Radical Heroes

From Desmond Tutu to Bill Crews

With the passing of Desmond Tutu on the 26th of December, many of us are feeling the loss of a moral giant. He was not only at the forefront of dismantling Apartheid in South Africa, but headed up the radical response that attempted to deal with the perpetrators of inter-racial violence – not by prison, but by granting asylum to perpetrators who were willing to confess. This was hugely controversial. I was in Johannesburg at the time, looking into their processes of reconciliation and ‘healing of memories’, and I felt the social disquiet. But by offering the promise of forgiveness he opened the possibility of truth-telling; and by offering victims the chance to confront their confessing abusers, he opened the possibility of healing enmity.

How often we saw photos of Tutu, head in hands, weeping openly as he listened to a litany of atrocities. It took an enormous toll on him to guide the hope for reconciliation as a new ‘rainbow’ nation that might move on from its hideous, corrupt and divisive past. What a light Desmond Tutu is for us who benefit from his extraordinary life!

This morning on the ABC’s ‘Life Matters’ I heard an interview with another of my heroes – Rev Bill Crews. Alongside Father Bob Maguire, ministering at St Kilda in Melbourne, who also just gets on with the job of compassion regardless, Bill Crews is one of those disarmingly open and honest folk who calls a spade a spade and, by his very life, challenges our foundations. He just gets on with what is bleedingly obvious.

I’m looking forward to a bit of holiday inspirational reading.
(notice that like Tutu and the Dali Llama, Bill’s laughter is only an eye-blink away!)

Bill Crews’ new book.

Here’s the ABC interview. I thoroughly recommend it.

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