Tutu brings message of peace to Minneapolis

  • Article by: ELIZABETH DUNBAR , Associated Pre
  • Updated: April 12, 2008 - 7:22 AM

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu spoke of making friends out of enemies, saying President Bush, Osama bin Laden and every other human are a part of the same family.Today, Tutu is to take part in a service project in north Minneapolis.

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Friday. He and his daughter Naomi were in the Twin Cities for a “PeaceJam” conference to bring together young people and adults to foster leadership and peace-building skills.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

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 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu had kind words Friday for First Lady Laura Bush and both Democratic candidates for president.

But when asked about President Bush's world legacy, Tutu avoided the question by saying the First Lady would be remembered for her concern for the situation in Burma. He then left the stage in an exaggerated tiptoe as the audience roared.

Dressed in a fuchsia robe and cap, the South African archbishop entertained about 2,000 people Friday night at a lecture hosted by Metropolitan State University at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Tutu spoke of making friends out of enemies, saying President Bush, Osama bin Laden and every other human are a part of the same family.

"An enemy is a friend waiting to be made. An enemy is really a member of my family," Tutu said.

He questioned military spending, saying governments spend "really obscene amounts" of money on war, even though everyone knows a small fraction of it could help parts of the world have access to food, clean water, better health care and education.

After the 20-minute lecture, Tutu answered questions from the audience during a conversation on stage with Minnesota Public Radio journalist Kerri Miller.

He lamented the situation in Zimbabwe, where the recent presidential election remains unresolved. Zimbabwe's opposition has accused President Robert Mugabe's regime of waging a violent crackdown in an attempt to keep power.

"Something snapped in him, I think," Tutu said of Mugabe, saying he should "step down with dignity."

When asked about the prospect of having a woman or black man become president of the United States, Tutu said both Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama's candidacies should be celebrated.

"Race is still alive in many ways. There's a great pain in the hearts of many, many African-Americans," Tutu said, adding that it was "fantastic" that a black man was seen as a credible candidate.

Of Clinton, Tutu said "she is a worthy candidate in her own right."

Tutu's visit was part of the PeaceJam youth conference, which unites young people with Nobel laureates. On Saturday, Tutu planned to take part in a service project in north Minneapolis.

Tutu's visit was moved to Metropolitan State University after the University of St. Thomas decided against inviting the Nobel laureate, citing concerns about past critical comments Tutu made regarding Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Angry reaction from around the world surfaced, and St. Thomas officials apologized and re-invited Tutu, but he declined.


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