« Reconciliation must combine truth and forgiveness »: when Desmond Tutu confided

[L’ancien archevêque du Cap et icône de la lutte contre l’apartheid Desmond Tutu est mort, dimanche 26 décembre, à l’âge de 90 ans. Annick Cojean l’avait rencontré en 2004, une archive que nous republions en intégralité.]

These sparks in the eyes! These spangles of cheerfulness, humor and energy in her dark iris! And that big cascading laugh! That big, beneficial laugh that sprinkles you, contaminates you, delicious and jubilant. This man is disarming. Because it is love that we also read in its apple. Something intensely caring and caring. That is why you are immediately warmed by this look, like his hand which he offers you at length, and like his joyful laugh to welcome you. This is also why, before he even speaks, starting the interview with a little improvised prayer out loud, you would like the meeting to last for hours. So much to ask of him, this activist, champion of the fight against apartheid, symbol of the Soweto ghetto, Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. But time will run out. Visiting professor at King’s College London for eight short weeks, the Archbishop has a papal schedule. So, before he returns to his native South Africa, and finds his friend Nelson Mandela there to celebrate ten years of democracy, let’s just pick up a few messages. They are refreshing.

Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, May 17, 2003.

Because this man who travels constantly, this man who, all his life, was attentive to the struggles of the peoples, to the rights of the person, this man does not understand the lack of lucidity of the great powers on the war in Iraq. Because he doesn’t believe in violence to guarantee security. Because he defends the UN and respect for international law.

From January 2003, he participated in demonstrations against the war in Iraq. “It was so stimulating! In London, Paris, New York. Millions and millions of people marched around the world. It made me confident in the human being. And yet the war did take place. The immoral war. With fallacious justifications that we are now trying to undermine in order to advance others. And for good reason ! We still haven’t found them, the famous weapons of mass destruction! So we talk about the necessary change of regime. But who is to decide on diet changes? To the most powerful? Outside of any international law? It’s still incredible! Americans today dare to assert that more than 10,000 civilians killed constitute a very low cost to obtain democracy. A very low cost? Do you remember how they mourned their 3,000 deaths from 9/11? « 

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