Desmond Tutu is a short man. He is a man larger then most, though. When he took that stage tonight, his presence commanded attention and respect. He started out the evening with a moment of silence for Rosa Parks. You could hear a hair hit the floor.
He said he was honored to be here in Greensboro, NC. He talked about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission we have here, the first in the US. He was the head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa when apartheid ended. He applauded Greensboro for taking this step towards truth and reconciliation.
Mr. Tutu told several stories about the horrors of South Africa, before it's people were freed. He then waved his magic wand over us all, turning us into South Africans, and had us applaud the people of the United States. He thanked our people for helping to give his people freedom and equality. He then waved the wand again turning us back into Americans. He said thank you over and over pointing to all sections of a packed house.
He talked about the two hardest words to say, "I'm sorry". This was in context to the Amnesty granted in exchange for the truth of what happened and was this right to grant Amnesty to the violators in South Africa?
Again, I can not stress how funny a man Desmond Tutu is. His delivery of every story had you grip your seat and then burst with laughter.
The quote of the evening, "Real peace will never come from the barrel of a gun". How true this is, especially with all that is going on in the Middle East.
He spoke for a little longer then 45 minutes. I think it is safe to say that I wasn't the only one on the edge of my seat, attention drawn and locked in on a man who can be compared to the greats, MLK, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, you get my point. I was honored for a second time in one night to be in the presence of greatness.
If you could not make it, keep checking the TV schedule at www.wunc.org , they are going to air this at a later date. I will try to keep an eye out for a date and time so you all can enjoy what I had the pleasure of seeing tonight. Check out Chewie's site and Jeff Thigpen's site for more coverage, I ran into both of them at the event and I am sure they will have more to say.