A short reflection by Alfonso Wieland, Peace and Hope - PERU
“Sir, I am 68 years old and this is the first time in my life that I feel proud of my country’s institutions. These members of the tribunal are first class; they are refuting, one by one, all of Fujimori’s lies.”
It is a sunny morning in Lima, it is almost midday and my friend the taxi-driver is driving me around the small and chaotic streets in the city centre. We are listening, over the radio, to the vibrant and clear speech on the sentencing of the Peruvian dictator, Alberto Fujimori, who governed from 1990 until his fall in November 2000. I picture in my mind the emotion of the families of the murdered citizens of Barrios Altos and La Cantuta (Lima), where twenty-nine people were killed under the orders of the Fujimori regime. I imagine the relief of the journalist, Gustavo Gorriti, and the businessman Samuel Dyer, who were unjustly kidnapped. Yes indeed, justice and truth do bring relief, they make us feel as if we are alive, that there is something more in this life than lies and the abuse of power. It must have been with that in mind that the Biblical prophet, in his vision of a perfect society, imagined a love scene between justice and truth; both kiss each other, they want each other, they love each other.
This historic trial is a triumph for human rights, it is a triumph of the law over arbitrariness, but above all it is the triumph of the Christian vision that justice must protect the least protected, the weakest members of society, the poor, those whose lack of social status makes them most vulnerable. This twenty-five year sentence is not for revenge, it is to restore dignity, the memory of those who were murdered, and it should also be so that the condemned man might also change, repent and return to God.
It is noon, and the sun is shining with even more strength, despite the fact that it is Autumn. I recall the beautiful words of Malachi: “The Sun of justice will rise and on his wings, he will bring salvation.”
“Have a good day,” I get out of the taxi and say good-bye to my friend the taxi-driver. I respond with a look, without words, “Yes, today is a good day. The face of Hope is the families of those who were murdered. Blessed be the Lord.”