Today I woke up to discover an e-mail from Mayor Andrew Hardwick, answering some of the questions raised regarding his role in the Salvador Sanchez Ceren incident. As usual, you can see the screen-shot of the letter below! Note that, also as usual, I've censored out various advertisements, messengers, and other windows I had open at the time. It includes an apology toward those offended and an explanation of his circumstances; in general, he seems to deny full knowledge of Mr. Ceren's history.
The full-text is as follows...
"First, I love my country and I am willing to die for it. As a veteran, and firefighter, my loyalty to serving my village and country is an uncompromising commitment that I’ve sworn to uphold. My intentions are never to dishonor Freeport residents, firemen, police officers, military, and those who have lost loved ones in the 9/11 tragedies. I also lost some of my closest friends on 9/11 and to suggest that I would knowingly participate in anything that would dishonor them is absurd.
If what is being said is true, I sincerely regret that you have been hurt and I humbly ask for your forgiveness. I care for each and every Freeport resident and will continue to acknowledge anyone who feels that I may have overlooked their concerns and move forward to address those concerns with due diligence in best way that I can."
So, I'll let that stand on it's own and, next, jump to a Newsday article (redistributed by the Oklahoma Welcome, for some reason, under the guise of MCT Information Services) by Patrick Whittle highlighting the controversy involved in this incident. Within the article, Mr. Whittle cites...
"Ceren, who attended a reception with Long Island Latino leaders in Hempstead on Thursday night, told a reporter that he came to New York this week to try to build dialogue between the U.S. and El Salvador. There are about 100,000 Salvadorans on Long Island, according to the 2010 census.
Asked about his involvement in anti-American demonstrations, Ceren said through an interpreter he wants to "reaffirm that I am sympathizing with these people" who died on 9/11.
"What has come out of my heart is to give thanks to this wonderful country," he added."
Okay. Fine. Grand. According to my research, which is always welcome to be dis-proven (with proof, not truthiness), this marks the first time that Mr. Ceren has approached our country in this manner. Taken generously as an apology for and renunciation of his support for the murderers of American citizens, I'm all in favor of it! In fact, I'd be totally happy to hear how his rehabilitation is going!
...A year from now, maybe. Maybe two.
I will always maintain that people have the right to a chance (one) at redemption. If this "welcome" - protests, angry residents, and reminders of his checkered past - is what it took to get him there, grand. But I also will maintain that this is a life-long endeavor. If, a year or so from now, Mr. Ceren has provided some actions to back up his words, then I'd feel pretty okay. When, as we all do, Mr. Ceren is on his way off this world; if he is still aligned with America's interests and has done us some good? Then so be it! It can never change his past, and he'll go to his grave with the guilt of his actions both direct and not.
But if he's developed genuine guilt, then that itself is the best service we can provide to honor those who have lost their lives. The transformation of evil into good is not an easy one by any stretch, but it is the only true victory possible without adding more grave-stones to the world.