Saturday, November 21, 2009

Woman who forgave daughter's killer receives Peace Prize

I heard Marietta for first time in my hometown and was in tearful awe. I became part of her "family" when on The Journey of Hope in Texas. In each occasion she speaks without flinching yet from the most tender place of her heart and faith.

(from Connie, blogger here...)

Three Forks (Montana) Woman to Receive Peace Award

here



ERIK PETERSEN/CHRONICLE Marietta Jaeger Lane poses for a photo by her Three Forks area home Monday evening. Lane has been named the recipient of the 2009 Jeannette Rankin Peace Award for her work against the death penalty

Excerpt: “The bottom line is: Do we really honor the victims by taking on the same mindset of resolving our problems that the murderer did?” she said Monday... “Forgiveness is life-giving,” she said. “Initially, I would have been happy to kill the kidnapper myself; I just didn’t know who he was.”

By DANIEL PERSON Chronicle Staff Writer

A Three Forks woman who has embarked on an unlikely crusade against the death penalty will be honored with an award previously bestowed on luminaries like Sens. Mike Mansfield and George McGovern.

Marietta Jaeger Lane has been named the recipient of the 2009 Jeannette Rankin Peace Award, given by the Institute for Peace Studies at Rocky Mountain College to one person for “having lived a life dedicated to peacemaking at any level.”

In 1973, Lane’s 7-year-old daughter was kidnapped from her tent while she was camping near Three Forks, molested and killed. While Lane says she initially would have killed the murderer, David Meirhoffer, if she could have, for the last 36 years she has been a vocal opponent of the death penalty, speaking internationally on the subject.

“The bottom line is: Do we really honor the victims by taking on the same mindset of resolving our problems that the murderer did?” she said Monday.

“Forgiveness is life-giving,” she said. “Initially, I would have been happy to kill the kidnapper myself; I just didn’t know who he was.”

Meirhoffer admitted to killing Susie Jaeger and three others in Gallatin County, but hanged himself in jail before he stood trial.

Cindy Kunz, administrator at the Institute for Peace Studies, said board members who select the award recipient were impressed by both Lane’s work on the death penalty n which has included in presentations to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland n and her work with the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, where she worked to end racism and prejudice.

“She had every right to have a vendetta, but she stepped past that,” Kunz said. “It’s a unique award, and Marietta fit our criteria to a T.”

The award will be presented in Billings Nov. 20. Along with Mansfield and McGovern, previous recipients have included Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen, an Anaconda-born Catholic who protested nuclear weapons and advocated for the poor, and Greg Mortenson, the Bozeman man who builds schools in Central Asia.

Lane said she attended a presentation given by Mortenson in Bozeman last week, and was humbled by it.

“There is no way I belong in the same category as this man,” she said. “He is a real hero, a real servant.”

Last winter, Lane lobbied for a bill that would have abolished the death penalty in Montana. While the measure passed the Senate, it died in a House committee on a nearly party-line vote.

She is also speaking out against the execution of John Allen Muhammad, better known as the “D.C. sniper,” which is scheduled for today.

“I just think we need to aspire to higher moral principles,” she said.

Daniel Person can be reached at dperson@dailychronicle.com or 582-2665.

7 comments:

Akhtar Wasim Dar said...

Marietta Jaeger Lane, what a wonderful and courageous lady, she is an exemplary person when she says that “Forgiveness is life-giving”. This coming from somebody who actually suffered, but had the wisdom, strength and fortitude to say what she said, a salute to her. Also salute to the previous award winner Greg Mortenson, who I simply adore after what he did in Northern areas of Pakistan. He built girls schools in those remote areas where Government of Pakistan failed to do so in fifty years. His Book “Three cups of Tea” is stranger than the fiction and as epic an adventure, as Cervantes Don Quixote and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

Connie L. Nash said...

mnnn...I do so resonate with you on everything, Akhtar Sahib! We do feel and think so much alike...on literature then and now and on values...surely we DO love and serve one and the same Allah!

Shukiyra

Connie L. Nash said...

"aur naam rahE-ga allah ka"

Akhtar Wasim Dar said...

Yes
aur naam rahE ga allah ka
jo meiN behi aur tum behi ho
(Faiz)

Connie L. Nash said...

Now this is what is helping motivate me to learn URDU...friends like you and two others...

so Akhtar Sahib, plz send me the full poem or context for "aur naam rahE-ga allah ka jo meiN behi hoon aur aur tum bhi ho"

(I know I'm messing something up...anyway I'd love the full FAIZ for these lines.)

Whatever this is, we are in it fully together...:)

Akhtar Wasim Dar said...

incidently I have already posted full translation of this poem at RR under comments to post on Faiz by KAS.

Connie L. Nash said...

WOW, what a gorgeous poem in full! Now, I'll bet the URDU is even more beautiful even for as yet non-speaking listeners? Hint Hint...

For those who'd like to read this Faiz poem in full and to read an interesting dialogue - go to Republic of Rumi blog (click on left) and then see the host's blog on Faiz and be sure to also read the comments!