No Future Without Forgiveness, by Desmond Mpilo Tut
As the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in South Africa, Desmond Tutu was the leading international spokesman against apartheid and the natural choice to head that country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. His deeply sincere book gives an indispensable view of what the TRC was about, spiritually and ideologically.
His moving personal narrative arches over the many narratives that made up the TRC testimony. But for the sake of future human rights efforts, we must try to see beyond the giant charm of this tiny man and separate the achievements of the TRC from his advocacy of it.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).