February
is Black History Month, and as part of this year’s commemoration, the Seashore
Farmers’ Lodge have created a roadside exhibit. A black man dangles from a tree,
his neck broken, the victim of a lynching, genital mutilation, and finally a
hanging, while the effigy of a Klansman stands off to the side.

Like
the Jews’ mantra “never again”, I agree that these things that happened are
beyond horrific.  Throughout history and
in many countries worldwide, atrocities have been committed against innocent
and helpless people.  I know this first
hand having grown up in apartheid South Africa. 
We should not forget, but what
disturbs me as well is that we also must move on if we are to secure a better
future.  

To
move on we have to forgive, if only to break the shackles of bitterness that
will hold us back from being all we can be and achieving our full potential.  Nelson Mandela had the wisdom to demonstrate
this in his handling of South Africa’s very sensitive transition to majority
rule.  I’m sure he didn’t feel much like rubbing
shoulders with those responsible for the persecution of his people, but
pragmatically he knew it was necessary for their best long-term good.  Everyone had to pull together to make this
thing work.

So
this display bothers me because it forces you to think about the suffering and
injustice that people were forced to endure, and it bothers me because I think
it is not helpful in furthering the cause of a better society where people of
different colors and nationalities can develop relationships built on mutual
trust and respect.