‘Stability and forgiveness are not easy to obtain.  It is costly for those who come forward but they have to look at what would happen if they did not.  What happens when you quarrel with your wife?  Because I think in that a particular situation, in every language, in every culture, the most difficult words you have to say are: “I’m sorry.  Forgive me.”  Otherwise, actually, there is no future in that relationship.  Basically, I am saying that even in the world, forgiveness is not just a spiritual something that is nebulous.  It is, in fact, real.  There will be no future without forgiveness.  Any process of peace and stability can come through the gun of vengeance…

People are shocked when I say that George Bush and Saddam Hussein are brothers, that Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon are brothers.  But God says, “All are my children.”  It is shocking.  It is radical.  But it is true.  We in South Africa had the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and we had the most devastating revelations of ghastly atrocities.  We could describe them as monstrous, even demonic.  But even these torturers remained children of God, with a possibility of being able to change.  All of us have the capacity to change, even to become saints…

One of the things we learned in South Africa is that there is no true security from the barrel of a gun.  There is no peace without justice, and safety only comes when desperation ends.  Inevitably, it is when people sit down and talk that desperation ends.  Negotiations happen not between friends but between enemies.  And a surprising thing does seem to take place.  Enemies begin to find that they can actually become friends, or at least partners for the common good.  They come together and then actually ask themselves, “Why did we take so long to get to this point?  Why did so many people have to die?”  Of course, you must have leaders who are willing to take risks and not just seek to satisfy the often-extreme feelings of their constituencies.  They have to lead by example, be ready to compromise, to accomodate, not to be intransigent, and not to assert that they have a bottom line.  Intransigence and ultimatums only lead to more death.

Our ability to do evil is intimately connected to our ability to do good.  One is meaningless without the other.  Empathy and compassion have no meaning unless they occur in a situation where one could be callous and indifferent to the suffering of others.  But the choice is ours.  God has given us this incredible gift – the gift of being able to make choices.  We have to live with the consequences of those choices.  He still does not abandon us!  He has been very good to us, and maybe there is something for the world to learn, from both our mistakes and some of our achievements.’

(From the foreword to Towards A Culture Of Harmony And Peace (ed. T.D. Singh, Ph.D.) by Desmond M. Tutu (Nobel Laureate in Peace)).