Hannah Arendt
"Forgiving… is the only reaction which does not merely re-act but acts anew and unexpectedly, unconditioned by the act which provoked it and therefore freeing from its consequences both the one who forgives and the one who is forgiven."
Donald W. Shriver Jr.
"Forgiveness in a political context is action that joins moral truth, forbearance, empathy and commitment to repair a fractured human relation. Such a combination calls for collective turning from the past that neither ignores past evil nor excuses it, that neither overlooks justice nor reduces justice to revenge that insists on the humanity of enemies even in their commission of dehumanizing deeds and that values the justice that restores political community above a justice that destroys it."
Geraldine Smyth
"Hope is the horizon of forgiveness and reconciliation, for it is grounded in making the impossible possible real – that the human person is capable of change and of being changed in the very place where the hurt or sin imprisons all concerned – in the relationship of enmity. Under the horizon of hope memories of enmity can find econciliation. The hope within forgiveness does not presume prior repentance, but in its gratuitousness, it makes healing and new beginnings possible even though the pain and the wounds remain."
Rasha El-Fangry
"The extent and frequency with which forgiveness is called for has depleted its value and has made it a mere slogan repeated here and there. This is manifest in incidents of conflict restarting even after calls for forgiveness has been accepted. However experiences elsewhere in the continent show how effective forgiveness actually is."
Izzeldin Abuelaish
"Most people assume that forgiveness is difficult, but in the long run it is easier to forgive than to live with hatred or be consumed with revenge, with all the medical consequences. Forgiveness will help you move forward, away from the pain of the past and to be focused on the future, with all its brightness. Indeed, forgiveness opens the door to a future that will not repeat the old tragedies. Sometimes the beauty in forgiveness is to forgive when you do not know whom to forgive, when no one asks you for forgiveness. But whatever the situation, to err is human but to forgive is truly divine"
Riccardo Di Segni
“Forgiveness is a moral repairing of identity, it’s the water erasing the stain of guilt and dousing the fire of resentment.”
Enzo Bianchi
“Forgiveness is not a failure, it is not a defeat, but rather a great victory over oneself, it is a journey of humanization of oneself and the enemy. Forgiveness is not “just letting it go” by someone who is unconscious of the wrong done, nor is it the wise calculation of a just philanthropist: it is a conscious and responsible choice which states that love is stronger than hate so as to break the chain of animosity and vengeance.”
Edith Bruck
“I am a writer-witness who sings about life and peace, who searches and believes in the good of every human being, perhaps buried by layers of sick ideologies of stratified hatred. Good that is unveiled to man himself who transforms it into evil in order to become one of the club, as is done by today’s youth. The only possible instrument is dialogue, removed from politics. Love from human to human which has real and profound civil and spiritual meaning, which is capable of capturing and fertilizing pacifism between individuals, groups, ethnicities and religions.”
Letlapa Mphahlele
“Forgiveness is both conditional and unconditional, depending on the circumstances. If a person slaps you in the face, you may forgive them unconditionally. However, if a person occupies your house, and he pleads with you to forgive him, while making no effort to vacate the house, then forgiveness becomes conditional on him leaving the house. Forgiveness should never be used as a synonym of surrender.”
Fabiola Perdomo
“In my opinion reconciliation does not mean trying to make friends out of victims and perpetrators. Reconciliation means repairing, healing, and freeing the victims from their burden. But it needs to be done from the heart, it cannot be something only for the spotlight, it must be something felt deeply, that comes from the heart otherwise no reconciliation process can work, and incomplete reconciliation can be very dangerous as painful wounds are reopened.”

What is the Ara Pacis Initiative?

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The Ara Pacis Initiative is a global non-profit organization dedicated to the human dimension of peace. Cornerstone of the Ara Pacis Initiative is the Council for Dignity, Forgiveness, Justice and Reconciliation, a universal body working in pre-, ongoing and post-conflict realities.

Members of the Council for Dignity, Forgiveness, Justice and Reconciliation


Father Michael's book translated in 9 languages

Father Michael's book "Redeeming the Past : My journey from freedom fighter to healer" is being published in more and more languages: already a US and South African edition in English and then Bosnian, German, Sinhalese, Spanish and Japanese.  In 2015 a second and third Spanish edition in Spain and Cuba, French and Afrikaans.

Redeeming the Past: My Journey from Freedom Fighter to Healer

Not quite three months after Nelson Mandela was freed from Robben Island in 1990, Anglican priest and African National Congress chaplain Lapsley opened a letter sent in the mail. The bomb in it blew off both hands, sent shrapnel through his body, and destroyed one eye. Around the world, agents of South Africa's apartheid regime were settling scores with anti-apartheid activists. Lapsley was lucky. Though severely injured, his mind and tongue remain intact, producing this most amazing memoir of a man who writes he "has never made a distinction between human liberation and my Christian witness." Lapsley's personal journey mirrors that of his adopted country. Within three years of his attack, Lapsley opened the doors of The Trauma Centre for Victims of Violence and Torture in Cape Town, in the "new South Africa," and launched a global Healing of Memories program. The book's final section highlights stories from this work, from Rwanda to Northern Ireland, from Colombia to North Carolina. With dry, self-deprecating wit, Lapsley treats readers to an emotional, gripping tale of a priest, his prosthetics, and his promise, as St. Teresa of Avila put it, to be Christ's hands in the world.



The Necessary Truth

ROME, 24-30 May 2014

In order to support the Libyan Law in favor of victims of rape and sexual violence and in general, to contribute to the dissemination of a culture of respect, dignity and reconciliation, the Ara Pacis Initiative organized a series of training sessions for young Libyan leaders on dignity healing testimony and  multimedia storytelling.



The Dignity Healing Testimony Model

October 2013 - March 2014

The Ara Pacis Initiative has developed and tested an interdisciplinary audiovisual model that seeks to respond to the three key demands of  victims of extreme violence : acknowledgment, justice and healing. The model is a practical and innovative synthesis of some of the most effective international and local experiences in the collection of oral history, judicial elements and first aid psychological healing.  It is a functional and rapid response approach in addressing the primary needs/demands of victims and of the activists who assist them.

Initial pilot testimonies, collected on the ground according to developed guidelines, have offered surprisingly positive results. Victims appear to have recovered their vital energy and rekindled their hope in the future and they translate this empowerment into concrete actions with unexpected creative and professional outlets.


Now that we have taste hope Khaled Mattawa

Now that we have tasted hope
Now that we have come out of hiding,
Why would we live again in the tombs we’d made out of our souls?


The Necessary Truth: addressing the burdens of history

April 5 2014, in Rome, at the  House of Memory and History, a group of Libyan and Italian experts and activists convened in order to analyze and discuss the legacies of Italian colonialism in Libya and ways in which to build constructive relations built on truth and common values. 



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