By DR Miller
On March 20, 2017, Pope Francis asked for forgiveness during a meeting at the Vatican with President Kagame of Rwanda for the 1994 100-day genocide.
Experts noted that over 800,000 people were killed in an ethnic war between Tutsi and Hutu extremists.
The Pope’s forgiveness gesture I believe will not bring back the lives lost. It could help remove the stains and mental anguish from the atrocity, or bring back some level of trust in the faith.
Let’s face it, forgiveness despite its intended good, is reactive.
Even if you are an opponent or supporter of religious ideology and despite one’s transgressions, sometimes few who claim to hold the forgiveness key, their own actions are part of these geopolitical problems
On the other hand, when a community and its people lose hope, coupled with poverty and the lack of resources even to fight crime, reduce poverty or fullfill one’s spiritual needs, after these sermons not much will change.
Today, many leaders in communities whose people place their trust for safety and economic uplifting should take forgiveness trip.
I thought about few Caribbean countries, in particular, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Jamaica, and Haiti and some Latin America countries where Christianity is the dominant religion; however, the poor economic conditions are not based on Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Atheist, Agnostics, or some non-believers.
This ongoing turbulence that continues in many poor Caribbean islands is simply not because of past colonization, or the elusive reparation quest that remains an open debate as blame continues.
Sadly, how can some move forward while blaming others when, despite link to their ancestors’ dark past, are now engaging in similar behaviour?
For example, the International Migration for Migrant (IOM) recently highlighted that some Sub Sahara African people are still being sold as slaves; and others are being forced guard in ransom houses, especially Nigerians, Ghanaians and Gambians.
Today call for a forgiveness leadership trip is not about slavery, it is change of course from ongoing socio-economic, cultural, poverty, crime, unemployment, corruption, public health and criminal justice for modernity.
People are looking for an answer to reverse course because where there is no vision these is no progress and I believe this is another form of salient genocide.
Sub-consciously society can become overwhelmed and minimize these issues and nothing gets done but more talk to fill time slots in the media.
Not because on these shores, people are not running through communities beheading their neighbours because of cultural differences nor humanitarian ships saving lives from people fleeing violence such as Syria, where reports have shown over half a million men, women, and children have been killed from gunfire, starvation, disease, torture or drowning fleeing the civil war. However, their plight should not be interpreted as an over-there problem.
Data have shown, according to the World Bank, that murder rates and violence in the Caribbean region are sometimes higher than some other part of the world.
The reality is that some leaders are using victims on social media with photo-ops only to give an excuse to divert attention from the real problems, and lack the drive to pass legislation to protect victims.
Weapons alone cannot settle disagreements, or cope with economic hardship where it seems waiting until these issues resolve themselves is the only solution.
Fighting crime is not an easy task, especially to bring back a sense of safety. And violence and crime tend to increase because people lose confidence and stop reporting to the police, while perpetrators become more empowered.
A 24-character tweet alone cannot solve what has become an ignited crisis or likes on Facebook.
Many advocates against crime in the Caribbean region believe that the local media have gotten better in driving awareness. However, critical grassroots programs still lack resources for victims; especially where reports have shown in increase in young people being molested, raped, exploited, kidnapped and murdered.
The public condemnation is good, but these atrocities seem to have become a platform to create new charity organizations for personal financial gains with no collaborative efforts.
Humanitarian experts often argue that the lack accountability, and poor management of resources creates revictimization.
Sexual harassment, an underreported crime in the Caribbean, could also use a new charity organization for awareness.
This resurrection one seeks is beyond a quick photo-op, and it is more than bright party colour during an election cycle.
Far too often communities have seen many elected leaders becoming wealthier, while policies are creating more downtrodden, victims of poverty, reducing the middle class, and the already powerless get washed out to the ocean.
Yes! It is genocide.
After an election along these shores, the guard changes, but that dirty rug still lies at the entrance of governance.
There has to be programs to help the youths, especially girls, to finish school and be protected from abuse to build the future economic stability.
Simply put, if places like Jamaica would like to have more Violet Browns (Aunt V) as the oldest person in the world, at age 117, the country has to do more on many fronts for others to reach half her age.
Law enforcement needs adequate resources, and 21st century technology to solve crimes and support victims; while other the systematic problems could use a forgiveness tour.
Riding along several coast lines and tuned in to the local media, often you hear communities echoing sentiments of being crucified to fill budget shortfalls from an increase in fees on basic government services. It is time for a new scripture and confession.
There are several mom and pop shops going out of business and they are the backbone of the community.
The exodus is not due to safety concerns alone, but a regressive tax system that has not been good for their business
Even that little piece of inherited land passed down by a loved one is more expensive to keep from increased taxes.
I am not an economist, and/or will I ask for an inflation forgiveness.
Globally, “inflation is expected to rise to about 4.6% in 2017, the highest rate since 2011,” according to the Economist. And that will become an added problem, and especially these countries who led by borrowing to keep up their economy will become casualties.
Tax revenue are important to improve areas like airport security, facility, school and some health services and pay the salaries of a nice person who made your trip enjoyable.
Today it seems no one has heard the prayers of the local farmers. Many rural areas could use a revival, as grocery store food aisles, once stacked from the farm next door, are competing with international products from imports. And where people are now seeing their food baskets getting less, not from the shortage of food items, but higher taxes.
These farmers could use a resurrection trip to inject investments to help their local farms
Even barrels shipped from families abroad that once filled a void for a few months are now seeing enormous fees for processing.
It seems these goods are being discouraged by fees.
The real GDP numbers will not capture local communities now that seems to have more services being offered than needs.
The local taxi stand has more drivers than passengers while struggling with higher fuel taxes, and operating fees.
These socio-economic decays can threaten deep cultural roots to re-connect. Many factors from higher air fare or a car rental taxes and fees that seem more than a daily rate to fear from random violence are keeping people away from local communities.
Recently I wrote about the “brain drain of the Caribbean nurses”.
Today, several other students, and practitioners, with degrees and certifications in various fields have massive loans; while some still lack adequate skills to enter the global work force and be competitive.
Without a forgiveness trip to change course crime and brain drain remains an attractive alternative for some.
The only hope is that, after a crucifixion, there should be a resurrection to cut socio-economic crime, victims and justice silent genocide that surely need a new sermon to change course for prosperity for all.