On February 22, a group of Vol State students journeyed to Murray, Kentucky to hear the message of reconciliation from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In support of its mission to “internationalize the curriculum,” the International Education Committee of Vol State committed funds and time to transport the group to Murray State University. They heard Tutu, the retired Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa speak for over an hour on the topic of reconciliation and harmony. He expounded on human interpersonal relationships, whether it is between spouses or individuals of diametrically opposing political viewpoints (e.g. black South Africans vs. white supporters of apartheid).
Tutu also related the story of Amy Biehl, an American working to register voters in South Africa for the coming election. At this time in South Africa (1993) there were still many blacks who held anti-white views. These radicals had a saying, “One settler, one bullet.” This meant that they wanted to remove whites from the new South Africa, even if it meant they had to kill them. Amy Biehl, unfortunately, was in the line of fire. While traveling with three black friends, her car was stopped and she was beaten and stabbed to death. As Tutu pointed out, it might strike someone as odd that Biehl’s parents would want to meet with the perpetrators, not to condemn them but to forgive them. Tutu stated that Biehl’s parents could have coupled their loss with revenge, but that would of course waste their lives as well. Instead, he noted that her parents started the Amy Biehl Foundation to develop political prisoner rehabilitation programs, literacy training and instruction in job skills. The Foundation now employs some of Amy’s killers.