Monday Missive – August 27th, 2012

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave back with you and I’m feeling particularly buoyant tonight!

I did a good time in my Monday half-marathon earlier tonight (1:56:20) – pushed along by my boxing buddy, Sol Egberime – and that has no doubt contributed, but it’s not the key reason.

I’m feeling genuinely thankful to God this week for two reasons:

The first is for the response I received to what I shared in last week’s Monday Missive about my Al Quds Day dilemma.

Thank you for your emails!

You may remember that I decided NOT to participate in the Al Quds Day protest two weeks ago, even though I was scheduled to speak, and I had been feeling very torn up about it all, and was feeling that I had not only let down the organisers but the long-suffering Palestinian people themselves!

I was both surprised and touched by the size of the response that my sharing generated, and the prayers and support I received from many of my Islamic friends was particularly meaningful to me.

Of course not everybody agreed with my decision, but each of you who wrote assured me of your on-going friendship and respect, and recognised that my non-participation in Al Quds Day did not indicate any lessening of my commitment to the cause of justice and peace in Israel/Palestine.

My own perspective now, a week further down the track, is that it doesn’t really matter much whether I made the right decision or the wrong one, for God has a way of seeing to it that ‘all things work together for good’ anyway (Romans 8:28), and my petty decisions don’t make a great deal of difference in the end! Ultimately, justice will come!

My second reason for feeling cheerful tonight is even more surprising than the first!

I had a Good Day in Court!

I won’t mention the name of the young man whom I accompanied to court last Friday, but I will say that he is someone we have been working with for a number of years and that the charges he was facing were serious and could have resulted in a prison sentence of some years.

Of course this was by no means the first time I had been a part of a courtroom procedure like this and I must confess that over time I have grown to despise the whole process:

  • the esoteric language and strange procedures that seem to be designed to confuse and intimidate the uneducated.
  • the cold and clinical way in which people’s lives are analysed and dissected and held up to public view

and worst of all …

  • the often jovial interplay between the legal professionals, upon whose whims the fate of so many people depends!

And don’t assume that I’m always the bleeding-heart advocate of the accused. I’ve seen as many notorious criminals slip through legal loopholes and walk away laughing as I have seen decent people locked away by a system that treats crimes against property far more seriously than it does crimes against persons!

Anyway …

My experience last Friday was one that left me gob-smacked, and what really impressed me was not just the verdict (which was a suspended sentence) but the summation of the judge, which must have lasted for a full 20 minutes!

This judge really seemed to understand what it was like for people struggling with mental illness, just as he seemed to grasp the effects that repeated childhood abuse can have on a young man.

Indeed, at one point the judge actually scolded the prosecuting attorney who had suggested that the accused’s history of childhood abuse was not relevant to the case. The judge said, “When the accused is an abuser, you prosecutors are always telling me how many lives this person must have damaged and destroyed, but when the accused is someone who has been abused you tell me that their history is not relevant!”

Good call, judge, and good verdict!

As the Judge left the court our lad called out, “Thanks Judge. I won’t let you down!” which was as touching as it was inappropriate in the context (though the boy swears that he saw the judge smile).

The experience was not enough to restore my faith in the system as a whole, but it did remind me that it is possible for the system to work effectively and achieve the purpose for which it was designed.

In point of fact there were a number of systems in operation that day.

  • There was the government-funded legal welfare team who had been working with the young guy even longer than we had.
  • There was the courtroom system that offered him another chance at life.
  • And now he moves into our system (of sorts) whereby we give him some time out at our campsite, while working with Probation and Parole, etc.

Enough said …

Of course I don’t have any pics to share with you of our day in court, but I do have a few others from the last week:

Veronica at Sydney Airport

That’s my beautiful eldest daughter, Veronica, about to head off to the USA for a couple of weeks of well-earned holiday.

Master Chef Po

That’s a personality that I wouldn’t expect anybody outside Australia to recognise. It’s the runner up in the Australian reality-TV show ‘MasterChef’: Poh Ling Yeow.

Poh was one of the main guests on this week’s Can of Wormsshow, in which I also made a brief appearance as an authority on youth violence! I’d suggest that you watch it except that it already went to air earlier tonight.

Don’t worry. I didn’t see it either. And nobody rang up either to tell me how I came across, which is probably indicative of the show’s ratings. If you’re really keen though, you’ll eventually be able to watch the episode online here.

One more pic …

Peter and Pip Hinman

That’s Peter and Pip Hinman. Pip is a candidate at our forthcoming Council elections with the Socialist Alliance. Pip asked me to speak at a party gathering last Saturday. I’m not a member of the Socialist Alliance but I love Pip and Peter so I said ‘yes’. I still can’t work out though why they put me on straight after two comedy acts!

Tickets for Lovemore’s next fight!

Before I let you go let me tell you that I have multiple tickets available to Lovemore’s next fight.

Lovemore will be fighting Rivan Cessaire, and I’ve already purchased 20 tickets for friends and supporters.

When: Friday, September 7th
Where: The Melbourne Pavilion, Flemington, Victoria (Australia)

The bottom line is that if I can’t sell all these tickets I’ll give the remainder away. Just let me know if you’re interested in coming. Financial members of www.fighting-fathers.com will of course get preference with the free tickets.

OK. That’s enough from me today.

May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.how2changetheworld.com

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four