Sworn To Keep His Legacy…
The recent passing away of Desmond Mpilo Tutu OMSG CH GCStJ (October 7, 1931 – December 26, 2021), the South African Anglican Bishop and Theologian, can literally be considered the end of an era. It was an era when the Mass Leaders did not connect with the masses through the Arithmetic of Politics, rather, they used to consider the overall welfare of mankind as a Moral Exercise. This Black Archbishop had been active in the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa since World War II. It is a fact that the Nobel Peace Laureate did not face imprisonment, like Nelson Mandela and other political activists; as he was the Head of the Anglican Church. However, the way he advocated Justice as the first Black African Bishop of Johannesburg (1985-86) and Archbishop of Cape Town (1986-96) was also exceptional. Although the State Policy of Apartheid came to an end in 1991, he had continued with his struggle. Archbishop Tutu had always been active as a mirror of conscience. He used to exercise his influence on society for public welfare.
His teachings are still important, and more than relevant. As Archbishop Tutu was a spiritual leader, spiritualism was the essence of his political righteousness, which is hard to imagine, nowadays. The sense of righteousness empowered him in the unequal struggle against the mighty State Apparatus. Even after winning this battle, he did not allow hatred to influence the society, and just like Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, too, used the Language of Religion while playing a constructive Political Role. The essence of modern day Politics, based on Religion, is Division, and hence, the values of Democracy and Pluralism are gradually getting eroded. Such type of Politics does not respect everyone, but talks of exclusion. Archbishop Tutu’s Politics spoke of a completely different worldview, which still educates one how to use Religion in order to unite people. In his condolence message, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has mentioned the nomination of Archbishop Tutu for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, saying: “He showed the power of reconciliation and forgiveness. Never has a Peace Prize been so fitting.“
One can realise this fact by looking at Archbishop Tutu’s homeland, South Africa. In the Post-Apartheid Period, South Africa adopted the Policy of Restorative Justice. It was basically a system of public hearing by putting the oppressor and the oppressed face to face. In this system, the recognition of oppression was more important than punishing the oppressor. It may be noted that sentencing was key in the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials after World War II, and that too keeping in mind the contemporary global politics and diplomacy. People did not get justice even in the post-Soviet Eastern Bloc. Instead, people experienced revenge, as the real oppressors, too, sought rehabilitation under the new system.
Archbishop Tutu was the Chairperson of Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), a court-like restorative justice body assembled in South Africa in 1996 after the end of Apartheid. Under his guidance, the TRC dedicated itself in finding truth, and doing social reconstruction. Archbishop Tutu wanted Political Righteousness and the aspirations of Social Welfare to encourage the Mass Leaders.
In a press statement, US President Joe Biden and the First Lady mourned the loss of Archbishop Tutu, describing him as an extraordinary leader, who joyously devoted his life to celebrating and advancing human dignity, justice, and morality. He was unassuming, but no less inspiring to the world. The US president also said that his compassion, moral clarity, and uncompromising struggle against injustice and oppression helped guide his country out of the darkness of Apartheid and galvanised people around the world to stand up for what is right. “His voice will endure through the ages, and his legacy will continue to resonate as a gift to all humanity,” stressed President Biden.
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