Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sad Day in Gambia (on Eid al-Fitr) ends 27 years of no execution!

Found on or Click here for August 29-30 2012

After 27 years without a single execution in The Gambia President Yahya Jammeh brought that time to an unhappy end with the execution of seven Gambian citizens and 2 Senegalese citizens in a firing range. The executions were carried out on Eid al-Fitr, a day of celebration, love and peace in the Muslim faith.

The death penalty was abolished in Gambia by the former President Dawda Jawara but was then reinstated by the current President, Yahya Jammeh. In a broadcast President Jammeh made on Sunday 26th August he said that he would execute the other 38 convicts waiting on death row before the middle of September. This caused outrage in the rest of Africa and round the world. Christof Heyns, the United Nations special reporter on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary said, ‘I strongly condemn the executions that took place last week in the Gambia, and call for a halt to further executions… This stream of executions is a major step backwards for the country, and for the protection of the right to life in the world as a whole.’ It was not clear what the charges against the nine executed were but many were former officials and top military officers who had been detained for treason when President Jammeh took power in 1994 by a military coup.

The President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathon has called for a stop to the executions and for other Africa countries to ‘respond’ to President Jammeh’s execution schedule as he fears they ‘would mean genocide of Africa.’ It is obvious that these executions have caused a stir but will they be a turning point for Africa as the President of Nigeria has predicted? Or will President Jammeh stop the planned executions and will Gambia retreat back to being one of the only peaceful and stable nations in Africa as she was before?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

One More who Forgave and One More Who Died Saving Others

I hope to post on these two amazing heroes here soon:

This note came in the Comment Section under the Pierce O'Farrill story--

There is another man who forgave like Pierce O'Farrill: Donnie ("never" Donald) Wm. Nichols. Nichols forgave the gunman and he is a deacon. The man who gave his life saving others in the temple was Satwant Singh Kaleka, a man from India.

Posted August 13, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

PRAY. Dialogue. Act.

This effective image is from a Sierra Leone YOUTH dialogue project linked below.

St. Edwards Band, Sierra Leone -- Photo found here

Dear GOD help us all! Please help Texas today.

YET ANOTHER random shooting of at least five people has taken place. This time at Texas A&M University:

College Station police say a gunman killed a Brazos County constable and a civilian and wounded two police officers and a civilian near Texas A&M University.

Police wounded the gunman, who died in custody.

Virginia Tech, Arizona, Colorado, Wisconsin, Texas A&M... the list just keeps getting longer, and the death toll keeps getting bigger, with 34 more Americans murdered with guns every single day. How many more shootings will have to take place before lawmakers take meaningful action to address gun violence in America?

Please, click here to sign the petition from Daily Kos and our partners at Mayors Against Illegal Guns demanding a plan to reduce gun violence from both President Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney.


...Chris Bowers
Campaign Director, Daily Kos

A few other resources here (plz add your own in the comments below!)

Center which includes a project for helping YOUTH dialogue about the danger of gun violence. (let's learn from this special effort in Sierra Leone!: The iEARN Collaboration Centre has a variety of dialogue and interactive projects including this one on guns.) here

Doctors Target Gun Violence -- GO here

Health Experts Call Gun Violence a Social Disease -- GO here

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Colorado Shooting Survivor Forgives Gunman

O'Farrill speaks with reporters, July 26, 2012. Aaron Ontiveroz/Denver Post

Colorado shooting victim on James Holmes: ‘I forgive him with all my heart’
By Dylan Stableford, Yahoo! News | The Lookout – Thu, Jul 26, 2012

It would be understandable for the victims of the Colorado theater shooting and their families to want retribution.

But Pierce O'Farrill, a 28-year-old who was shot three times in the Aurora massacre, says he has forgiven James Holmes, the suspected shooter in last week's Aurora, Colo., massacre.

"Of course, I forgive him with all my heart," O'Farrill told reporters shortly before his release from the Univ. of Colorado Hospital on Wednesday. "When I saw him in his hearing, I felt nothing but sorrow for him--he's just a lost soul right now."

O'Farrill--a staffer at the Denver Rescue Mission, a Christian charity organization that helps "people at their physical and spiritual points of need, with the goal of returning them to society as productive, self-sufficient citizens"--told the Denver Post he would eventually like to meet Holmes.

"I want to see him sometime," O'Farrill, one of 58 people wounded in the shooting, said. "The first thing I want to say to him is 'I forgive you,' and the next is, 'Can I pray for you?'"

O'Farrill's compassion is in stark contrast to the brother of Jessica Ghawi, one of 12 people killed in Friday's "Dark Knight Rises" rampage.

Jordan Ghawi did not attend Holmes' first court appearance on Monday because he feared he might try to avenge his sister's death.

"I was afraid that I may try to get my hands on that man," Jordan Ghawi said in an interview with CNN outside the Arapahoe County District Court shortly after the hearing...

READ more at this original article entitled:
"Colorado shooting victim on James Holmes: ‘I forgive him with all my heart’"

Here is a selection of some of the comments that were under this yahoo article (See the Huff Post article for over 559 Comments by now!)

Tara • 13 days ago
Ok, a guy shot three times forgives the shooter, while Yahoo reported yesterday that a guy who was just present in the theater and not injured is suing the theater and the movie studio. What's wrong with this picture?

FUBAR • New York, New York • 13 days ago
Whether you agree or disagree with O'Farrill you have
to admit one thing...He does 'practice what he preaches.'

Henry1 day 20 hrs ago
...I say "Praise the Lord" for saving the lives of all the other people in the Theatre. Why should we dwell on the horrors that occurred that night. We need to forgive all people, not just those who come asking for forgiveness. God has already forgiven all people for the sins we have commited. Thats what Jesus did.

Chris • 13 days ago
Here is an example of a person that talks the talk and walks the walk....wishes for a speedy recovery

t10 days ago
ClassicSporty : I have no problem forgiving people when they are truly sorry for what they've done. That is not the case here. The man brutally shot and killed 70 people and from the looks of it is not sorry 1 lick. He hasn't earned forgiveness and doesn't deserve it in my book.

YouKidMe • 13 days ago
I understand this....hate eats you up from inside and poisons your life. It becomes all you think about and keeps one from moving on and healing. I also understand the desire for revenge. I have been there. The longer I hung on to the hate, more more slowly I recovered. can take a long, long time to really forgive.

Macy Marun13 days ago
I don't forgive people because of a Bible telling me to. I forgive everyone who has wronged me because hate makes me feel so ugly inside and really just damages me. Once I let go of my hatred and started forgiving, I felt like the world's weight was finally off my shoulders. I no longer refer to myself as Atlas. I can understand why this man forgave Holmes, and I hope all the victims and families can do it to start healing faster, too.

Stenton23 • 13 days ago
Coming on the heels of that other victim, who hired a PR firm and a lawyer for his lawsuit, no less. For this man, I have such admiration! Would that I could find such grace in my heart. God bless him. Truly inspirational.

Sharon12 days ago
Mike, Of course we all care about the others killed and injured but this story was about one person forgiving another. Just because you forgive him for what he did to you doesn't mean you think he shouldn't be punished for his acts.

Anaheim, California • 13 days ago
Hate is easy in a situation like this... It takes strength to forgive.

Chief • 13 days ago
I'll give this young man credit.... he's a better man than I.

Fats • Los Angeles, California • 13 days ago
People who post that they are angry he has forgiven the shooter seem to not understand that he is not saying he would let him go free. You can forgive someone but they still have to pay for it .

Lola • 13 days ago
Forgiveness, in my opinion is necessary for some to move on in life. While he may forgive Holmes, he will never forget. Bless this man for being the man he is.

What Now • 13 days ago
I think Pierce O'Farrell is doing something very healthy by setting an intention to let go and let "God". He turned this over to a higher power. Hate is like an addiction that stirs your insides and eats you alive if you continue to feed into it. This doesn't mean that by forgiving Holmes I'd agree he should also go unpunished. I doubt that is what O'Farrell intends here either by saying what he did. What he's doing is not allowing Holmes to rent any more space in his head and poison his thoughts.
Alot of the servicmen who suffered PTSD after the Viet Nam war found it was a very healing experience for them to revisit Viet Nam when they were ready later in life and return to the same places and meet the same people they were in combat with.

Janet D • 13 days ago
Thinking and praying for you, Pierce O'Farrill. I hope everyone will learn from you. God bless you and your family.

JP • 13 days ago
Forgiveness is a very powerful soul healer. It will allow him to move on more quickly.

DL • 12 days ago
O'Farrell is doing what is in his heart, what works for him. That doesn't mean it's something other folks shot (or the families of those who were murdered) have to do as well. However, what I find the most scarey are those who demonize Holmes, who wish to torture him, for example. When you express those sentiments, without investigation (which hasn't happened yet) into the event and him as a person, you premeditatively call for the death (etc.) of another: in short, you perpetuate the violence. You continue to create a culture of violence. How does that help?

Mike Bloise • Washington, District of Columbia • 13 days ago
This victim is cool!......

O.G • Los Angeles, California • 13 days ago
Love this verse..."You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire."
Matthew 5:21-24

Sad • 9 days ago
Forgiveness is pretty difficult, I have to say. I think sometimes it is easier to forgive someone who hurts you than it is to forgive someone who hurts someone you love. I think for family members, that will not come easy, if at all.

Alexa • 13 days ago
The forgiveness Pierce speaks of is not about forgetting or condoning the actions of Holmes. It's about letting go of the anger, hatred, and vengeful thinking that can consume us and cause us to be like the person who caused those feelings in the first place. It can be very destructive. Pierce is experiencing the peace of God - which "transcends all understanding".
(Philippians 4:7)

Find another article "Colorado Shooting Survivor Forgives Alleged Gunman" also with many comments (559 last I looked!) GO here

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

UPDATE from Bill Pelke: Recent Events (Alaska, etc.)

photo credit to Dallas Observer -- story link below.

It has been super to be here with Rais, he is a great man.

Rais gave wonderful talk at the annual fish fry. He did a fantastic radio talk interview with show host Shannyn Moore, who is a friend of AADP and the Journey of Hope. Rais also did a live news interview with the local Fox TV station prior to the “Fry Fish Not People” event.

They picked him up at my house and took him to the salmon cook-off when he was finished. Rais also was a judge for the competition. A television crew came to the event and interviewed him along with Rich Curtner, chair of the NCADP and one of the main organizers of this event.

I have been moved to tears each time I hear him speak. It is so powerful.

Rais also spoke for Kathy’s toastmaster group. He showed a 5 minute film. Everyone made positive comments when it came time for criticism and discussion that always takes place at these events. My Kathy really likes him too.

I look forward to talking strategy for the next couple of days, including a possible trip to Homer, to me the most beautiful city in Alaska. The weather last night was a beautiful 74 degrees, about as warm as it ever gets here in Anchorage.

I have also become friends on facebook with Pierce O’Farrill who was shot and left for dead in Colorado. He has forgiven the killer, doesn’t want the dp for him. Strong Christian man, talking about forgiveness to glorify God.

In fact he is on CNN right now. (As Bill wrote this update)

( Perhaps readers will be able to access this event by going here )

Great story.



Just one article Bill sent on Rais Bhuiyan here

I promise to get posted more of Bill's (and Rais') articles real soon!

Blogger, Connie

Photo of Dr. Rick Halperin and Rais Bhuiyan in Europe with the SMU/Reprieve project. The photo on top is also from the same trip and project when Rais was interviewed in England.