequently referred to as victors' justice. There was nothing that the Germans could do. They were the vanquished, and they had to accept what the conquerors would decide.
In our case, there was no clear victor over the one side, no clear loser. We had a military stalemate. And so this option was not, in a sense, a real option.
But more seriously was the fact that there is no doubt at all that the security forces who had guns-- and we subsequently discovered through the processed of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that there were arms caches all over the country. It is quite clear that the security forces would not have supported a process at the end of which they would then have had to run the gauntlet of the judicial process, have had to face the possibility of prosecution.
In the wonderful period after democracy and freedom have come, it is frequently easy for people to say, why did you let these people off, as they say, so lightly? We were not going to be heavy to let them off. We would not have got to first base.
And any of those of us who might reckon that, well, the military are not too dangerous, just think of what's happened very recently in Pakistan. The prime minister, the president, gets rid of his defense minister. And in next to no time, the military stage a coup.
And the guy who was a top dog is now serving a life sentence. But at the time, it was a fragile, delicate period. And it was at time when you had to make decisions, knowing that the lives of very, very many people depended on whether those decisions were going to find a general acceptance, especially with those who were not too keen to let go of power.
And again, you see, as a result of the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, people see evidence that could in fact have been used in prosecutions. Yes. But the point is that in the truth and reconciliation process, the perpetrators, in order to get amnesty, had to tell you what they had done.
Previously, you had to prove and you had to try to find evidence to prove that they had done the things that they-- you thought they had done. And I can tell you, having lived in a country such as our own, where even the highest officials thought nothing of perjuring themselves, as if it were going out of fashion.
Through the truth and reconciliation process, we now know what we had suspected-- that in fact it was the state that had bombed [? Quarter ?] House, which was the headquarters of the South African Council of Churches. And the man who came to confess is a former cabinet minister who was in charge of the police when that bombing happened.
And he was still a cabinet minister. Without batting an eyelid, he came to the media and stated categorically that this was the handiwork of the ANC, those terrorists. And he would have lied until he was blue in his face. And he would have got others of his colleagues to support him.
And no court that I know of would have been able to prove beyond reasonable doubt. And so we would not, in fact, have been able to have found the kind of evidence that we know have, which is evidence which those who were going to have been prosecuted would've denied. So it is an option that even if it was available would almost certainly have been rejected.
We did, in fact, have examples of some perpetrators being prosecuted. And the cost was exorbitant. One, a [INAUDIBLE] who has been sentenced to I don't know how many terms of life imprisonment as a result. Because he was a servant of the state. It was the state that had to pay his defense costs.
And they mounted and got to a total of something in the region of $1 million US dollars. Now, imagine what would do to a country seeking to deal with the horrendous legacy of apartheid. Anyone who's visited South Africa will see, when you come into Cape Town, which is a very beautiful city, but as you come in and you look down, you see all those shacks.
You see the squalor-- the squalor and the poverty and the homelessness that exists cheek by jowl with some of the most salubrious, affluent parts of the world. The new democratic government has had to deal with massive, massive problems that make enormous demands on the exchequer-- in housing, in education, in health care provision. And you had to balance where must we use the limited resources available to us.
And then, can you imagine what it means in a country that is still at a delicate stage of transition, where people are seeking to walk the path of reconciliation, to have several trials going on, where you are rehearsing gory details about some of the most distressing things that have happened to people. Imagine hearing, as we heard in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we abducted this young man.
We shot him in the head, having given him drugged coffee. It takes seven, eight hours for a human body to burn. And so whilst we were burning his body, we were having a barbecue on the side, drinking beer and enjoying ourselves, as we're burning two kinds of flesh-- human flesh, animal flesh.
Imagine we have been doing to the emotions of people to hear that kind of detail, but that would have been subversive of the process of trying to heal. Because that kind of trial, it was not something that would happened very, very rapidly, and you're done with it very quickly. It would have been something that was going to take a long, long time.
So that option was rejected. Its opposite would have been to go the route followed, for instance, by General Pinochet's Chile, a general amnesty that is given to all and sundry, what amounts to general amnesia, really. And the saying, let bygones be bygones.
And there were very many in South Africa we were saying, that is what we should really be doing-- forget the past and look to the future. Forget the past. Let bygones be bygones. Now, mercifully, actually, none of us possesses the fiat which would enable us to say to bygones-- disappear! And they would disappear-- mercifully. The past doesn't get to be docile and go and lie down quietly.
It has an extraordinary, an uncanny capacity to return to haunt us. I went to Nuremberg because the BBC had a panel discussion in the very room in which the trial was held. And there were about five or six of us who were looking at Nuremberg and its aftermath. Near Nuremberg, as you probably know, is Dachau, Dachau which was a concentration camp.
And there they have a museum. And over the entrance to the museum are George Santayana's words, "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it." But more, I think, more seriously is the fact that general amnesty, amnesia, really, is victimizing the victims a second time around.
You are saying to the victims, what you claim happened to you didn't really happen. Or if it did happen, it was really of very little consequence. Now, a Chilean playwright, Dorfman, wrote a play, Death and the Maiden. And I think it's been turned into a film. A woman was detained.
And a long time afterwards, they have appointed a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and her husband has been appointed the chair of this. And she's in the kitchen. When she hears someone at the front door, she doesn't see him. But she recognizes that voice. It is of the man who, when she was in detention, had tortured her.
And then we're shown her holding a gun to this man-- he's now bound-- and she's about to kill him because he was denying flat that he had ever done anything to her. And then, remarkably, when he changes his tune and admits that he did, when you think now that she has real reason to kill him, she doesn't. She lets him go. His denial of her memory was corrosive of her humanity.
For she is her memory. She is what she remembers. It is her identity. And to call in question her memory is to undermine her integrity as a person. And so those who negotiation what we in South Africa had to do with our past rejected this option as well and went for the third, a novel way.
It hasn't happened in this way anywhere else in the world, a novel way, the novel way of saying amnesty will be granted on the basis of an individual application in exchange for the truth. And so people came forward. And we began to have evidence, concrete evidence of many of the things that we had suspected to have been the case.
And we have seen the potent power of truth to help people heal. You see, frequently you suspect it. My child has disappeared. What has happened? And you keep hoping against hope that maybe your child is alive somewhere in another part of Africa or the world. And you hold on, hoping against hope.
But there's also something inside you gnawing away, saying, no. He's probably not alive. And the truth and reconciliation process helped us. There were people who had been abducted and killed secretly and buried secretly. We were able to exhume quite a few of these.
On one occasion, when the exhumation had happened, a member of the family, a young man, looked inside the grave and said, ah, yes. Yes. This is my brother. I remember those shoes. I bought them for him. The family was able to experience closure in a way that would've been impossible without this truth, this knowing There had been times too when people had been accused of being informers.
And I can tell you when you're in a community which is surrounded, besieged by the police, one of the most awful things is when people doubt your credentials, when people say, you are a traitor. In fact, the first victim of a neck lacing was someone who had been accused of being an informer. And you know what that does to her family in the community?
As a result of the truth and reconciliation process, the truth came out that she was nothing of the sort, that she had been, in fact, one of the most determined supporters of the liberation struggle. And so the truth helped in the rehabilitation of this person, of their reputation and the rehabilitation of their family, in helping the family to be reintegrated into the community.
Now, there are those who will say, but yes, we can see this. But what about justice? How can you-- how can you-- how can you let people who have committed such horrendous, gruesome atrocities-- how can you let them off so lightly? Dear friends, as I've indicated, the miracle of South Africa's transition would not have happened without the amnesty provision. It was absolutely, utterly indispensable.
But you see, amnesty is not an automatic thing. You don't just come and then you tell your story and you get amnesty. They are very strict conditions laid down. First of all, what you were applying for, the offense had to happen between certain dates. And it's not any kind of offense. It has to be an offense that is related to a political motive.
It wouldn't do for you to come and say you were applying for amnesty because you murdered someone because you wanted to take their car. It had to be something related to a political organization. And the best way of proving that you had a political motive was to say, I was carrying out the orders of a political organization, or I was carrying out the orders of the state.
And then you had to make a full disclosure. And the fourth condition was proportionality, that the offense had to bear some relationship to the objective you were seeking to achieve. And so you see, it wasn't something done lightly.
And then, a very crucial part of the process was that in each instance where the offense was a gross violation of human rights-- an abduction, a killing, a gross, severe ill-treatment-- in that case, the application had to be heard in an open, public hearing.
Now, imagine-- as in fact happened, many of those who came before the amnesty committee were upstanding members in their community. Do you know, torturers, members of death squads don't have horns growing on their foreheads.
And when you look at them carefully, they don't in fact have tails. They look like you and me. They're ordinary human beings. They go to church. When they arrive back from work, their children rush out to greet them. And they spread out their arms and embrace them. They're ordinary human beings like you and me.
So, very, very frequently, this was the very first time that the community new that this man, this man, this elder in our church, this man used torture as a matter of course. This man was a member of a death squad that assassinated opponents of the government at the drop of a hat-- this man-- this man who read the Bible in church every Sunday. Because he had to stand up and say, yes, I shot him. Yes, we put them in a van packed with explosives, drove the van down a cliff, and then exploded. Say that in an open court. There was a punishment in the public humiliation. And quite a few of these people, their wives were hearing for the first time of the work that their husbands were doing.
And they couldn't take it. And so in addition to the public humiliation. Many have had divorces. So this is a very heavy price that they have paid-- not the same price perhaps as been jailed. But you see, it is also when people say, what about justice, it is also because we think that retributive justice is the only kind of justice.
We claim that this is not the case, that there are other kinds of justice. There is restorative justice-- that is, a justice that says it stems from something that we in our part the world call "ubuntu." It's very difficult to put into English. "Ubuntu" is the essence or being human, that my humanity is caught up in your humanity, that when you are dehumanized, whether I like it or not, I in that process am dehumanized.
When your humanity is enhanced, then I participate in that enhancement as well, that the greatest good is communal harmony. And resentment and anger and retribution and revenge are corrosive of this great good. And so "ubuntu" propels us towards seeking another way.
Restorative justice says, the offense has caused a breach in relationships in the community. The perpetrator and the victim have suffered as well. Restorative justice says, we seek a healing. We seek a heating where the perpetrator will again be received back into the community, that we are looking for an enhancement of who we are.
Because I can be me only if you are you. For we say in our language, a person is a person through other persons. I can be human only by participation in community. And so our country chose a hard way, chose a hard way. But ultimately, perhaps it is the best way.
For when you look at the world today, most of the conflict is not between nations. Most of the conflict in the world today happens within the same boundaries-- Northern Ireland, the Middle East, Kosovo. You go on and you mention many of these countries-- the Congo, Sri Lanka.
It is people who are going to have to find a way of being able to live amicably together because they occupy the same geographical space. And retribution merely sets off an inexorable cycle of reprisal provoking counter-reprisal provoking counter-reprisal. Just now, we have been appalled at what the Serbs had done to the Albanians.
And then, when the Albanians got their chance, they have done what they have done. And it is a continuing saga. And how do you end this cycle? We have been blessed.
We have been blessed because-- it's almost a kind of mantra. You prayed for us. You prayed. You prayed that we should find a way, a new way, a creative way of dealing with the past so that the past would not forever hold us in bondage.
We have been blessed that we could have, at such a critical moment in our history, a precedent who could be this Nelson Mandela man, who after 27 years, who by rights should have been riddled through and through with bitterness and anger and resentment and a desire for revenge, emerges almost unscathed from this ordeal and becomes an icon of magnanimity, an icon of reconciliation.
And we used to sit and listen to the stories of victims. We've spoken about our capacity for evil. What is so extraordinary is listening to these people carrying a burden of anguish and pain and suffering, which should have, which would have embittered them.
At one of our first hearing, we heard the testimony of the families of four ANC activists who had been ambushed by the police, were killed gruesomely. And their mutilated bodies were found in their burnt-out car. Their families came to tell us their story. And one of the members of the family who came was a young teenager.
And she was telling of how the police, even after they'd done this, were still harassing her mother and themselves. At the end of her testimony, I said to her, do you think you could find it in yourself to forgive people who have done this to your father and are doing this to your mother and yourselves?
We were meeting in a hall packed to the rafters. You could hear the proverbial pin drop. And she replied quietly, we would like to forgive, but we would like to know who to forgive. And so we had the spectacular embodiment of reconciliation in a Nelson Mandela. By the way, so many, many others of the so-called ordinary people.
In my theology, there are no ordinary people. Everyone is extraordinary, because everyone is a representative of God, since we were all created in the image of God. You know Amy Biehl. Amy Biehl was an American student who had always opposed apartheid. She was a Fulbright Scholar in one of our universities in Cape Town. And she was killed, killed by those she had supported all her life-- killed gruesomely.
They stoned her and stabbed her to death. Her parents came to South Africa when the young men who had killed their daughter were applying for amnesty. They came and they testified at the hearing. And they said, we came especially to testify here to support the application of these young men for amnesty.
They have established an Amy Biehl Foundation, to try to help the young people living in the township in which she was killed, to help them out of the morass of squalor and poverty so that they can become somebodies. They spend more time now, I think, in South Africa than in the United States. And the pass- as they go into the township, they pass the spot where their daughter was killed.
There are some extraordinary people in the world. And many, many times when I sat listening to the testimony of people, I said, really, the most appropriate response is for us to take off our shoes, because we're standing on holy ground. We are in the presence of something quite special.
And so we have sought to move, in South Africa, into a new kind of society, one that says, power, authority, must be accountable. For in the past, they seemed to be able to act with impunity. For they didn't seem to have to give an account of why they did whatever they did to anyone who said, no. We want to be a different kind of society.
We're saying, we come out of a ghastly past in which we said the worth of people resided in a biological irrelevance. And so all kinds of benefits accrued those who had that irrelevance and all sorts of denials and deprivations happened to those without it. Our country now says, no, no, no. The human person has a worth that is intrinsic. It comes with a package.
It is something that belongs to all-- to all, whether you're tall or short, whether you're substantial or not so substantial, whether you are smart or not smart, whether you're white or black. All of us, each single one of us has a worth that is intrinsic, a worth that is infinite, because each one of us is created in the image of God.
And that's tremendous. And therefore, all sorts of discriminations in our country are declared unconstitutional. Race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, you name it-- we are saying, we want a new kind of society where we say, people matter.
Human beings must be not just respected. A human being needs to be revered. That when we stand in front of a fellow human being, we really ought to be doing what Buddhists do when they bow profoundly in front of another person and say, the God in me greets the God in you.
We want a new kind of society that is gentle and caring. A great deal happened because it happened under those murky, darkness covers. So we are saying, we want a society that is, as they say, transparent and open. And things must happened and can be questioned. You know, you are devastated by the revelations of our capacity for evil, all of us-- every single one of us here.
Each one of us has positively got to be saying, but for the grace of God go I. Thank to God that you have helped me to be who I am now. For I don't know if I had been brought up in setting in which these guys were brought up, had I been exposed to the kind of conditions, that they were exposed to, who knows?
I too might have ended up being a torturer, a perpetrator of gross violations of human rights. But you know, exhilarating, gloriously wonderful is that fact that we have an extraordinary capacity for good. We human beings are those who have been made, who have been made for goodness, who have been made for love, who have been made for transcendence, who have been made-- we are those whose spirits are to soar.
You know, there is a wonderful story that comes out of Africa of a men who came and saw in the farmer's backyard a strange-looking chicken. And he looked and he said to the farmer, mmm-mm. That's not a chicken. That's an eagle. And the farmer said, no, man.
It's a chicken. It behaves like a chicken. It goes around, poinking, poinking, poinking and getting grubs on the ground. It doesn't even know that there's a blue sky over there. It doesn't know that there's a sun shining up there. And this man said, that's an eagle, man. Just give it to me. And the farmer said, OK.
And so one glorious morning, this man, who knew about these things, carried this strange-looking bird to the top of a hill and then turned it to face the rising sun. And he said, fly, eagle, fly. And the strange-looking chicken shook itself, spread out its pinions, lifted off, and it soared and soared until it disappeared way, away there in the distance.
When we're chickens or eagles and God says, fly, he can fly. And God intends for us to shake ourselves, spread our pinions, life off, and soar and soar, and soar. For we are made for goodness, for laughter, for joy. We are made for those who are saying, we belong in a family. And in this family, there are no outsiders. There are no aliens. All, all, belong.
All are insiders-- all. Black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, educated, not educated, gay, lesbian, straight, all, all, all. And God says, I have only you to help me realize a dream that I have, that one day we will realize that we are family, that we won't spend obscene amounts of money on defense budgets, knowing--
--knowing that a small fraction would enable God's children everywhere to have clean water, enough to eat, a safe environment, good education, affordable health care. When we realize that we are family, how can we spend time arguing about how to spend budget surpluses?
Hey, our sisters and brothers over there are hungry. We have been given-- yes, we've been given-- but, I mean, we are God's stewards. Our sisters and brothers are hungry over there. How can we-- how could we possibly not support the cancellation of this enormous debt third world countries pay?
And so-- and so God says, I have only you to help me be. Can you help me create a new kind of world where they will beat their swords into plowshares?
Will you-- will you help me create a new kind of world where there is gentleness and caring and laughter and joy and compassion and peace and reconciliation? And you know what? I have no one except you. Thank you.
HUNTER R. RAWLINGS III: Great to have you here.
ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU: Thank you.
HUNTER R. RAWLINGS III: Archbishop Tutu, on behalf of Cornell University, I give you this plaque for our respect, our appreciation, and above all our love for the example you have for the rest of us.
ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU: Thank you.
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Desmond Tutu, Archbishop of Johannesburg, South Africa, spoke out on human rights and the South African race problem April 10, 2000 in his Bartels World Affairs Fellowship Lecture, hosted by the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. In 1984, Tutu was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent resistance to apartheid.