Accountability, Restitution and Sorry

This morning I am feeling disturbed, distraught and dismayed.  It’s Saturday, July 17, 2021 – my eldest brother’s birthday…my brother affectionately called Alfie.  Happy Birthday, bro.  Oh!  My feelings aren’t because it’s my brother’s birthday. My apologies.  While writing this blog, I felt inspired to mentioned Alfie’s birthday. 

The headline of today’s edition of the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper reads PAINFUL LOSS. It’s accompanied by a photo of a 10-year-old, slim built, handsome and intelligent-looking boy, clad in brown short pants, bright blue T-shirt, standing bare-footed on a narrow curb wall with both hands joining in the form of an emoji like “love you gesture”, and a mischievous look on a face slightly bowed.  

The story: “Jahiem Bogle succumbed to head injuries he received from gunshots while riding his bicycle along Collie Smith Drive in Arnette Garden, Kingston, Jamaica. Struggling to come to grips with his death, his distraught father says, “The rest of my life nah go easy enuh. A nuh mi son alone, a mi best friend. Him live with me.” 

I have other preoccupations – the source of my disturbed and dismayed feelings. It’s the Haitian people. Sparked by the recent assassination of their President and serious injury of his wife, I deliberate on the long history of the rape of a nation.  I also ponder the violation of Canada’s First Nations children by both state and church. 

Restoring the lives of the violated relies on two fundamental legal principles. Engineering a judicial system that brings the perpetrators to account and acting with mercy. Returning or compensating the victims for their loss – restitution, and the human gesture, if possible, that says, “I have wronged you. I am sorry.” – Acceptance of responsibility. 

The Canadian government has begun the process of all three for the First Nations People. Will the governments of France and the United States do the same for the Haitians?  Will Jamaica’s policing and justice system do the same for Jahiem Bogle?   

When this begins, maybe, just maybe, my dark-night feelings will witness the rising of the sun.

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