Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves

21 08 2009

I’ve said words I regret to people I love; I’ve acted out towards total strangers and wondered why, hours later, did I unleash my burdens on them; and though they are few, I have bad seeds I have sown.  But in contrast to the taking of a life or many lives, my misactions are saintly.  How is it that any person, whether it be for cause of religion or anger or love or passion on any level can calculate and plan the death of another being?  How do they mentally and emotion console themselves with such a concept?  And how after do they have the audacity to plead for immunity or anything less than the evil they issued to others to be done to them?

I was in the sixth grade and one of my good friends was a girl from a broken home, her father was in the military and stationed there in Norfolk, and her mother had left him and returned to her family in Scotland.  And it was the holidays, so Sonja was going home to visit her mother.  I can still remember the concern and worry and lack of understanding when I saw on the news that a plane had been blown up in Scotland.  I didn’t know when Sonja was leaving or how, but I remember my father was on the couch watching the news and I heard the words ‘plane…blew up…Scotland’ and that was all I needed at 12 years old to be confused and frightened.  School’s Christmas break had already begun and nobody answered when I called her house.  My father tried to console my fears and after a few weeks, I was back at school and I learned Sonja was safe.  Yet I never have forgotten that fear, that confusion of staring at the television and seeing that white and blue mass burning.  And for no reason.  That was the hardest to grasp for me; why did anyone want to do this?  It was my first memory of war or terrorism.  Twenty years later now, out of sympathy for a dying man, the justice system of Scotland has shown more compassion than I know I could muster and allowed him to return home and die amongst his family.  This is a generosity he did not extend to his victims, but the nation of those victims is extending to him.

I could understand, I suppose, that kind of sympathy if the person was one of those wrong place, wrong time, wrong associates types.  Where they didn’t actually take part or fully know, but because of circumstances they are guilty by association.  The Manson family is a prime example of this; Patricia Hearst even a better example.  But Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, who planted the bomb on the Lockerbie plane, he is not one of these excusables.  And this crime was not even comparable to the acts of 9-11, no one except the innocent died in this act!  There is, of course, a lot of banter as to whether or not this man was involved, so many variables such as did he really buy the Maltesian clothes and why did the bomb not go off until over Scotland.  I find these as nothing more than convenient excuses and I believe the Libyan payout and Megrahi’s statements on release the most damning of all.

The end result though, is this man, guilty or innocent, is getting to return home at the generosity of a nation that is bigger than I could ever be.  Perhaps it is easier to be the bigger man, to move past the hurt by showing forgiveness to others, maybe that is the action of their justice system.

My biological parents were murdered when I was not yet two years old, thirty-two years ago this past Tuesday. After killing my parents over a matter of money for marijuana my mother owed to him, he went on to Oklahoma to murder his girlfriend.  After being incarcerated, in the mid-1980s he led a prison riot where seven guards were taken hostage and three more were stabbed.  Their killer I keep track of and at one point in my youth I fantacized about becoming a defense attorney for his appeals and then pulling the ultimate ah-ha on him at trial.  I want to live long enough to learn he dies in prison for his crimes; though happier yet I would be if the death sentence were imposed on him.  Yet this man has went to appeals and parole boards, pleading for leniency because he is sorry.  Sorry doesn’t bring back lives though.  And I am damn grateful that the justice system thus far has  lacked forgiveness.

Maybe it is just my upbringing or the society I live in that prompts me to demand an eye for an eye; a reaction for every action.




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