Confronting those you have wronged and seeking forgiveness does work. It has proven to be an effective alternative to punitive "justice".
And the people of Northern Ireland need to learn from this great project, especially in view of what is happening now.
Gerry Adams the Sinn Fein (political wing) of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was released only this morning by the police, after a 96 hour interview with the Police, in connection with the abduction and brutal murder of a mother of ten children called Jean Mc Conville in 1972. Senior Police officers are suggesting that they have enough evidence to bring him to justice. I accept that Mr Adams should not be immune to justice. No one should be. Sinn Fein claimed that Adam's arrest was "politically contrived" and "malicious".
Ruth Duddley Edwards writing in today's Telegraph stated "If you can not have justice then you can not have peace Worthing of the name". I do not agree that this is so in all circumstances. Especially given the history of Northern Ireland, and how far we've come. Forgiveness can lead to lasting peace. In deed she argued in her article "Is it worth bringing the past to light if it means causing chaos in the present? Should the need for justice for Jean Mc Conville outweigh the needs for ALL sides to put the troubles behind them?".
Desmond Tutu has proven there is a better way of bringing about peace and avoiding bloodshed by wrong doers facing up to their victims and seeking for forgiveness. No lawyers involved. Just the victims families and the perpetrator(s). It worked for post apartheid South Africa and it can work in Northern Ireland. This initiative, in my opinion, should have been established immediately after the Good Friday agreement.
Given the potential repercussions of what is happening in Northern Ireland, I hope and pray people like Bill Clinton, an Irish American President, who spent a considerable time of his Presidency, to broker peace in that part of the world and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, step in to quickly to show the Irish that there is a third way, an alternative way, of bringing a much desired peace to a their country. The alternative is inexpensive and non time consuming. Seek for forgiveness and be forgiven. Justice does not always have to be punitive. In my opinion.
Dr Mustapha Tahir
You can follow Dr Mustapha Tahir on the following:
Twitter: @MustaphaTahir OR @drmmtahir