England's Discussion on Forgiveness
Marina Cantacuzino founder of The Forgiveness Project has written an article in London’s The Times on-line newspaper October 12, 2009 about forgiveness and the case of an Irish activist who planted a bomb 25 years ago that killed five people and left others seriously injured. The man served 14 years in prison (was sentenced to life), but released as part of the Good Friday Agreement also known as the Belfast Agreement, which was part of the English and Northern Ireland peace process. The article is an in depth discussion of forgiveness, something that we typically ignore in the United States where retribution rules.
My comments to Ms. Cantacuzino’s article are:
“Thank you for this insightful article and the comments on this difficult subject. I live in the United States where we don’t have these types of discussions. We rarely forgive people who commit crimes. Instead we imprison over 2 million and spend more money on that than on higher education. Sadly, in my own state we only provide public education to children 3 and a half days a week. Yet we spend about $200 million a year on corrections (a sum that is sure to increase with the decrease in education).
As a victim of a violent crime myself I agree with Desmond Tutu, forgiveness is for healing. For me, it was not something that I did simply to absolve the man who almost murdered me.
As Mark Nepo states: “Forgiveness has deeper rewards than excusing someone for how they have hurt us. The deeper healing comes in the exchange of our resentments for inner freedom. At last, the wound, even if never acknowledged by the other person, can heal, and our life continue.”
I look forward to the day when here in the United States can have more discussion on forgiveness and its power.