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Monday, January 6, 2014

Looking backwards to look forward

by Amy Belisle

When people remember and share the past, we must enter into the conversation or discussion understanding the idea that people remember the past differently based upon the lens through which they are viewing their experience.  The past must be remembered and shared across a multigenerational level - if the future is to turn the page on the past.  Throughout the city of Londonderry or Derry, there are reminders of the past and the hope of the future.  The murals serve as reminders of the troubles experienced over the climax of the conflict in Northern Ireland.  Within the murals you can learn the story of a young girl who was killed because she leaned down to collect a rubber bullet, a young boy wearing a gas mask, not to protect himself from the tear gas; rather to protect himself from being identified by the police, and the goal of the future – sustained peace.  The Bloody Sunday monument tells the story of where 14 individuals lost their lives and 15 individuals who were injured. The action of remembering the past must be to share experiences as a fulcrum to defining a new future.  The action of remembering the past we must not assign a sense of fact or fiction to what has been shared.  The message about the role of the past has been consistent from Peter Garvin, Charlie and James, in that the past must be shared with the younger generations to help reshape the future.  These individuals are bench marks for leaders, more specifically, servant leaders within their communities working towards restorative justice and on some level forgiveness – through education and the sharing of their experiences during the times of trouble. 

The basic premise of servant leadership is that the desire to lead should be rooted in the desire to serve those within one’s sphere of influence.  The intent of restorative justice is to focus justice on the needs of the victims and the offenders.  In this context, the relationship between servant-leadership, restorative justice and forgiveness becomes apparent. What links these three elements together is the idea of hope and faith – hope for the future and faith in a better future; hope for and faith in the greater good.  Without the elements of hope and faith the basic premise of servant-leadership, restorative justice and forgiveness will not come to fruition.   The relationship is such that without leading from a place of service for the greater good, one becomes more aware of the need for restorative justice over retributive justice.  A leader who is grounded in service for the greater good with a future oriented perspective, restorative justice becomes an intrinsic perspective to managing and resolving conflict – especially when harm has been the output of the conflict.   Through the efforts of Peter, James and Charlie sharing their messages held within the past serve as a guidepost for a future grounded in restorative justice and forgiveness.

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