Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 03:52 am
I totally agree with you. I guess, not so surprisingly! Wink
But seriously, I can see that you've put much thought, including making sense of your own father forgiving his friend who betrayed him so terribly, into forming your view. You speak with wisdom, Dag.

... when judgment enters (those who forgive are portrayed as stronger, wiser) - while I 'get it', I resent the judging aspect against those who are not able to forgive....who are we to judge, not being in their shoes?

I feel very strongly about this pressure to forgive, too. All to often forgiveness is presented as some some of panacea, a convenient resolution for the aggrieved (& to those who caused the grievance). If they are a "better" person they will find it in their heart to forgive. Whereas I know, in my own heart, that this is not always necessarily the case. Each person, each aggrieved group, has to find their own way toward resolution. One that they truly believe in & can live with. One that actually means something for them. And after all, they are the most important ones in this equation, yes?
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 04:33 am
My experience is that people insist on "forgiveness" exactly as though it were a panacea, and as though right-thinking people will always forgive, regardless of the circumstances. I was in a bar in my younger days and a friend of mine got in a fight. I stepped in to attempt to break it up and to seperate them. Suddenly, someone hit me from the side unexpectedly--what is known as a sucker punch. After the fight was broken up, i was sitting in the kitchen of the bar with an ice-pack on my jaw, when one of the employees brings in the guy who sucker punched me, and suggests that we shake hands. I said i wasn't going to shake his hand because he had hit me for no reason. He said he had felt threatened. I pointed out that he had been obliged to walk from the other end of the bar in order to feel threatened. Then the employee "warned" me that he was a Navy boxer, a culturally intimidating title in the U.S. So i asked if i could expect him to lay for me, and jump me when i left the bar.

I saw no reason to forgive him, or to shake his hand, and would not do so. Everyone around me acted as though i were being unreasonable. That made no differrence to me. His action had been inexcusable, and i wasn't going to make him feel better just because he was a potential threat of violence in the future. As it was, i never saw him again.
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 04:33 am
yes, yes they are.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 04:37 am
dagmaraka wrote:
This discussion started on Facebook and I moved it here to be able to get in more depth, share more insights and articles, etc.
It started with a simple quote:

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi.

I am curious to discuss what role forgiveness plays in people's and in communities' life.
I was a big believer in revenge.
I can 't say that I 've changed my point of vu,
tho I have mellowed somewhat.

ANYWAY, I have little wish to be considered a SUPERSTITIOUS fool,
but I 'd be less than candid if I failed to admit the following:
A friend of mine offended me, without provocation.
I was shocked; that was very unexpected; anomalous.
Upon the occasion of the offense, I considered that
(figuratively speaking) I was holding him in the palm
of my hand, and that whatever I decided, was in fact going to HAPPEN to him.

1. It occurred to me to evict him (I was his landlord).
2. It occurred to me to await an opportunity
to do the same thing to him, only WORSE;
I knew that woud become possible.
3. It occurred to me, as a whim or caprice, to allow
the scales of justice to remain out-of-balance, just because I felt like it; do nothing.

Considering my options, I decided that eviction was an over-reaction.
For that matter, I coud have shot him, but insulting me
is NOT a capital offense.

My second option woud have worked; the chance arrived
in due course, but: No, I had already decided against it.

Several months later, he reported to me an event
that proved to be of extreme poetic justice
(very attuned to the specific offense)
far more severe than I coud have inflicted upon him quid-pro-quo.
I then reminded him of the occasion of his offense against me.
He accused me of putting a curse on him,
but NO, that was not true.
"The wheels of the gods grind slowly, but thay grind exceeding fine."

Since then, several more instances of non-retribution by me
have occurred with similar results. I was VERY surprized to see that.

Is forgiveness a weapon????
Must it be licensed?
Registered with the police ???????

dagmaraka wrote:
I recognize the wonderful liberating power that forgiveness has
in individual person's life. What I dislike is the pedestal that forgiveness
is often put at. As if those that do not forgive were somehow less worthy,
less wise, less strong. It is truly admirable if someone is able to forgive.
But I would think long and hard before I would dismiss those who are not able or willing.
I woud never think less of someone who does not forgive.

dagmaraka wrote:
Maybe some things simply should not be forgiven?
Regardless of what I set forth hereinabove,
if a bad guy had ever injured a dear loved one of mine
(which never happened) I 'd have considered myself honor-bound
to avenge and vindicate my loved one, unless government did it for me.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 04:55 am

I agree with what u wrote.
It was brave of u to break it up.
Too many men have been killed breaking up fights.

0 Replies
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 05:27 am
...I saw no reason to forgive him, or to shake his hand, and would not do so. Everyone around me acted as though i were being unreasonable. That made no differrence to me. His action had been inexcusable, and i wasn't going to make him feel better just because he was a potential threat of violence in the future. As it was, i never saw him again.

I can't, for the life of me, figure out why everyone expected you to forgive him on the spot like that, Setanta. Very weird reasoning. Confused You were absolutely right to refuse to.
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 05:43 am
@Joe Nation,
Joe Nation wrote:

Re: Joe Nation (Post 4354354)
Another quote: “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.”

why is it "stupid" not to forgive?

I'll try to answer since you asked.
It has, I think, a lot to do with the corrosive nature of bad memories.
The pain of any experience can stay fresh in the unforgiving mind
and recalling the experience is as disturbing as the initial experience.
It's a pattern people have to unlearn in order to restore peace in their own minds.

Joe (more later)Nation
That 's beautifully put, Joe. Its fine as far as it goes,
but what about helping the victim to get even with the offender,
in the interests of justice ?

0 Replies
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 05:51 am
Setanta wrote:
...I saw no reason to forgive him, or to shake his hand, and would not do so. Everyone around me acted as though i were being unreasonable. That made no differrence to me. His action had been inexcusable, and i wasn't going to make him feel better just because he was a potential threat of violence in the future. As it was, i never saw him again.
msolga wrote:
I can't, for the life of me, figure out why everyone expected you to forgive him on the spot like that, Setanta.
Very weird [ ?? ] reasoning. Confused You were absolutely right to refuse to.
I agree with u and Setanta ( it feels weird to say that ),
except that it is not weird, by virtue of the fact that it happens so much.

0 Replies
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 11:44 am
It's this manly crap, "shake hands and everybody be friends" which is a product of a culture of camaraderie in childhood in which such things are often, and often should be forgiven and forgotten. It is not, however, acceptable behavior for a mature adult, and even among children the use of a "sucker punch" would be condemned. David is right, it's expected because it so often happens, which does not authorize it, to my mind, at least.
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 05:33 pm

In my personal opinion,
there is nothing particularly manly about forgiveness,
regardless of whether or not there are other considerations in favor of it.

0 Replies
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 06:24 pm

I don 't approve of smoking, on self-defense grounds, to wit:
I resent getting stunk out. However, I observe reasonable politeness, as a general rule.

I was in a social situation when I observed that an acquaintance
of mine got out-of-line on that point, when someone took out
a cigarette. He said, quite audibly:
"U lite that up and I 'll put it out in your ear." <silence>

His girlfriend then pulled him aside, in private,
and presumably told him that his uncouth, loutish, churlish misbehavior
was socially unacceptable. He returned and apologized to the
wanna-be smoker and he offered to buy him a drink.

Understandably, the victim rejected his overtures
and demanded that he stay away from him and never to speak to him.

I can 't blame him.
I see nothing unmanly in the frustrated smoker.

0 Replies
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 06:34 pm
Would you have felt differently if he had apologized?
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 06:36 pm

The slugger was lucky that Setanta did not call the police
and then sue him, in tort for battery.

0 Replies
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 09:11 pm
No . . . his behavior was inexcusable.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 11:04 pm
I'd say that most aboriginal people in our day and age have almost made a profession out of retailing their resentments against the former colonialists--and there's a cottage industry in revionist history to support it.

You are full of ****, Setanta.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 20 Sep, 2010 12:41 am
OK: here is an incident concerning the absence of forgiveness.
This is sadly open-ended; I doubt that it will ever be resolved.

I had a friend named Marvin. He was and is of super-bright intelligence in many ways.
He was a mathematician and an engineer. I 've heard that he has retired now.
For the most part, he is very dispassionate n logical, but only for the most part.

Marvin looks upon the world with the mind set
that has been attributed to people of the Scorpio sign,
some of whom are redundant in proclaiming that thay
don't get mad, thay get even, or that once any offense
is perceived against them, "the bubble is burst" and
no forgiveness nor rehabilitation of friendship is possible

On one occasion, I was so injudicious and precipitate
as to make a joke about him in a social situation.
I had forgotten that u cannot do that with people
whose minds are set that way; witness the case in point.

He took offense.
I did not and do not reciprocate his negative emotion.
Marvin was super-stingy in his finances, on a permanent basis.
A few years after Marvin ostracised me from his company,
I thawt to possibly make amends, knowing of his super-stinginess.
When I was in the market for investing a few thousand dollars
in a good High Definition TV, I called him and offered to pay him
a substantial fee for his advice qua what was best in HDTVs.

I heard impassioned anger in his voice (and pain) as he subordinated
his usual stinginess, his opportunity for financial gain,
to his resentment of me and to his ratification of his shunning me.

I was surprized and saddened. I was guilty of a little faux pas joke.
From his voice, it sounded as tho he was in emotional pain.
(Note that Marvin is a very robust heterosexual of long standing.)
Our friendship had mostly consisted of congruence of political
and economic views and our admiration of sound reasoning.

I had hoped to make amends; that did not prove to be feasible.
I think its sad.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 20 Sep, 2010 08:05 am
some powerful/moving video stories around the theme of forgiveness from conflict situations around the world, worth checking out

“I’d gone from being a victim of crime to being able to see things more from Billy’s point of view.”

Matthew James and his partner, Katy, were burgled twice within a three-month period by the same offender. The couple began to feel ‘under siege’ and unsafe in their own home. When the young man was arrested they were approached to meet him in a restorative justice conference at Pentonville Prison.

In May 2002 my girlfriend and I lived in a ground-floor flat in Walthamstow. We’d been there about a year-and-a-half. It was a cosy flat and everything went well at first. Then I got a call at work one morning from my neighbour; someone had broken into the property and it looked as though things were missing.

They had taken a large TV and a few other bits and pieces, although nothing of sentimental value. The police gave us a crime reference number, and nothing much more happened. The finger prints didn’t match with anyone they knew.

Not long after, our neighbour upstairs heard someone scuffling around in the back garden. She shouted at him and he ran off. But one evening, when we were out, he got back in through the front window. This time he left some cigarette ash in one of our drawers. That wound me up the most.

I was quite depressed about it at that point, because I felt I couldn’t protect my property and didn’t know who this person was. When I came home, I always felt anxious about what I’d come back to. Several neighbours had also been subject to attempted break-ins.

About a month later, we got a call from the local police station, saying they’d arrested someone. A van had been ditched at the side of the A11 and they’d found fingerprints that matched those in our flat. After that I got a call from Kim Smith, a police officer who worked with the restorative justice programme. He asked me and Katy if we wanted to take part in a restorative justice conference.

After the burglar was caught, there was a lot of relief. I hadn’t realised how much until that phone call. We had felt very helpless before – after all breaking into someone’s house in broad daylight is hardly a sneaky crime.

The restorative justice conference was in Pentonville Prison. It’s a very foreboding Victorian institution. Going through locked entry-doors, there was a real sense of entering a labyrinth.

We came through a public door and were in an open room, a couple of floors up. Billy, the offender, came in afterwards, looking quite sheepish. I thought I might experience a ‘eureka’ moment when I saw him, but it didn’t happen. It was just, ‘Oh, this is him.’ He was just a person. He was avoiding eye contact. He had a couple of women with him, a sister and girlfriend, and the prison officers.

We started explaining what had happened and how we’d felt before, during and after the event. There were nods of recollection from Billy. As in, ‘Yeah that happened’. He’d done quite a lot of properties locally and seemed to be working out where our story fitted in.

Billy wasn’t arrogant, but he had a bit of defensive cockiness about him. He was quite matter-of-fact about what he’d done and seemed at home in this environment. He was stealing things to feed a drug habit that he’d picked up during his last prison sentence – a cycle of crime which makes you think about things. He was quite young and I got a sense of his vulnerability.

The people around him were getting quite emotional – particularly his sister as she heard about the impact of Billy’s actions on our lives; the fact that we wanted to move and felt scared about going out. Mid-way through the conference Katy started to describe in greater detail her feelings and emotions. She was sobbing, I was holding her hand, and Kim Smith was wiping away a tear. At that point I think the penny dropped for Billy because it became personalised.

Billy’s demeanour changed. He was no longer in his comfort zone, talking about himself and his problems. When the focus switched to us, I sensed less cockiness; he was shaking his head quite a lot. I think it just flipped things in his mind, that there could be someone else who was affected by what he was doing. I sensed that he felt he was letting everybody down.

Kim asked us what Billy could do to address these wrongs. We suggested actions relating to drug habits and about keeping in touch with us.

On leaving the prison I realised that things had changed for me; I’d gone from being a victim of crime to being able to see things more from Billy’s point of view. Some sense of balance had been restored. He’d had a cup of tea with some ordinary people and was then led off by two prison officers back into his dark cell, while we stepped out into the sunshine and went for a coffee. That gave me a great lift, but I felt for him.

People clamour to lock offenders up and throw away the key, they demand vengeance and retribution. I can understand that, but I think it can create a vicious circle of crime, and of course you just pick up bad habits and mates in prison. Restorative justice can help nip that in the bud at a young age, and that’s important.

I haven’t seen Billy since but I would be genuinely interested to know what’s happened to him. He was in his late teens, early twenties – a very young man. I hope things work out for him.
Reply Mon 20 Sep, 2010 10:06 am
The English used to send bad guys
to Botany Bay Prison in Austrailia.

Maybe the English can inquire to see if thay 'll rent some space there
to receive BANISHED prisoners, to relieve recidivism in England.
cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 20 Sep, 2010 01:01 pm
It's evident you don't know the history of why Brits were sent to Australia. What's your definition of "bad guys?"
0 Replies
Reply Mon 20 Sep, 2010 02:00 pm
Narine, I know the power of forgiveness on a personal level, it is liberating. In our simple personal lives that is possible and great.

It is, however, a bit harder if you're, say, a sole survivor from a family wiped out in the Killing Fields of Cambodia...or something similar. First, WHO do you forgive, if the perpetrator is faceless? Even if you do know the perpetrators, and in many cases the former soldiers and peasants live in the same villages and the Khmer Rouge regime is something not discussed beyond the closest family , and even there only rarely. In places like Cambodia, forgiving is not even on the table. Not yet. First, those experiences have to be acknowledged, to actually have a voice. For they are absent from history textbooks (6 lines on Khmer Rouge total, though I heard that is changing now) and they are absent from any public space.... This leads to inter-generational problems, because own children and grandchildren don't believe the stories their elders tell them....which is a big problem in a hierarchically ordered society.... sigh. Long story short, many other things have to happen first before forgiveness is even an option. And for many it will never be an option, and I think that is OK. Talking to these people I found that they want release. They do want to have their story heard, they want to tell it to others, have it recorded. They want their dead remembered through memorials, they want an open space where dialogue is possible. Forgiveness? Maybe it happened in some individual cases, for most probably not. But they do move on by other means. Forgiveness is great....but it is not a panacea.

...I realize that this is an extreme case, of course....just to illustrate the point that forgiveness is not the only bridge across the river, there are other means of healing and conciliation - surely some are parallel and reinforce each other, but can also take place individually.... and also this is not a response to your post, Narine, rather a free association.

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