Monday, February 22, 2016


The sad demise of Adalbert Denousse on the streets of Victoria has brought back memories of some of the saddest and darkest hours of our post-independence history. I am thinking here of the murder of Simon Desnousse, a young vivacious student with courage and obvious leadership skills.

 However, he was one of the sacrificial lambs who were used to instill fear and obeisance in the Seychellois people, as the authoritarian rule of post 1977 became entrenched and fear spread like a dark cloud over the population. Many of us will remember photographs of the scene at Anse Forban in the south of Mahé, where he and his friend the South African national -Mike Archer had been blown apart by a car bomb.

The unfortunate accident.
Word spread soon after of how they had been tortured before being put back into the vehicle and a bomb set off seemingly from under the car. We should never allow ourselves to forget that such real heroes like Simon Desnousse, Alton Ah-Time and Gerard Hoarau actually lost their lives as a sacrifice for us to move on to the road to multi-party democracy. It may not have been obvious at the time, but their lives were a sacrifice which started the slow process of creating an awareness in the minds of our oppressors that the time was to come when we will stand up to them and show clearly that those lost lives have not been in vain. At the right time when the so called liberatorsturned oppressors are gone, we, the Seychellois people will find a fitting way to remember those who were brave enough to stand up to the bullies and in so doing, lost their lives.

Was the Policeman riding recklessly?
It is time for us to revisit the past to bring healing to the nation. Time waits for no man and there are those in our society who are waiting to hear the truth, to forgive those who have committed these atrocities and to get closure. There is no need here to advance any moral, intellectual or political arguments. There are so many documented examples in countries around us where healing and reconciliation have taken place, because there was political will and political courage to bite the bullet. In the case of Simon Desnousse there is talk that one of the perpetrators of this horrendous crime, hallucinates often and cries asking for a chance to ask for forgiveness from the family of the victim. Once again the question that begs an answer is- why can we not set up a healing and reconciliation commission to enable those who have lost their loved ones to know exactly what happened and thus find closure?

Equally important is the need for the perpetrators to be afforded an opportunity to confess their crimes and ask for forgiveness! Although nobody talks about it the individual cases openly in most of the cases, the perpetrators are known to the families of those who were tortured, killed, and disappeared.

 It takes a brave and courageous leader to take a concrete decision to let the truth be told and forgiveness to take place. As a Christian society, we are a forgiving people and do not to belong to a culture of revenge. Time is running out and those who should and must take the lead in creating structures for healing for the sins of the past, are though alive; not in the best of health.

24 hours after the accident, markings are sprayed down
 Are we going to be bold and set up a commission which will facilitate things for whosoever needs to ask for forgiveness and atonement, to actually depart from this earthly existence to knowing they have made peace with themselves and the people they were meant to have served? Whether we like it or not, truth liberates!

I know that what frightens everybody is the possibility of criminal prosecution. This is where the mandate and terms of reference of the commission has to be well defined beforehand and the emphasis being placed on forgiveness and healing. The programme called ‘restorative justice’ which has been started in the Montagne Posée prison, is a good example of such a programme where if possible, good faith and trust is the bedrock of such an initiative.

 It will go a long way towards bringing about real and meaningful healing amongst the nation so that we can move forward to the next level. We will not be able to keep what happened in the post 1977 years, under wraps forever!

Meanwhile for those of us who believe in an afterlife and in God, we live in the comfort that the Desnousse father and son will be reunited in radiant love.