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Editorial

Forgive and forget?

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By EMN Updated: Nov 16, 2014 11:10 pm
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[dropcap]R[/dropcap]ecently there was a much publicised ‘forgive and forget’ issue which, as we saw, eventually turned a little sour with one party not too happy with the other’s interpretation of the matter. How that discordant note was resolved is not known, but this is not about that particular issue but about all the forgiving and forgetting and amicable settlements in general that we have become so fond of. Some research suggests that excusing and forgiving people who have hurt us could boost our health. If that be true, Nagas are headed towards better collective health at the rate we’re forgiving and amicably resolving various issues.
On a more serious note, while forgiving those who have wronged us is a very fine and Christian thing to do, a line has to be drawn between matters that can be dismissed on that premise alone and those where wrongdoers have to be punished even if the victim chooses to forgive. All too often we have seen cases, even very serious ones, where clans and communities come together to negotiate an ‘amicable settlement’ or a ‘forgive and forget’ solution and culprits have been allowed to walk scot-free without ever facing the consequences of their actions.A few years ago, an alleged rape case had emerged in Dimapur area wherein a young college student had been accused of raping a girl. Very soon, concerned clan and village organisations had jumped into the matter, one side contending that it was consensual sex and the other adamant that it was rape. Press releases flew fast and furious for some time and then there was a lull when negotiations were apparently being held. Then came a final press release from a neutral tribal body of the concerned area stating that the matter had been ‘amicably’ settled and that no party would be allowed to issue any further statements on the matter. It was a police case and the accused had been arrested but was presumably released on the back of this ‘amicable’ solution. There was absolutely no clarity on whether it was rape or not, no punishment of the guilty – the boy if he was really guilty or the girl if she had falsely accused – but the matter was laid to rest on a solution which did no resolve anything at all. It only managed to ensure the perpetuation of such wrongdoings.
Then we have the ever increasing cases of rash driving or DUI accidents where victims are either killed or seriously injured and even maimed for life. However, guilty drivers are rarely, or even never ever, suitably punished. Instead, we again find family members, clans and villagers frantically working to save the skin of the person who had recklessly snuffed out or irreparably ruined a life. Very soon there would be a settlement, involving cash compensation in some cases, and the matter would then be declared closed. Again, there is no punishment whatsoever of the guilty. No wonder accidents due to rash driving and driving under the influence of liquor and other substances are increasing at an alarming rate. There is no deterrent to potential offenders, especially young drivers. They know, from example, that someone will save them from facing any consequences.
Concerned families and communities meeting in order to ensure that no simmering resentments or misunderstandings remain which could lead to future problems is a good thing in itself. However, the practice of altogether ‘settling’ all matters in this manner and allowing wrongdoers to walk away without paying for their crimes is doing us no favour. Rather, it is compounding the growing ills plaguing our society.

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By EMN Updated: Nov 16, 2014 11:10:42 pm