Desmond Tutu, a light for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day

Died on December 26, the day after Christmas.

He fought on all fronts: against apartheid, homophobia, inequality, racism, violence, racism and any violation of rights, as well as against a strict religious morality (which, for example, condemned euthanasia, contraceptives…).

He always fought for peace and justice. And he was never complacent towards his Church, nor towards his friends once the apartheid regime was overthrown and they came to power.

He promoted a “Rainbow South Africa”. He is an icon of a Rainbow Land, made up of Rainbow peoples.

His words continue to inspire us:

“I wish I could shut up, but I can’t, and I won’t”.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality”.

“Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity”.

“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 recognising the humanity in others”.

“Enemies are always friends waiting to be made”.

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”.

“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 are made for loving. If we don’t love, we will be like plants without water”.

“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”.

“It is through weakness and vulnerability that most of us learn empathy and compassion and discover our soul”.

“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”.

“We are fragile creatures, and it is from this weakness, not despite it, that we discover the possibility of true joy”.

Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity.

“I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this. I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place.

“God is not a Christian”.

“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”.

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together”.

“There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom”.

“A person is a person because s/he recognizes others as persons”.

“My message to the international community is that our silence and complicity especially on the situation in Gaza shames us all”.

“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”.

“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”.

“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”.

“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”.

“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”.

“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”.

“Without forgiveness, there’s no future”.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”.

“Fogiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning”.

“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”.

“Love is stronger than hate”.

“Bringing people together is what I call ‘ubuntu’ which means ‘I am because we are’.

“Ultimately our greatest joy is when we seek to do good for others”.