Author Archive: directorifi
The Guardian.com – Ameneh Bahrami, an Iranian woman who was disfigured and blinded in both eyes after having acid hurled in her face by a university classmate when she repeatedly spurned his offer of marriage, has forgiven her attacker. The pardon came just minutes before the man was to be blinded himself with acid in an “eye for an eye” punishment at Tehran’s judicial hospital.
“I feel very good. I’m happy that I pardoned him,” Bahrami said. “(Since the attack) I’ve been trying to pursue retribution and to prove that the punishment for an acid attack is retribution but today I decided to pardon him.”
Iran and Saudi Arabia are the only countries that take the Qur’anic decree of “eye for an eye” literally under Shari’ah law. In a passage discussing the Law of Moses, the Qur’an says, “We ordained therein for them: ‘Life for life, eye for eye, nose or nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal.’ But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself.”
In November 2008, a criminal court in Tehran ordered retribution on Majid Movahedi after he admitted throwing acid at Bahrami, and entitled her to blind him with acid. Instead, she decided to forgive him. The prosecutor general of Tehran described her move as a “courageous act”.
Bahrami, who has an electronics degree and worked in a medical engineering company before the attack, moved to Spain with the help of the Iranian government where she has undergone a series of unsuccessful operations. She briefly recovered half the vision in her right eye in 2007 but an infection blinded her again. She has recently published a book in Germany, Eye for an Eye, based on her life.
Read the full story: “Iranian woman blinded by acid attack pardons assailant as he faces same fate”
Christian Today, London, England – The trial of Oscar Pistorius, a world-class Paralympian blade runner and the first ever double-amputee to participate in the Olympic Games, is causing a world-wide media frenzy. The South African athlete is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Amidst all the controversy, the victim’s mother, June Steenkamp, has stunned the world by saying she has forgiven Reeva’s killer.
“I’m not a person who hates another person. One has to forgive, otherwise I will sit with all that anger,” Steenkamp said in an interview with ITV. “One has to forgive, but we’ll never forget.”
During a similar interview on the Today show, Steenkamp said that Pistorius “made a mistake – an enormous mistake – and I’ve lost the most precious thing in my life – my beautiful daughter. But I can still forgive. I can forgive.”
In forgiving Pistorius, June is saying she will not let her anger consume her, and she will not keep it from stopping the process of reconciliation. She is choosing to find life in the midst of such intense grief and pain. Christian Today reporter Carey Lodge.
Read the full story: “June Steenkamp’s readiness to forgive offers a challenge to Christians everywhere.”
Today – News, New York City – How do you react when you learn that your 30-year-old wife and her unborn child have been killed in a two-car crash? That the driver of the other car had fallen asleep at the wheel? That you are now a widower with a 19-month-old baby daughter? If you’re Erik Fitzgerald, you forgive.
“You forgive as you’ve been forgiven,” said Fitzgerald, referencing a Bible verse. “It wasn’t an option. If you’ve been forgiven, then you need to extend that forgiveness.”
Fitzgerald, a full-time pastor, has not only forgiven but his forgiveness has created a friendship now six years strong with the driver of that other car–Matt Swatzell. The men stay connected by meeting at least once every two weeks, attending church together and eating meals at the Waffle House and other restaurants–just the two of them.
Swatzell, who lives in Dacula, GA, was driving home from a 24-hour shift as a firefighter and EMS and had only 30 minutes of sleep on the night of the Oct. 2, 2006 crash. He was less than four miles from his home when he nodded off and crashed into the car being driven by June Fitzgerald.
“We recognized that when we first started meeting it was unusual. We knew it was God,” said Fitzgerald, now 38. Their friendship was captured in a video produced by NewSpring Church that was shot in 2011, but is going viral again online, collecting hundreds of thousands of views a day.
Read the full story: “Widower forges friendship with man in crash that killed wife, unborn baby.”
Communities Digital News (CDN), Los Altos, CA – Matthew Boger was just a teenager when he found himself living on the streets of West Hollywood in 1980 after having been thrown out of his home for being gay. Because of his sexual orientation, he was brutally beaten one night by a group of neo-Nazi skinheads, including Tim Zaal, who had attached razor blades to his boots prior to kicking Boger in the face and leaving him for dead.
It was shocking that Boger miraculously survived, but even more shocking is what occurred 28 years later when the two happened to meet again by chance in, of all places, the Museum of Tolerance in downtown Los Angeles. What followed is an unimaginable journey of forgiveness and reconciliation, an improbable collaboration, and a friendship that remains to this day.
Their unusual but heartwarming story has now been told in the movie “Facing Fear” which has been nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Documentary Short Subject.”
“The words [he said] and what I saw were far more painful throughout my life than the boots and the blades,” says Boger. “I knew the only way I was going to get past it was to forgive him.”
“To tell you the truth, I don’t know if I could forgive somebody the way he’s been able to forgive me,” Zaal says in the movie.
As the film demonstrates, forgiveness is one of the best tools we have to protect ourselves from further pain, mentally and physically. And as Boger and Zaal’s remarkable example illustrates, the capacity to forgive is not just a nice add-on but can be and should be an indispensable element of our personal and societal well-being. It is also an innate, if latent, quality of thought that can be taught and nurtured.
Read the full story: “Oscar hopeful ‘Facing Fear’ turns spotlight on power of forgiveness.”
The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas – Former Dallas Cowboys lineman Josh Brent was convicted last month of intoxication manslaughter for the December 2012 crash that killed his best friend and teammate Jerry Brown, Jr., who was a passenger in Brent’s car. Following the conviction, Brown’s mother testified that she forgave Brent and asked jurors for mercy in sentencing him.
“He is still responsible, but we can’t go on in life holding a grudge,” Stacey Jackson, Brent’s mother, testified. “We all make mistakes.”
Perhaps because of that testimony (Jackson was the last witness the jury heard), Brent avoided a possible 20-year prison sentence and instead was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation. He was also fined $10,000.
Jackson agreed with Brent’s attorney Kevin Brooks who told jurors that they couldn’t punish Brent more than he had already punished himself. “He still has to live with that,” Brooks said.
Jackson concluded her testimony by saying, “Forgiveness. I’m sure that’s what Jerry would have wanted.”
Read the entire story: “Josh Brent intoxication manslaughter trial.”