Forgiving the Unforgivable

I meant to show you all this New York Times article in class – but only 2nd period got to it in time! It’s a ray of hope in the midst of the difficult situations we have been studying.

The article is a series of portraits featuring Rwandans affected by the Rwandan genocide. Each portrait features one person who perpetrated the crimes (murder, kidnapping, destroying homes and villages) and one person who was the victim of that person’s crimes. Included at the bottom are their own words on how they were able to find some semblance of peace and forgiveness after the genocide.

It’s powerful stuff – give it a few minutes of your time if you have the chance. Here’s one of the portraits:


Jean Pierre Karenzi – Perpetrator (left); Viviane Nyiramana – Survivor

KARENZI: “My conscience was not quiet, and when I would see her I was very ashamed. After being trained about unity and reconciliation, I went to her house and asked for forgiveness. Then I shook her hand. So far, we are on good terms.”

NYIRAMANA: “He killed my father and three brothers. He did these killings with other people, but he came alone to me and asked for pardon. He and a group of other offenders who had been in prison helped me build a house with a covered roof. I was afraid of him — now I have granted him pardon, things have become normal, and in my mind I feel clear.”


Trolley Cars and . . . Drones?

Need to review for tomorrow’s quiz?

Here’s a great little video summarizing the trolley car problem we talked about in class. Worth noting that it also discusses real-life applications of the problem- including the way drones and self-driving cars make “moral” decisions. (If you want to take a really interesting ethics quiz, MIT has been studying this recently and you can be a part of their self-driving car ethics study:

(Thanks, Nate, for the heads up!)

Historical Figures Assignment

Historical Figures Assignment – Due Monday January 9 at 7:59 am:

List three historical figures you feel have had the most positive impact on humanity. List three historical figures you think have done the most harm to humanity. Write a complete paragraph explanation (4-5 sentences) for each figure, explaining your reasoning.

You are free to use anyone from history – however, please remember the important part is the explanation. For example, you may use Adolf Hitler, however you must be clear about what makes Hitler’s legacy worse than the many other historical figures who have massacred thousands and millions of people. How has he harmed humanity itself?