Re: [xmca] Forgiveness

From: Andy Blunden (
Date: Tue Oct 24 2006 - 05:20:55 PDT

I did not want to imply that I endorsed Philipa's observations. I was
struck by them mainly because they were novel to me, and I thought they had
some merit. I should note as well that Philipa herself presented her
observation with *extreme* caution and heavily hedged it around with
qualification. I think the entire world has stood in admiration of the
achievement of South African society in this process. But I guess there is
no absolutely right answer when such crimes are committed.
Best of luck to you Carol, and I do really hope that things get better some
time soon.
At 02:09 PM 24/10/2006 +0200, you wrote:
>Hi Andy
>I would just like to respond to your remarks about the speaker on South
>Africa. People were astonshed that we constituted a Truth and
>Reconciliation Commission so soon after the end of Apartheid. (Austria took
>40 years to do the same.) The director was Bishop Tutu, who kept the doors
>eopn between people during the bad years. He had to listen to the most
>terrible stories (along with the committee), and someotimes he couldn't bear
>it and cried and cried. Needless to say, most of the victims cried a great
>deal. Then there were the perpetrators some of whom came forward, and what
>they had done was also terrible. I reckon we would have needed a decade to
>get through all the hurt, but there was a cut off date, and several volumes
>were developed and presented to Mandela.
>The new government did not address violence and criminality in the
>townships, because they feared it would make them unpopular, and as a result
>we have this terrible crime--800 murders reported in Johannesburg last
>year and many thousands of violent break-ins, many car hijacks. So we live
>with a different fear now. I have been the object of crime 5 times in the
>last 12 years (5 times too many).
>I cannot begin to tell you though of the capacity of African people to
>forgive. I think that is why apartheid lasted so long. I know in trauma
>counselling you have to wait 3 days for the adrenaline to calm down a bit
>(but it is still there for ages), but we are talking here about people
>talking about political crimes perpetrated up to a decade ago. It wasn't
>about "What happened to you last week". This T&R Commission was cathartic
>for the whole nation, and I felt we were brave to mount it at all.
>That is my tuppence worth for someone who lived through apartheid and
>On 10/23/06, Andy Blunden <> wrote:
>>A recent conference near Melbourne held by the Australia Society for
>>Continental Philsoophy (mostly critical theorists) on "Trauma" dealt with
>>forgiveness in a myriad of ways. Two of the speakers made points which I
>>recall as I write:
>>Agnes Heller spoke about shame, and the impossibility of a social movement
>>built on shame. This relates of course to the inverse side, that of the
>>who needs forgiveness.
>>Philipa Rothfield spoke on the oppressive effect of pressure on victims to
>>forgive. She cited experiences in South Africa where the reconciliation
>>process put great pressure on people to forgive. She made the point that
>>not only were many not ready to forgive, but perhaps rightly so, since
>>forgiveness and reconciliation could act as a cover for avoiding dealing
>>with the real underlying problems, and in fact their continuation in new
>>There were of course scores of presentations taking a number of different
>>angles. These two I particularly remember.
>>At 09:06 PM 22/10/2006 -0700, you wrote:
>> >OK-- So here is another topic. Any help out there greatly appreciated.
>> >
>> >In my household the topic of forgiveness is a burning issue. There are a
>> >of sources.
>> >
>> >First, we have had a visit from a friend who has had a stroke and whose
>> >husband has left her
>> >and she is in deep pain.
>> >
>> >Second, we have been reading about the Amish parents in Pennsylvania who
>> >aside, so far as
>> >we can tell, the unbelievable anger and pain they must have experienced,
>> >have forgiven the man
>> >who killed their children, welcomed his wife into their community, and
>> >(again, so far as we can tell,
>> >for-given him his unforgivable (it would seem) trespasses.
>> >
>> >Third, there is fiction brewing locallly that involves a mother and
>> >who are in conflict where the
>> >mother has transgressed the law seriously and the daughter is living with
>> >the consequences.
>> >
>> >So what does anyone on this amazing list of people have to counsel us
>> >forgiveness, No eye for
>> >a tooth. What makes it possible? Legitimate? Forgivable, to forgive
>> >for causing unspeakable
>> >pain?
>> >
>> >This is all at the more or less personal/interpersonal level. I am well
>> >aware that there are macro versions of these
>> >questions that deserve all the attention we can give them, but up close
>> >personal. --When is forgiveness possible
>> >and forgivable?
>> >
>> >Help please
>> >mike
>> >_______________________________________________
>> >xmca mailing list
>> >
>> >
>>Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435, AIM
>>identity: AndyMarxists mobile 0409 358 651
>>xmca mailing list
>xmca mailing list

  Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435, AIM
identity: AndyMarxists mobile 0409 358 651

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