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I hope you will recognize why I have adopted the description I was given by an American newspaper: an optimistic realist. Through many years and in many lands I have met men and women who have taken on to use their lives to set right wrongs they encountered starting with themselves. It has been my privilege to tell their stories. You may be encouraged by their experiences and pick up ideas and approaches which you can make use of. You might perhaps even like to buy some books! Let me recommend the FORGIVENESS pages which contain stories related to this subject and its effect in the world. At Reaching out to the other you will find the introduction which I wrote for a French book which refers to what happened in our family that set us off on this journey. The evidence shows that forgiveness is not just a religious or personal matter but a vital ingredient in sound national and international life.
‘Beyond Forgiveness’ has received the Golden Award for Inspiration at the International Film Festival for Peace, Inspiration and Equality in Indonesia. Made by Initiatives of Change UK, it tells the story of two South Africans, a black man who was once his country’s ‘most wanted terrorist’ and a white woman, whose daughter’s death came about through his orders. Its director, Imad Karam, was also honoured as Best Director. He says, ‘My ultimate hope is that if people can be inspired that even in the most dire circumstances people can forgive, then many of us can forgive the little things that we can’t let go in our daily lives. We don’t have to be warring tribes or parties or to have killed to forgive each other.’
To read the full story of these two South Africans click here.
At his treason trial fifty years ago Nelson Mandela told the court, ‘During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an idea which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.’
South Africa and the world can be grateful that he lived. Read more ...
(photo reproduced with permission of the Parliament of the World's Religions)
My brother Gerald, 6, and I, 8, were evacuated to the US in World War II. Like several thousand other British boys and girls we were looked after by American families. I wrote See You After the Duration and many articles about those wartime experiences and am still in touch with the family and schools that took us in. I have also participated in the gathering of the oral history of that period. In this site you can read about this memorable but little known aspect of World War II that changed our lives and gave us a great sense of gratitude to the USA. See Evacuation.