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The quest for forgiveness is universal, empowering people of all beliefs and backgrounds to relinquish hate, cynicism and vengeful instincts. These stories come from all corners of the world and whether they focus on mending broken hearts or broken communities, show that forgiveness is about connecting to a common, shared humanity.

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Argentina (1 story)

Sebastian Marroquin

"The fact that the sons of two former arch enemies are now friends is really what gives me the most hope."

Australia (2 stories)

Kelly Connor

"I still almost choke to say I forgive myself and sometimes I can’t integrate it into my life."

Ray Minniecon

"Whilst many of the promises the Government made have not been implemented, it pricked the conscience of a nation and was a turning point. When someone says “I’m sorry” then something changes in your spirit."

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Belarus (1 story)

Irina Krasovskaya

"If I think about them too much I start to dream of revenge so then I have stop myself because I know revenge will destroy me."

Bosnia (4 stories)

Munira Beba Hadzic

"Help and healing passed from hand to hand."

Jasna

“So many victims feel they are to blame but being a victim does not mean you are guilty.”

Stanislav Krezic

"At this time, the only way to get rid of my hatred for those who had made me suffer was to retaliate."

Kemal Pervanic

"I decided not to hate because hating would have finished the job they’d started so successfully."

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Cambodia (1 story)

Sokreaksa Himm

"The anger against the killers was as great as the grief for my family and it burned inside me like a great ball of fire."

Canada (7 stories)

Wilma Derksen

"At times it was incredibly tough. People said we couldn’t have loved Candace because we forgave."

Christopher Emmanuel

"My anger broke and tears filled my eyes as I cried the tears that I’d never been able to shed as a child. Then as I stared down at my father a great sadness poured through me for what I’d just done and I realized I had become just like him."

Anne-Marie Hagan

"Forgiveness cannot be conditional on remorse, because that would mean we can only forgive those who are sorry."

Katy Hutchison and Ryan Aldridge

“Whether victim or perpetrator, part of being human is rolling up our sleeves and taking an active part in repairing harm.”

Tony McAleer

"I learned that to hold the ideology of separation, or racism, you have to have a closed heart."

Shannon Moroney

"I hated his actions, but I could not hate the person."

Margot van Sluytman

"The moment I began to consider forgiveness, my whole body started to feel different, more complete and more at peace."

Colombia (1 story)

Mark Henderson

"Up until that point I think I could easily have forgiven Antonio and the kidnappers but meeting these women, and realising nothing had actually changed, made me angry."

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Denmark (1 story)

Karsten Mathiasen

"At first, I thought I was the great forgiver, but in the end I was the one to ask for forgiveness."

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Egypt (1 story)

Khaled al-Berry

"The most dangerous thing in life is to let people become convinced that truth has just one face."

England (41 stories)

Natalia Aggiano

"I’d already lived most of my life with hatred for my Dad. I didn’t want it anymore."

Shad Ali

"Forgiveness came from wondering how on earth someone could inflict that kind of pain on another human being without feeling anything."

Madeleine Black

"I used to think that they were evil, but I started to understand that they didn’t come into this world that way."

Rosalyn Boyce

“Whether victim or perpetrator, part of being human is rolling up our sleeves and taking an active part in repairing harm.”

Liz Brereton

"In my view what he needed was psychotherapy, not prison."

Camilla Carr and Jon James

"You have to work through layers to obtain forgiveness. First you have to deal with anger, then with tears, and only once you reach the tears are you on the road to finding peace of mind."

David

"These boots are like my life - they've been healed, resoled and restored."

John Carter

"Then a probation officer told me about restorative justice – a process that could help me understand empathy."

Julie Chimes

"I refused to be pigeonholed as a grim faced victim, although this was the angle many photographers and journalists wanted"

Francis and Berthe Climbie

"If you focus only on retribution you extinguish the very spirit and memory of your child."

Hanneke Coates

"I thought I had forgiven my Japanese captors, and yet was always aware of the hairs rising in the nape of my neck when I heard a Japanese voice."

Anne-Marie Cockburn

"I’ll never ever get justice for Martha because she’s dead so why waste two young lives instead of just one."

Jacob Dunne

"I knew how important it was that I looked them in the eye and told them how sorry I was."

Marie Fatayi-Williams

"At first I didn’t want to look at the face of Hasib Hussain, but eventually I did look...and what I saw was just a young man."

Mary Foley

"I knew that if I didn’t forgive, anger and bitterness would turn me into a person Charlotte would not have liked."

Tracey Ford

"I have a broken heart – splintered into a million pieces but each day I get up feeling I’m healing a little bit more."

Margaret Foxley

"I arrived at the prison feeling all kinds of emotions, wondering how I’d cope with meeting this monster I’d almost begun to hate."

Denise Green

"What happened was out of my control, but how I respond is within my control."

Sue Hanisch

"I was able to stand back at last and see the bigger picture of my life and its meaning."

Gill Hicks

"Through my experience and the sharing of my story, my work has helped create an alternative narrative."

Grace Idowu

"When I recovered myself I told him, “I’m not crying for David, I’m crying for you. What have you done with your life?"

Matthew James

"I’d gone from being a victim of crime to being able to see things more from Billy’s point of view."

Kathleen Key

"I needed to know why he had been drinking; what had brought him to that point in his life where he had no thought for anyone else?"

Richard Levi

"The experience bonds you and you want to honour the dead above all else."

Andrea Martinez

"I realised that I was not in control of anyone except for myself and my emotions, and that they could only hurt me if I allowed them to."

Charlotte Maude

"By suing we would only have succeeded in putting doctors off medicine. It seemed somehow vindictive."

Richard McCann

"To give my mum’s killer a conscience would feel like revenge in a way."

Barry and Margaret Mizen

"The only answer to the violence in our society is a peaceful response."

Jo Nodding

"As I told him the impact of the offence, the terror and the confusion I felt that day, he actually cried. And I could see it was genuine."

Marian Partington

"My work has been about connecting with Rosemary West’s humanity and refusing to go down the far easier path of demonizing her."

Denise Rhodes

"When the police contacted me and asked if I wanted to be involved in a restorative justice meeting, I agreed."

David Rogers

"I think we are beholden to try to understand as much as we can because you can’t make a proper judgment about anything unless you do."

Jayne Stewart

"Can I forgive him for something he denies?"

Susan

"Truthfully, all I can do is try and understand what motivates behaviour, and not hold any hatred in my heart."

Peter Tatchell

"Without our willingness to forgive, there can be no hope of overcoming the historic conflict between queers and christianity."

Tom Tate

"The act of friendship invites forgiveness."

Geoff Thompson

"When you have tried and been failed by the judiciary and blood-lust turns you into a monster, what are you left with?"

Elizabeth Turner

"Choosing the path to stop the cycle of violence is just as difficult as choosing the other path of anger and hatred."

Susan Waters

"Blind forgiveness can allow abuse to thrive."

Michael Watson

"Getting angry won't correct the past."

Simon Wilson

"It was an acceptance really - not just that this is the way things are, but that this is the way things should be."

Peter Woolf and Will Riley

"Until that moment I never knew that a burglary could make people feel sad, angry, depressed, guilty - yes guilty about things I'd done!"

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Hawaii (2 stories)

Linda Apo and Marilyn Vierra

"Prison became a place of transformation for me."

Lorenn Walker

"We can use suffering to find more meaningful lives."

Hungary (1 story)

Gertrude Levi

"To some extent my feelings from then on were paralysed; even today I am unable to grieve when someone I love dies."

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Iraq (1 story)

Norman Kember

"I worry that in my case forgiveness was too easy because it didn’t cost me anything."

Ireland (1 story)

Dave Dineen

"I dislike the term “victims” because it places a weight on people."

Israel (7 stories)

Chen Alon

"My children were human, and yet we had dehumanized the Palestinian children."

Idan Barir

"Descending from this hilltop settlement into the town of Jenin was like going from heaven down into hell."

Ghazi Briegeith and Rami Elhanan

"If Ghazi and I can talk and stand together after paying the highest price possible, then anyone can."

Yulie Cohen

“I made friends with a Palestinian deportee and began to see that the so-called enemy were just people like him”

Robi Damelin

"The first words that came out of my mouth were 'do not take revenge in the name of my son."

Oren Kalisman

"In our unit we called the operation a ‘terror attack’. In another unit they went further and called it a ‘massacre’."

Zohar Shapira

"At first I was running after children throwing stones. 12 years later I was shooting above children heads at their homes."

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Lebanon (1 story)

Assaad Emile Chaftari

"I would venture into the jaws of hell if my story could shift just one person's views and move them away from violence."

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New Zealand (1 story)

Susie Lomax

"I’ve found that in order to forgive someone you have to pass a judgement on them in the first place.  And I question that."

Northern Ireland (9 stories)

Jo Berry and Patrick Magee

"I'm beginning to realise that no matter which side of the conflict you're on, had we all lived each others lives, we could all have done what the other did."

Anne Gallagher

"Forgiveness is a journey. Today you can forgive and tomorrow you can feel the pain all over again."

Gwen Gibson

"I sent him a Christmas card just to say that I was sorry he was in trouble again, that he must stop offending and that I would like him to have a happy and worthwhile life."

Deborah Hollywood

“I thought, if that was my son it would break my heart.”

Alistair Little

"I don’t think I have a right to ask for forgiveness. It only adds insult to injury, and places yet another burden upon relatives and family members."

Noelle and Brendan McCauley

"If offenders engage with restorative justice at a young age, you might be able to nip it in the bud."

Margaret McKinney

"If I'd known who Brian's killers were I would have gone out and killed their children. I wanted them to know how it felt."

Martin Snodden

"I have had to seek forgiveness within myself and to reconcile my past and my present."

Jude Whyte

"Most people won’t ever forgive because they see it as stampeding on the memory of their loved ones."

Norway (1 story)

Bjørn Magnus Jacobsen Ihler

"When Desmond Tutu suggested that Norway needs to forgive it caused massive outrage."

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Pakistan (1 story)

Mariane Pearl

"Forgiveness is not a value strong enough to stand on. You have to win some sort of victory over the people who have hurt you."

Palestine (4 stories)

Bassam Aramin

"I was crying about the pain of my oppressors."

Riham Musa

"Even though I was a little girl, I felt more powerful than the soldiers because I was the person with right on my side."

Wael Salame

"If Palestinian freedom fighters and former Israeli soldiers can form a group with a common cause, then anyone can."

Nour Shehadah

“Because everything I did was to defend my own land, I believe there is nothing I’ve done that I need forgiveness for.”

Poland (1 story)

Eva Kor

"I forgive not because they deserve it but because I deserve it."

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Romania (1 story)

Violeta and Petrica Danut Chereches

"I want to have a little part of my mother. And to have that little part, I need to forgive."

Rwanda (4 stories)

Mary Blewitt

"If there are hundreds who have hurt you, how can you forgive?"

Philippe Ngirente and Teresphore Uzabakiriho

"When he asked me to explain exactly how I killed his father so that he might forgive me, I started weeping."

Jean-Baptiste Ntakirutimana

"(I met my mother's killer) to learn about what happened to my family and to initiate my own healing process."

Jean Paul Samputu

“Some people don’t want to teach forgiveness to their children, even in the church, because they look in the mirror, and they cannot preach what they cannot do.”

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Scotland (3 stories)

Mike Haines

"Initially I thought there were only a few voices in a desert calling for unity, tolerance and understanding but then I realised there was a whole forest out there."

Eric Lomax

"The letter he wrote back was full of compassion, and I think at that moment I lost whatever hard armour I had wrapped around me and began to think the unthinkable."

Magdeline Makola

"Forgiveness is different from trusting. You don’t have to trust someone just because they are forgiven."

Senegal (1 story)

Salimata Badji-Knight

"Initially I thought there were only a few voices in a desert calling for unity, tolerance and understanding but then I realised there was a whole forest out there."

Sierra Leone (2 stories)

Satta Joe

"As I took his hand I was sobbing - not out of despair but a sense of relief that perhaps now we could move on."

Brima Koker

"I said that some of the things we did during the war were terrible and we shouldn’t have done them."

South Africa (9 stories)

Linda Biehl and Easy Nofemela

"I have come to believe passionately in restorative justice."

Christo Brand and Vusumzi Mcongo

"We cannot live with broken hearts. In time we have to accept these things have happened to us. To stay with the past will only bring you into turmoil."

Ginn Fourie and Letlapa Mphahlele

"I sent him a Christmas card just to say that I was sorry he was in trouble again, that he must stop offending and that I would like him to have a happy and worthwhile life."

Duma Kumalo

“I don't want to be like them. I don't hate them.”

Michael Lapsley

"I haven’t forgiven anyone, because I have no one to forgive. No one was charged with this crime, and so for me forgiveness is still an abstract concept."

Leatitia

"How can you ask forgiveness of others, if you can't forgive yourself?"

Desmond Tutu

"To forgive is not just to be altruistic, it is the best form of self-interest."

Joan van Blerk and Collin Ketshabile

"When we met I just saw this nice young man who had nothing to do with the person who'd broken into my life. They were two separate people, and I've kept them as two separate people ever since."

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Uganda (1 story)

Odongtoo Jimmy

"People may see me as a perpetrator, but I'm also a victim because I did not choose to kill."

Ukraine (1 story)

Vladimir Khodosk

"I do not forgive those who are responsible. Would you?"

USA (32 stories)

Brenda Adelman

"During the process I realised forgiveness also meant resolving inner conflict and clearing my heart of hate; it meant that if I thought about my father my day wasn’t wrecked anymore."

Stacy Bannerman

"I knew that I could have been them, and they me and there was nothing left to forgive."

Penny Beernsten

"The most difficult thing in all this is being able to forgive myself."

Matthew Boger & Tim Zaal

Forgiving myself is an ongoing process, a daily practice. It probaby will be until the day I die.

Terry Caffey

“I told them that killing these boys would not bring my family back.”

Stephanie Cassatly

"That brand of forgiveness was for extremists who went on Oprah."

Rebecca DeMauro

"I knew that if something didn’t change I would be in the graveyard, dead from a broken heart, next to my little daughter."

Zak Ibrahim

"In that instant, I realized how much negative energy it takes to hold hatred inside of you."

Hashim Garrett

"I soon found out that forgiveness was the hardest word to say in public."

Lynette D. Grace

"My mission now is to work with Johnny to offer a story of healing, forgiveness and restoration in the hope of inspiring others."

Cathy Harrington

"There's so much we can't explain but we need to be able to love the questions."

Mary Johnson and Oshea Israel

"It’s not easy for us to stand next to each other and share our story but I say to other mothers that talking and sharing your story is the road to healing."

Mwalimu Johnson

"Forgiveness is not a matter of doing anything heroic."

Pardeep Kaleka

"I thought I was experiencing post-traumatic stress, but actually what I’m experiencing is post-traumatic growth."

Azim Khamisa and Ples Felix

"I reached the conclusion that there were victims at both ends of the gun."

Gayle Kirschenbaum

"Compassion for my mother helped me handle her insults and criticism."

Samantha Lawler

"Forgiveness is not about forgiving the act but forgiving the imperfections which are inherent in all of us."

Scarlett Lewis

"Forgiveness is central to my resilience."

TJ Leyden

"I was the first neo-Nazi to voluntarily and publically give up the movement and hand over racist material and evidence."

Tom Mauser

"Our goal is to honor Daniel with acts of hope, and not mar our memory of him with anger or hatred or despair."

Debbie McLeland

"I wanted to go to court for justice - not revenge."

Celia McWee

"My anger is entirely directed towards myself for turning my back on my son when he needed me most."

Arno Michaelis

"It was the unconditional forgiveness I was given by people who I once claimed to hate that demonstrated for me the way from there to here."

Ish Kode Bish Iki/Morris (Doc) Mosey

"The abuse remains embedded within my people. It is very difficult to step outside the historical trauma."

Sammy Rangel

"I went into prison as a street punk and came out as a brutal leader with a killer mentality."

Andrew Rice

"Those people crying loudest for retribution so often seem to be the least affected."

Phyllis Rodriguez and Aicha el-Wafi

"When I watched Zacarias at the trial my heart was broken because I could not look at him as a stranger. He is the son of my friend."

Victoria Ruvolo

"I wanted to know what type of kid would do this? Had he always been a bully? Was he always hurting other people?"

Dr. Chuck Sandstrom

"Forgiveness is first and foremost a way of seeing. It cannot change the facts about the world we live in but it can change the way we see those facts."

Aqeela Sherills and Calvin Hodges

"I believe in the concept that where the wounds are, the gift lies."

Mathew Shurka

"Being angry is exhausting and time consuming – it took me away from what really mattered to me, pursuing my dreams and living a life that I love."

Liz Stone

"Not wanting to be judged by the mistakes of my past made it easier to see the humanity in others and to forgive."

Judith Toy

"I had forgiven Charles, not condoned what he did. And I was still afraid of him."

Bud Welch

"About a year before the execution I found it in my heart to forgive Tim McVeigh. It was a release for me rather than for him."

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