As the public debate on whether or not to forgive
the imprisoned former Derg officials lingers on, we
are being treated to all sorts of wayward opinions.
Two confused and confounded contributions to this
newspaper spurred me to respond. In his letter
headlined, “Derg officials’ imprisonment lenient
punishment for atrocities” (Volume 11, No 559,
January 16, 2011) Daniel W. Selassie expressed his
shock and outrage that I had forgiven the killers of
my “Prince” father.
I simply wonder what his reaction would be when he
learns - perhaps for the first time - that the
Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, had himself forgiven
those who crucified him.
Would Daniel then be equally shocked?
In the same edition, the longwinded view of Makonnen
Endalkatchew headlined, “Opposition to pardon in
search for justice, not vengeance,” he preached
that, “Repentance and religion are the last refuges
of the desperate.”
I have no doubt that Christians and Muslims alike
would regard such an assertion as the mother of all
gaffes. Religion provides inspiration, not
Trying to instil the virtues of forgiveness in
someone who believes that repentance is for the
desperate would be like trying to square a circle.