Tributes Reflect Tutu's Reach

Palestinians, Israelis join appreciation of crusader against injustice
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2021 7:10 PM CST
Tributes Reflect Tutu's Reach
A woman weeps Monday outside the historical Soweto home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Johannesburg, South Africa.   (AP Photo/Shiraaz Mohamed)

Tributes to Archbishop Desmond Tutu offered a reminder that his influence was felt far beyond South Africa. The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who died Sunday, was remembered for his courage, his humanity, and his "impish sense of humor." The tributes came from:

  • The Bidens: "His legacy transcends borders and will echo throughout the ages," the couple said, the New York Times reports.
  • Zinhle Gamede: “I think that people who fought for our freedom are great people. We are in a better place because of them," said the 16-year-old in Johannesburg, per the AP.
  • The Dalai Lama: "I am convinced the best tribute we can pay him and keep his spirit alive is to do as he did and constantly look to see how we too can be of help to others," he wrote to Tutu's daughter, Mpho Tutu van Furth.
  • Hanan Ashrawi: "His support for Palestine was an embrace of love and empathy," the former Panestinian official said, per CNN.
  • Arthur Lenk: "He wasn't a friend of Israel, but that said, he was a man of great achievement, heroism and bravery," said the former Israeli ambassador to South Africa. "And anyone who celebrates democracy knows that he's at the top of the list of people who should be honored, even if he didn't see our issue the way we would have liked him to."
  • Joni Madison: Tutu's "powerful allyship will never be forgotten," said the interim president of the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group. "We are forever grateful."
  • The Rev. Bernice King: "A great, influential elder is now an eternal, witnessing ancestor,”" said the daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. "And we are better because he was here."
  • Green Matters: "Tutu was a major advocate for transitioning to cleaner means of energy, and worked hard to encourage others to join the fight against climate change," the website posted. "At the 2014 UN Climate Summit, he explained the importance of environmental intersectionality, making others aware of environmental injustices that so many minorities and vulnerable groups face on a regular basis."
  • Barack Obama: "He never lost his impish sense of humor and willingness to find humanity in his adversaries," said the former president, who also said Tutu was "concerned with injustice everywhere."
  • Tutu van Furth: "My father campaigned for women's ordination," said the Anglican minister, "and so every time I stand at the altar I know that this is part of his legacy."
(More Desmond Tutu stories.)

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