Wednesday, July 4, 2007

What Desmond Tutu Said …


The older I get, the more I learn not to judge a book by its cover. Like many, I rever Archbishop Desmond Tutu, but consider him a boring interview subject, and when you tell me that his interviewer comes in the irritating robes of Brad Pitt, you turn me completely off. But then this is Vanity Fair, and with VF, I read every article. And I am glad for that. Here I take two responses from the interview (in this month’s spectacular – no matter what the critics, who haven't even read it(!), say – Africa Issue) that almost knocked me off with their profundity: they are not novel insights by any means, but what struck me is the force and beauty of the restatements:

Brad Pitt: So certainly, discrimination has no place in Christianity. There’s a big argument going on in America now, on gay rights and equality.
Desmond Tutu: For me, I couldn’t ever keep quiet. I come from a situation where for a very long time people were discriminated against, made to suffer for something about which they could do nothing - their ethnicity. We were made to suffer because we were not white. Then, for a very long time in our church, we didn’t ordain women, and we were pernalizing a huge section of humanity for something about which they could do nothing – their gender. And I’m glad that now the church has changed all that. I’m glad that apartheid has ended. I could not for the part of me be able to keep quiet, because people were being penalized, ostracized, treated as if they were less than human, because of something they could do nothing to change – their sexual orientation. For me, I can’t imagine the Lord that I worship, this Jesus Christ, actually concurring with the persecution of a minority that is already being persecuted… Our church, the Anglican Church, is experiencing a very, very serious crisis. It is all to do with human sexuality,. I think God is weeping. He is weeping that we should be spending so much energy, time, resources on this subject at a time when the world is aching.

Brad Pitt:… You said about apartheid, that is was operated on the principles of exclusion. I can’t help but think that the same thing is going on with our trade rules.
Desmond Tutu: We have the capacity to feed everybody on our planet. We have the capacity to ensure that everybody has clean water. We have the capacity to ensure that everybody has affordable health care. We can prevent many of the diseases to which our children in the poorer parts of the world succumb. For goodness’ sake, why don’t we wake up to the fact that you can’t have an apartheid security? You can’t have apartheid prosperity. If you are going to have security, it’s going to be security for all. If you are going to have prosperity, it is going to be prosperity for all. If you want to be free, you can’t have a quarantine freedom. It’s going to be freedom for all. And if you want to be human, we are not going to be able to be human in isolation; it will be that we are human together. (Emphasis mine)

(c) Vanity Fair

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

To which critics exactly do you refer? Name them if you have the spine and don't take cheap shots.

Chude! said...

Christ! Do certain people just sit around looking for trouble whgere there is none?! I have read certain bloggers who have written off the magazine and say they havent read it! I do not need to mention their names - because it isn't necessary! Christ, I didnt even mean it in bad faith! Please, just leave me alone... go go go!

snazzy said...

most criticisms of the vanity fair issue I've read (at least the non-rants) hinge on two issues: The lack of representation of african voices and perspectives and the promotion of the aid agenda in the aid versus investment debate. In rebuttal people tend to be saying "what does it matter as long as the awareness of Africa is being raised?" or things of that nature.

I've always been of the "it's better to give an entrepreneur N1000 than to give a charity N1000" school but if things like this issue allow both then so be it. After all it is unlikely that someone who is going to invest will change his mind and give to charity, but someone who wasn't going to do anything may decide to give aid, and yay for us I suppose. Anyway this is kinda long and so I'ma stop but nice post

mystoriesmytestimonies said...

i bought my copy today...late... could only get the one with bill gate, his wife and warren on the cover..sad....i wanted the one with oprah...lol
will order the one with all the covers online...hmmm..

... i support BONO's DaTA ...cos at least he did his research...

let me go and read the magazine..

ababoypart2 said...

I am still reading VF's Africa Special . Haven't got to DT's interview yet, but so far I have nothing but kind words for Bono's work.

Chude! said...

@snazzy

On the aid v investment argument, there's this brilliant comment on Funmi Iyanda's equally brillinat post on the subject that I have excerpted here:

"God bless the Oprahs, the Bonos, the Gateses; everyone who is color-blind enough to see gaping holes in developing economies (*cough* africa) & toil day and night to fix them as best they can.

it'd be great to have an idiot's guide to nation-fixing where everything is laid out in black and white. it'd be great to devise a foolproof way of doing several of the things you've mentioned...but in the absence of all the answers... i'd much rather be doing something to improve someone's situation than leave things as they are. we pray for a new breed of visionary young people who can direct our resources for maximum benefit. until they make themselves known, we do what we can, as we can.

africa should take it upon herself to lift herself up. i'm all for that, too. however, as she makes up her mind on the whens and hows, she might like to use the crutches the west have ever so kindly thrown her way."

On African representation on VF: I ask, what is the point if VF has put Chimamanda on the cover, and the average American buyer who doesnt know who the heck she is doesnt buy the magazine: wouldnt the whole point of drwaing their attention be defeated just because they want to soothe wanton egos???

As you saiod, yay for us any which way as far as help that we need is coming! thanks for dropping by.

Chude! said...

@mystories,
EXACTLY! Most of the rant-ers against Bono, Bob Geldof, etc do not know HALF as much as these people know aboput Africa's issues!! I also wanted Oprah too o!lol

@ababoy,
Yes, you get that when you read through the mag. It is brilliant work. I really, REALLY feel sorry for people who criticize without having read it - they lose. They really lose. thanks fro dropping in

mystoriesmytestimonies said...

so far i love the magazine...
will finish it tomorrow ...i am on call tomorrow night[friday]... pediatrics floor... i love my life... lol

....BONO is soooo cool... love him

...chinualumogu[ chinua] achebe...beautiful name....did not know his full name until last night from the mag... will name my first son after him...lol

it means' my God fights for me'....

UnNaked Soul said...

if it isn't what it is then it is what it isn't. find out what isn't and everything else is what it is if you see it as what it is and not what it isn't.

Did I confuse you? I bet not. *wink*

Chude! said...

LOL. I swear, it's such a neautiful name! Chimamanda and The Godfather have SOOOO many things in common!

And yes, that's the word: Bono is COOL. That's why I really feel sorry for those who dont want to engage. Oya answer your tag o!lol

@unnaked,

hmm...

Ana said...

I'm so glad you put those two parts of the article on your blog. They struck me as incredibly profound - no one else quite felt the same way when I had them read it, though. It's nice to know that the interview is getting the attention it so deserves.

Thanks!

t said...

Ana said...

I'm so glad you put those two parts of the article on your blog. They struck me as incredibly profound

I agree. Thank you for re-printing those here.

Chude! said...

thanks for dropping by ana,
I know that feeling. It eats me too! Cant they see what I see?!lol. BUt year Desmond Tutu said it as it should be.

@t,
thanks for being one of those who appreciate the interview!!