Powerful message of forgiveness

Editorial, Normal

The National – Friday, February 11, 2011

AMID the gloom, doom, despair and no hope regarding the vicious circle of ethnic violence in Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea has come a breath of fresh air.
It has taken the life of former Kumul rugby league star Aquila Emil to bring this message across to the people of this country.
Emil was gunned down outside the Lamana Hotel in Port Moresby last Friday with the alleged killer now in remand at Bomana jail.
In just about every town or city, even the rural areas, this would have sparked another round of ethnic violence as Emil’s people went on the warpath against relatives of the alleged killer.
There would be more people killed, more houses burned down and more lives shattered in the aftermath.
However, in Aquila’s case, his family has forgiven the alleged killer and opted to let justice take its course, to let God himself be the judge.
It is quite ironic that in life, Emil touched the nation with his rugby leagues finesse and now, after death, he continues to touch the nation with a powerful message of peace.
His grieving family told The National yesterday that they held no animosity against his alleged killer and would let God himself pass judgment.
Emil’s elder sister Margaret Worri said they were from a Christian, God-fearing family from Umbukul village on New Hanover, New Ireland, and forgave Emil’s killer.
She said this was the way their late father, a United church pastor, raised them up to be and he would have wanted it this way.
“We will forgive and let God himself be the judge,” Worri said.
“We come from a humble, Christian family and we were brought up in a loving way.
“We will maintain that.
“I know that if dad was here, he would say the same thing.
“Aquila had loved his children, for his brothers and sisters.
“He is gone but his legacy will live on.
“He did not die for nothing.
“Aquila was a peace-maker.
“He was not a violent person.”
Emil, 43, is survived by his wife Marieta and five children Jr Aquila, 23; Vavine, 20; Martha, 16; Rupa Penias, 12; and 10-year-old Tau Vaitas.
His widow remembers him as the perfect father.
“I love him so much,” she said as she fought back tears.
“He was a good father.
“He never beat up the children or argued with me.
“He always cooked for us.”
Two months this year and, already, innocent men, women and children are being needlessly affected by the wave of ethnic violence sweeping this country.
A new year, a new decade, but there seems to be no respite from this evil in a country which we like to preach of as “Christian”.
Aquila, through his violent death, has begged us to differ.
It goes without saying that had he been from one of the more-volatile areas of the country, renowned for payback killing, that would already be the order of the day.
The livewire from Umbukul electrified the Lloyd Robson oval starting in 1988 onwards for Port Moresby Brothers.
In 1993, during the World Sevens in Sydney, Port Moresby Vipers, captained by Emil, Wests’ magician Tuksy Karu at pivot and players par-excellence such as fullback Philip Boge, Mark Agi and Daroa Ben-Moide demolished highly-fancied NRL teams and shocked and entertained the rugby league world.
They proved critics wrong and made it all the way to the finals.
The same boys were part of the best-ever Kumul side that nearly caused the upset of the century when they almost beat the seemingly-invincible Australian Kangaroos in Townsville in 1991.
The Kumuls were eventually beaten 34-14, but it was the best-ever result for the Kumuls, considering it was not the usual cricket scorelines we have today.
The halves combination of No.6 Karu and No.7 Emil demolished the Australian combination of Laurie Daley and Allan Langer, while Hanuabada fullback Boge blew Michael Hancock off the paddock with a solid tackle which saw him carried out on a stretcher.
Emil’s life was taken in a moment of madness last Friday, however, the memories will never die.
And, the most-touching thing is that his wife and family have forgiven the alleged killer, saying God himself will be the judge.
At this sad moment, as the nation turns its lonely eyes to Emil, let this be a powerful message for peace in our land.