Millennium 2000: RacismAired January 3, 2000 - 2:07 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: In a world on the move, an old enemy waits.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do in every human interaction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: After slavery, after the Holocaust, racism lurks in the new millennium all across the globe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't say to people race doesn't matter, biological race doesn't matter, because it is does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Is there a chance for change?
The arrival of a new millennium delivers many things: new hopes, fresh beginnings, and reflections. It can also provide perspective. One topic is racism, a human drama that has never been constrained by national boundaries. For the sake of illustration, we'll focus on a microcosm: South Africa. The country's governmental power was once derived, in part, on racial divide. Apartheid guided decisions and set policy on the premise that blacks were second-class citizens. The century ended, however, with an imprisoned leader of black indignation ascending to the once unimaginable role of president.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN ANCHOR: It would be impossible to assume, and insulting to promise, that we'll do full justice to the complex history, or the implications, of apartheid in this hour.
ALLEN: What we can provide is perspective, thanks to our guests. They stood on opposite sides of the racial chasm, but together helped reconcile that great divide. Archbishop Desmond Tutu won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his work against apartheid. He's in Massachusetts. And Pik Botha served as minister of affairs for 17 years, and later served in the cabinet of Nelson Mandela. He is in Johannesburg. And we thank you both for being with us. Archbishop Tutu, at the height of apartheid, what did you feel toward whites? ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU, NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER: Many times when I got quite angry, angry because you could be made to feel so small. When you're walking with your kid and she saw our children on, say, swings, and she'd say, Daddy, I want to go on those swings, and you died many times inside because you said to your child, no, darling, you can't go. And she'd say, but why? And it was only because she was of a different color that she couldn't go and play with other children. It was those small things that eroded your personal and filled you with an incredible kind of sense of inadequacy. That was the awfulness of it.
ALLEN: Mr. Botha, same question for you. At the height of apartheid, what did you feel toward blacks?
PIK BOTHA, FMR. S. AFRICAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER: Certainly, all my life I considered them to be fellow creatures of God. Different, yes, in the sense that historically we belonged to different ethnic groups, and I certainly felt that exactly what Archbishop Tutu just said, that there were severe inequalities, which you murdered, oppressed and dominated the black people throughout this country. When the greed (ph) of holding ethnicity into such a statute where blacks could be their own prime ministers, (OFF-MIKE)
ALLEN: Mr. Botha we're having some audio difficulties. We're going to work on that and get back to our conversation in a moment.
Well, as destructive as hate can be, it can be equally powerful.
MANN: It can motivate armies, divide enemies, even, as the world saw in Nazi Germany, unify nations. But is racism a creation of man or an instinct? Do we learn to hate or rather, learn to suppress it?
CNN's Bruce Burkhardt looks at racism from a different viewpoint now.
YOLANDA MOSES, CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGIST: This simple four-letter word that is so complex, perhaps one of the most complex phenomena that we have had to deal with in this millennium.
BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So what is it about us human beings that so often causes us to believe that another who looks different than us is either is inferior or to be feared, even eradicated. No part of the globe is immune. Why did the Chinese once believe that the white man was descended from monkeys.
MOSES: The Japanese and Chinese were appalled. The Europeans didn't bathe, and they smelled.
BURKHARDT: And why did the European settlers of North America see fit to dehumanize and enslave millions of Africans?
HENRY LOUIS GATES JR., AUTHOR, "WONDERS OF THE AFRICAN WORLD": They needed cheap labor to develop the New World. Well, the easiest way to do that is to find a group of people who are readily identifiable.
BURKHARDT: And why did the Nazis arrive at their final solution, resulting in the slaughter of millions of Jews?
GEORGE FREDRICKSON, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: That's probably the most hideous example of racism in world history is the Holocaust and the extermination of six million Jews because of their -- what was thought to be their inherently evil nature that they carried in their -- physically, from generation to generation.
BURKHARDT (on camera): And why? One hundred and thirty-seven years after Abraham Lincoln emancipated the slaves, 37 years after Martin Luther King stood here on these very steps and delivered his "I Have a Dream Speech," why does the union that Lincoln fought so hard to save still struggle with issues of race? All the more perplexing, since scientifically speaking there is no such thing as race.
MOSES: What do you mean there's no such thing as race? Then how come this person looks like this and that person looks like that? Well, it's because of their genetic makeup and the fact that all humans, regardless of where they are in the world, have some minute differences. But by and large, they're 99.9 percent exactly the same.
BURKHARDT (voice-over): Yolanda Moses, a cultural anthropologist, says we could have just as easily divided everybody up by blood type. But can't see a person's blood type.
SHELBY STEELE, AUTHOR, "A DREAM DEFERRED": The idea is when I see someone who has a different skin color than mine, a different hair texture than mine, there's something in us as human beings that, almost a compulsion, by which we want to take the parts of ourselves that we're uncomfortable with, that we don't even admit to, and project it on that other race.
BURKHARDT: Shelby Steele has stirred controversy with his writings arguing against affirmative action. But what's not controversial is this notion of projection.
STEELE: We do know that human beings develop certain kind of prejudices during their childhood.
BURKHARDT: Prejudices, according to psychiatrist Dr. Vamik Volkan (ph), that grow out of something every parent is familiar with -- stranger anxiety, which develops in infants at the age of eight or nine months.
DR. VAMIK VOLKAN, PSYCHIATRIST: The infant suddenly becomes scared of any stranger. And why? A stranger has done nothing to the infant. So we surmise that something about the infant is the cause for it.
BURKHARDT (on camera): And that is the root of prejudice?
VOLKAN: That's the root of prejudice. This is the time that the child gets to know who he or she is and who is the other. And if the other is not family, the child has anxiety. BURKHARDT (voice-over): Dr. Balkan believes there's a strong psychological component to racism. Psychiatrists call it projection, casting off our negative qualities on to someone else. It's part of the pleasure principle, which holds that humans basically seek pleasure, likewise try to get rid of unpleasure.
(on camera): So why is it that somebody who looks different than us is associated with not having pleasure?
VOLKAN: Well, it is -- it becomes a more sootheable reservoir for our unwanted aspects. If you and I are similar and we look alike, then you will not be a good reservoir for my projections. It's a boomerang. If we are the same, well, that means also me.
BURKHARDT (on camera): So, does all this mean that we humans are destined to become racists? Of course not. So many other things come into play during our development. It simply means that there is an opening. And while Dr. Volkan can explain prejudice on the individual level, exactly how racism becomes a large group process is much harder to figure out. But our millennium has some clues.
Has it always been part of man's condition to make judgments on somebody based on purely physical characteristics?
MOSES: I would -- I'd say no. I'd say what has been the case, as people have lived in groups, there have always been "in" groups and "out" groups, and there has always been a distrust of, quote-unquote, "strangers" or of outsiders.
BURKHARDT: But that's not the same thing.
MOSES: No, it isn't the same thing.
BURKHARDT (voice-over): Evident from the very beginnings of human community is ethnocentrism, or identifying with your group or tribe. That is not racism. That didn't develop until later.
FREDRICKSON: You get racism or race when you begin to think about the characteristics that people have as unchangeable and as also the foundation for some kind of unequal relationship, some kind of hierarchy. Anti-Semitism, for example, in the Middle Ages got pretty close to racism if it didn't get all the way there, because when the Spanish decided that people who converted from Judaism to Christianity, that their blood was tainted by their Jewish ancestors, that, therefore, they really could not be trusted, even though they had made a professional of Christianity.
BURKHARDT: But it wasn't until the 17th and 18th century when racism kicked in big time. It could well be called the golden age of racism, a time when Europeans left their shores to explore and settle new lands.
FREDERICKSON: And it's only, I think, when blacks become associated with slavery, specifically with the beginnings of the slave trade and with the use of blacks as slaves that a gradual idea develops that the black is naturally a slave. I mean, particularly when slavery begins to be questioned and attacked, how do you defend it? Well, one way, you say, these people are naturally slaves.
BURKHARDT: Ironically, this was also the age of enlightenment, a time of great art, music and literature, and a time when science was harnessed in the name of racism.
FREDERICKSON: You began to sort of divide the whole human race into a relatively small number of groups. And it was, you know, but there were always the Africans, the Europeans and the Asians. And under those circumstances, the divisions become thought of in biological or natural terms, and you begin to think about things like the physiological characteristics that indicate superiority or inferiority, capacity or incapacity.
STEELE: Science is often in the service of, you know, very dark human motivations. And this is a good example of it being used to justify the enslavement, the domination of other people.
GATES: The underbelly of the Enlightenment was the whole discourse of racism, when philosophers such as Kant, Hume, Thomas Jefferson, Hegel all wrote very racist things in other words sublime treatises.
BURKHARDT: It was a way of thinking about race that found its horrific conclusion in the Holocaust, biological explanations in racial difference were now acknowledged as false.
MOSES: But there's a folk definition of race that's very operative here.
BURKHARDT (on camera): Just as powerful as...
MOSES: Just as power, just as ingrained that we have to get at.
BURKHARDT (voice-over): The mythology of color doesn't fade away easily.
(on camera): I wonder where it came from and where it started that white is associated with purity and goodness and black and darkness and evil.
GATES: We know where it came from. It came from white people. In China...
BURKHARDT: Oh, yes.
GATES: Wow, I don't think God did that. A black woman did not like that. She thought that that system was ugly. In China, white is the symbol of death. It's nothing natural about it.
BURKHARDT (voice-over): White and black: In the American experience, they're the colors of racism. But elsewhere, racism can exist without color.
GATES: Between 1992 and today, there's been ethnic violence in no less than 48 nations from Bosnia to Burundi, Turkestan to Tibet. People are killing each other in the name of ethnic differences or religious differences. What's this about? It's about economic scarcity.
BURKHARDT: Henry Louis Gates Jr. has authored two comprehensive books on African-American history. And for him, it all boils down to economics, the fear that another group is out to get our stuff. For Shelby Steele, racism is an impulse that as civilized people, we learn to repress.
STEELE: That's kind of depressing, is that for me to like you, I have to repress something inside me. What we do, we in every human interaction. You know, we're friends with women, and we repress things. We're friend with -- we repress our greed. Maybe I like your watch, but I'm not going to reach out and take it off your wrist.
BURKHARDT: But for Yolanda Moses, it's all about color.
MOSES: We can't say to people, race doesn't matter, biological race doesn't matter, because it does, because that's what you see. And it's what you see that you have to explain. You have to explain this. But you have to decouple it from the notions that has anything to do with fixed immutable behaviors that are negative.
BURKHARDT: Color, nature's palette, so worshipped in our gardens and nature, Human nature has yet to catch up.
ALLEN: And now back to Pik Botha in Johannesburg.
I apologize for the audio problems that we had, sir. We've corrected them.
So we'd like you to give your answer again, if you would, to this question. At the heart of apartheid, what did you feel toward blacks. where they inferior to whites?
BOTHA: Certainly not, not in my opinion. But they was within the national party, of which I was a member. The basic policy, to endeavor to create separate states, and in that way, to endeavor to escape from the immortality of discriminating against people purely on the basis of the color of their skin. And this was a dream that never came true, and in the application then of the policies, very, very cruel and hard legislative provisions were passed by parliament until a point was reached where many of us within the national party felt that we could not go along with it any longer. And then a very serious debate started within the inner ranks of the government of the day, and eventually, I believe we succeeded in throwing off that awful burden and liberating also ourselves from this oppressive policies of the past.
MANN: We'll be speaking more with Pik Botha and Archbishop Desmond Tutu about South African and about a larger issue: Is there hatred in our hearts? How people react to race, when we come back.
ALLEN: We continue our discussion with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Pik Botha in South Africa.
And, Mr. Botha, starting with you, this time, you talked about the era in South Africa during apartheid and many aspects of apartheid, and I'm wondering though, what did other whites think of blacks in South Africa at that time?
BOTHA: I think that I'm correct in saying that, in general -- and this is part of the problem that we have -- in general, blacks were looked upon as inferior human beings -- a separate educational system, separate community, separate medical services for them. Not that it was denied them, but it was separate, and not only separate, it was indeed inferior. I can't deny that today. I'd be a liar if I deny it. And the fact of the matter is, much more was spent, on a per capita basis, on white education, and white medical services and white pensions than was the case with the black people of this country. And through the years, you can imagine, as I think Bishop Tutu quite rightly pointed out, this must have been experienced as one of the greatest humiliations: of our black people feeling that this is also there country; and they considered this to be their country, not only the white man's country, and therefore, they were then were regarded or saw themselves as aliens, the oppressed people within their own countries, without the means to rectify the wrong that were perpetrated.
And there was only one solution in them, and that was the monumental transfer of power to the majority of this country. There was no other way to resolve the evil that existed in this country.
MANN: I'd like to go to Archbishop Tutu with a question that's broader than South Africa's borders. We heard in that report that we saw from Bruce Burkhardt a theory that racism is a psychological phenomenon. We heard someone else suggest that it is political. Your a man of the cloth. Do you it was those things, or is it just a sin? Is it just evil and wrong?
TUTU: I think myself that at some point in our evolution, racism was a kind of survival mechanism that in order to be able to survive in a hostile environment you had to be told, those who look you were likely to be friends, and those who do not look like you were likely to be adversaries, enemies. And so you keep to those who look like you.
And in a way, we have not outgrown a primitive stage in our evolution, when we continue, because you realize that whenever there is a problem in a country, for instance, an economic problem, and you have people of difference races, the dominant group are almost always going to blame the -different races in their country for what is going wrong. That was what happened in Nazi Germany. Hitler was able to say those he claimed to be aliens that their country was in economic distress because of the machinations of this group who were basically inferior. And people buy into that. You buy into it at a time of turmoil and change, like in Bosnia. You say the people who are not like you are likely to want to do you in, and so try to keep, as it were, birds of a feather flocking together. And we are made that way.
But that is not inevitable, because as you have been able to see later on when you speak about South Africa, that that can be changed, people can begin to see one another as who we really are, those created in the image of God with a wonderful glorious diversity, which we ought to celebrate.
MANN: What effect though does it have? What effect did it have on you? What effect does it have on the victim? You've been talking about why people inflict this terrible division on others. What effect did it have in your own life, growing up being told that you and everyone like you was different and worse?
TUTU: I think that you are filled with a deep resentment, and that is why people were expecting that the only way South Africa's problem was going to be resolved was through violence.
MANN: Was there any element, though, that you believed? Was there any element that made you doubt yourself?
TUTU: I was -- yes, I was surprised to discover that, in fact, yes, and that is one of the awful things about the injustice of racism, that it gets to make a child of God doubt the other child of God and that's the blasphemous part of it, when you begin to accept the determinations, the definitions which other people make of you.
And you were talking about projection, when you look in the United States and you discover that there is a great deal of homicide in the black community, blacks against blacks, that basically it is that you are filled with a self-hate, which you project on all of those who look like you and you want to destroy that which you hate which is yourself. But instead of destroying yourself you destroy the other who looks like you.
ALLEN: Mr. Botha, I would like to ask you to comment on a theme that we heard in the report that we aired. Do you think people are born with some racist feelings, the racist feelings that we have to repress throughout our lives, or is this a learned behavior only?
BOTHA: You know, I think what Archbishop Tutu said I can agree with, mainly, we inherited these primitive instincts, the plan, our forefathers in the graves, we had to be together to survive, to kill animals, to gather food, and anybody that entered our area or region were considered to be enemies.
I think it is a rather very primitive instinct, xenophobia they call it, a rejection of that which is not known to you and which is alien to you and which is foreign to you, that, that is an instinct. And it can be rectified, in my opinion, by proper education. I think all over the world, our educational experts ought to look again at the tremendous impact that syllabi can have on the minds of our children if we teach them more about the universe, about astrophysic physics.
MANN: Mr. Botha, let me jump in and ask you a question. Because South Africa under apartheid was full of educated people. You were an educated man. Educated people not only believed these things, those who didn't believe acquiesced and went along with it. Education doesn't seem like the problem. It doesn't seem like the answer. BOTHA: Well, education -- then you must ask yourself, what is it that you educate people? If you teach them only narrow-minded historical lessons, then of course it is not my concept of education. My concept of education is what the whole world is going through mainly, globalization through Internet, bringing knowledge and facts to the people of the world, to every nation of the world, to every individual.
MANN: So let me ask you about that. Looking back, do you think the government of South Africa had to brainwash its own white citizens to get them to stay so contemptuous, so hateful of its blacks?
BOTHA: No, no, no, no. I don't think you can say all the whites were hateful of blacks, I think that is going really far to far. But this was an historical inheritance. I do not defend it. As a matter of fact, I think I played my own role in having it dismantled eventually of which Bishop Tutu and even President Mandela are aware. I think it will not be right to say that whites in general simply hated the blacks. No, no.
They -- many of them -- a majority of whites consider the blacks to be inferior, and out of this was -- then this perverted application of a policy of dominance, because of whites who considered themselves to be superior inherently and blacks had to be sort of relegated to menial work and that sort of thing, and that took a time, it took a while, I sorry to say, I regret it today. But as I said earlier, I thank God that eventually we succeeded in throwing this heavy evil burden off our shoulders.
MANN: Archbishop Tutu, any thoughts on that, on the idea that it wasn't hate, it was just a mistaken vision of who ought to be running things?
TUTU: Well, let me, first of all acknowledge reporter's contribution in the struggle to change apartheid, that he did act very courageously on many occasions and he sometimes got into trouble with his president for having said that one day there will be a black president in South Africa, for instance.
But I think that he's also right, though he didn't want to go as far as saying that education can help to brainwash people. I mean, many, many white people in South Africa didn't think for themselves. They accepted what they were told by authority. And our system was an authoritarian one, which many mistake for authority. So that each time someone in authority said something, no matter how ridiculous, people found a way of accepting it.
And I agree entirely with him that when you have a proper education, when people are exposed to one another, when people get to learn to know that a black person can be a brilliant scientist, can be an outstanding musician, that when they are given the opportunity they can be as other human beings. That is what our country has come through. And we hope that what has happened in South Africa may in some ways provide a kind of model for other places that have gone through the same horrendous ordeal of racism and its injustice.
ALLEN: We'll continue our discussion with Archbishop Tutu and Pik Botha in just a moment.
ALLEN: Well, the length of any journey can only be measured by looking back.
MANN: And with that in mind, the festivities surrounding the new millennium may also illuminate the celebration of the human spirit. Like most countries around the world, fireworkers lit the skies over South Africa.
ALLEN: But one single candle may have burned even brighter, brilliant in its symbolism. Nelson Mandela, the country's first black president, marked the new year by returning to the jail cell where he spent 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned. He called the candle a "flame of freedom."
And we continue our conversation to Pik Botha in Johannesburg. When did you realize apartheid was over?
BOTHA: At the very early stage of my career I was a professional diplomat having joined the South African diplomatic and concierge service quite a while ago, it was 1953. And when I was exposed to the outside world, my first post was in Sweden, where the Swedish pope would severely attack the South African government almost every day, and there I had to account to myself even if part of their articles and statements were exaggerated and distorted there's so much remaining which was -- which I could not account for and that persuaded me that it could not last, it could not go on like this.
But the question was, how do you get rid of it, how do you get rid of a system that was not overnight design, but was part of a colonial inheritance in the first place, part of the way people think over decades and centuries.
I was in the United Nations in the early '50s when the Belgian diplomat said that the Belgian Congo could not get independence in 80 years, because the people were not ready for it, that type of attitude, that was the general attitude all over the world, and unfortunately that took a long time to dismantle. It's a hard, petrified mindset you are dealing with. It's hard to change the hearts and minds of human beings.
ALLEN: And what has changed today in the hearts and minds of the people of South Africa, Mr. Both? And we'll ask the same of the archbishop. What do the people think of each other in the years that are passed? Are people eating in the same restaurants? Do you have blacks over to your home?
BOTHA: Oh, yes, of course. Some of my nearby neighbors today are black people who I welcome, for one, I welcome with the housewarming party, but that's besides the point. If you -- if I can take you to South Africa this evening, I could take you to many restaurants and public places and public meetings and other meetings of companies where blacks and whites of this country are now together as compatriots, fellow citizens, and accepting each other, I think, in the true sense of equality.
Yes, there is still racism, I can't deny. It's not going to be rooted overnight. There are still quite a number of people who consider black people incapable of doing certain jobs. That will die down, that will be eradicated as we move forward now, and as our black citizens show that they can achieve on par with any white person in the world. And as leaders like Archbishop Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, reach out also to the white people and the Afrikaaners, of which I'm one, and say to them, look, we need each other. Let's forgive the past. Let's forget about bitterness and revenge.
We need each other to boast a new country, and I think South Africa has a very good chance of succeeding in that, because of the quality of leadership that we have and because in general today, when I move around in this country I only experience goodwill from almost every quarter where I go. So we must encourage each other, we must reach out to each other, our leaders are doing so. You don't hear talk in this country of revenge and bitterness, not on the side of our black leaders.
And the whites must now simply acknowledge that there will be universal adult suffrage in this country, that's the only way democracy can be sustained in this country, but they can make their contribution. The opportunities are there. Many whites are saying, no, they have been robbed of opportunities. That is not my experience.
The opportunities are there and many whites make a good living in South Africa today. We have a high crime rate, we have other problems. Yes, that it is true. But these are complex issues and cannot simply be handled overnight, or disposed of overnight.
ALLEN: Archbishop, do you have the same feelings of goodwill toward what's going on in South Africa as Mr. Botha?
TUTU: South Africa is an incredible country. I mean, when I become archbishop in 1986, to occupy the official residence of the archbishop I had to break the law of the country, which said black people could not go and live in what was a white area. People could not marry across color lines. Children were segregated in schools. Now it's as if we were born to this new dispensation. Our sports teams to the extent that can be integrated are integrated. When our country won the Rugby World Cup in 1995 in a sport that up to then was regarded as an Afrikaaner sport, people in the black townships were celebrating.
And, yes, we have made an incredible jump in a way, almost a quantum leap from the awfulness of racism to a new dispensation of democracy and freedom and human rights. But of course, you can't legislate racism out of people's hearts, but you can make it illegal for them to behave as racists.
And I think that with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process we decided that we were going to deal with our past, not through revenge, but by trying to find out the truth and then moving through confession and forgiveness to reconciliation. And the world has marvels and we, too, in a way have marvels to discover that as it were under the skin. We actually are sisters and brothers, and we are beginning to live as a normal society. You have crime in this country, in the United States. You have crime in so many parts.
But you see, I think South Africa is being placed under a microscope and many problems that are a legacy of the apartheid age dispensation are probably blown sometimes out of proportion. I mean, you have -- I was shocked to discover that in the United States you have people who don't have running water, who don't have water for own sewer in the United States. And you've been free how many years? From 1776.
We've been free only now six, seven years, and we ought to be given credit for the fact that there is so much stability in our country. You look at Russia, which began the process of change about the same time as we. And I think that we need as South Africans, black and white, to be given credit for having go through a process in a way that has caused the world to marvel.
MANN: Gentleman, we are going to ask you both to stay with us. We're going to take a break. And when we come back, we are going to talk about South Africa and the United States, two very different countries that have both grappled with the legacy of race.
Stay with us.
MANN: We've been talking to two guests who have led very different lives, and we're touching on two very different countries now: South Africa and the United States.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, you have family here in the United States. You spend a lot of time here, as well. Before we here Pik Botha's comments on this, what are your reflections as you travel between the two countries, as your loved ones do about how they are each responding to race?
TUTU: Your country is a great country, and there are incredibly generous people around here, very warm-hearted, and we've had a great time. And there's no question at all that racism is very much alive. There's no question at all about that. I mean, you saw it in the O.J. Simpson trial when the verdict was announced. It split your country in the reactions. It split your country right down middle.
And some people feel that the gains that were made by the civil rights movements have more or less, in fact, been obliterated. There are those who don't want affirmative action. And you know what? I think that your country needs some something like a truth and reconciliation commission, where black Americans, Native Americans and others will do what happened in South Africa, be able to tell their story.
And we found that in the telling of the story, people experienced a healing, because you need to hear about the pain that sits in the pit of the tummy of many of those who have been at the receiving end of the injustice of racism, which we have sought to do. And in this country of so many wonderful opportunities, this country which is now the only superpower, we hope that you can become the leaders in the morals of really dealing seriously with the legacy of slavery and racism.
ALLEN: Archbishop, you talk about the truth and reconciliation commission. We have a clip of what exactly went on during those hearings, when victims were able to face their oppressors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY VENGENI, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: What kind of man that uses a method like this one of the wet bag to people, to other human beings, repeatedly? And listening to those moans and cries and groans, and taking each one of those people very near to their deaths? What kind of man are you? What you kind of man is that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: And that's just one small example of the compelling testimony that went on during these hearings. And, Archbishop, you give it so much credence to the healing, what about you, Mr. Botha? How do you think this commission lent itself to the healing in your country.
BOTHA: Yes, when I see scenes like that, and of course they were fully reported in South Africa during the course of the proceedings, there's no question about it, I can assure you, that a large number of the white people of this country go through the feeling of guilt. It is repulsive. It is reprehensible. But it's no good trying to find words now to excuse the past.
We should have done more. We should have done more as a government to make sure that atrocities of that nature did not occur. We did not do enough, even if there are those of us in government who can claim that we were not personally involved or didn't know about it. I think there was a fair measure of suspicion, at least, and there we have forsaken our duty. We could have done more. We should have done more to ensure that atrocities of that nature do not happen.
I think in broad outline, originally, I was in favor of the general amnesty. I'm still in favor of a general amnesty, particularly now that the commission has completed its task. I think it's one of the most unenviable tasks ever was that one given to Archbishop Tutu. It was certainly the most difficult. You can imagine what a difficult task it was for the archbishop not only to adjudicate but to keep a fair sense of balance, despite all the atrocities, the accusations, the difficult history that the ANC went through, that the National Party went through, The security forces where at war, and so on, and I think not enough tribute has been paid to the archbishop for the magnificent way in which he led that commission.
ALLEN: Mr. Botha. BOTHA: (OFF-MIKE). But that's not his fault. He did not have sufficient staff at all times, he was not given enough time in my opinion, but that they did a magnificent, essential job in South Africa to enable us to move out of the past, yes, that is certain.
ALLEN: And, Mr. Botha, as we enter a new era in the world, atrocities will happen again. How does the world go about getting a handle on the hate that is involved with skin color, with racism? What's your message?
BOTHA: I repeat what I said earlier: education. The world is becoming smaller. There isn't such a thing that anywhere on the globe today is a place to hide. Governments can't hide anymore, so racists can't hide anymore, either. If the truth -- the anthropologists must come to the fore, the astrophysicists must come to the fore, and the young generation must be educated in the meaning of the brevity of life. Why was the universe created? The greatness of God and his power and the greatness of the universe and the timelessness of life out there in the universe and things like that, then we will start thinking twice before we consider any importance to biological characteristics. They are meaningless against the background of the eternity of time and the concepts of scientists like Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein and the likes of them. Not enough is done to teach our children about the greatness of the universe and how they should think about the brevity of life. That will reduce the significance of any concept of skin color or other physical-biological characteristics.
ALLEN: And, Archbishop Tutu, do you think racism is going be the biggest problem we'll face in this next century?
TUTU: I am filled with considerable hope that as we stand on the threshold of the new millennium century that we are going to make it, that we will discover that God intended us to be family, and I am filled with exhilaration.
ALLEN: Archbishop Tutu, Desmond Tutu, we thank you. And to Pik Botha, who joins us live from Johannesburg, thank you, gentlemen, so much for joining us this hour in our special coverage.
MANN: Prejudice takes many forms. South Africa is just one country that experienced it, but it is experienced to this day around the world, in the millennium past and the millennium that has just become. Those were some thoughts, though, of two very special men who have tried in their way to move their country forward.
ALLEN: We thank you for joining us.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
|CLICK HERE FOR TODAY'S TOPICS AND GUESTS|
CLICK HERE FOR CNN PROGRAM SCHEDULES
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.