The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

by

Simon Wiesenthal

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The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness: Desmond Tutu Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Tutu speaks to his own experience during apartheid, and how many people who had been tortured and whose loved ones were killed are ready to forgive the perpetrators, while others are not.
Tutu finds validity in those who are not able to forgive, but finds those who are able to forgive extraordinary. This is very close to the argument of “superhuman goodness” that Cardinal König makes.
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Tutu views Nelson Mandela, the first democratically elected South African president, as a model. He served in prison for twenty-seven years. His eyesight was ruined and his family was harassed. Yet he invited his white jailer to his inauguration. Tutu states that this kind of forgiveness ensures that there will be a future.
While Mandela’s forgiveness is certainly worth noting, it is also important to see how his situation is different from Simon’s. Simon is not forgiving a crime that was committed against himself, which is a sticking point for many of the Jewish respondents.
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