Some show forgiveness in nearly impossible situations. An example is the protagonist of the movie titled “The Mauritanian,” which premiered last month. To be more accurate, it is writer Mohamedou Ould Salahi of the “Guantanamo Diary,” which is the setting of the movie, who shows such an action.
Salahi was abducted by a U.S. intelligence agency in his homeland Mauritania and had been detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba for most of the next 14 years. His daily experience was filled with unrealistic fear and threats, which might be featured in Franz Kafka’s novels, rather than simple detention. Though his detention was in violation of the Geneva Conventions, it did not matter to people who became irrational after the September 11 attacks. He was tortured in various means based on newly enacted laws. He was even threatened that his mother would be brought to a male-only prison, exposing her to sexual assaults. All of these were conducted to figure out his association with the terror attacks. However, nothing was found because he was innocent.
Abducted in 2002, Salahi was released in 2016. He is now in his mid-40s. During his time in the detention camp, his mother passed away. Watching the movie or reading his book, it seems that he has countless reasons to hate the country or people that used violence against him. Instead, however, he placed forgiveness where hatred and revenge should be. How is this possible? A clue can be found in what he said. “I am trying to forgive. I want to forgive because that is what Allah, my God, wants. For this reason, I do not hold a grudge against those who abused me, you know. In Arabic, the word for ‘free’ and the word for ‘forgiveness’ are the same word.” The religion he believes in is pushing him toward forgiveness, rather than revenge or grudge. He had to set himself free from a feeling of revenge or resentment to forgive. That is why “free” and “forgiveness” are the same word. It is truly shining wisdom.