Watching the video of Ricky Jackson being exonerated and released after having spent 39 years of his life wrongfully in jail has been quite an experience. He is now 57; I wondered what an experience it was for him? I watched him answering questions from the press immediately after the judge had announced his innocence and freedom to go home (which he doesn’t have after all that time). Here is the link to the video:
the reason I am writing this article is my admiration of how Ricky handled his attitude towards the so-called eye-witness whose false testimony was the reason for him to spend 39 years in Prison. In response to a question about how he felt towards that witness:
“Well… I guess a lot of people would want me to hate that person or carry animosity towards them but I don’t. People have to remember that…they see him as a grown man today but in 75 he was a 12 year-old kid. And he was manipulated and coerced by the police and they used him…they used him to get us in prison. so as far as that young man in concerned I wish him the best….I don’t hate him, I just wish he has a good life. It took a lot of courage to do what he did in the court room. You guys didn’t see his testimony , you didn’t hear his testimony. But it took a lot of courage to do what he did. They tried to break him, they tried to screw him up. But at the end he always said the same basic thing: (They didn’t do it….I lied). And that took a lot of courage for him. He had been carrying a burden around for 39 years like we have. But at the end he came through and I am grateful for that.”
Two things stood out for me in what Ricky said:
First: His sense forgiveness towards the person who was the reason for his unjust imprisonment for nearly four decades. He actually not only forgave him, but also wished the best for him. And on top of all of this he expressed his gratitude towards the witness as the latter came forward to recant his original testimony. I believe there is a lot that everyone can learn from this guy, Ricky. The man lost 39 years of his life in prison for now reason, and yet he forgives the person who was behind it! When you watch the interview you can see actually how sincere he is.
Second: His insistence on his innocence and belief that one day the truth will be made clear. In response to one of the questions, Ricky pointed out that his belief and determination that one day he will be cleared of the charges was necessary for the continuation of his struggle for freedom. In a TV interview he actually states that his attorney once told him that he could be released immediately if he pleaded guilty. He simply refused. Now this takes a lot of courage and honesty to stay true to oneself in the midst of this predicament.
The reason I am writing this peace is to share with you my ideas on this exceptional case. I believe this example is so profound that all of us can learn from it. It also shows that those who criticize the rules and law system of Islam should learn some humility. There are atrocities committed in the name of law, equality, democracy, etc, and no light is shed on them.
This was a profound experience for that man, and it could be so for many others if they wish to learn from it. It is a real lesson in courage, positivity, and forgiveness. These were just my thoughts and I felt a need to share them…peace!