Look at Lord Nazir Ahmed of the British government and Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir sitting around discussing the magnanimity of Sudan in pardoning school teacher, Gillian Gibbons. Gibbons was jailed, tried, convicted, and pardoned over these last weeks for the naming of a teddy bear. She apparently allowed her class to name the stuffed animal Muhammad, a name as common as “John” in Western Culture.
Now that things are cleared up and Gibbons is safely in the custody of the British embassy, it is fair to ask: Who will pardon Sudan?
Can Allah take pride in a people that reduces its most helpless ones to condition like this? The United Nations documents more than 450 thousand dead because of the conflict that pits citizen against citizen, Arabs against black African tribal people. Would Muhammad himself find a heart large enough to forgive the jailing and killing of witnesses that could give an actual account of the crimes committed against humanity? What about the mass graves that Allah looked down upon as they were destroyed by those who wanted to cover their crimes? Who will pardon Sudan? This is the country that enslaves tribal women and children so the wealthy can live by the sweat of another soul’s brow. Genocide and slavery, two of the basest crimes in the human condition thrive in this nation. Who will pardon Sudan?
Gillian Gibbons pardoned Sudan. She knew the dangers facing Westerners and let love conquer fear and condemnation. The children she could teach meant more than the risks. She is an example to all who want to make the world better. The very nation she chose to embrace turned on her, true, and ingratitude stings. But wise people know that institutions, governments, will all disappoint eventually. Like Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s discovery in prison, “the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts.”
Some Sudanese citizens protested and called for her execution. Other Sudanese called for understanding and mercy. Mercy prevailed though the notion of justice was mocked. With a history of enslaving and genocide chained to modern day Sudan, the sensible in the world will not sympathize with an absurd religious infraction. The body of that baby in the picture is an offense in the eyes of a good God.