June is remembered as Enmore Martyrs day in Guyana. It’s also Father’s day. The sacrifice fathers endure on behalf of their children is no less than the martyrdom the five Enmoreans underwent on behalf of their country in the fight against imperialism. It’s as significant and civilly acceptable as the Arab Spring presently demonstrates, albeit some peculiar cases.
I hope that in the wake of continued battle for the electorate’s support we don’t miss the essence of this critical aspect of our history. Just as Walter Rodney and others were gifted historical eminence in this month, many years ago, leaving a light of hope against tyranny, the words of Asma Mahfooz of Egypt resonate similar platitudes of hope. ‘That if I should think there is no hope there will be no hope but if I should take a stand there will be hope.’
Yes, I can! The embryo of Faith is hope. Hope that one day the wicked will be brought to justice. The hope that one day the single father will be repaid. The hope that hope will keep up in order to repair the wrong, to love the unloved and to seek reconciliation among the conflicted.
This month internationally is also Restorative Justice. Reading about the inadequacies in the prison system reminds us that this concept of restoring balance in real justice is so much needed. This system affords many victims and offenders to discuss what happened rather than why it happened and to seek ways to repair the damage and ask for forgiveness.
I met a man at a conference in Peterborough, ON, Canada recently who spoke about his journey of forgiveness. He left home when he was a teenager because he could no longer take the incessant and cruel beatings of his father and thereby the lack of focus on school. He subsequently spent most of his life in the streets and in the pen. One day he received a call from his mother saying his father died. He was most disappointed; not that he died but he did not hear ‘I’m sorry’ from the man who birthed him but failed him. He was hurting from an abusive father. He lived out that abuse and not until recently was he able to forgive his own father.
The act of restorative justice education gained him that insight that when you forgive your perpetrator you relieve your soul of a lifetime burden.
This is the story that may apply to many. Among the endless list are pain from betrayal; the hurt of physical and sexual abuse; the innocent sentencing; the wrongful shooting of alleged criminality; the sold out of voters’ trust, etc. While God has not given up on us by sending new babies everyday we seem to give up on man by judging each other daily.
The bouquet of appreciation that father’s may truly respect is respect for their feelings and their legacy. Regardless of how bad a father he is, he is still the source of one’s birth. Regardless of how much one tries to be the best nurturer and friend of ones’ child there will always be one who is better and more successful than you. Therefore it’s the sincerity that counts; that you are a father because of God’s command. You love your father because that is the rightful divine thing to do. Thank you God, for my father! Thanks Mom for my father!
In conclusion I take lessons from Prophet Jacob as a remarkable father of Biblical and Quranic reference. When Jacob lost his son Joseph/Yusuf he cried for forty years. Yes men do cry! He wallowed in grieve over his missed and beloved little Joseph more than you can think. The worse is he knew intuitively that jealousy of his sons caused him this lost. However, after a life time there was reconciliation. Joseph forgave his brothers and rejoined them with his father!
Like father like son! Is that what most fathers want? Is that what most sons and daughters remember about their daddies? What’s your legacy is yours; no matter how meagre it may seem it’s still yours.
Quran 17:23 Thy Lord hath decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour.