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29 November 2015

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Leonard - a sad personal real life story. But quite a challenging one - especially for this broken world of ours where families, communities and nations cause so many bad things to happen between them.

A positive message for this Christmas time too.

Phil, really true. It was unbelievable for me. When we faced the BRA men for reconciliation it was they who shed tears and not us the victims.

But it was that guilt they had that made them feel sorry as we the victims felt joy.

The first local mssionaries who came to my area with expatriate SDA missionaries were from Bougainville and Musau Island. They were stationed at Pindak village in Kandep, Enga province. I thought Bougainvillians were good, friendly people.

None of us knew how to swim then and one of the pastors dived into the Lai River and brought the body of a young man trapped by weeds at the bottom. We admired him for the feat.

And over the years I have had many classmates and close frinds from Bougainville. Even one of my relatives is married to a woman from the beautiful island. She has given my tribe some beautiful children. One of the boy's name is 'Londati' meaning from far away in the Enga language.

It is hard to believe that the crisis occured and lots of people have suffered. I believe there are many families on Bougainville like Leonard's who have also forgiven, buried the past and want to move on. I appauld Leonard F Roka for this sad tale which relates to the wanton murder of his father. Such stories of open forgiveness can bring total peace and harmony to the once beautiful and prosperous island.

When I was working with Leonard on his book 'Brokenville' I found the detailed account of the murder of his father by the BRA, for no apparent reason, quite confronting and shocking.

When he and his family extended the hand of forgiveness to his father's murderers I thought it was an incredible human response. If the same thing had happened to me I'm not sure I could have been that forgiving.

But Leonard's family is not the only one to do this. There are many families who have extended the hand of peace to their past enemies. It is a measure of the strength of the Bougainvillean people.

I sincerely hope that they can engineer a future that makes all that suffering worthwhile.

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