Martin Luther King And Desmond Tutu's No Future Without Forgiveness?

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Desmond Tutu hold different beliefs on how to achieve justice for all. In his letter, “Letter From A Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King, Jr. implies that the nonviolent method is the ideal strategy to gain justice for all. On the other hand, Desmond Tutu, in the excerpt, No Future without Forgiveness, claims that forgiveness is the way to achieve justice for all because it helps create a better future. While both methods are uniquely effective, Dr. King’s nonviolent approach is by far the most compelling because it provides space for negotiation and it raises awareness of injustice in a way that cannot be ignored.
One of the main difference between Tutu’s and King’s methods is a negotiation. In King’s “Letter
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For a nation to have a stable future, each individual must be able to look at the past and forgive those who have committed injustice. In other words, the victims need to forgive the people that caused their injustice and sufferance. Tutu’s reasoning is that “to dehumanize another inexorably means that one is dehumanized as well” (35). Basically, Tutu is saying that the people who committed these acts suffered as much as the victims, therefore need to be forgiving to ensure that injustice is not repeated in the future. The flaw in this method is that it gives too much attention to the people who were behind injustice. Also, it asks the victims to sympathize with their oppressors for causing their suffering. This idea of forgiveness wanted the victims to ignore their pain and loss to ensure a better future. Moreover, Tutu stated that “...to forgive is the best form of self-interest since anger, resentment, and revenge are corrosive of the summum bonum, that greatest good, communal harmony that enhances the humanity and personhood of all in the community” (35). Certainly, to live the good life people should focus on forgiveness instead of negative emotions, such as anger and revenge, however, there is no justice if the oppressors are giving nothing in return. Then again, oppressor promised to share the …show more content…
One of the major similarity is that both King and Tutu believe that obtaining justice requires unity and togetherness. A concept of forgiveness is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which “provides a historical bridge between the past of a deeply divided society characterized by strife, conflict, untold suffering, and injustice, and a future founded on the recognition of human rights, democracy and peaceful co-existence and development of all South Africans..” (Tutu, 45). The leaders of South Africa wanted to build and strengthen their nation by restoring the relations between each individual and the nation. By achieving this, people will then focus on positivity rather than conflict and vengeance. Similarly, Dr. King dreamed that the church [Whites and Blacks] will eventually unite to fight injustice (8). This idea of togetherness and unity is what the nonviolent approach hope to gain. In fact, the act of nonviolent protest is a group effort rather individual. While forgiveness only required a person to commit the act, nonviolent protest heavy depend on groups. In addition, another similarity between Tutu’s and King’s methods is the concept of giving up power. Tutu claimed that “ very few constituencies are likely to take too kindly to candidates for political office who say their platform is to hand over power to their traditional adversaries” (38). Similarly, King

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