Maturing as a nation ... the imperative of justice!
February 19, 2004
WE have mentioned them before ... the contradictions that inform the growing pains of this young nation, and we surely didn't need to read Gaiutra Bahadur's painful synopsis of life in Guyana (see the full article at http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/7884544.htm) to recognize that since independence, while a lot has gone right, some of our efforts have gone wrong horribly wrong. To learn from our mistakes means, necessarily, moving from the stridency of the argumentative partisan political vernacular to that of the analytical, philosophical and spiritual ... facing the truth of past and current experiences squarely in the face, and so mapping out for our children strategies of nation-building and developmental-analysis that are more mature than the current models of "accuse" and "deny" and "re-accuse" and "re-deny".
Last week the imperative of forgiveness was mooted, and, if the concept still does not gel in the minds of those who are battle-weary from the deluge of political tribalism grating our minds in the letters-section of the dailies, then this week's concept (the imperative of justice) is easier understood. What Bahadur's article really illustrates is that anarchy, terror, crime and evil thrive where justice (restorative, distributive, retributive, Godly) is denied in essence, or denied in perception. The biblical Christian model of justice is helpful in this regard, but best left to another occasion for elaboration. Also, I am not unmindful of DeCairies' caution as quoted by Bahadur: "Guyana did not become woebegone yesterday ...". Nor will it end with this week's installments of our own local soap opera ...
To view current and future issues outside the extreme tint that the above environment delineates demands a Herculean effort at objectivity from each of us at this time. The reality of the status quo seems to sap your energy as you read Gaiutra's article. However, we now need to re-invent ourselves as the diverse, intelligent and well-informed citizenry that we are, and refuse to believe that this is the "destiny" envisioned for us in our national motto. One senses that the silence and inactivity of our brightest and best sons and daughters must end ... soon. There is a time for everything, per Solomon in Ecclesiastes, and it is now. Bahadur's expose' must not be our epitaph.
A call to arms ... the arms of well-researched intellectual discourse, bold but dispassionate expression, resolute professionalism and courtesies in army and police matters, high political ideals devoid of despotism and opportunism, judicial energy and written and published decisions at every level, respect for the sanctity of human life of whatever race, compassion for the destitute and needy among us, professional research and publication at all levels in the university system, understanding that sacrifices for God and country and family and ideals are more precious than those for out political parties, responding to media articles with careful research and analysis, a respect for every person's opinion, a joy for truth revealed however painfully, love for country and fellow citizenry, a passion for integrity and fairness, a rejection of charisma and untruth. These things have as much to do with justice as anything else, and Christians will understand that love will always inform this "more excellent way" at nationbuilding.
The alternative is foreign intervention a la Clive Thomas's analysis (see the article at http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=3345620 ) ... and then they'll tell us to do the exact same thing.
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen."