"A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
— Desmond Tutu

Monday, August 15, 2011

Forgiveness by example

Great things happen in life. In the time I was absent from writing this blog, I got married to the most wonderful man, spent an incredible summer with people I love, and moved to a new city to begin another great adventure. Life is good.
And yet, there are times when life seems unbearable, or at least, difficult. Times when the greatness and beauty of this life are overshadowed by some moment of extreme injustice or rage-inducing hypocrisy. It's times like these that we need to be even more vigilant about finding examples of goodness, honesty, and justice.
I am sure we have all had days like that recently- the political climate makes it difficult to think about much else. And my day today was especially difficult. After storming out of an appointment and driving angrily home, I decided that today would be the perfect day to begin this blog again.

So, here goes.

This is a story about forgiveness, which, while it might be an easy subject to bring up, is much harder to actually achieve. A man who was shot in the fear-encompassed post-9-11 world tells a story in which he was not only able to genuinely forgive his attacker, but where he also chose to fight for him in court. Truth be told, it made my "unfair day" look small in the grand scheme of things, and, thankfully, put me back on more solid ground.

Listen to his story here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00hzsq2

Or, read about it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/18/rais-bhuiyan-pleads-to-spare-mark-stroman_n_902137.html

"I was raised very well by my parents and teachers. They raised me with good morals and strong faith. They taught me to put yourself in others’ shoes. Even if they hurt you, don’t take revenge. Forgive them. Move on. It will bring something good to you and them. My Islamic faith teaches me this too. He said he did this as an act of war and a lot of Americans wanted to do it but he had the courage to do it — to shoot Muslims. After it happened I was just simply struggling to survive in this country. I decided that forgiveness was not enough. That what he did was out of ignorance. I decided I had to do something to save this person’s life. That killing someone in Dallas is not an answer for what happened on Sept. 11." 
-- Rais Bhuiyan