The Awesome Power of Forgiveness

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

I have just finished watching a BBC documentary that featured the attached family (L-R) Rizqy Setiawan, Iwan Setiawan and Sarah Setiawan flanking Ahmad Hassan (2nd from L) Iwan is the father of Rizqy and Sarah.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Hassan is on death row. He was one of the conspirators of a bomb attack that killed Iwan’s wife, the mother of Rizqy and Sarah. The program put together by the maverick BBC reporter Rebecca Henschke was such a profound experience for me. It is a poignant reminder that the best way to fight against evil is through forgiveness. As Abraham Lincoln famously asked;

“Do I not destroy my enemies by making them my friends?”

“Setiawan was on his motorbike, speeding past the Australian embassy in Jakarta. His mind was on his wife, whose arms were around his chest and whose pregnant belly he could feel pressing against his back. Their second child was due within weeks and they were on their way to hospital for a check-up. Suddenly there was this incredibly loud sound and we were thrown into the air,” he remembers. Iwan didn’t know till much later that it was a suicide bomb, planted by a militant group a responsible for a series of attacks in Indonesia, including the Bali bombing in 2002 that killed 202 people from around the world. “I saw blood. Lots of blood. Metal went flying into one of my eyes, destroying it. His wife was thrown from the bike, landing metres away. Both were rushed to hospital and, in a state of shock, a badly injured Halila Seroja Daulay went into labour.

She was rushed into the operating room after getting contractions. But praise be to Allah, somehow she was still able to give birth naturally,” Iwan says. That night Rizqy was born. His name means “blessing”
According to Setiawan “I lost my best friend, my soul mate, the person who completed me. It’s so painful to talk about it,”. At first, he was filled with a desire for revenge. “I wanted the arrested conspirators to die, but I didn’t want them to die quickly,” he says. “I wanted them to be tortured first. I wanted their skin to be cut and salt put in the wounds so that they had some idea of the pain their bombing caused, both physically and mentally. My children and I have struggled so incredibly hard just to keep living.”

The car bomb attack that killed Mrs Setiawan went off at 10.30 am Jakarta time on September 9, 2004. It killed the suicide bomber that triggered it, 8 others, injured 150 and destroyed not just the Australian embassy but that of Greece and China shattering glass windows up to half a kilometer away. 6 persons were eventually arrested and sentenced to death. They are currently cooling off their heels in a maximum security prison on a jungle covered island that the surviving Setiawan family members met Ahmad Hassan including the mastermind of the bomb attack Darmawan Munto Rois. Setiawan senior had all previously met them before bringing his children along. Who by way of introduction started;
“I have invited my children to meet you, I want them to understand too why you did the bombing that killed their mother and caused me to lose one of my eyes. They have to know because they lost their mother when they were so young” Ahmad Hassan nods solemnly and replies;
“I never wanted to hurt your father, he just happened to be passing by, and my friend who was carrying the bomb blew it up at that time. I hope that you, the children of Iwan, can forgive me.” His voice starts to break.

“I am a flawed human. I have made many mistakes. My friends and I were given the wrong education and learning. I wish that we hadn’t acted before we had really gained knowledge and understood what we were doing,” he continued.
Sarah summons up courage and says; “I would always ask my dad when I was little, ‘Where is my mum?’ and he told me she was at Allah’s house. I asked where that was, and he said it was the mosque. So I ran away to the mosque. My grandmother was looking for me, and when she found me I told her that I was waiting for my mum. I was waiting for my mum to come home. But she has never come home.”

“Hassan closes his eyes and opens his hands in prayer. Over and over he mumbles a prayer seeking forgiveness from Allah. “Allah wanted me to have to meet you and be forced to try and explain,” he finally manages to say. “But I can’t explain to you my child, I am sorry. “I can’t hold back my tears. I take Sarah as my own child. Please, please forgive me. It’s in your hands.” Everyone in this tiny room is crying – except the mastermind and financier of the bomb attack who on his part stated; “I have a child, too. I haven’t seen my wife or child for years. I really miss them. I am even worse off than you. You’re still with your children. My child doesn’t even know me.” Darmawan continued “I didn’t do what they said I did. Why did I admit to it? Maybe when you are older you will understand” he said directly to the Setiawan children but added

“All humans have made mistakes. If I have wronged you in any way I apologise. I feel pain. I really do”

The entire meeting is part of a De-radicalisation program by the Indonesian government that brings captured terrorists and their victims face to face many of which have found healing and moved on with their lives without bitterness. Quite a number of the terrorists have also recanted because they are kept in isolation. Without their death sentences carried out and group solidarity they break down. Can the same template be applied in Nigeria? Will one day Shekau pose for a photograph holding hands with the Sharibu family? Are terrorists not actually pawns on a chessboard they neither understand nor have real control over? Truth is the real terrorist grandmasters never blow up themselves or get in any harms way.

They always pose as good guys because terrorism is the continuation of politics by other means. That not withstanding there is power in forgiveness.

The various aftermaths of the Nigerian Civil War during the Oil Boom 70s, the emergence of a Rainbow Nation after dismantling of Apartheid in South Africa and the current soaring of Rwanda after the Hutu genocide against Tutsis are all examples of that awesome power.

Col. Gadaffi’s Warnings: 6 years on

By Mohammed Babafari (on Facebook)

It’s exactly 6 years since Muammar Gadaffi was assassinated!

Muamar Gaddafi’s Prophecies:

“I will not go into exile to any foreign country. I was born here in Libya, and I will die here. This country was a dessert, and I turned it into a forest, where everything can grow.

“No one Love this land more more than its citizens. If Europe and America tells you that they love you, be careful. They love the wealth of your land. The oil and not the people. They are helping you to fight against me but, it will be more wise for you to fight against them because they are fighting against your future and progress.

“My message to you the people of Libya is, they are helping you to kill me but you will pay the price because you will suffer. And my message to you America and Europe is, you will kill me, but be ready to fight a never ending TERRORISM.

“Before you realise your ignorance, terrorists will be hitting you at your doorstep.”

COL. GADDAFI’S IMPACT IN LIBYA:

1. There is no electricity bill in Libya, electricity is free for all its citizens.

2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens are at a 0% interest by law.

3. Home is considered a human right in Libya. Gaddafi vowed that his parents would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home.

4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 Dinars (US$50,000) from the government to buy their first apartment.

5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi, only 25% of Libyans were literates. Today, the figure stands at 83%.

6. Libyans taking up farming as a career, they received farm land, a farming house, equipment, seeds and livestock to kick- start their farms – all for free.

7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they needed in Libya, the government funded them to go abroad for it.

8. In Gaddafi’s Libya, if a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidized 50% of the price.

9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0. 14 per liter.

10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion – now frozen globally.

11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation, the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.

12. A portion of Libyan oil sale is credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.

13. A mother who gave birth to a child under Gaddafi, received US $5,000 as child benefit upfront.

14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $ 0.15

15. 25% of Libyans have a university degree

16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man- Made River Project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.

If this is called “Dictatorship”, I wonder what type of Leadership Democrats have!!

#BringBackOurGirls

Save our girls
(excerpts from Boko Haram: Western Values are Forbidden; Chapter 7)

This is a tribute to the over two hundred girls abducted by Boko Haram from the north eastern Nigeria a year ago. You might find the following excerpt rather unsettling, but be advised that though the deductions are based on actual facts, what you are about to read is a work of fiction. #BringBackOurGirls #ChibokGirls

“But what message do you have for the Nigerian people and the rest of the world who were hopeful that they were rid of Boko Haram?”

“This is the calm before the storm. The long dormant seed of Boko Haram has germinated and grown into a massive oak tree that can not be uprooted with mere hands of the Nigerian Armed forces. The Western world must recognize this fact.”

“Boko Haram abducted more than two hundred Nigerian school girls that have not been heard of as a whole again. Do you know what has become of them?”

“That is a very funny incident for me personally.” “Funny?” The black reporter asked in amazement. The Sheik was sweating profusely as the reporter gasped.

“Yes funny, because it wasn’t made an issue that these girls had actually been gathered together by elements in the Nigerian Western Educational system; with the approval and sponsorship of their parents and guardians. They hid them away from the Nigerian authorities so they can secretly carry out their acts of gross examination practices. This is a very common practice in Nigeria. While the Nigerian authorities claim they weren’t aware of this, Boko Haram didn’t and took the initiative to put and end to it. They took away the girls and gave them more meaningful lives to live.” The reporter had no idea his mouth had stayed open.

“Incredible! So the innocent school girls were saved by their abduction?”

“Yes and like I told you earlier, the concept of ‘Innocent Victims’ it too vague. In this case will you call these girls, their parents or their school management or educational authorities innocent victims? They were all complacent and actually exposed in the act of defrauding their very own sick Western educational system.”

“But are the girls all alive and living somewhere else presently?”

“No, many of them are not. Some got the most glorious martyr death of suicide bombers. Some escaped, some were killed by the bombing of the Nigerian Armed forces over the Boko Haram positions. Some are with their good Muslim husbands around the world, enjoying their lives as good faithful obedient Muslim wives.”

“They were sold as slave wives?” the reporter asked and the Sheik laughed.

“If you like. In your view all dowries are payments for female slaves then?” The reporter didn’t recognize the ingenuity in the first and only joke they shared.

“I also found this so called abduction of the school girls funny for another reason,” the Sheik continued. “For centuries disgruntle militant fighters have abducted massive numbers of young innocent school boys as their main source of recruits and over hundreds of years forcibly turned them into ruthless fighters who terrorized local communities with relative ease. But there has never been such a worldwide out roar or a whole scale international effort to rescue them.

“Maybe if the militants had instead been taking young school girls in such huge numbers, there would have been genuine efforts to end it all. The abduction of young boys by militants actually pose more danger than the abduction of young girls because the boys instantly get directly involved with the fighting, becoming future militants themselves. Western values has lots of misplaced priorities, some of them out-rightly illogical. I remember reading about how decades ago the Jewish inventors of suicide bombing had bombed and killed lots of Germans. This was about a decade after the holocaust. But the Germans just wouldn’t retaliate.

“”Because we are Germans and they are Jews.” That is the reason a German federal minister gave when asked why they weren’t retaliating. That is stupid! The elimination of millions of Jews in the holocaust is the single most laudable act of the Western world and it should have been continued with equal zeal and craft.”

“Don’t you feel there are consequences for all actions, especially killing men?”

“It is because we will eventually face the consequences of all our actions that every one of our action must be as Allah wills it, for we exist for His pleasure. Gladly this concept is acceptable to all Abrahamic religions, only Muslims act on it.” The reporter succumbed to the urge to say something in defense of liberality.

“Still you must admit that the common truth about your kind of people is they are predominantly Muslims. What is it about your brand of Islam that makes you think it is justified to use deadly force and kill people, to make a point? One will think there is a distinct teaching in all Islam that encourages this sort of it?”

AA-Boko Haram - Cover
Boko Haram; Western Values Are Fobidden….
Available from the links below

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/496472

http://okadabooks.com/book/about/8480

https://www.createspace.com/5145386