Nobel Peace laureate reinforces Naga Hope

Dimapur | December 9 : One of the world’s best known Nobel Peace Laureates and the man chosen by President Nelson Mandela to chair South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has congratulated the Naga people for the steps being taken to bring about peace and reconciliation. In a rare but significant letter of encouragement, Desmond Tutu wrote to the Convenor Forum for Naga Reconciliation  on December 1, 2009 when the Chiang Mai VII meet (November 30 to December 3) was  being  held.
According to the letter, a copy of which was made available to the media, Desmond Tutu wrote that reconciliation is the cornerstone of any progressive society and encouraged the forum  to continue with  its  journey. “It is my privilege and honour to write you this letter of encouragement as you gather to discuss the important issues of your community. I would like to convey my deepest respect to the leaders of the Naga Forum of Reconciliation for initiating this very important process which is the cornerstone of any progressive society”, Tutu stated.
Reconciliation is the cornerstone of any progressive society: Tutu
Terming the Naga people’s struggle for recognition and independence as a “striking similarity with that of the people of South Africa during the shameful period of apartheid regime”, the Nobel Peace Laureate encouraged the Naga people to continue with the hard work in the “struggle for your identity”. The Archbishop wrote that “Choosing the path of reconciliation demonstrates maturity and respect of human dignity” and that “when we dehumanize others that we invariably dehumanize ourselves and lose  self-respect”.
Referring to the historic democratic elections in South Africa and the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Desmond Tutu stated that it was a “crucial component of the transition to full and free democracy in  a  country that had been ravaged by unimaginable hurt, anger and hopelessness”. “It was a deliberate recognition that in order for the country to move forward from a period of violence it had to examine, acknowledge, and account for past violence committed by various groups. This process was necessary to assist in healing and restoring people’s dignity that had been trashed during the awful period of apartheid’s injustice and oppression”, he wrote in his letter.
The Archbishop hoped that as the Naga people likewise embark on their journey, they will find healing and the courage to face the shadows that have stalked the people for a long time. Desmond Tutu also wrote that “Reconciliation is a process that does not happen overnight, but requires commitment and willingness to change and this can happen only on the basis of the truth”. He also stated that in “reality there can be no future without forgiveness”.  The letter ended by wishing the Naga people success in their deliberations and prayed that God grants wisdom and protection during this important phase of the Naga people’s struggle.

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