Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Don't mess with our Tutu

Desmond Tutu, ever the good man, has just shown what true moral action looks like by announcing his refusal to share a platform with Tony Blair at a forthcoming event in South Africa.

What a deeply inspiring human being.

One shouldn't underestimate just how difficult it can be for major figures to snub establishment-protected elites like Blair.

How much easier it is just to be part of the cosy, hierarchical assembly, mixing with the global illuminati, ensconcing oneself at the top tables of political celebrity, sitting 'pragmatically' alongside leaders and ex-leaders with considerable blood on their hands.

Patronage and incorporation can be a particularly difficult thing to resist at the high altitudes of power.

Where, one wonders, does Tutu's principled decision leave all those top Labour Party suits and their media acolytes who recently feted Blair as part of his celebrated comeback? No less shamefaced, one suspects.

Yet, Tutu's decision is all the more significant in helping others now to follow his courageous example.

And the strength of his case lies not in any personal animus or actual hatred towards Blair the human being, but in a consistent desire to see appropriate legal and moral justice for his crimes. That's what makes his decision all the more laudable.

And what of those who have sponsored and shielded Blair in his role as Middle East 'peace envoy'?

Tutu's announcement came on the same day that an Israeli judge finally handed down his state-protecting verdict against the parents of Rachel Corrie. Another unsurprising example of big power ensuring that their own perpetrators of violence go unpunished.

While Desmond Tutu has consistently stood up for occupied and oppressed Palestinians, denouncing Israeli apartheid, Blair has doggedly advocated for their occupiers and oppressors, supporting its continuation.

In appointing Blair as 'peace-maker' and encouraging his apologetics for Israeli crimes, could there be any greater example of how the powerful seek to occupy the moral high ground while also using it as propaganda space to shelter their criminal own?

Tutu's carefully-considered decision is not just a welcome statement on Blair, it's an indictment of the whole protective apparatus of power.

As Tutu's own dark experience of South African apartheid and its aftermath shows, peace and reconciliation can come, even from the most painful of conflicts - a set of lessons and wise counsel he shared in his role as conciliator in Northern Ireland.

But with that difficult reflection and healing must also come due legal and moral process.

How, Tutu is asking, can the mass crimes carried out by Blair and others against Iraq and elsewhere be simply ignored or even relegated as 'regrettable mistakes'?

Blair has no apparent regrets over his actions. Quite the contrary.

And why should such mass suffering be rendered subservient now to the 'more immediate priorities' of 'onward development'?

Any just resolution must involve sincere, open admission of one's actions alongside proper assessment of all the evidence in a fully impartial court of law. Perhaps we might one day see both a meaningful set of war crime trials and a South African-style truth and reconciliation process to accompany it.

The honourable Desmond Tutu's latest stance may be dismissed by his critics as an indulgent gesture, a refusal to engage in the 'real world' of 'reconstruction' and 'peace-seeking diplomacy'.

But for the patiently gathering movement still seeking the arraignment of Blair and his war-consuming associates, Tutu's brave action is a landmark moment in their resilient pursuit of true legal and moral justice.


Tutu defends his decision and calls for Blair and Bush to be sent for trial at the Hague.
See also.

No comments: