Re: Attitudes to Germans

Ernest N. Prabhakar (
Fri, 12 Sep 1997 15:35:37 -0700 (PDT)

> I see myself as already tormented and haunted between 'let it go' and 'never
forget <isomorphic to> never forgive'. <

Fascinating perspective. Thanks for writing, Ron.

I wonder, though...

As a Christian, who studies reconciliation, I tend to draw a strong
ditinction between forgetting and forgiving. To not forgive is to, in my
mind, keep a wound open, perhaps intentionally stoking the pin to prevent
forgetfulness. (that's 'pain' not 'pin, sorry). Forgiveness is letting
go, and responding in love rather than anger.

However, as we may have said before, Forgvieness is not Reconciliation. The former
is a release of pain, the latter a resotration of trust. I believe it is
extremely valid to forgive someone, and yet not trust them until they've
demonstrated worthiness to be trusted. However, in love you proactively
seek restoration of the relationship, to the extent the other person is willing.

That was what struck me about your characterization of "Never again." It
was entirely a negative - "Don't do that!" There wasn't a sense of the cor-
responding positive "Build a world of accountability and love." The scary
bit of unforgiveness is that we tend to become the things we despise, and
in turn suffer the things we inflict on others. Every now and again I
am struck by the irony of terrorism: The Israelis - and South Africans - are
being afflicted by the same scourge they inflicted on teh British. The role
reversal does not seem to have led to any compassion, either.

I dunno. It just seems like there has to be a better way. The tragedy
is to great otherwise. I haven't yet heard any Jews calling for a "Final Solution" to getting rid of the Palestinian Problem, and I hope it never comes to
that. But I do wonder sometimes, what is the real lesson, and has anyone
ever learned it?