Wednesday, March 11, 2009


What is better: Justice or Mercy?

Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the President of Sudan, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for Crimes against his own people. The indictment is a slam dunk, al-Bashir has been the overseer of the atrocities of Darfur for years. His guilt is pretty much certain. However, with the indictment in place, any talks of peace in the country have ground to a halt, and now the Government has kicked out all the NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) – those responsible for bringing life saving aid the population.

I want both. I want al-Bashir held accountable. I also want the people of Darfur and Sudan to know peace, and to receive much needed aid and assistance. No easy answers.

How can one make black and white choices in a world so grey? We may begin with an ideal, but then have to make adjustments according to the reality of the situation.

Vancouver has a safe injection site for intravenous drug users. There are those who believe this condones drug use and perpetuates the problem. There are others who, just as sincerely, believe this is part of the solution. The ideal would be no drug use, however the reality is different.

I am an idealist. To become a realist feels like I am giving up something. To describe myself as a realist would be a defeat. It would mean I am giving in to circumstances. I can’t do that. Yet at the same time, to hold my ideals with open hands rather than clenched fists seems like the better choice.

Now, knowing when to hold fast and when to let go, that is the real challenge. I’d like to have a pattern to work from, a way of knowing when to stay the course. The only real override that I can come up with for to any given situation is “love your neighbour as yourself”.

So, what I am saying is, the only circumstance under which I should let go of an ideal, is if it comes in conflict with loving my neighbour - not much of a compromise, but a hell of a lot easier said than done. God Bless the negotiators in Khartoum.

1 comment:

  1. This is good, again...especially for those of us who are in our forties. It is so easy to become disappointed, disillusioned, and hard. But hope is what causes optimism to continue to reside in me. And I like the idea of compromise being evoked when to do otherwise would mean hurting people. Yes, I like that idea very much. Thank you Rory.