After the school fire, there was going to be a riot.

tim41

Dear Ezra and Lian (when you’re a little older),

After the school fire, there was going to be a riot. The Mizos and Chakmas were going to have a big fight that night. The Baptist Church of Mizoram (BCM) ran a big school in Chhangte. Most of the people in that town are Buddhists and Chakma. A lot of them didn’t like a Christian boarding school being there. Probably one of them, at least that’s what all the Mizos believed, had purposely burned down a lot of classrooms and student sleeping quarters. In retaliation, young Mizo men would probably go beat up a lot of Chakma men, hurt young Chakma women and set a fire or two themselves. The Chakma young men would do the same to the Mizos. These things had happened before.

I was told these things the morning after the fire. I was asked to go to Chhangte right away and help try to calm things down. Both the Mizos and Chakmas in Chhangte respect me. Because of what I had done for them, the Chakma call me Radamon, named after their greatest hero. Being a Mizo makpa (son-in-law), the Mizos admire me too. I quickly packed a few things and was ready to go.

Then I waited for hours. Sanga, my driver and the best in Mizoram, wasn’t allowed to leave until the elders of BCM finished their meeting to decide what to do. They didn’t want me to get to Chhangte first. I thought they were being petty and prideful, but I waited. Finally we left.

I think it should normally take about 6 hours, but Sanga drove so fast, I think we did it in 4 hours. In the windy, mountainous roads it was like being on a roller coaster. I don’t really do so well on roller coasters. I could barely stand up when I got to Chhangte.

Now, kids, your grandpa is probably the 2nd most important Mizo police officer ever. My Mizo friends all know it. They could have easily asked me to bring justice to whoever burned down a Mizo-run school. One phone call and I could have had at least one Chakma in jail that night for questioning. They didn’t ask me for that. Instead they announced that they would re-build everything burned down at the school. That took a lot of sacrifice. They would have to cancel other building projects in Mizo villages. They didn’t punish the people in Chhangte for this malicious act.

Then we started to comfort the people at the school. The principal and I walked through the ashes of his burned out school. With tears in his eyes, he showed me where things used to be. A little girl showed me where her room used to be. Now all her clothes and books were gone. I should have brought some stuffed toys. All I had were hugs and a few kind words and smiles. I hate to see people cry (that’s why your sister has me wrapped around her little finger.) I would rather have gone to see the police, but nobody said the word justice. We were there to try to create peace. Unbelievably, it happened. No bad stuff happened that night.

You will hear people shout; “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now?” They have no idea what they are asking for. They only what a tiny little piece of justice; the part that benefits them, their friends or their causes or the part that punishes their enemies. They don’t want the part that will ruin them utterly. The Mizos have had so many bad things done to them and as a people they have done many bad things too, especially around Chhangte. As much as I love them and the Chakmas, I will never try to bring them justice again. If you ever get true justice, kids, it will destroy you and everything around you. Don’t seek it. Instead, bring mercy. It heals. It builds. It hugs and wipes away the tears. Especially for those who don’t deserve it. Love, Dad

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