Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Forgiveness Essay -- Informative, Nazy Soldier

Simon Wiesenthal’s question â€Å"What would [you] have done† if one had the opportunity to forgive a Nazi soldier forces humanity to understand and apply our moral repertoire. My moral repertoire I mean the set of moral beliefs that informs our understanding of forgiveness and the criteria by which we evaluate its Karl the Nazi Soldier, who initiates our inquiry into forgiveness, represents multiple identities. He is at once a rational human being, a member and supporter of the Nazi military, a murderer, and actor and representative of the State. Because of the simultaneously occurrence and fluidity of these identities conflation is an easy mistake in constructing exactly who we are forgiving. To forgive Karl the individual is very different than forgiving the Nazis or the State as represented by Karl. Even Lawrence Lager in the Symposium writes â€Å"It seems to me that in refusing to extend forgiveness to the culprit, Wiesenthal unconsciously acknowledges the indissoluble bond fusing the criminal to his crime† (The Sunflower 178). The conflation of what Karl represents is a large part of what make Wiesenthal’s question so vexing because the rules of forgiveness alter depending on the actor. Karl the individual is due certain considerations simply because of his humanity while the Nazis and the State as represented by Karl are entangled in political considerations. Forever labeling Karl as a murderer forgoes his still present humanity. This is not to say that forgiving Karl the individual isn’t political, or that we shouldn’t acknowledge the enormity of his crime. This is to stress that the limits and criteria of forgiveness change whether it is person to person or person to political bodies. This separation of individual from sta... ...untry and the victims to move forward and be â€Å"free† as one symposium speakers says. To wallow with bitterness and despair is perhaps than acknowledging what happen, mourning what was loss, and beginning the process of rebuilding. Louise Mallinder in â€Å"Can Amnesties and International Justice be Reconciled?† posits the following hypothetical: â€Å"Amnesty for lower-level offenders could also mean that in their daily life, victims are frequently confronted by the individuals who caused their suffering which could cause further harm to the victims and even lead them to engage in vigilantism† (210). Forgiveness is not physical and can only be manifested through the mediums of words, actions and shared understandings. These traits gives forgiveness a spiritual quality that illustrates how it can transcend physical atrocity; to render the unforgiveable forgivable.

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