58 Inspiring Thoughts & Quotations By Desmond Tutu, Who Endeavors To Make The World A Better Place
Founder / Co Founder:
Tutu Foundation for Development and Relief
When we speak of ‘racism’, many prominent leaders come to our mind. One such personality is Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He came under the limelight during the 1980s apartheid movement in South Africa. He was a great opponent of the Apartheid, and has been active in the defense of human rights and still fights for the rights of the oppressed. He is a recipient of Nobel Peace Prize, Gandhi Peace Prize, Sydney Peace Prize and Presidential Medal of Freedom. In his four decades of public life, Desmond Tutu has been quite vocal on several issues close to his heart. He has expressed his thoughts through his speeches, quotes, writings, columns and books, which include homosexuality and the Church, fashion, reconciliation, justice, apartheid, and sanctions. The quotes contained in his writings and speeches reflect his thoughts on these issues. Here is a selection of some of his memorable quotes on a range of topics.
Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. Don't raise your voice, improve your argument."
[Address at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, Johannesburg, South Africa, 23 November 2004] We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low. Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another. When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said "Let us pray." We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. We learn from history that we don't learn from history! When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others. Like when you sit in front of a fire in winter — you are just there in front of the fire. You don't have to be smart or anything. The fire warms you. If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. Language is very powerful. Language does not just describe reality. Language creates the reality it describes. Religion is like a knife: you can either use it to cut bread, or stick in someone's back. We are made for loving. If we don’t love, we will be like plants without water. You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. Dear Child of God, I am sorry to say that suffering is not optional. Though wrong gratifies in the moment, good yields its gifts over a lifetime. There is nothing more difficult than waking someone who is only pretending to be asleep. Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring. We must be ready to learn from one another, not claiming that we alone possess all truth and that somehow we have a corner on God. It is through weakness and vulnerability that most of us learn empathy and compassion and discover our soul. A person is a person through other persons; you can't be human in isolation; you are human only in relationships. Our maturity will be judged by how well we are able to agree to disagree and yet continue to love one another, to care for one another, and cherish one another and seek the greater good of the other. Do a little bit of good wherever you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity. I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. To be neutral in a situation of injustice is to have chosen sides already. It is to support the status quo. There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river.
We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in. Life is more than breath and a heartbeat; meaning and purpose are the life of life. I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights. To forgive is not just to be altruistic. We are not responsible for what breaks us, but we can be responsible for what puts us back together again. Naming the hurt is how we begin to repair our broken parts. My message to the international community is that our silence and complicity especially on the situation in Gaza shames us all. It is almost like the behaviour of the military junta in Burma There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom True peace must be anchored in justice and an unwavering commitment to universal rights for all humans, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, national origin or any other identity attribute. A person is a person because s/he recognizes others as persons. My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. When your dreams turn to dust, vacuum. Renewing a relationship is a creative act. We make a new relationship. It is possible to build a new relationship regardless of the realities of the old relationship. One of the most blasphemous consequences of injustice, especially racist injustice, is that it can make a child of God doubt that he or she is a child of God. People are not born hating each other and wishing to cause harm. It is a learned condition. We are always at our best when compassion enables us to recognize the unique pressures and singular stories of the people on the other side of our conflicts. To treat anyone as if they were less than human, less than a brother or a sister, no matter what they have done, is to contravene the very laws of our humanity. Healing means that our dignity is restored and we are able to move forward in our lives. We shall be free only together, black and white. We shall survive only together, black and white. We can be human only together, black and white. There is a certain kind of dignity we admire, and to which we aspire, in the person who refuses to meet anger with anger, violence with violence, or hatred with hatred. Do not heal in isolation. Connecting with others is how we develop compassion for others and for ourselves. In our own ways, we are all broken. Out of that brokenness, we hurt others. Forgiveness is the journey we take toward healing the broken parts. It is how we become whole again. In the sentiment of Mahatma Gandhi, when we practice the law of an eye for an eye, we all end up blind. I would like to share with you two simple truths: there is nothing that cannot be forgiven, and there is no one un-deserving of forgiveness. The quality of human life on our planet is nothing more than the sum total of our daily interactions with one another. Each time we help, and each time we harm, we have a dramatic impact on our world.
Without forgiveness, there's no future.
Order to truly forgive oneself, one must either explicitly or implicitly acknowledge that one’s behavior was wrong and accept responsibility or blame for such behavior.
My first point seems overwhelmingly simple: that the accidents of birth and geography determine to a very large extent to what faith we belong.
It is small comfort to a mouse, if an elephant is standing on its tail, to say 'I am impartial.' In this instance, you are really supporting the elephant in its cruelty.
Somewhere deep inside us we seem to know that we are destined for something better than strife.
It is true that when we harm others, we harm ourselves; but it is just as true that when we help others, we also help ourselves. Forgiveness is nothing less than the way we heal the world. We heal the world by healing each and every one of our hearts. The process is simple, but it is not easy.