Rabble-Rouser for Peace: The Authorized Biography of Desmond Tutu [NOOK Book]

Overview

To be a rabble-rouser for peace may seem to be a contradiction in terms. And yet it is the perfect description for Desmond Tutu, Nobel laureate and spiritual father of a democratic South Africa. Tutu understood that justice -- a genuine regard for human rights -- is the only real foundation for peace. And so he stirred up trouble, courageously engaging in heated face-to-face confrontations with South Africa's leaders; he stirred up trouble in the streets, leading peaceful demonstrations amid the barely controlled...
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Rabble-Rouser for Peace: The Authorized Biography of Desmond Tutu

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Overview

To be a rabble-rouser for peace may seem to be a contradiction in terms. And yet it is the perfect description for Desmond Tutu, Nobel laureate and spiritual father of a democratic South Africa. Tutu understood that justice -- a genuine regard for human rights -- is the only real foundation for peace. And so he stirred up trouble, courageously engaging in heated face-to-face confrontations with South Africa's leaders; he stirred up trouble in the streets, leading peaceful demonstrations amid the barely controlled fury of police battalions; he stirred up trouble on the world stage, seeking international disinvestment in the apartheid economy.

Tutu has led one of the great lives of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and to read his story in full is to be reminded of the power of one inspired man to change history. In this authorized biography, written by John Allen, a distinguished journalist and longtime associate of Tutu, we are witnesses to courage, stirring oratory, and a demonstration of the power of faith to transform the seemingly intransigent.

We know in retrospect that the apartheid resistance movement was successful and that South Africa, though not without its problems, today faces an infinitely brighter future than it might if it had not been for the efforts of Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and other leaders.

But no such outcome was ever a certainty. Through the author's personal experiences, total access to the Tutu family and their papers, and considerable research, including the use of new archival material, Allen tells the story of a barefoot schoolboy from a deprived black township who became an international symbol of the democratic spirit and of religious faith.

Allen personally observed how Tutu, at genuine risk to his own safety, repeatedly intervened between armed soldiers and stone-throwing students to keep the peace, how he faced constant death threats and angrily stood up to the leaders of the cruel apartheid system. Using his own faith as a cudgel, Tutu asked those officials to confront their own Christian background and made them reconcile their actions with their own professions of belief.

Often through the sheer power of moral example and with a lyrical command of the English language, Tutu was able to appeal to the conscience of the world and to the emotions of an angry crowd in the streets. And then, when the battle for South African rights was finally won, it was Tutu who insisted on finding a path to forgive the former oppressors by strongly backing and serving on the unprecedented Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Today, the archbishop continues to appeal to the world's conscience by opposing the continuance of war and the inadequacy of the international response to the AIDS/HIV crisis sweeping Africa. He has led a life of commitment, one that continues to matter.

John Allen has movingly captured the flavor and details of that life and marshaled them into a commanding story, one that sheds light on the struggles and triumphs of our times.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In what is clearly a labor of love, artist Lemelman has created a "memoir" told in the voice of his mother, Gusta, a survivor of the Holocaust. With the characteristic phrasing of one who comes to English later in life, Gusta's is a gritty eyewitness report on the great upheaval of eastern Europe in the 1930s and '40s, based on Lemelman's recording of his mother in 1989; at the harshest moments, the reader can take a small bit of comfort that Gusta survived to live a long life in the U.S.A. Her tale begins with her childhood in the town of Germakivka, Poland (in the current-day Ukraine), and kicks into high gear when the Nazis bring war into her village, destroying an entire way of living. Her voice rolls on inexorably, a stark account of human weakness and fear, tragic missteps with fatal consequences, and unimaginable hardships as she survives for two years with two brothers in a hole in the ground. Lemelman's subdued art gives the story its heart; with a combination of charcoal drawings and photographs, he creates a sense both of an almost mythical time gone by and the very real lives that were snuffed out. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743298667
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 10/3/2006
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 1,323,078
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

John Allen is a South African journalist who served as director of communications for that country's groundbreaking Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and for Trinity Church, Wall Street, in New York. He is a former president of the South African Society of Journalists and has received awards in South Africa for defense of press freedom and in the United States for excellence in religious journalism.
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Read an Excerpt


From Prologue

Desmond Tutu tensed in the backseat of his car as he left Bishopscourt, his official residence as Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, late in the afternoon of Wednesday, March 16, 1988. A tight knot formed in the pit of his stomach. Usually this happened when he was summoned to defuse confrontations in the city's black townships, regular occurrences in which he often stood between two groups spoiling for a fight: on the one side, defiant students carrying bricks and stones; on the other, heavily armed policemen with fingers on their triggers. Today was different. As Tutu's chaplain and driver, Chris Ahrends, drove out through the imposing white gate posts, he turned north toward the city center (downtown Cape Town), where the archbishop had an appointment at Tuynhuys, the Cape Town office of P. W. Botha, also known as Piet Wapen ("Piet Weapon") or die Groot Krokodil ("the Great Crocodile"). Botha was the state president of South Africa.

The thirteen-kilometer (eight-mile) drive from Bishopscourt to Tuynhuys offered an array of snapshots symbolizing past and current oppression. Bishopscourt was part of an estate owned by South Africa's first white settler in the seventeenth century. The archbishop's home -- a large whitewashed two-story mansion with acres of gardens -- was the oldest privately owned house in the country. The agapanthus and cannas that grew there were said to come from stock planted by Dutch colonists. Beyond the estate, to the south, were the remains of a wild almond hedge, grown by the colonists to keep out of their settlement the likes of Tutu -- the indigenous people of South Africa. In 1988, Tutu's second year as archbishop, he was living in Bishopscourt illegally, having refused to ask for permission to live in what apartheid designated a "white area."

The route into the city ran along the eastern flank of Table Mountain, originally covered by fynbos (fine, or delicate, bush), the beautiful vegetation -- unique to the southwestern tip of Africa -- that makes up the smallest and richest of the world's floral biomes. Now the slopes were built up and occupied by the wealthiest Capetonians, whites who had displaced the fynbos with big houses and gardens in which they grew foreign, if also beautiful, plants from their countries of origin. As Tutu's car rounded Devil's Peak on the northeastern corner of the mountain, he could look out over Table Bay, the harbor that had attracted Dutch sailors as a refreshment station on their way to the east. Beyond the harbor was Robben Island, used since the earliest days of colonialism to jail any who dared resist the incursions of the settlers. Farther down the hill, just before the car dipped into the city center, an enormous scar of overgrown, rubble-strewn land came into view. This was District Six, which had been a shabby and poverty-stricken, but nevertheless a vibrant and thriving multiracial community until the 1960s, when Botha initiated a process that led to its destruction and the deportation of its people to windswept sandy wastes far out of town.

Ahrends pulled up at Botha's office a few minutes before 6 PM. This building too dated back to Dutch rule: the original structure, de Tuynhuys (the "Garden House"), had been built by the Dutch East India Company as a guesthouse alongside the gardens which supplied passing ships. Tutu had been there before, but never at a time of such high tension between church and state. Three years earlier, in September 1984, the third major uprising against apartheid -- the one that was to start its final collapse -- had begun in the industrial area around the Vaal River, south of Johannesburg. Just a few weeks previously, on February 24, 1988, Botha's police minister, Adriaan Vlok, had outlawed the activities of seventeen organizations involved in the uprising, including coalitions representing two of the country's largest political forces. In response, the South African Council of Churches had convened an emergency meeting of church leaders, who resolved to pick up where the banned organizations had left off. The church leaders also decided to fly to Cape Town, seat of South Africa's parliament, to convey their decision to the government.

On Monday, February 29, 25 church leaders and about 100 other clergy and lay workers gathered at St. George's Cathedral, Cape Town, which backed onto the government complex incorporating Parliament and Tuynhuys. At a short service, the general secretary of the Council of Churches, Frank Chikane, read out a petition addressed to Botha and members of Parliament. The Anglican activist Sid Luckett instructed members of the congregation in the precepts of nonviolent direct action. He warned them that although the police, already swarming outside, were unlikely to use tear gas in the city center, they had used dogs, sjamboks (rawhide whips), and water cannons before.

Copyright © 2006 by John Allen

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Table of Contents


Contents

Prologue

Chapter 1: Child of Modern South Africa

Chapter 2: Praise Poem to God

Chapter 3: A Sense of Worth

Chapter 4: Obvious Gifts of Leadership

Chapter 5: A Breath of Fresh Air

Chapter 6: Campus Parents

Chapter 7: Transformation

Chapter 8: Bloody Confrontation

Chapter 9: The Jazz Conductor

Chapter 10: A Fire Burning in My Breast

Chapter 11: Our Brothers and Sisters

Chapter 12: The Headmaster

Chapter 13: Interim Leader

Chapter 14: Roller-Coaster Ride

Chapter 15: A Proper Confrontation

Chapter 16: International Icon

Epilogue

Glossary

Notes

Bibliography

Acknowledgments

Index

About the Author

Photo Credits

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Introduction

Reading Group Guide

Mendel's Daughter

by Martin Lemelman

Description

Mendel's Daughter is a powerful true story of hope and survival in the darkest of times. Told from the perspective of the author's mother, Gusta, Mendel's Daughter details the experiences of growing up as a Jewish child in 1930's Poland. It opens with a picture of shtetl (village) life, filled with homey images that bring to life the richness of foods and flowers, of family and friends and Jewish tradition.

The book then transitions into darker times as Gusta and her family are witness to the rise of Hitler, instability in Europe, rumors of war, invasion, occupation, roundups and pogroms. When the Nazis come to round up her family, Gusta and two of her brothers, and later a younger sister, are already hiding in a forest in Poland. Her parents and her other siblings perish, but for two years Gusta and her remaining siblings hide in grave-like trenches in the forest and thereby survive.

Martin Lemelman employs video testimony that his mother recorded in 1989 as the basis for writing his family memoir. Thus, Gusta's harrowing tale is told in her own voice, while her son's beautiful drawings serve as illustrations. Interspersed with the drawings are actual photos of people, documents, and other relics of this unsettled time. The result is a wholly original, authentic, and moving account of heroism and endurance in the midst of tragedy.

Discussion Questions

  1. "Seichel" is the Yiddish word for sense. Discuss how Gusta defines sense and the role that it played in her life. Think about sense in terms of other characters as well,including Gusta's father, her brothers, and her cousin Chantze.
  2. Gusta says to Martin "Sometimes your MEMORIES are not your OWN" (p. 4). Explore the concept of memory for Gusta and other Holocaust survivors. Also, discuss how this idea of common remembrance and shared history relates to Martin telling his mother's story.
  3. Many of the illustrations include images of hands. Did you notice other recurring images or themes in Mendel's Daughter? Discuss their symbolism.
  4. How does Gusta's parents' perception of the role of children differ from our contemporary American ideas?
  5. Why do you think Gusta thought about saving her father and not her mother (page 104)?
  6. Page 131 opens with an illustration of a tree stump and the sentence: "And so that was the story of how they killed our family." And throughout the book, Gusta calls out full names and familial relationships. Think about the significance of a family tree during the Holocaust. Does it become more important because of the loss of so many family members?
  7. On page 146 the "graves," their hiding places, changed. Why?
  8. Gusta's voice is accentuated through Yiddish expressions and her immigrant vernacular. Did Martin's use of language bring you deeper into his mother's world, or did you find it distracting?
  9. On page 217 Gusta's family members list their fates during the Holocaust. Each one starts by saying: "Yes, this happened to me." What is the significance of this opening? Is this the first time that Martin emphasizes the truth of this story?
  10. Discuss the relevance of the closing quote from the Passover Hagaddah: "In every generation, one must look upon himself, as if he personally came out of Egypt" (p. 218). Do you feel this sentiment is prevalent in today's society?
  11. There are moments of unspeakable sorrow and surprising joy throughout Gusta's story. What stood out for you the most? What, if anything, did you find yourself thinking about days after you finished the book?
  12. Go through the book looking only at Martin's illustrations. How effective are they in relating his mother's experiences? Are they more powerful without the words? Or, does something in the words capture the emotion more clearly?
  13. Gusta is very successful at showing the painful, slow process of the Holocaust's impact on her family. Trace this agonizing course of anti-Semitism, inhumane treatment, and reversion of rights. What do you imagine was the hardest part?
  14. "If only we go to America" (p. 25). Gusta talks about her mother's refusal to go to America when the family had the opportunity. Knowing what happened, this seems like such a devastating missed opportunity. How do you imagine the family reconciled this choice? Do you see any of that reflected in the rest of her story?
  15. Luck, superstition, and God's will all seem to play a pivotal role in Gusta's life and the lives of her loved ones. Explore these themes and their impact on the family. Compare this to the Jewish belief that "On Rosh Hashana it is written. And on Yom Kippur it is sealed. How many will be born and how many will pass away. Who will live and who will die" (p. 55).

Enhance Your Book Club

  1. Martin's website www.mendelsdaughter.com offers a deeper look into his book. Visit the site with your reading group to see preliminary sketches, original artifacts used in the book, and even video of Gusta sharing her story.
  2. Gusta mentions several Jewish delicacies as she recounts her childhood, such as challah, fluden or honey cake. If you have a local Jewish bakery, see if you can bring these treats to your reading group. If not, why not make some traditional foods from your own background to share with the group.
  3. There are many wonderful Holocaust memorials, museums, and exhibits throughout the country. Go online to find one nearest to your group and visit it to learn of the remarkable stories from this period in history.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide

Mendel's Daughter

by Martin Lemelman

Description

Mendel's Daughter is a powerful true story of hope and survival in the darkest of times. Told from the perspective of the author's mother, Gusta, Mendel's Daughter details the experiences of growing up as a Jewish child in 1930's Poland. It opens with a picture of shtetl (village) life, filled with homey images that bring to life the richness of foods and flowers, of family and friends and Jewish tradition.

The book then transitions into darker times as Gusta and her family are witness to the rise of Hitler, instability in Europe, rumors of war, invasion, occupation, roundups and pogroms. When the Nazis come to round up her family, Gusta and two of her brothers, and later a younger sister, are already hiding in a forest in Poland. Her parents and her other siblings perish, but for two years Gusta and her remaining siblings hide in grave-like trenches in the forest and thereby survive.

Martin Lemelman employs video testimony that his mother recorded in 1989 as the basis for writing his family memoir. Thus, Gusta's harrowing tale is told in her own voice, while her son's beautiful drawings serve as illustrations. Interspersed with the drawings are actual photos of people, documents, and other relics of this unsettled time. The result is a wholly original, authentic, and moving account of heroism and endurance in the midst of tragedy.

Discussion Questions

  1. "Seichel" is the Yiddish word for sense. Discuss how Gusta defines sense and the role that it played in her life. Think about sense in terms of othercharacters as well, including Gusta's father, her brothers, and her cousin Chantze.
  2. Gusta says to Martin "Sometimes your MEMORIES are not your OWN" (p. 4). Explore the concept of memory for Gusta and other Holocaust survivors. Also, discuss how this idea of common remembrance and shared history relates to Martin telling his mother's story.
  3. Many of the illustrations include images of hands. Did you notice other recurring images or themes in Mendel's Daughter? Discuss their symbolism.
  4. How does Gusta's parents' perception of the role of children differ from our contemporary American ideas?
  5. Why do you think Gusta thought about saving her father and not her mother (page 104)?
  6. Page 131 opens with an illustration of a tree stump and the sentence: "And so that was the story of how they killed our family." And throughout the book, Gusta calls out full names and familial relationships. Think about the significance of a family tree during the Holocaust. Does it become more important because of the loss of so many family members?
  7. On page 146 the "graves," their hiding places, changed. Why?
  8. Gusta's voice is accentuated through Yiddish expressions and her immigrant vernacular. Did Martin's use of language bring you deeper into his mother's world, or did you find it distracting?
  9. On page 217 Gusta's family members list their fates during the Holocaust. Each one starts by saying: "Yes, this happened to me." What is the significance of this opening? Is this the first time that Martin emphasizes the truth of this story?
  10. Discuss the relevance of the closing quote from the Passover Hagaddah: "In every generation, one must look upon himself, as if he personally came out of Egypt" (p. 218). Do you feel this sentiment is prevalent in today's society?
  11. There are moments of unspeakable sorrow and surprising joy throughout Gusta's story. What stood out for you the most? What, if anything, did you find yourself thinking about days after you finished the book?
  12. Go through the book looking only at Martin's illustrations. How effective are they in relating his mother's experiences? Are they more powerful without the words? Or, does something in the words capture the emotion more clearly?
  13. Gusta is very successful at showing the painful, slow process of the Holocaust's impact on her family. Trace this agonizing course of anti-Semitism, inhumane treatment, and reversion of rights. What do you imagine was the hardest part?
  14. "If only we go to America" (p. 25). Gusta talks about her mother's refusal to go to America when the family had the opportunity. Knowing what happened, this seems like such a devastating missed opportunity. How do you imagine the family reconciled this choice? Do you see any of that reflected in the rest of her story?
  15. Luck, superstition, and God's will all seem to play a pivotal role in Gusta's life and the lives of her loved ones. Explore these themes and their impact on the family. Compare this to the Jewish belief that "On Rosh Hashana it is written. And on Yom Kippur it is sealed. How many will be born and how many will pass away. Who will live and who will die" (p. 55).

Enhance Your Book Club

  1. Martin's website mendelsdaughter.com offers a deeper look into his book. Visit the site with your reading group to see preliminary sketches, original artifacts used in the book, and even video of Gusta sharing her story.
  2. Gusta mentions several Jewish delicacies as she recounts her childhood, such as challah, fluden or honey cake. If you have a local Jewish bakery, see if you can bring these treats to your reading group. If not, why not make some traditional foods from your own background to share with the group.
  3. There are many wonderful Holocaust memorials, museums, and exhibits throughout the country. Go online to find one nearest to your group and visit it to learn of the remarkable stories from this period in history.

Read More Show Less

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