The image of slaves lying on the floor of boats from the triangular trade, in the XVI century, was the first image that came to my mind when I read the topic. It is necessary to look at the history of the human kind to solve this dilemma: should we forgive or rather forget? Can we live thinking in the past and dragging rancour with us?
If we analyse our ancestors we can easily loose the hope on the human race. Our past is full of dictatorships, traders, killers, and exterminations of minorities. However, a lot of brave me and women have struggled to achieve more dignity, equality and better living conditions.
When I look to the past, both in my personal life and the world’s history, I remember the good moments, being the bad ones rapidly forgotten. We cannot deny that the XX century has had a lot of moments of tension, but has alsohad days of extreme happiness: the falling of the Berlin wall, medical and health advances that allow us to prolong life expectancy, the designation of John Paul II as pope, women’s right of vote…
If our challenge is to ameliorate the world and diminish injustice, we need to learn about the former mistakes we have committed. Looking at them will give us in most cases the answer to the future we want to create and will tell us if we are taking the right path. That is why history is taught at school; knowing about our past enables us to be proud of our nation, when the decisions taken were the correct ones, but also to be able to recognise when we were not respecting other’s dignity.
Its historical heroes and citizen’s achievements, as well as the difficult moments that the nation has gone trough, build a nation’s culture. Therefore, forgetting is not the solution as in some way, the past is part of each of us, of our personality and national identity.
The interconnections of our world show that forgiveness is a major point for economical, social and political development. The creation of the European Union is a clear example. Countries such as Germany and France were in war 69 years ago, and nowadays they work in partnership, they use the same currency, and they have a tremendous respect for each other. This is the idea, learning from our mistakes. A nation that is capable of identifying its mistakes is more virtuous in all aspects. Humility, responsibility and solidarity are aspects that would not be learned by a country’s citizens if they do not keep the bitter feeling of guilt.
In our personal lives, the same criterion of forgiveness has to be applied; you cannot live in peace, if a hatred feeling haunts your thoughts. Nevertheless, forgetting is never the good answer as it opens the door to fall in the same hole once again.