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Which, in my mind, made his death mean something. He died fighting a system and wanting a different country for my brother and myself, which we are extremely fortunate to now be living in.
If I wanted to resent him, I would never be able to fully enjoy the life my dad and so many others willingly or unwillingly died for. He had robbed me of a father and I had subconsciously given him sixteen years of my anger, anguish, sleepless nights and bouts of severe depression. One day I just refused for him to take away my joy and enthusiasm for life any more than he already had. At the age of 23, here I am with my family ready to finally meet the man who took away not only my father but so many others — friends, husbands, and sons.
I was surprised at how I froze and allowed my mum to lead the line of questioning until I became present again. I looked on in awe as I witnessed myself crying not because of who I had lost, but because I saw a man who was created by a regime and who took the fall for a government.
A man who lost so much more than I would bear had I been in the same situation. I left having felt like I had just been lucky enough to meet one of the most brilliant thinkers of my time and someone who was also a victim to a system of indoctrination. I had forgiven him then, but having met him, I can say I have been changed by this encounter forever.
I believe in order to do that and fulfil the vision of the greats like Nelson Mandela, we have to go through the reconciliation process as a country, because there can be no progress without reconciliation. Therefore, should we not extend a courtesy of fairness to a man who was ordered to commit those atrocities in the same way we extended a courtesy of fairness to those who ordered him to commit them? It does, however, mean we remove the venom in our system as a country to move forward uncrippled by the past.
Forgiveness taught me that it is rarely ever about the perpetrator it is about freeing ourselves from the hold the perpetrator has over us, it is not about forgetting it is about removing the emotional attachment we have to the event. I have a firm belief that as we learn, we must teach if the world is to become a kinder place. This is why it is an honour for me to be a mentor with AIME in South Africa, sharing my story to help build a stronger and fairer country, and in turn a fairer world.
She has spoken at global events around the world, and was was the Human Dignity Award Recipient at Columbia University.
A Southern Tale of Forgiveness by Brandi Lei Morrison (2 star ratings)
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Chaplain’s new book shares road to forgiveness after church shooting
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- Forgiveness at Mother Emanuel | John Murdock | First Things.
In an era when mass shootings occur with an almost numbing frequency, director Brian Ivie has captured in searing detail the well of pain and faith from whence these particular acts of hate and forgiveness flowed. Viewers also hear from those who have not forgiven, as well as those who saw their own agendas thwarted by the dominant narrative of reconciliation which took hold in the aftermath of the shooting. Thanks to assistance from basketball star Stephen Curry and other celebrities, Ivie had the resources to craft a stunning piece of filmmaking.
As in his documentary The Drop Box , which highlighted a Korean pastor who takes in Seoul's unwanted children, Ivie lets the raw reality of the faithful awe the audience. Ivie does not sweep the religious roots of these responses under a rug, but presents them with powerful frankness.
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To a world convinced that Christianity is either a spent force or a farce, he showcases undeniably powerful and authentic depictions of faith in action. For a church too often divided along racial lines, Emanuel should prompt some necessary soul-searching. I watched an advanced screening of Emanuel with an audience of people from a variety of backgrounds.
Afterward, it became clear that though we had watched the same film, we had seen different things.
Murder in Matera: A True Story of Passion, Family, and Forgiveness in Southern Italy
A brief shot of a white-gloved honor guard respectfully folding the Confederate flag as it came down one final time was lost on me, but others zeroed in on it. One woman noted the importance of whites moving beyond mere silence on these issues. Healing those wounds will require facing unpleasant parts of our history that have been hidden or warped into cause for celebration. I remember my sad surprise upon reading about the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. It commemorates the victims of lynching, and its companion museum catalogued hundreds of lynching sites, with soil from each location stored in a glass jar.
When I was growing up, lynchings were never spoken of, at least not within range of my white ears. Though the capital of the Confederacy eventually moved to Richmond, Jefferson Davis first governed from Montgomery. Not far from that marker is the Foundation for Moral Law, founded in by Roy Moore—he of 5,pound granite Ten Commandments and a famously failed run for the senate. From Charleston to Montgomery to Cass County, hundreds of southern communities have complex tapestries of racism, violence, and resistance that are rarely discussed in multi-racial company.
Emanuel is the story of an extreme conversation between Roof, a white man radicalized with the help of Confederate symbolism, and a black community that responded with faith despite great pain.
But forgiveness is a pathway to healing, not a license to forget. The story of the Emanuel nine and those they left behind is in theaters for two days only, June 17th and 19th. While it should not be the end of our conversations, this film is a powerful start. John Murdock is an attorney and writer with roots in Texas. He saw Emanuel at a screening sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.