Desmond Tutu invokes Martin Luther King's dream on Wales visit

By staff writers
6 Nov 2012

As US voters go to the polls in the presidential election today, retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu invoked the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. on a brief but enthusiastic visit to Wales.

Speaking yesterday at the Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr school in Fairwater, Cardiff, he urged Welsh children and their parents to keep dreaming of a united world and working to ensure that it happens.

Accompanied by Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones, Dr Tutu said he believed that many young people were still idealistic enough to want to end world poverty, and to heal people and planet.

The former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, a famous campaigner for human rights and opponent of apartheid, was in Wales to recognise the work of the Welsh Government's international development programme, 'Wales for Africa'.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner praised the school for its social rights work, including a link with the Moshoeshoe II High School in Lesotho.

Desmond Tutu also spoke at a dinner in City Hall, Cardiff, thanking the Welsh people for their part in helping to free South Africa from apartheid.

"These young people God has used to accomplish God's purposes, in so many, many parts of the world," Dr Tutu said to sixth form students.

"Young people are idealistic. They dream dreams," he continued. "They imagine that they can make poverty history. They care. They dream God's dream of a different kind of world."

Archbishop Tutu said: "I want to urge you - go on dreaming. Go on dreaming this fantastic kind of world that God has sought to have. A world where war isn't normal. A world where we don't spend so much money on arms, or instruments of death and destruction.

"We spend billions when a very, very small fraction of the budgets that we spend on what we call defence - just a minute fraction - could ensure that children everywhere could have clean water to drink and a decent home and adequate healthcare, and good education.

"Dream of that kind of world, which is God's dream for all of us", he concluded.

The First Minister made reference to Martin Luther King's famous 'I Have A Dream' speech in 1963.

Mr Jones said: "For nearly 30 years such a system existed in South Africa, where people were judged exactly by the colour of their skin. [This] determined whether they had access to decent education, decent healthcare, employment, decent housing. A system that enshrined in law the supposed superiority of some races over others.

"In Wales we have a proud record of opposing Apartheid. I remember in the 1980s when I was a student taking part in the protests all over Wales in the anti-Apartheid movements," he said. "But for all that we did, we didn't have to confront Apartheid on a daily basis. We didn't have to run the risk of imprisonment or worse, because of opposition to such an inhuman system."

Archbishop Tutu responded: "The First Minister referred to Martin Luther King - and his dream. I too have a dream. God says that one day my children will wake up and realise that they are members of one family. The human family. That they will know that these others are in fact my brothers and sisters."

"How can I want to bomb my brothers or my sisters?" he asked. "Why would I want to spend so much on defence, when my brothers and sisters are struggling, and they're poor?"

Archbishop Tutu has continued to campaign for peace and justice since his retirement. He has also been critical of the African National Congress, which has an entrenched majority in modern South African politics, urging those who struggled against apartheid to live up to their aspirations.

[Ekk/3]

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