Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke at a nearly sold out crowd of students, faculty, staff and members of the Rochester community. The talk was held at the Palestra on Oct. 5.Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, received a standing ovation and lengthy applause at the beginning of his speech. He started the speech by expressing his happiness over visiting UR. “It’s a great joy to be here,” Tutu said. He then went on to thank the audience for their support in fighting against apartheid, citing the support of the international community as key in triumphing over the struggles that took place in his country. “On behalf of millions of my compatriots I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you,” he said. Before apartheid ended, the state of affairs in South Africa had been grim. “We were victims of a bloodbath. Violence seemed to be coming endemic in our country,” Tutu said.He then focused his speech on the healing process that took place after apartheid was stopped. “There were worries of retribution with the black government [that was now in place],” Tutu said. “But instead of the victims of so much unnecessary pain and suffering seeking retribution, they showed magnanimity against their oppressors,” he continued. “Our country chose the route of granting amnesty in return for a full disclosure of the truth. We all know how difficult it is to say ‘I’m sorry,’ we can imagine then what it must have been for the perpetrators to admit what they had done in front of the glare of TV, in front of everyone,” he said. “I did not know truth could be such a potent healer,” Tutu remarked. Tutu went on to praise the healing power of forgiveness. “Forgiveness is never cheap, never easy. Ultimately, real reconciliation can only be on the basis of truth. Retribution is futile, revenge only begets more violence – an eye for an eye indeed leaves the world blind as Gandhi said,” Tutu remarked. “Hatred is not appeased by hatred – hatred is appeased by love anew.” Students found his message of forgiveness insightful. “I was very inspired by what he had to say,” sophomore Ebiere Okah said. “His perception of unconditional forgiveness for those who have created so much suffering was very profound.” Her friend, sophomore Samantha Stern-Leaphart agreed. “The speech was inspirational and applicable to the times we are facing with our country,” Stern-Leaphart said. “Take the example of September 11th and parallel it to the situation in South Africa,” she said. “The committee was forgiving and we as a country should be similar in our forgiveness. The message itself was good.”In a press opportunity preceding the speech, Tutu spoke of the importance of student involvement in global issues. “We have found that young people are idealistic,” he said. “They want to make the world a better place, they want to see poverty eradicated, hunger eradicated and disease cured.””God looks on young people as his greatest collaborators,” Tutu said. “In a sense you are leaning against a door that is already ajar, the fantastic thing about young people is that they are filled with idealism.”When asked about the events of September 11th, Tutu despaired over the reactions of American politicians. “It is quite natural that people have reacted with anxiety and fear of the events of September 11th, but the politicians will continue to exploit such fears in order to gain support,” he said.When asked to comment on the presidential candidates, Tutu declined to share his preference, but did comment on the current political climate. “I hope the Americans are aware of the seriousness of the issues that hang on this election,” Tutu said. “The state of the world is less secure than before. After the invasion of Iraq, it is less secure. People who live in such a vibrant democracy should ask a lot more questions. Power is something you are given as a privilege, in order to serve. However, it seems that if you hit you prove that you are not weak.”The audience appreciated Tutu’s speech. “The universal humanity of the Archbishop superceded everything he had to say,” Jean Bondi-Wolcott, a Rochester resident, said. “He approaches all subjects with the same humanity.”Freshman Eric Hansen agreed. “It was a great speech – it was very interesting to hear what he had to say about forgiveness,” he said. “It was not quite what I expected. He is a very cute, nice little old man, very compassionate.”Lindstrom can be reached atmlindstrom@campustimes.org.



An open letter to all members of any university community

I strongly oppose the proposed divestment resolution. This resolution is nothing more than another ugly manifestation of antisemitism at the University.

Time unfortunately still a circle

Ever since the invention of the wheel, humanity’s been blessed with one terrible curse: the realization that all things are, in fact, cyclical.

Notes by Nadia: The myth of summer vacation

Summer vacation is no longer a vacation.