To all my readers I am beginning to write the political forgiveness chronicles to help those interested in political forgiveness understand the meaning of what political forgiveness is and how to use it in the healing of nations.
Political forgiveness is different than interpersonal forgiveness in that it involves groups of people who have suffered at the hands of other groups of people. Clearly not everyone in a wronged group can be healed of their anger and have gone through a mourning process yet groups can heal. It is helpful that people on an individual level have had experiences with interpersonal forgiveness and have experienced the power of forgiveness for this begins to build a platform for group forgiveness to take place.
As the term political forgiveness implies, working with groups of people is very important in a political forgiveness process. I will be talking about how different groups of people have gone through their healing process and how their work can reach a national level where the structures that were in place which support violence can be changed to structures which support peace.
Everyone who plants a seed of forgiveness on any of these levels, individual, community or nationally begins to build a culture based in political forgiveness. Just last week the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke at the commemoration ceremony of the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II in Wielun, Poland, Sunday, September 1st, 2019. He expressed deep remorse for the suffering his nation inflicted on Poland and the rest of Europe during World War II, as world leaders gathered in the country where the war started at incalculable costs.
Steinmeier expressed his sorrow over the mass killings Adolf Hitler’s regime committed in Poland. The German president expressed gratitude to Poles for the gestures of forgiveness Poland has bestowed in return. “I bow in mourning to the suffering of the victims.” Steinmeier said. “I ask for forgiveness for Germany’s historical debt. I affirm our lasting responsibility.” The German president went on to speak about the dangers of nationalism and described European unity as a guarantee for peace in the future.
The acknowledgement of the wrongs committed by Nazis Germany had a great impact on those attending the meeting. Not only did Steinmeier’s words serve in a healing capacity, they served as a reminder that “turning a blind eye is not the recipe for preserving peace. It is a simple way to embolden aggressive personalities and gives consent to further attacks.”
The unity he speaks about is what political forgiveness gives to all those who support a political forgiveness process. This is where its power lies. When people unite and own the past, we become stronger and together we heal creating a society and a world built on peace instead of war.