Stories | Questions | How can large-scale injustices be forgiven?

Retribution and humiliation are a normal response to harm or injustice. However, when victims and survivors realise that violence only creates further violence, or that all sides in the conflict have suffered, forgiveness may be the only thing left to break the cycle of destruction.

In some cases, victims may even choose to forgive in order to spare others, including the next generation, the pain and losses they personally suffered.

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."

Stacy Bannerman

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

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."

Mary Blewitt

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

Norman Kember

"I have never felt any animosity towards my captors and have always found it far harder to forgive Blair and Bush because they had been warned of the consequences of a war on Iraq and have never repented."

Ginn Fourie and Letlapa Mphahlele

"Some people have decided not to forgive me for what I have done, and I understand that. It’s not easy to forgive, but to those who have forgiven I believe that this is how we start to rebuild our communities."

Anne Gallagher

"We listen to people’s stories, but we don’t judge them. There’s healing in that. The idea is that when you hear my story and I hear your story, it becomes our story, and seeds of hope are sown."

Tom Tate

"Guilt had hung over the village for years, but by going there it somehow changed things for them."

Jean-Baptiste Ntakirutimana

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

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