By Donald W. Shriver
Our century has witnessed violence on an remarkable scale, in wars that experience torn deep into the material of nationwide and overseas lifestyles. And as we will see within the fresh strife in Bosnia, genocide in Rwanda, and the continued fight to manage nuclear weaponry, historic enmities proceed to threaten the lives of plenty of humans. As by no means earlier than, the query is pressing and sensible: How can nations--or ethnic teams, or races--after lengthy, sour struggles, learn how to reside aspect by means of facet in peace? In An Ethic for Enemies, Donald W. Shriver, Jr., President Emeritus of Union Theological Seminary, argues that the answer lies in our potential to forgive. Taking forgiveness out of its conventional specific organization with own faith and morality, Shriver urges us to acknowledge its significance within the secular political enviornment. the guts of the booklet examines 3 robust and relocating instances from fresh American history--our postwar dealings with Germany, with Japan, and our carrying on with household challenge with race relations--cases during which acts of forgiveness have had vital political results. Shriver lines how postwar Germany, in its fight to damage with its political previous, improved from denial of a Nazi previous, to a proper acknowledgement of the crimes of Nazi Germany, to delivering fabric repayment for survivors of the Holocaust. He additionally examines the efforts of Japan and the U.S., over the years and throughout limitations of race and tradition, to forgive the wrongs dedicated through either peoples throughout the Pacific struggle. and eventually he bargains a desirable dialogue of the function of forgiveness within the American civil rights circulate. He exhibits, for example, that even Malcolm X famous the necessity to circulate from contempt for the integrationist perfect to a extra conciliatory, repentant stance towards Civil Rights leaders. Malcolm got here to work out that basically via forgiveness might the separate voices of the African-American circulate interact to accomplish their targets. If mutual forgiveness was once a thorough proposal in 1964, Shriver reminds us that it has but to be learned in 1994. "We are some distance from ceasing to carry the sins of the ancestors opposed to their dwelling children," he writes. but during this poignant quantity, we find how, by means of forgiving, enemies can development and feature advanced towards peace. A well timed antidote to trendy political conflicts, An Ethic for Enemies demanding situations to us to confront the hatreds that cripple society and threaten to break the worldwide village.
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Additional info for An Ethic For Enemies: Forgiveness in Politics
Yet nothing so epitomizes the conflicting long-term memories of the two sides of the Pacific war as their ceremonial-symbolic ways of remembering the pair of events bracketing the entire conflict: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. In part, the enduring moral standoff between the two nations into the 1990s stems from their clashing assessments of the two events. The standoff was profiled in the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of Pearl Harbor in the United States in December 1991. The Pearl Harbor Anniversary.
One example of such a person in 1991 was Professor Kiyoko Takeda Cho, professor of history at the International Christian University in Tokyo. Now retired, Professor Takeda-Cho was doing her doctoral study in New York City under the guidance of Reinhold Niebuhr at Union Theological Seminary when, in early 1942, she boarded the Swedish ship 41 42 Gripsholm for a return to wartime Japan. Said she to a reporter in December 1991: "In general, Japanese tend to forget the past, thinking that it can be washed away" without agonized attention to its moral dimensions.
52 The contest over words was strenuous in these debates. Several days before, the prime minister had rejected a Socialist appeal for further reparation to individuals still living in Asian countries who had been cruelly treated during the war. Prime Minister Miyazawa replied to this that the government had already made reparations to the governments of these victims"peoples to whom Japan had caused annoyance," using a word that well illustrates the Japanese propensity for softening the description of "regrettable" events almost to the verbal obliteration of historic fact.
An Ethic For Enemies: Forgiveness in Politics by Donald W. Shriver