Hate is appeased by love alone,’ Tutu speaks

“Truth is a potent healer,” said Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu at Villanova University’s Pavilion on October 6. Tutu gave the speech after receiving the 2004 A. Dwyer/St. Thomas of Villanova Award.

Tutu was also the recipient of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, and he is the author of several books about reconciliation.

Dr. William Werpehowski, the director of Villanova’s Center for Peace and Justice Education, presented the award on behalf of the university to recognize Tutu for his work in South Africa with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“The award is presented to a person of truth who has made outstanding contributions to the understanding of the meaning of justice and peace in the community,” Werpehowski said.

Tutu explained during his speech that his work towards reconciliation rather than retribution is not a matter specific to a generation, but a universal quest for humanity.

“Revenge begets further violence,” Tutu said, explaining the importance of forgiveness rather than the vicious cycle of vengeance. He quoted Mahatma Gandhi’s proverb, “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”

The TRC sought to heal a “deeply wounded and traumatized people,” according to Tutu.

The idea behind the TRC was to grant amnesty in return for the complete truth from those who had committed murder and other crimes under apartheid, rather than putting the criminals on trial.

It was chosen as a compromise to the military stalemate, one side wanting litigation and the other side general amnesty for merely admitting guilt, which Tutu said would have “re-victimized the victims.”

Truth in exchange for amnesty seems to be an unfair concept to many, but Tutu gave examples of what that truth can do for a people.

“I did not expect the beauty of what would happen,” Tutu said.

“A woman who came to us simply asked to have a bone from her child to give it a proper burial.”

He explained that few people exhibited anger and resentment as they confronted perpetrators.

Public humiliation would seem horrific, but the system stressed forgiveness-not to dehumanize criminals by calling them monsters, which Tutu considers retribution.

“We have to be very careful that we do not say ‘once a murderer, always a murderer,’ ” he said.

Restorative justice, Tutu added, does not give up on people, but rather reintegrates them into society.

“Hate is appeased by love alone,” he said.

Tutu spoke about the power of forgiveness, which he said could work even in a national and global setting.

“Forgiveness is never cheap, but it is possible-only on the basis of truth,” he said. “There is no future without forgiveness.” No Future Without Forgiveness is also the title of one of Tutu’s books.

Tutu went on to commend the activism and the generous support received from Americans during the struggle in South Africa, especially from students and those who guided them in rallies pressing for U.S. government action.

After his speech ended, Tutu answered questions from the audience. When a student asked him what Americans could do for the world, he answered that the American people are known for their generosity.

“Export that generosity, that compassion, and not bombs,” he said. He added later, “If you want to be a leader, you must be a spend-thrift on behalf of others.”

Tutu said that he believes that the peace that happened in South Africa could be repeated in other parts of the world.

“If peace could happen in South Africa, then peace is possible everywhere and anywhere,” Tutu said.

“Their nightmare has ended. Your nightmare, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Chechnya, Darfur, too will end.”

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