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PR-TUTU-JANSEN SAPA PR -- OPEN LETTER FROM ARCHBISHOP TUTU TO PROFESSOR JANSEN
Oct 19, 2009 at 03:36 PM
Issued by: Oryx Media

Attention: News Editors

For immediate release:

OPEN LETTER FROM ARCHBISHOP EMERITUS DESMOND TUTU TO PROFESSOR
JONATHAN JANSEN

19 October 2009

Dear Professor Jansen,

I write to salute you warmly for your outstanding and courageous
Braam Fisher Lecture on the occasion last week of your induction as
Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State.

I want to commend you especially for your magnanimous gesture in
forgiving the four students responsible for the disgusting racial
episode caught on camera at the Reitz student hostel in 2007, and
allowing them to return to the university to complete their studies
if they so wish.

Your magnanimity has aroused the ire of quite a few, who argue
that it could encourage a repeat of such despicable conduct; and
that the perpetrators should be dealt with firmly and not with a
sentimental wishy-washiness.

I, on the contrary, salute you, for you have done us proud!

Revenge and retribution are easy, being the path of least
resistance. Forgiveness is not for sissies. Our scriptures declare
that it an attribute that makes us Godlike.

"Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful," is what Jesus
bade his followers. St. Paul urged us to be, "tender-hearted,
forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you".

Had Madiba advocated retribution and revenge when he emerged
from prison would he be revered today as a moral colossus
bestriding our universe? Of course not. He is admired precisely
because he advocated forgiveness not revenge, reconciliation not
retribution.

Where would we be as a country had we chosen revenge and a
policy of an eye for an eye rather than the process of the TRC? Our
beautiful land would have been reduced to dust and ashes. But
instead of that fate, we were constantly left speechless by the
amazing generosity of spirit of persons who by right should have
been consumed by bitterness and a lust for revenge.

Mahatma Gandhi said: "Where the law of an eye for eye obtains,
all the people will become blind."

Revenge is contrary to the spirit of ubuntu/botho. To forgive
reflects the generosity of this ubuntu/botho. Thank you for being
an embodiment of this spirit.

It is important to note that you have not ignored the plight of
the victims of the disgraceful conduct at Reitz hostel, for you
have pledged that the University will offer them reparations.

I pray that the culprits and their families will have the
decency to ask the forgiveness of their victims for the sake of
their own spiritual health, for without forgiveness this incident
will corrode their souls.

Dear Professor. You are a great man. Count me among your
admirers and supporters. Free State has just experienced a
wonderful weekend, thanks to you and the Cheetahs!

It is people like you who will make our beloved country the
great land it
can become. God bless you.

Desmond Tutu

Issued on behalf of the Office of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond
Tutu by Oryx Media.

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