Tuesday 10 October 2006

Damilola Taylor - Changing our communities

Innocent blood would be avenged

This write-up might for some bring satisfaction, but it brings no comfort; in other cases it could bring closure but definitely no joy for all concerned.

I am of the persuasion and deepest premonition that innocent blood cannot be spilt in vain; there is a cardinal principle in place from the times of the records of the beginning of mankind in the religious sense that murder would always be overtaken by justice.

Now, that justice might not occur in time, to our sense of vengeance or outrage nor in the manner that we expect, but rest assured there is much at work in the affairs of mankind than meets the eye.

When a 10-year old boy was murdered in a stairwell of a housing estate in London in November 2000, before that murder, he was just a boy who minutes before was hopping from stone to stone without a care having just left a library.

Innocent death universal condemnation

A fate so terrible not to be visited on ones worst enemy lead to us all learning about Damilola Taylor, hardly had we absorbed the news of that wretched episode, the name was on the lips of the Prime Minister and his memory mentioned by a President.

I thought to myself, they killed the boy and released maelstrom of cataclysmic proportions, it was like there was no imagining what this boy might have become in life; snuffed out long before his time, the gathering of what he would have become gravitated into a force for change in his community, his name like that of Stephen Lawrence who was brutally killed a few years before bring us to the ground zero of humanity and the need to rid ourselves of senseless violence.

For a while, it appeared that the murder was fraught with problem witnesses, one of whom was living it large but utterly unreliable, it looked like no one would be punished for this crime.

Innocent blood cries out

I would declare, innocent blood cannot relent, the workings of this phenomenon may not have a tested hypothesis but faith in this phenomenon is more solid than the law of gravity.

When Cain in the Bible answered back about not being his brother’s keeper, God said the voice of his brother’s blood was crying out to Him from the ground. From that time, Cain was cursed from the earth that received his brother’s blood; he became a marked man, a fugitive and a vagabond.

No murderer has a lighter probably for now seemingly invisible sentence regardless of the legal or crime and punishment systems we might have in place. Blood has a voice and knows who to call for justice, and He who hears, knows how to deliver without fail.

The Bible goes on to say that the Blood of Jesus speaks even better things than the blood of Abel, blood means a lot, because life is in the blood; the theology of this beyond the scope of this blog.

The great name of a great boy

Damilola is a name quite close to my heart, it was the name my mother gave me, it is my third name and it means “Bestow me with wealth”. In fact, it is commonly Oludamilola which is translated, “God bestows me with wealth”. It is both a name of thanksgiving and a prophecy of good fortune, anyone bearing that name especially as a first name who is brutally and senselessly murdered is bound to cause ructions that reverberate beyond their community.

And so today, we know that Damilola Taylor, the young boy who months before left Nigeria to seek his fortune and future in London, murdered and 10 by senseless kids who were hardly 3 years older, did not die in vain.

Keeping brothers from offence

His killers, who are brothers and sadly, could, not keep each other from perpetrating such evil, would now spend 8 years in youth custody, a sentence which does not reflect the fact that they have shown no remorse or regret for their acts.

How children could be brought up to be so evil and without any sense of value for other people’s lives and welfare escapes me, but somehow, there is an animal in some people that has been without the gentle luxury of being tamed and tempered with good upbringing and consideration.

Whilst parents have much to blame for this, the children were already beyond the age of recognition of criminal responsibility, they must have known what they were doing will cause grievous bodily harm which lead to death and they never had the courage to own up to their acts for years.

Damilola’s legacy

It should not take the death of a child for our communities to respond to the challenges of our time be it poor forensic science, opportunities for the youth or the de-ghetto-isation of seemingly failing urban areas – these should be in the vanguard of the social, economic or political existence and wellbeing of any society.

Alas! Change sometimes needs to be triggered by tragedy or disaster, in which case, we hope that lessons will be learnt and those who suffered would not have suffered in vain.

The community has looked to the positive and Damilola’s parents have stoically stood for ensuring that no other person suffers the fate that their son suffered, I commend them.

Damilola will never be forgotten in that community and if anyone in the future asks what is this all about, it is about ensuring that we all live to fulfill our potential rather than be cut down before our prime – it is a word to both the would-be victim and the would-be assailant – there is nothing to be gained in being either – let us all ensure that in our communities, we have no place for rearing children who become murderers and children like Damilola Taylor have not died in vain.


BBC NEWS | UK | England | London | Eight years for Damilola killers

BBC NEWS | UK | Damilola Taylor: Timeline

Damilola Taylor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

BBC NEWS | UK | England | London | Damilola's Peckham legacy

Respect Your Life - Not a knife - Damilola Taylor Trust

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