Stephen Lawrence is dead: Long Live Stephen Lawrence
The name Stephen Lawrence is probably known around the world, but for all the wrong reasons. Stephen was a young black man who was waiting for the bus to go home. He was spotted by five white thugs, and like a pack of feral dogs they set upon him and plunged a butchers knife into him and then ran away.
I was close to his age one night while I was on my way to catch the bus in Watford, London. A gang of five white thugs spotted me and screamed "Get Him!" I ran as fast as I could go, and up ahead I saw the bus just starting to pull away from the stop. I put on a burst of speed , caught up with the bus, thereby saving my life.
Stephen was buried in his parent's homeland of Jamaica where his burial place is lovingly cared for, while his parents returned to England to see justice done for him. As horrible as was his death, what came next was a permanent stain on Great Britain, and rendered a lie that British Justice was the greatest in the world. From the moment the first policeperson arrived on the scene things went wrong, and for the next 18 years one disgraceful and unfortunate thing followed another.
The story is very long and convoluted. I'm sure it will be told in the form of a book and if anyone has the guts to do it, a film would be appropriate. The BBC program "Panorama" devoted one hour to tell the story in abridged version, but if not for the determination of the strongest woman in the world, Stephen's mother, even partial justice that was won by sending two of the five bastards to jail would not have happened. The other three are on notice, that the Law, and Doreen Lawrence, are coming to get you.
To reach the point at which the system has arrived at required a wholesale shake up within The Metropolitan Police /Scotland Yard. and the Justice System. The Service admits that nothing else has had such an impact on its thinking, but for one citizen to have to take on the role of conscience of Britain's Justice institutions is far too much to expect. But, Stephen's mother achieved that in the name of her son by not taking no for an answer. She was determined that his very premature death was not going to be in vain, and in fact it is not. The Hon. Jack Straw, former Home Secretary has said that in ordering an Inquiry was the single most Important Thing that he ever did. All of British society are better served because at the time of his death there was not even the Will to bring to justice white murderers of black and Asian people.
When a loved one dies under any other circumstance than natural causes we have the right to expect that the appropriate response be forthcoming. I lost someone and had to fight the government and medical establishment of my country to get justice. In that, I empathize with Stephen's parents, Neville and Doreen Lawrence, particularly with his mother, and with his whole story.
Copyright (c) 2012 Eugene Carmichael