Tag Archives: Tutu

Finally An African Leader Speaks About Human Rights!

Among the most serious problems on the African continent is failure on the part of its leaders to take a stand against violations of human rights by other African leaders. They are ready to thunder about colonialism or transgressions on the part of Europeans, but when it comes to thugs like Robert Mugabe or monsters like Sudan President al-Bashir, there is silence because no African leader wishes to break their unofficial vow never to speak ill of an African leader. It was a refreshing surprise to read in The New York Times a blasting column by Nobel Peace prize winner, Desmond Tutu who supports the trial of Sudan’s brutal leader on charges of war crimes against the people of Darfur. Tutu said he was ashamed that so many African leaders had rallied around Bashir. “Because the victims in Sudan are African, African leaders should be the staunchest supporters of efforts to se perpetrators brought to account.”

Instead of standing by those who have suffered, “African leaders have so far rallied behind the man responsible or turning that corner of Africa into a graveyard.”

Cry For My Beloved Country Says Bishop Tutu

Archbishop Desmond Tutu who played an important role in helping his beloved South Africa free itself from decades of segregation and oppression, said he was “hurting” and upset at what has been happening in his country and he has reached the point of wondering if he can even cast a vote in an election for the African National Congress(ANC). He is concerned about other trends such as the rise in support for restoring the death penalty. Many thoughtful South Africans are upset at recent events in the ANC which resulted in the forced resignation of President Mbeki and his replacement with a stand-in for Jacob Zuma who is expected to win the next presidential election.

But, for Tutu, the events earlier this year in which mobs ran wild killing and beating up immigrants was a shock and there is sadness that his beloved country harbors individuals who have so much hatred they are willing to beat up, and, if need be, kill innocent people because they were not born in South Africa.

“I am hurting for the a country I love deeply and I am trying to do what I can. I am not impotent. This is a cry from the heart.”

Tutu is expressing a cry from his heart, but as long as people such as Jacob Zuma remain politically powerful. Tutu’s cries will remain unanswered.

Bishop Tutu Urges Palestinian-Israel Peace

Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu spent several days in Gaza exploring conditions and seeking to find a way that would bring together Palestinians and Israelis. The South African cleric, heading a team of UN human rights observers, gathered stories from Gazans about Israel attacks that had killed civilians, including many children. Tutu said the purpose of the trip was to gather information for a report but he had to admit after listening to stories, “we are quite devastated.” A woman told him she had lost three brother-in-laws in one attack and her husband was killed two days prior to the air attack. Tutut commented “what we have seen confirms that what has happened(in Gaza) is totally unacceptble.”

The South African leader emphasized to Gazans that Israelis are also suffering due to Kassam rocket attacks on civilian targets. “The two people, Israeli and Plaestinian, can live peacefuly together but it cannot happen through acts of violence.” His comment did not meet with general approval from some Gazan officials. One mayor complained that rocket attacks are nothing comparable to Israel helicopters, but Tutu interrupted to say, “any attack against civilians, whatever their motivations, is a violation” against human rights. Israel refused visas to the UN group to investigate sites of rocket attacks.

Bishop Tutu’s even handed approach to dealing with attacks on civilians would make him an excellent mediator in working with Israelis and Palestinians.

Calm Before The Storm Atmosphere In Kenya

The situation in Kenya has become somewhat calm after the fury of outraged Kenyans ripped apart the nation in reaction to the attempt by President Kibaki to steal an election. Over 300 people are dead, including dozens of children, many of whom died trying to get out of a burning church. Several mediators are in Kenya led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. After talking with these negotiators, President Kibaki has finally indicated he is open to the possibility of a coalition government. However, the president made clear, violence against his government must cease and his opponents should seek legal redress in the courts if they disagree with the election results. He flatly rejected the idea put forth by opposition leader, Raila Odinga, for a three month interim government. Kibaki, apparently strongly influenced by Tutu, said, “We would accept even another election as long as the Constitution is followed. If the courts decide it, we would accept that.”

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner expressed the feelings of most diplomats when he said: “Were the elections rigged? I think so.” Many observers are expressing a desire for Secretary of Rice to fly to Kenya and use her influence over Kibaki who has close ties with the Bush administration.

Desmond Tutu, South African Leader Denounces China

Bishop Desmond Tutu, the famous South African cleric, told a Swedish audience he personally would boycott the Beijing 2008 Olympics unless China uses it s leverage over the government of Myanmar to insist on respect for democratic principles and a halt to violence against monks. He referred to Burma’s leader of the democratic opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi, as the “Nelson Mandela of Burma.” After his speech several members of the Swedish cabinet marched in support of the Burmese people.

Bishop Tutu has raised the only available weapon left to thwart Burma’s military junta-force China to use its influence and economic power in Burma to demand the respect for law and order.