What is our responsibility for obtaining justice for those in
need? Does the end always justify the means? Randy Singer examines these
questions while taking his readers through twists and turns on a powerful journey in
False Witness. This engrossing legal thriller is a re-telling of Singer’s
original novel by the same name. The new version has many substantial changes—some designed to bring about Singer’s original vision for the book.
Q: Where did you first get your inspiration for False Witness?
At a funeral—
the deceased was David O’Malley, a good friend and former client. His wife had asked me to give the
eulogy. I talked about David’s generosity, his big heart. He was always inviting someone to live at his
house until they could get back on their feet. He ran a used car lot and hired people down on their luck.
David believed in second chances. And he was a character. He had this larger than life personality that
made people laugh. He sang in a gospel quartet. Everybody had a David O’Malley story. Heads nodded as
I shared mine.
David’s pastor followed me in the pulpit. He spoke about a man named Thomas Kelly. The man was a
scoundrel involved in organized crime. He turned on everyone he knew. Jaws dropped and the mourners
stared in disbelief at this pastor. The man had clearly lost his mind! “You don’t think you know Thomas
Kelly, but you do,” the pastor insisted. “David O’Malley was Thomas Kelly before he went into the
witness protection program—before he came to the Lord.”
Prior to that moment, the only people that knew about David’s past were the government, his family,
myself, and his pastor. The men he had testified against had died in prison. His wife had obtained the
government’s permission to reveal his past. There was utter silence as the pastor concluded with a line I
will never forget. “The government can give you a new identity,” he said. “But only Christ can change
“That would make a good book,” I thought. I hope I was right.
Q: Your book also includes in its theme the plight of the church in India. When did you first
become familiar with India and its caste system?
I took a trip to India with a group from my church in 2009. The culture was amazing. The cities were
alive with commerce, technology, and development. This was India shining, a new world economic giant.
In the rural areas, we saw the colorful traditions of a proud, hospitable, and hard-working culture, a
relaxed contrast to the frenzied city life. But everywhere we went, we also encountered the underpinnings
of the caste system and our hearts were captured by the struggle of the lowest castes to overcome
centuries of economic and educational discrimination, as well as social isolation. I was particularly moved
by the plight of the Dalit children, struggling to get a good education so that their generation might rise
above the oppression and gain real equality and human dignity.
The leaders of the Christian church in India helped us understand that while India has passed many laws
guaranteeing equality for the Dalits, the fabric of society still oppresses them at every turn. We knew that
we needed to become engaged in the human rights struggles of the lowest castes in India. It is, in the
words of one leader, the struggle for the soul of a civilization.
Q: Who are the Dalits?
The Dalits, formerly called the “untouchables,” comprise nearly one quarter of India’s society, with
population estimates of 250 million people. The term “Dalit” means “those who have been broken and
ground down deliberately by those above them in the social hierarchy.” Dalits live at risk of discrimination, dehumanization, violence, and enslavement through human trafficking every day. By all
global research and reports, the Dalits constitute the largest number of people categorized as victims of
modern day slavery.
Q: You are donating all the proceeds from your book to the Dalit Freedom Network. What is the
The Dalit Freedom Network (DFN) is a human rights, non-government organization that partners with the
Dalit people in India. The DFN represents a vast network of justice-minded, modern-day abolitionists
committed to bringing freedom to history’s longest standing oppressed people group. The DFN believes
that we can end Dalit injustices, such as human trafficking and child labor, and make slavery history in
India. Major partners include Operation Mercy India Foundation (OMIF) and the All-India Confederation
of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Organizations (SC-ST Confederation).
Q: What can we do to help the DFN?
You can become involved in many ways. First, there is the child sponsorship program that provides
books, uniforms, and a midday meal to Dalit children attending an English-speaking school with a
Christian worldview that affirms the dignity, worth, and equality of each child. The cost to sponsor a
child is $28 per month. Updates will be sent to the sponsor twice a year and photos of the children will be
provided. There are approximately 67 schools with over 10,500 children presently in this program.
Second, a micro-enterprise movement is helping the Dalits to break free by providing micro loans and
vocational training in marketable skills. Most of these groups are organized and run by the women in the
Dalit community. American Christians can contribute to this program of Dalit self-sufficiency as well.
Third, the DFN acts as an international advocate for Dalit rights in places like Washington, London, and
the U.N. Those with a desire to be part of this global human rights initiative can contribute to the DFN
advocate fund. DalitNetwork.org