An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony
THE sun rises in the east and sets in the west and, whatever the weather, it will still penetrate and enlighten the human heart.
The sun also indicates time. And within those times are situations men encounter, bad or good.
Humankind is bound to make mistakes and, hopefully, learn from its failures. A pure heart glitters like the sun.
Creating a conducive environment in every society depends on the heart. In a diverse culture a simple and humble heart promotes harmony.
Human happiness is evoked by a smiling heart, to greet someone familiar or unfamiliar, guest or visitor.
As our saying says, “Show your heart in your approach, behaviour, words and expression as a form of gesture.”
When others read your smiling face, they sense human joy in you. So they feel comfort and peace though they may be foreign.
However, in societies today, many youths move in a world of fantasy with drugs, homebrew and alcohol. Those substances divert their sensibilities and promote pride and aggression.
They become boastful, hostile and physically or verbally violent. Physical violence can cause bodily harm, although a victim can be compensated later to restore confidence, trust, peace and forgiveness.
Verbal assault is too common among youth. Degrading and sarcastic comments are now used as ordinary slang.
But, even if you swear at or argue with someone, be prepared to reunite before the sun walks down to the west.
This is to create stability and unity among the hearts of the victims and their cohorts. And the society as a whole will be at peace since the citizens are willing to forgive one another after an assault or commotion.
This creates an avenue for people to apologise, pardon one another and prepare to identify their own mistakes, failures and weakness.
I was told by my grandfather, “Wholeheartedly say sorry and pay some sort of compensation before the sun sets. Do not delay till the next day for it will create irritation, hatred and retaliation.”
To maintain status and avoid further retaliation in Melanesian society, be able to compensate your ill before the sun sets.
My grandfather also told me, “Do not let your brother or sister overnight with pain and negative perceptions over your assault or sarcasm.”
Once they are hurt, heal their wounded hearts and see how they will genuinely pardon your impoliteness.
I once verbally assaulted my cousin by labelling him a “container rat”, a term commonly used by youths to hurt someone’s feelings on the street. My cousin was deeply wounded and laid a formal complaint against me for making a sarcastic comment.
So before the sun set I called the community leaders and they held a mediation between my cousin and me.
I was asked to come out openly in front of the entire community to apologise to my cousin and withdraw the statement.
I withdrew my comments before the presence of family and community members.
“I seek your leniency and plead for your pardon about the words I used against you as a family member, I am sorry,” I said.
In the eyes of family members, community leaders and the public, my cousin accepted my apology and pronounced forgiveness.
I then made a voluntary compensation of K80 bel kol money to my cousin. I handed over the money and we hugged and said sorry to one another. We concluded with a can of soft drink to symbolise the unity of brotherhood.
The apology was done in public to set precedent for others to use in the future.
The concept of forgiveness in Melanesian society is challenging, only rare people possess such qualities to apologise and willingness to admit their failures and mistakes.
Most people do not want other people to correct them, nor do they happily accept criticism. The only solution is to fight or to hold back the wrong doings for later retaliation.
To nurture a harmonious society is challenging and the only solution lies within individual hearts. You act responsibly and sensibly as a citizen to find happiness with each another.
Regret comes after irresponsibility and only through mediation can forgiveness come into place to bring to the surface happiness and peace.
Apology and forgiveness
Are the qualities of a clean heart?
Show your heart
If it is filthy
Renew your heart
Restore genuine qualities
A clean heart is pure as white
Willing to plead
Willing to pardon
Available for comments & criticism
Learn from mistakes & failures
Fostering a conducive society
Depends on happiness and unity
A society of peace and harmony
Only surfaces from the human heart