Sunday, March 12, 2006

The unforgivable act?

Should Goebbels and other perpetrators of the Holocaust be forgiven?

Should Japanese war criminals, who tortured my Dads friend during construction of the Burma railway, be forgiven?

Should Ian Brady, a man who finds pleasure from denying his final victims mother a body to greave over, be forgiven?

Should I forgive the bombers of July 7th 2005?

I believe the answer to all of these is no. All these criminals were adults, they surely knew the difference between right and wrong. If they thought murder and torture was right, then they are evil and deserve no forgiveness. In the case of the bombers, their attack was premeditated, they had months, if not years to contemplate their actions. If they were here to see the result of their actions I believe they may show repentance, however, in committing suicide they forfeited their chance to show sorrow. I can sympathise with being a young man growing up in this scary, daunting and harsh world, at one point I was striving to forgive. However it wouldn’t benefit me and would be a lie. I do not hate them, but I am content to not forgive them.

Many Christians believe murder to be ‘the unforgivable act‘. I agree.

I cannot forgive their actions.

Update(14th March 2.00pm) : On reading this back I have changed my mind on some points, I don't believe they were evil and I am definately moving towards forgiveness, but I don't think I can forgive in entirity. Please follow my comments and future posts, I will leave this post up as it is a reflection of my feelings at a specific time, but feelings I am moving away from.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree for the most part but we can hate them. Hating them hurts you, it steals energy and strenght you can apply to your other interest.

4:34 PM  
Blogger steve said...

I do not hate them, (see the last line) I feel nothing negative at all towards them. But, I cannot forgive them.

4:37 PM  
Blogger steve said...

Thanks fjl. It's true that we will all differ greatly on this. We need to each find our own conclusion, which means unlike most subjects it can't really be debated, only discussed. I personally can not forgive, and still be at peace with myself. Some feel they should forgive, as this spreads peace. Exactly what the bombers didn't want, and I can see, and respect this point of view.

I've been thinking a lot about this. Many trace the 'cult' of the suicide bomber back to kamikaze pilots. However, they were acting in what they thought was a just war, and attacked military targets.

I don't agree with unconditionally forgiving everything and anything. There has to be a line of unforgiveness, if it is an automatic response which doesn't need to be earned then I see it as pointless.

I cannot believe anyone could forgive the Holocaust, or the killing fields of Cambodia.

Surely we can't forgive genocide?

So, some acts are beyond the line of forgiveness. For all of us that line differs. For me that line is the murder of innocent civilians, for any cause. No matter how right the murderer may believe their actions are. It is even worse that they didn't give their victims a chance to fight back, or even say goodbye, this to me is the most cowardly way to kill someone.

The bombers were human, I am almost certain that if they could see what they have done they would be sorry and therefore I could forgive them. However, we will never know that, so it is wrong to assume that. As it stands they are not sorry for what they have done, so I cannot forgive them.

2:28 PM  
Blogger steve said...

An additional thought to this: (there are likely to be many as my feeling are by no means set in stone)

My conclusion at present is: I can't forgive the killing of innocent civilians without repentance.

I therefore forgive them for what they did to me. But I don't forgive them for killing 52 people. As for the injuries they caused to so many, that is up to the injured.

4:31 PM  
Blogger steve said...

Thanks again fjl. While I have read some religious theories on forgiveness, it's only as an example. Personally I'm not particularly religious. My Dad is Roman Catholic, my Mum is Protestant, on my birth certificate I'm C of E. I don't believe or practice any, but this is mostly because of my science background, I feel the existence of God can't be proven, therefore I'm agnostic. The bible, (or any other religious script) to me is a book of morals. I do believe in many of those morals even though I'm not religious. It just happens I've been using many words which are religiously associated, such as 'repentance'. But this is just because they're the most suitable words, and the concept of forgivness is quite a religious one.

My main point is that I think it is impossible to forgive everything. If the same bombers continually bombed the underground (obviously not suicide). Then that would be another 'unforgivable act'. There's that phrase. I was more saying I agree with, but also distance myself from those who feel murder is 'the unforgivable act'.

but thanks for the input, always good to read different points of view.

2:33 AM  
Blogger steve said...

why is this so hard?

I knew I wasn't settled with how I felt, as I kept thinking about it.

3 of the bombers were: 18 (Hussain), 19 (Lindsay), and 22 (Tanweer), the fourth was Siddique Khan, 30.

They spent months watching videos of atrocities, desensitising themselves to violence and it's effects. So they really didn't realise the enormity of what they were about to do. The way I see it, the 3 youngest were manipulated by Khan. So if they were 'brainwashed' and their perfectly justified anger was manipulated to benefit someone elses cause I can't hold that against them. As I've said, if they saw the effects of their actions I believe they would wish they hadn't done it.

Lindsay (the Picc' Line bomber) was only a foot soldier, he was manipulated into doing it and was blind to what he was doing. So I feel I should forgive him, I also forgive Tanweer and Hussain.

So I forgive Lindsay for killing 26, Hussain for killing 13 and Tanweer for killing 7.

But I can't forgive Khan, I believe he did know the enormity of what he was doing, and preyed on the others to take part. He also killed the fewest number of people. So I don't forgive Khan. I can't really not forive him for killing 52, as he didn't. I'm still unsure exactly what I don't forgive him for. Planning, instigating and manipulating others into commiting mass murder I guess.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Yorkshire Lass In London said...

I definitely see you point about Khan. That it was his rhetoric which was the pulling force.

I think forgiveness takes time and effort and it is whether we feel we should expend that on someone who has wronged us, when we could use that effort on someone we love.

It would probably be more worrying if someone felt nothing about it.

Do you find there are times when the absurdity and loss of life just seems overwhelming?

8:06 AM  
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12:56 PM  

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