I represent the extended Samuels family who could not attend the funeral; unfortunately, they are out of the country. I represent every grieving family whose heart weeps over the senseless murder of a loved one. I represent every Belizean whose desperate cry of frustration seems to ricochet against the wall of a helpless, injured or resigned society condemned to be held hostage by those who indiscriminately aim a gun!
However, it is within our power to turn every tragedy into a learning moment and thereby to confound evil by producing that unpredicted and positive outcome. (What the enemy meant for bad, the Lord has turned into good.)
What is the positive lesson in all this? Is there a positive, learning moment? Well, God has deposited the seed of a gift in every living soul. What is a gift? – It is that thing that you can do better than anyone else; we say it comes naturally, which is just another way of saying, “It has nothing to do with me; I am merely the vessel that bears that seed.” You will know your gift – you will enjoy doing it; others will note that special difference, that “je ne c’est qua”, and it will bring tremendous blessing to others – that is your gift. Some people live their entire lives without stumbling upon their gift. Kareem was blessed, for he discovered his gift of writing. He was passionate about it, did it with seeming ease and it blessed the lives of others. So, let his discovery challenge you to seek your own gift, use your gift and stand and watch the difference it will make to your world.
A note of caution: you must understand that every gift houses the potential for problems because there will always be those who dismiss your gift through envy, those who feel that you should not have been the recipient of that gift, those who piggyback on your gift, those who take credit for your gift and those who withhold your rightful reward and honour for using your gift; and there are those who will attempt to destroy your gift in whatever way they can and in the process destroy you. That is the risk you must be willing to take, for your gift also marks your purpose for being in this world.
Kareem was a victim of the risk he took to bless the world with his gift – his gift was wrenched from his hands; his journey to success aborted and his years stolen without a backward glance. Sadly, those who robbed him also robbed his family of a meaningful relationship; they robbed his friends of his companionship; and they robbed a nation. How they have robbed a nation — of more than an exceptional journalist with a rare command of the English language, but they have robbed our nation of a role model of what can be achieved by honesty, hard work and dedication; the possibility that one can rise above challenging circumstances and use their gift to make a positive difference to their own life and the lives of others.
Can we today ensure that Kareem has not died in vain? Can we do more than collectively mourn for a day before returning to the bubble of our own existence? Even as his life had touched so many and made a remarkable difference, my hope is that his death will mark a turning point in our nation. There are 350,000 + of us, and so I refuse to believe that together we are powerless to birth a solution through the collective efforts of our society. Let this not be just another black youth who died at the hands of a gunman, another statistic forgotten after all the media coverage, another unsolved crime, another…
Kareem – rest in peace. You had just 2 years, but it was all you needed to show Belize its alternatives.