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To forgive or not to forgive?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have been moved to start this thread by the many other threads in this forum at the moment. Saddam Hussein, George Bush, terrorism, violence, world peace, punishment, justice, revenge, so many themes run through this wonderful forum and so many opinions are aired and there are so many heated debates. These are electric times that we live in, and extremism and anger and hate are running hot and free through the minds of many in the world.

Our lives are changing in a way that is inexorable and relentless. There is fear and distrust and destruction at every turn. Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, war, famine, illness of epidemic proportions, global warming, climate change, animal cruelty - there seems to be a never-ending story of destruction, misery and despair on a global scale.

Do we have any hope for our futures? Will we ever stop being such a fractured world and start to find peace and love again? I find myself becoming increasingly despondent about humanity and the world and the state we are in. I know there is goodness, and love, and strength, and beauty, and kindness in the world, but at the moment these things seem to be losing out against all that is dark and terrible.

It frightens me and yet at the same time it compels a resolve in me to try my hardest, at all times, to be better than the things I fear. To forgive what seems the most terrible of things, to be compassionate, to be kind, to be truthful, to become educated and informed and to strive for a higher consciousness.

But where do you draw the line? Particularly with the death of Saddam Hussein today, and the kind of joy it has brought, I only feel sad. Sad that a man, a human being, should die unmourned and unloved. It must be a terrible thing to die alone, hated, reviled and despised.

He committed terrible atrocities. He does not deserve mourning, or sympathy, or love, or anything other than what he has received. But still, a small part of me thinks, were I not to feel anything at all but unrelieved triumph and joy - does that not make me in some small part as bad as him?

What do you all think of this? Do you think that there is any time when we should try to be better than people like him, be better than we want to be, be forgiving, take some time to say a prayer that a man could become so misguided and greedy and evil that he turns into the monster he became? Surely he was not always so.

The immortal, the incredible, Mahatma Ghandi, a man far greater than I or possibly many who have lived, said, `I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.' He also said, `What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?'

Lastly, he said, `An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.'

I sometimes think that we can lose sight of simple goodness and kindness because we were lucky enough to be born in civilisations where things like freedom, democracy, justice, peace and equality are taken for granted. Where does the revenge end and the forgiveness begin?

Sorry if that's a bit maudlin, but I just feel terribly depressed about the world in general these days, and I crave some old-fashioned love and peace, not just in society, but in our private hearts.

If I may have one last quote, that I think sums up the sadness that compelled me to start this thread, `There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for'.
post #2 of 14
would be nice, Ghandi idea worked for kicking the british out, it worked for king to get civil rights here in the US. However when you deal with people who are killing you because of you race, your faith, or because some one may make the choice not to have one. In the west most of us dont care what color or race or faith someone is.
and we seem to think everyone else in the world thinks the way we do They dont.

I can only speak for stuff that has happen to me. I have lived and worked in place where people wanted to kill me cause i was western, cause i was christen. How many people here have gone to church and had the thought that there may be a bomb in it? i hvae been in a hotel how gangs went from hotel to hotel lookign for any western person they could find. i know a women that was a teacher in thailand, who was killed in her class room. For teaching muslims girls.

i guess it is all a mind set really, each to his own,however there are those that wont let you think that way. who will tell you think my way or else. Then what choice do you make? do you let them lead off to die or do you fight? Those groups do not get sick of the killing or the dying. i dont think hilter or Stalin got sick of killing jews or people that got in there of power. how it is wrong to be happy over the death of someone, i would be willing ot bet there are 2 ethic groups in iraq that are dancing in the streets. Cause at least no one will be gasing them during the night.

how i disagree with the war in Iraq. I do disagree with those who make the statement saying it was illegal war. How is war legal? The UN? please the Un is made up of third world countries most of whom are dictatorships, i could care less what they think. the french? the germans? they were to busy making under the table money from iraq.I for one do not wish to turn over the security or are army(US) to the control of the UN.

i will not allow anyone to tell me how to live or what i should beleave in. and yes i would fight and die. But i would also do the same for anyone else to have that same right to disagree with me.
post #3 of 14
I agree - with all of Saddam's political ability, and whatever else helped him take over a nation, what a loss that he wasn't a good person
We can be such hypocrites - we ignore the injustices committed elsewhere (check out the atrocities commited against the Kurds in Turkey, while the US ignores it all cuz they have a necessary airbase - I saw a girl who'd joined the NPk? cuz the Turks cut her arms off below the elbow, for resisting getting gang raped).
the History Channel had done a bio on a British general who died in Afghanistan, who's dying words were about the creation of Iraq, and combining the 3 countries - He said that if it happened, and it was being done to get a pipeline for oil to Europe, it would unleash turbulence and wars such as we could never imagine. He was right How would we like it if the Russians had overtaken us and told the US that it HAD to combine with Canada and Mexico, and be the New Republic of Nafta??
post #4 of 14
It's unfortunate that we see so many negative things on TV while good deeds are not shown. I think the best we can do is stop focusing on the negative. Negative emotions breeds more negative emotions. and visa versa. Be positive! Keeping a positive attitude spreads to your family and friends, and their family and friends.. and so on and so on. It may not seem like enough. And we may never see a change in our lifetime. But a change will happen. And I do believe that change will be a positive one. It only takes one little stone that will create a ripple through the water and effect the whole pond.
post #5 of 14
Well, it was fitting that you posted that yesterday... yesterday was Eid, the Muslim holiday feast of forgiveness and repentance that ends Ramadan.

I am in total agreement with you, KitEKats... the world depresses me many times. Darfur, Somalia/Ethiopia, the Middle East, Palestine/Israel, the list goes on forever. It's all just going wrong. I'm not sure if it's really any different than in the past, but it sure seems like it.

I feel sympathy for Saddam... he must have died a very lonely death, and his death will only fuel feelings of revenge and hatred. What he did was horrible, but who am I to judge who he was recently?

I like your last quote... I share your sentiments.

Here's hoping 2007 sees some progress.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godiva View Post
Well, it was fitting that you posted that yesterday... yesterday was Eid, the Muslim holiday feast of forgiveness and repentance that ends Ramadan.

I like your last quote... I share your sentiments.

Here's hoping 2007 sees some progress.
I didn't know that - thanks for telling me it's a nice coincidence.

Yes, just about everything I read that Ghandi ever said seems to hit it right on the head for me! He was Hindu, when asked once he replied, `Yes I am. I am also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew.' He believed that everyone worshipped the same god, regardless of their religion, and believed the fundamentals of religion and faith were truth and love. He said, `"As soon as we lose the moral basis, we cease to be religious. There is no such thing as religion over-riding morality. Man, for instance, cannot be untruthful, cruel or incontinent and claim to have God on his side."

I see so much of that in the world these days. Sooooo many of the conflicts are religious conflicts. I find it all the more terrible, because I believe that God, if He exists, no matter what your faith, would be deeply saddened by the atrocities committed in His name.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva! View Post
I didn't know that - thanks for telling me it's a nice coincidence.

Yes, just about everything I read that Ghandi ever said seems to hit it right on the head for me! He was Hindu, when asked once he replied, `Yes I am. I am also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew.' He believed that everyone worshipped the same god, regardless of their religion, and believed the fundamentals of religion and faith were truth and love. He said, `"As soon as we lose the moral basis, we cease to be religious. There is no such thing as religion over-riding morality. Man, for instance, cannot be untruthful, cruel or incontinent and claim to have God on his side."

I see so much of that in the world these days. Sooooo many of the conflicts are religious conflicts. I find it all the more terrible, because I believe that God, if He exists, no matter what your faith, would be deeply saddened by the atrocities committed in His name.
Well said!

I love Ghandi. I think people from all religions could stand to listen to his words as well. I have a special interest in Hinduism (and Buddhism) because their beliefs often don't spill over into violent wars like the other religions, but I claim no religion for myself either. I think we think alike.

I got a bachelor's in comparative religion, so I've spent quite a lot of time contemplating all the major world religions... that's why I knew about Eid. I think my studies made me a better and more open-minded person, even if I am not religious myself.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godiva View Post
Well said!

I love Ghandi. I think people from all religions could stand to listen to his words as well. I have a special interest in Hinduism (and Buddhism) because their beliefs often don't spill over into violent wars like the other religions, but I claim no religion for myself either. I think we think alike.

I got a bachelor's in comparative religion, so I've spent quite a lot of time contemplating all the major world religions... that's why I knew about Eid. I think my studies made me a better and more open-minded person, even if I am not religious myself.
Wow! I would LOVE to study that. I did Philosophy of Religion as part of a philosophy minor when I was first at University, and I loved it. My fiance Max has a Bachelor's degree in Religion and Politics. I could listen to him for HOURS. We both have Buddhist leanings but I have always been interested in Hinduism. Like you, I don't adhere to any particular religion but I feel most in tune with what I have read of Buddhism and Hinduism. They just seem to make an inherent sense to me - like a puzzle clicking into place. Much of what I feel and believe seems to be so succinctly summed up into (pardon the cliche) beautiful pearls of wisdom within those faiths.

Ghandi felt the fundamental tenets of any religion were truth and love, like I said earlier. My personal belief is that all of the world's problems, large or small, can be traced back to greed. ALL of them. Greed for wealth, for power, for domination, for self - I truly feel that is the root of all the world's evil. Although I have oversimplified it here. If we could discard our greed and base our existence on wanting what we have, being truthful, and being loving, I think the world would be a VERY different place.

(And as an aside - Yoda was a very Buddhist little guy. I like him, too! )
post #9 of 14
Was there ever a time when the world was at peace? I don't think so. Apparently, conflict and waging war against others is part of human nature. I've seriously been trying to come up with a period in my lifetime (I was born in 1957) when there wasn't a war going on somewhere, and can't. I found a little time line of U.S. involvement in wars http://americanhistory.about.com/lib...lineuswars.htm, and noted that the Cold War, Somalia, Lebanon, and Afghanistan weren't included.
post #10 of 14
There's always a war somewhere. I am, by religion and ideology, a pacifist. Hey, the world needs us, right but I would never try to be in charge of a country because it just doesn't work. If you take yourself out of the running, as some countries do, then you just become a haven for the baddest of the bad on both sides. I do think everyone should do their best to be polite and accepting of one another, a thing which starts mostly in our private and public but personal lives, and from there hopefully moves up the ladder. We can't say "Let's just hold hands with the Middle East and make it all better" when there are people like my friend from high school who just want to "Go over there and blast some (racial slur)s" (certainly a fault of his).

And: Does anyone remember, oh, not all that long ago, when Saddam Hussein was one of our allies in the Middle East? Anyone? All the horrible stuff he did was okay then, and had happened and we knew about it if we paid any attention, but he was useful then. He lost his usefulness, and now he has been hung by a government we installed after removing him. He was not a good man, but many people say he was the only person who could have held Iraq together and in some ways the entire Middle East.

I, personally, mourn every casualty of war, Saddam Hussein included, though of course to a lesser extent than my friends and classmates.
post #11 of 14
Of course there have always been wars... it just seems so bad to me because I'm only 26. And the issues we are fighting today are of a different nature than ones in the past.... no side seems to understand the other at all.

And yes, I remember when we helped Iraq/Saddam fight Iran by sending him weapons and such. We wanted the oil too, of course!

Everything going on over there just seems to be a big play to me.

I'm not articulating things as well as I could and should, but hopefully you get the drift.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
And: Does anyone remember, oh, not all that long ago, when Saddam Hussein was one of our allies in the Middle East? Anyone? All the horrible stuff he did was okay then, and had happened and we knew about it if we paid any attention, but he was useful then. He lost his usefulness, and now he has been hung by a government we installed after removing him. He was not a good man, but many people say he was the only person who could have held Iraq together and in some ways the entire Middle East.
That was a prime example of "My enemy's enemy is my friend", a.k.a. realpolitik. Iran was already an archenemy of the U.S. at the time of that awfully bloody war, with its child martyrs, and it was secular, as opposed to a theocracy (Of course, it didn't bother us that the Soviet Union was secular when we were helping to defeat its troops in Afghanistan, and we're still paying the price for that bit of Cold War folly). But the Bush Administration's idea of "nation building" is a rejection of realpolitik, and doesn't appear to be working, either.
Iraq has only been an independent country since 1932; it was formed out of remnants of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, and its disintegration may, or may not be, inevitable. Keep in mind that most Americans are "allergic" to civil war and partition of a country due to our own past, and thus our first instinct is to "preserve", or maintain the status quo, and that we have had little experience with border/territorial disputes in our short history.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat
Keep in mind that most Americans are "allergic" to civil war and partition of a country due to our own past, and thus our first instinct is to "preserve", or maintain the status quo, and that we have had little experience with border/territorial disputes in our short history.
I believe that we are quite fortunate in that regard. The US is a very young country when compared to many around the world and while we don't the bloody history compared to Europe during the Middle Ages our history is nonetheless bloody and complex. During the American Revolution against the British not everyone in the colonies was united in the cause. There were a great many who were loyal to the crown and who fought alongside the British regulars.

The bloodiest period in our history wasn't the two World Wars but rather the American Civil War....and there was nothing civil about it. Both sides were brutal towards each other. On the first day of the Battle Antietam there were well over 20,000 casualties- this is known as the Bloodiest Day In America. The number of casualties during the Civil War is estimated to be around 1,030,200 which includes the dead and wounded.

Bryan
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
Was there ever a time when the world was at peace? .
hmm Never would be case. maybe someday if we have time. People will get past all of this.
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