Thursday, September 28, 2006

Four Years And The Demand For Justice Remains

Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.

-- Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

I never had the opportunity to meet John Gilbride.

But there are a few things that believe that I can say about the man without reaching too far into the realm of speculation. As best I can tell, he was a man who was ordinary and exemplary normal and admirable, courageous and yet fearful.

I don’t believe that the man I consider to be a posthumous friend had any quiet desire to become a martyr or a “cause”. His aim was far more pure than that. He wanted to see his son, to be a part of his child’s life, to participate in life as a parent, the kind of things that many of us take for granted.

But for MOVE’s leadership, these were things that could not be.

So far though, those responsible for John’s death have escaped the justice that is overdue in coming to them. But even when the law catches up with the assassins of a clearly innocent man, what will remain will still be a tragedy.

The philosopher Aristotle advanced the idea that tragedy results in a catharsis of healing for the people who witness it via their experience and emotions in response to the suffering those to whom tragedy has been wrought.

In a way I suppose there is more than a little truth in that. From getting to know a few members of John’s family I have found that I know not only understand John better, but also have learned much about myself. It is relatively clear to me that I would not have this sense of self-awareness had I just chosen to leave MOVE and walk away into obscurity.

But as much as my soul has been uplifted by aspects of this experience, what remains are cold and brutal facts that are not abstractions.

When in MOVE as a “true believer” and even after I knew better, I participated in MOVE’s vicious and often outrageously deceitful campaign against John and his family. I look back in anger and shame and disgust at the things I did. Granted, I was prodded and provoked into doing these things, but that is no excuse. I did these things and at the end of the day I am responsible for the things I did.

However, unlike most of my former comrades in MOVE I have chosen to accept the wrong that I have done and am trying my best to make it right. Of course it goes without saying that no amount of altruism or good intentions can bring back John, but I can work to preserve his memory and I can work to see that justice for John Gilbride becomes a reality, and I can hope that his son will have a future free of the terror of MOVE.

What I can also hope to do is shine a light upon the darkness that exists at the heart of MOVE.

Currently that place of darkness is inhabited by John’s ex-wife and the mother of his son, Alberta Africa.. I realize of course, that it is somewhat out of fashion to describe people as being evil, the idea of subjectivism being the order of the day. But I have seen evil. Evil has a name, it has a face. An evil person is one who is pathologically self-serving, someone who lacks a conscience, and who either by design or conditioning has no capacity for empathy. Such a person feels no remorse for the harm they do to others and who keeps close by them a set of rationalizations for the cruelty to which they so readily met out upon those who are there victims.

Evil is Alberta and her close comrades within MOVE. It is this evil which works persistently to keep justice at bay, to keep John Gilbride far from the minds of MOVE’s current crop of supporters and members and also to keep it out of the public conscience.

So now, here we are four years down the road. John is dead. His mother is dead. John’s son lives under the tyranny of his mother.

But I am still here, even if I have to stand alone in this struggle.

We all know that the killer of Daniel Faulkner resides on death row where he will likely spend the rest of his life. The same goes for the killers of James Ramp. Chances are, that these killers will not ever breath the free air. But the killers of John are still free to walk the street. And until the day that this is no longer the case, I will continue to remain vigilant.

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