Author Archive: directorifi

Nigerian Bloodbath May End as Two Sides Pledge Forgiveness


Premium Times, Abuja, Nigeria – After years of devastating communal bloodbath with heavy casualties on both sides, the Fulanis (one of Nigeria’s three major ethnic groups) and Beroms (one of Nigeria’s major aborigine ethnic groups) say they have forgiven each other and resolved to co-exist peacefully.

The guerilla-fashioned violence had been characterized by deadly midnight attacks, killing of farmers and herdsmen on the fields, destruction of farmlands, as well as the killing and rustling of cows. Thousands were reportedly killed in the bloodbath that persisted.

The peace talks were uniquely initiated by the warring communities themselves. Haruna Boro, who led the Fulani team, declared that his community had forgiven all and was prepared for peace.

“We have resolved to forgive and forge ahead,” he said. “We want the Beroms to demonstrate equal forgiving spirit because we have resolved never to attack anyone any longer.”

For their part, the Beroms said they have also forgiven. Our parents taught us to love everyone. In fact, my own father built a house for his Fulani neighbor,” said Moday Dalyop, a Berom elder. “But we teach our children a different thing and that is why they take up arms against each other.”

Read the full story: Peace may return to Plateau as Fulani, Berom meet; pledge forgiveness”

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Forgiveness Eases the Heartbreak, Salt Lake City, UT – In February 2010, the entire Toone family–Nathan, Brenda and their four children–became ill from what they initially thought was food poisoning. When 4-year-old Rebecca took a turn for the worst, she was rushed to the hospital where she later died. Three days later, 15-month-old Rachel passed away, too.

Investigators later blamed the girls’ deaths on fumes from rat poison that a technician placed too close to the Toone’s home. In the midst of their grief, the Toone family did something no one expected. They immediately expressed forgiveness. And according to Nathan, expressing forgiveness so soon after the deaths felt like the right thing to do.

“It didn’t feel at the time like a hard thing to do,” he said. “You don’t know what you’re capable of until you’re asked to be put through it. We knew that the technician who was responsible for the deaths of our girls didn’t do it intentionally. Bad things happen. I think that in general you need to look for the best in people.”

Brenda agreed. “I felt that desire to forgive just hours after Rebecca passed away,” she said. “I think part of it has to do with wanting be the kind of person that my daughters can still be proud of.”

Read the full story:  Family of girls killed by pesticide talk about forgiveness, lessons learned.

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Shooter, Victim Work Together to Teach Prisoners About Forgiveness

PrisonRTV6-ABC, Indianapolis, IN – Twenty years ago, Misty Wallace was using a payphone when Keith Blackburn walked up and shot her in the face, point-blank. Wallace was a high school senior with a full-ride college scholarship. Blackburn was a drop-out looking to steal a car, and he didn’t want any witnesses.

Blackburn spent nine years in prison while Wallace miraculously recovered and went on with her life, carrying anger and yearning for one answer: Why? Two years after making contact with Blackburn to try to get an answer to that question, Wallace determined that forgiveness was a choice she had to make for her own health.

According to Blackburn, “Twenty years ago I did what she didn’t deserve. Two years ago she gave me what I know I didn’t deserve — I didn’t deserve to be forgiven on this level.”

Wallace and Blackburn now tell their story together as part of the Bridges to Life program, speaking to prisoners about forgiveness and about the lifetime impact of their crimes. They call themselves friends.

“She’s choosing not only to forgive me, but to walk alongside of me and tell this story to others that are struggling with pain and bitterness and anger,” Blackburn said. The two hope to eventually tell their story at every correctional facility in Indiana.

Watch the news report and read the full story: “Shooter, victim work together to teach prisoners about forgiveness, life-long impact of crime”

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Mother of Gina DeJesus Says She Forgives Kidnapper

amanda-berry-and-gina-dejesusNew York Daily News – The mother of Gina DeJesus says she has forgiven Ariel Castro, the man accused of imprisoning DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight as sex slaves for more than a decade.

Asked by ABC’s 20/20 what she would offer the accused kidnapper, DeJesus’ mother, Nancy Ruiz, said, “”I would hug him and I would say, ‘God bless you.’ I would say, ‘God bless you,’ and I’d hug him. I did not hate him. I forgave him years ago. I said it: I forgive whoever done it, just let her go.”

Ruiz and Castro have known each other for years, having grown up in the same neighborhood. They would even run into each other occasionally with Castro always offering support to Ruiz and asking her how she was holding up without DeJesus–all the while allegedly keeping her  locked away as a sex slave.

But these disconcerting encounters and years with her daughter stolen away are not enough, Ruiz said, for her to hate another person.

“When you start to hate a person, that eats you up,” she said. “I don’t have time for that. I have to be, you know, I want to be happy, like I am now.”

Read the full story: Mother of Gina DeJesus says she forgives Ariel Castro.”

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Correction Chief’s Widow Offers Forgiveness

Photo courtesy of Colorado Springs, Colorado

Fox 21 News, Colorado Springs, CO – The wife of Colorado’s slain corrections director says he would want justice to be served in his case but would also want forgiveness.

Tom Clements, director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, was gunned down as he answered his front door in Monument, north of Colorado Springs, in late March. Days later, Lisa Clements spoke at a memorial service for her husband.

Joined by her two daughters, she told mourners that her husband lived his life believing in redemption. “Our family prays for the family of the man who took Tom’s life. And as for the girls and me, we’ll pray for forgiveness in our own hearts and for peace.”

Watch the TV news broadcast: “Correction chief’s widow says husband would want forgiveness.”

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