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The legacy of forgiveness

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The 20th century was drenched in blood. No one who says that is possessed of great insight. All it took was an occasional glance at the news.

There were the great conflagrations of world war that claimed tens of millions of lives in a compressed span — nation against nation, people against people, events so painful that suspicion and fear still linger among the witnesses and their descendents. There were the autocrats, the generals, the petty dictators who came to power by force and treated opponents as fodder. Then there were the lives consumed by so-called liberation, as the oppressed became oppressors, leaders who resolved political conflict with mass murder, who succumbed to paranoia and maintained power through the proverbial boot in the face. Lenin, Mao, Stalin spring to mind as top players, but they had dozens of smaller, bloody imitators across the globe.

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