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Encouraging Reconciliation

The Forgiveness Project

— November 30, 2008 — Social Good
The Forgiveness Project is a charitable organization whose mission it is to, according to their website, "open up a dialogue about forgiveness and promote understanding through awareness, education and inspiration."

Stories on The Forgiveness Project website are heart-wrenching, heart-warming and thought-provoking. Each contains a photograph of the victim or a loved one representing a victim. The ones that really tore me apart are photographs of a victim with the person they have forgiven.

The following is a brief overview of the stories from the gallery photos:

1) Ginn Fourie & Letlapa Mphahlele - Ginn's daughter Lydie was killed in 1933 during the Heidelberg Tavern Massacre in Cape Town. Ginn has forgiven the man with her who ordered the attack.

2) Katy Hutchison & Ryan Aldridge - Katy's husband Bob went to a party to check on their son and was beaten to death. Mr. Aldridge is the one who delivered the final blow. 

3) Pat Magee & Jo Berry - Pat Magee, an IRA member, killed Sir Anthony Berry, Jo's father, in a bombing.

4) Andrew Rice - His brother worked in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Andrew is now a member of Peaceful Tomorrows, a group for non-violent resolutions to terrorism.

5) Marie Fatayi-Williams - Her son was killed by terrorists in the 2005 #30 Bus in London and she feels sorrow for his attackers.

6) Denise Green - She's forgiven the surgeon responsible for killing her son at Liverpool's Alder Hey Children's Hospital in 1992, when his organs were removed illegally.

7) Odongtoo Jimmy - In Odongtoo's case, he is trying to forgive himself and trying to reconcile with his grandmother. He was kidnapped by the Lord’s Reconciliation Movement and brainwashed into killing hundreds of people.

8) Gertrude Levi - She is a survivor of Auschwitz during the Holocaust. All of her friends and family members were killed and/or tortured by the Nazis.  Although she cannot forgive Germans her own age, or Hitler, she doesn't hold anger or prejudice towards later generations.

9) Mary Blewitt - More than 50 of Mary's family members were slaughtered during the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. She now heads up an organization called The Survivors Fund which provides aid to support the victims of it.

10) Julie Chimes - Forgave the mentally unstable woman who brutally stabbed her five time.

I think The Forgiveness Project will help a lot of people come to terms with their situations and even if not everyone can forgive, at least they know they are not alone.