Archbishop Desmond Tutu oversaw South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In this 1997 speech, recently reprinted in Yes! magazine in response to calls for a truth and reconciliation process here in the US to “address the abysmal — and often lethal — racial inequalities,” Tutu talked about what the commission meant to the people of South Africa.
There have been those who have been vociferous in asserting that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), far from promoting reconciliation, has in fact done the opposite. It has engendered resentment and anger. It has opened old wounds and fostered alienation. I have challenged those who have made these assertions to provide us with the evidence that would support their claims, because our experience has been the direct opposite.
In many ways it has been unbelievable. It has been almost breathtaking — this willingness to forgive, this magnanimity, this nobility of spirit.
I am in very good company when I said apartheid was intrinsically evil, immoral and un-Christian. In Port Elizabeth at the Mtimkulu hearing, police officers testified to doing some terrible things: drugging the coffee of their charges, shooting one behind the ear and then burning his corpse. And while this cremation was going on t...
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