By Donald W. Shriver
Our century has witnessed violence on an unheard of 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 continuing fight to manage nuclear weaponry, historical enmities proceed to threaten the lives of plenty of people. As by no means sooner than, the query is pressing and sensible: How can nations--or ethnic teams, or races--after lengthy, sour struggles, discover ways to reside part through 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 particular organization with own faith and morality, Shriver urges us to acknowledge its value within the secular political area. the center of the e-book examines 3 robust and relocating situations from fresh American history--our postwar dealings with Germany, with Japan, and our carrying on with family challenge with race relations--cases within which acts of forgiveness have had very important political effects. Shriver lines how postwar Germany, in its fight to damage with its political earlier, stepped forward from denial of a Nazi earlier, to a proper acknowledgement of the crimes of Nazi Germany, to delivering fabric reimbursement for survivors of the Holocaust. He additionally examines the efforts of Japan and the us, over the years and throughout obstacles of race and tradition, to forgive the wrongs devoted by way of either peoples throughout the Pacific conflict. and eventually he bargains a desirable dialogue of the function of forgiveness within the American civil rights circulate. He indicates, for example, that even Malcolm X well-known the necessity to flow from contempt for the integrationist perfect to a extra conciliatory, repentant stance towards Civil Rights leaders. Malcolm got here to determine that simply via forgiveness may well the separate voices of the African-American circulate interact to accomplish their ambitions. If mutual forgiveness was once a thorough notion in 1964, Shriver reminds us that it has but to be discovered in 1994. "We are a ways 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 way of forgiving, enemies can growth and feature improved towards peace. A well timed antidote to ultra-modern political conflicts, An Ethic for Enemies demanding situations to us to confront the hatreds that cripple society and threaten to smash the worldwide village.
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Additional resources for An Ethic For Enemies: Forgiveness in Politics
If only as a token exhibit of this norm, Americans like me should look again at the course of the Pacific war and acknowledge those human characteristics in the Japanese people and their army which, if not admirable in our own final, finite, retrospective moral analysis, were nonetheless humanly real and understandable. Authors like Dower and the Harrieses repay American reading from this point of view. They offer us a sober opportunity to remove the racist lenses through which most Americans of the war era peered at Japan.
The interest of the United States in the rise of a democratic, anticommunist political order in Japan cleared the way for new feelings and new policies between the two countries, in the course of which both sides had new opportunities to see each other as multidimensional human beings. The wartime propagandistic image of Americans as destroyers of other peoples dissipated quickly in postwar Japan; we were not, after all, a nation intent on the massacre of the Japanese people. Wartime images of the Japanese, in turn, began to lose much of their power in the minds of Americans, too, especially as Â < previous page < previous page page_139 page_14 next page > next page > Page 14 At center stage of most of Aeschylus' dramas stands man as a political being, reflecting the playwright's concern and the time in which he lived.
We are not dealing with humans as we know them. We are dealing with something primitive. Our troops have the right view of Japs. "30 What distinguished Japan's bacteriological warfare program was not the tactics proposed, but the grotesque cruelty of the experiments on which the program was founded. Â . the Kwantung Army's scientists took advantage of the moral scruples which made similar experiments by the Allies unlikely. Â . "You couldn't say I want to do this or that in war, however good or bad," recalled the printer of Unit 731 scientific treatises, Uezono Naoji, of what he saw in the human experimental unit.