By Chernor Ojuku Sesay
Cocorioko Correspondent in Freetown
Thursday November 3, 2005
Lawyer Blyden Jenkins-Johnston has written a special letter to president Alhaji Dr Ahmed Tejan Kabbah pleading for the release of the jaileed editor of For Di People newspaper, Paul Kamara who has already spent one of his two year jail sentence.
The letter reads ;
This is a plea from my heart, and I make this plea to you not as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, but as a human being, a fellow Sierra Leonean, a father and grandfather, a devout and practicing Muslim and as fountain of Justice in Sierra Leone, being also fully conscious that we are now in the Holy month of Ramadan, the most important period in the Muslim Calender, when all Muslims engage themselves in sober and prayerful reflection, and strive diligently to practice the virtues of sacrifice, kindness, generosity and forgiveness.
Your Excellency, I do not intend to go into the rights and wrongs of whatever Paul Kamara may or may not have done to hurt you, because that will serve no useful purpose at this time. Suffice it to say, however, that whatever
Paul Kamara may have done, I sincerely believe he has been punished enough, and it is now time for your Excellency, in your present state of heightened spiritual awareness at this time of Ramadan, to show compassion and practice forgiveness, and order the release of Paul Kamara, so that he can return to his family. May I also say, Your Excellency that Paul`s wife, his children and his staff have all been suffering with him since he was imprisoned, and I think they all now deserve some respite.
Indeed Sir, speaking as a father of adult children, and also as a grandfather myself I know that many time our children cause us annoyance, embarassment, maybe even sometimes shame and disgrace, but we always manage to find it somewhere in our hearts to forgive them, no matter what they may have done. This is why we have the saying in KRIO:”…Bad bush nor day for troway bad pikin….”
Also, in the Lord`s prayer, we always ask God to”….forgive us trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”
Your Excellency, PAUL is your son and you are his father, it is time to forgive him. Surely, you would not want the people of Sierra Leone when you would have left office, to think of you as the unforgiving and inflexible president who, depsite thousands of pleas and petitions, steadfastly refused to show forgiveness to one (1) man who had offended him, even after that man had spent a full one (1) year IN JAIL !
For the sake of your own children and grandchildren and bearing in mind that ” no one knows tomorrow”, I beg you and plead with you to forgive Paul and let this matter be over and done with. You do not know who your own children and grandchildren may hurt or offend tomorrow; maybe after you are gone from this world, and will they expect mercy ? of course they wll; and then how would they like it at that point in time, if someone comes along and says__”don`t forgive him/her/them, their father/grandfather was a very hard and unforgiving man !” I am sure you would not like that at all ! Those who know Paul well will say that he is stubborn and head strong, but Paul is a good man and a patriot. As the saying goes, “if you falla baboo for im worwoh you go beat am so tay yo kill am.”
I would ask Your Excellency to consider his contribution to the restoratioin of democracy during the period of Junta Rule, and juxtapose that with his present offence, and I belive you will find that his virtues far out weigh his vices. I would ask Your Excellency not to forget that,”.To err is human, to forgive divine.”.
I plead with you Sir, to exhibit that divine quality by forgiving Paul and releasing him from prison during this Holy month of Ramadan, so that he will celebrate Eid-ul-Fitri with his wife and family, instead of in prison.
I commend to your Excllency the words of the HOLY KURAN, SURA XLII, Section 4, verse 40:..”The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto in degree, but if a person forgive and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from God, for God loveth not those who do wrong.
43.. But indeed if any show patience and forgive, that would truly be an exercise of courageous will, and resolutioon in the conduct of affairs..”
Finally, Your Excellency, I would also commend to you the immortal words of William Shakespeare in his play ” the Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene I” as follows:”..The quality of Mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed; it blesseth him that gives and him that takes;
“Tis mightiest; it becomes the throned monarch better than his crown; His scepter shows the force of temporal power, the attribute to awe and majesty, wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.
BUT MERCY IS ABOVE THE SCEPTRED SWAY, IT IS ENTHRONED IN THE HEARTH OF KINGS, IT IS AN ATTRIBUTE OF GOD HIMSLEF, AND EARTHLY POWER DOTH THEN SHOW LIKEST GOD`S, WHEN MERCY SEASONS JUSTICE.
Therefore Jew, though justice be they plea, consider this. That in the course of Justice, none none of us should see salavation; we do pray for mercy, and that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy…”
Your Excellency; as we move towards the end of Ramadan and the feast Eid-uliFitri, I pray that Almighty Allah will touch your heart and that it will pour forth mercy and forgiveness as in this our plea, toward our friend, brother, son, husband and father PAUL KAMARA.
May God continue to Bless us all EID MUBARAK.
Your Excellency, I remain
Your most Sincerely,