Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Reconciliation of an offender and a victim is possible

Tereza Zambrano, Montreal

On April 4, 2017 in the prison of the Federal Training Center in Laval, Chaplain I organized the screening of the film: Beyond Forgiveness. Beyond Forgiving is a documentary film, which depicts the journey of two South Africans to bring healing and reconciliation to their country post-Apartheid. One has suffered directly from actions of the other, but both have been victims . However, their history does not end in this tragedy. Both show how they have overcome their sufferings and especially what united them: forgiveness and hope.  

The screening of the film Beyond Forgiveness in the prison was a good example of healing and reconciliation which showed to the prisoners and volunteers that in a situation that seems to be irreversible there is a path to forgiveness.

During the exchanges, the prisoners admired the courage of the protagonists of the film to get to talk each other and to travel together in several countries by telling their story. Bringing the film to the prison, followed by an exchange, was a valuable experience for the training of prisoners and facilitated the reflection among detainees from different cultures, religions and countries.

The night’s exchanges have been very rich in testimonies. The prisoners surprised the Chaplain by the depth of their thoughts. They are aware of the suffering caused by their offence and sometimes they considered themselves victims.  

In this activity, I learned that the story of the offenders and the one of the victims does not necessarily end in tragedy. Both can overcome their suffering and continue their life in hope, if they have the opportunity to heal these wounds. Even in prison, the film Beyond Forgiveness is an example of healing and reconciliation. "