Declare a National Forgiveness Day

Stabroek News
June 5, 2001

Dear Editor,

I am truly heartened by Pastor Ivan John's letter captioned "We need to live in unity" (05-24-01) where he expressed great apprehension of a march taking place at an inopportune time.

Thankfully the march on March 24 did not lead to any violence. I do believe that was a result of the earnest prayers of many people in Guyana and elsewhere. And I believe it was also a result of courageous souls like that of Pastor John who is willing to take a stand because of his love for his country and his love for his God.

I agree with his call and that of other Guyanese to forgive each other inspite of the deep pain that was inflicted. President Jagdeo should seriously heed Gilbert Campbell's call for a National Forgiveness Day (NFD) Stabroek News, 05-14-01. Other religious, community and even political leaders should join in requesting a declaration of a NFD. This should not be a holiday; it should be a time when one recognizes each other's hurts and be willing to put that behind and go forward. This is not easy to do but enough is enough and we need to go forward as a people. Healing and reconciliation are certainly within our realm; it is possible through the grace of God.

In practical terms, we can help catalyse the process in our churches, temples and mosques, our neighbourhoods, our communities and beyond. On the National Forgiveness Day, Afro and Indo Guyanese in particular can verbalize their genuine commitment to want to be considerate of each other and be mindful for their perceived or real hurts, and want to do something about it. They can share a nice meal together with total strangers and talk about friendship, cooperation and a desire to understand and better consider the needs of the other. We do need to sit down, talk and regain trust in each other. It can be a beautiful experience and would be worth every bit of the time, money and effort.

We should have also have the courage to oppose those prone to revenge and violence within and without. Nip in the bud quickly every propensity to express hate - on the streets, in the minibus and at home.

Thank you, Pastor Ivan, for directing us towards turning a new leaf as we've been bruised and battered for too long. Let us strive in our beloved country to be a people of love and grace.

Yours faithfully,

Devanand Bhagwan