Tutu: the fortune of not ruling

A nation is not guided only by the government, thank goodness. To set the course of a people in search of their best destiny requires the contribution of many, particularly when it comes to getting them out of the jams of injustice and violence. Fortunate are the countries that have those who, from different perspectives, can understand the broad outlines of historical processes, propose actions and converge on agreements that allow us to get out of seemingly unmanageable crossroads.

The process of dismantling the racial segregation regime in South Africa, which is now seen still in the folios of the counts, was marked by uncertainty, mistrust, hatred, tentative decision-making and the advancement of actions, sometimes peaceful and other violent ones, against injustice, repression and the denial of fundamental rights of the black population. The protagonists of the confrontation that took place had accumulated resentments, the result of actions and mistakes encouraged from each side by arguments and beliefs that seemed irreconcilable. Until, on each side, the lights of those who were willing to join the common purpose of peace appeared.

In the sequence of disappearance of those who carried banners in this process, Desmond Tutu has died, the most subtle and inspiring black leader who, with the aura of Bishop of Johannesburg and later Archbishop of Cape Town, reached the depths of the soul of friends and strangers. to promote his cause as a true apostle of peace. He was the son of a school teacher whose footprint he tried to follow until he realized the inconvenience of being an instrument of that subtle domination that in oppressive regimes holds children hostage to a single thought in school classrooms. Then he decided to become an Anglican priest, a condition that allowed him, until the end of his days, to be consistent with the dissemination of his motto: “All the inhabitants of the country are equally children of God.”

With the conviction that the arguments of his cause were simple, forceful and easy to explain, Tutu dedicated himself to propagating them and became the main voice in demanding the termination of the apartheid and the release of Nelson Mandela. In exemplary action in the exercise of non-violence, he made his way through the hardest moments of retribution and had difficulties not only with the authorities of the time, but also with those who, being defenders of their own cause, proclaimed the inevitable of the armed struggle.

With the same cordial and contagious smile, whose memory all the leaders of the world evoke today, he suffered humiliation, imprisonment and deprivation of rights, which he managed to overcome with the force of his reason, aided by the increasingly respectable armor of his religious condition and of his rise within the Anglican Church, which precisely allowed him, from the top of the hierarchy, to be an illuminator of the group of leaders of the process towards a new South Africa.

His critical attitude in defense of high moral standards and against the abuse of the powerful extended throughout his life, to the point that, once segregation was abolished, he was implacable against corruption in the government of the Party itself. African national after the departure of his close friend Nelson Mandela, and went so far as to say that, at that rate, one day the people would be praying for the defeat of such a government, which is why it is suspected that he was not officially invited to the funeral of the founder of the new republic. Someone who maintained a close friendship with Tutu since childhood, back in the Transvaal, related years ago an anecdote of which the archbishop himself was apparently the author and that reflects his spirit: “Desmond Tutu dies. Judged by the whites, he naturally ends up condemned to hell. The fact goes unnoticed. However, a few days later, the devil knocks at the gates of heaven. Saint Peter opens it and the devil begs him, please, to allow him to extradite Tutu to paradise, where things are more flexible, because in hell he is denouncing all kinds of immoralities and injustices ”.

Desmond Tutu was neither orthodox nor radical in any sense. Perhaps that allowed him to represent the feelings of people who reject dogmatisms as limiting freedom and insufficient to explain the realities of life. His authorship is the idea that South Africa should be a “rainbow nation”, that is, that it admit all colors in harmony. He defended the respectability of diverse sexual preferences, spoke out in favor of assisted death to avoid unnecessary suffering, forgave the small weaknesses that we all carry inside and ever dared to say: “God, we know that you are in charge. But why don’t you make it a little more obvious?

With the weight of all these attributes and instead of going home to pamper his grandchildren, Desmond Tutu chaired, by appointment of Nelson Mandela, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a pioneering exercise of restorative justice, which involved inviting the perpetrators of atrocities, of all sides, to tell everything, in exchange for amnesty benefits. Surely the work of the Commission had imperfections. A few refused to testify and that caused annoyance. Normal. Many nerves, normal. But it was discovered that suddenly there were not so many monsters side by side, although there were many alienated by speeches and circumstances, and that, knowing many things, however horrible they had been, that truth that hurt served the cause of peace. Great service to the future of the nation.

Already by then he had been awarded, long ago, with the Nobel Peace Prize, won at the forefront of street action, at rallies under danger of death, from prison and in the controversy with the preachers of war, with exemplary attitude of tolerance, not as a manipulator who calculates the movements of others on his behalf. Prize that neither raised nor lowered his stature or spirits, which was always that of one of those clergymen that from the pious to the atheists can trust.

To illustrate the image of Tata (father), as they came to call Desmond Tutu, as well as Mandela, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, world head of the Anglican Church, sent a message to the funeral in which he said: “When we were in the dark, he brought light ”, and affirmed:“ For me, praising him is like a mouse that pays tribute to an elephant ”. It would all be said there, only Welby added: “The lights of many Nobel winners have gotten dimmer over time, but those of Archbishop Tutu have gotten brighter.” Now yes.

When reviewing his departure with sadness, one cannot fail to mention that one of the privileges that fate gave him was that of not ruling. If he had, he would have been wrong here or there. His measures would have been acclaimed by some and condemned by others, in both cases even with precarious reasons. He would have had to make calculations and appeal to different arguments from those of a happy archbishop in the midst of the worst circumstances, who, protected by the strength of his convictions and his moral stature, showed that progress and peace of the peoples is not only contributed from the government, but with the exercise of another type of authority.

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Tutu: the fortune of not ruling