May 21st, 2024

Thoughts on forgiveness and reconciliation

By Lethbridge Herald on April 10, 2024.


We saw the excellent staging of “Jesus Christ Superstar” produced by the University of Lethbridge Drama Department. 

 I was moved. Judas Iscariot was superbly acted and sung by a talented female artist. Watching to see how Judas was agonized in deciding to betray her beloved master was excruciatingly painful. 

Should we condemn the Judas-like character in our life as an unforgivable devil incarnate, or should we think of him with sympathy? As a man with a few mistakes in life, I am inclined to take the latter option. 

We are all in need of forgiveness. Only when we feel forgiven, can we forgive. There is one person in my life who is someone still difficult to forgive. For several years before his real identity became public, I had thought he was a good friend working for the same cause. 

I liked to hang around with him, exchanging information and learning from each other. We often enjoyed dinners together at the Japanese Restaurant “Kyoto” by Lac Leman popularly known as the “Lake Geneva.” 

In 1980, he was exposed as an agent of the South African National Police spying on the activities of foreign organizations that supported the South African Anti-Apartheid movement. 

He was the reason some black and white activists, including 10 of my friends, were killed by the security police. Steve Biko, Abram Tiro, Mapetla Mohapi, to name a few. Ruth First, wife of Mandela’s lieutenant Joe Slovo, was blown up by a letter bomb. Countless others were imprisoned or seriously injured.

Craig Williamson now lives in Johannesburg. Being a very smart man he became a millionaire after apartheid was dismantled. He admitted all his actions he committed as a captain in the South African police. He told all the truth but did not admit guilt. He was forgiven by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

I first met him in 1976 at Johannesburg Airport. I was on the way to the neighbouring country of Lesotho to meet with some students who were active in the Anti-Apartheid movement. 

 By then, I was a banned person not being allowed to enter South Africa. A personnel from the Canadian Embassy escorted me every time I was in transit at Johannesburg Airport.

 One day in 1971, I was surprised to be met by Craig Williamson instead of a Canadian embassy staff. Craig informed me that Karel Tip, who was the president of the National Union of South African Students, was arrested and Craig Williamson as the Vice-President of the union came to meet me. We flew together to Lesotho where we attended administrative matters.

He came to Geneva faking as a refugee a few years later. He found a job in the European organization that supported student activists. He and I became friends. Friendship lasted until 1980 when I left Geneva to come back to Canada. 

He lived there until 1981 when a British journalist exposed his true identity. He had to escape back to South Africa because espionage is illegal in Switzerland where bank secrecy is the basis of its successful international banking business. 

I can count at least 10 persons who lost their lives because of Craig. He said he did nothing wrong. It was a war, he said. He was a soldier fighting communism as a patriotic South African. It is easier for me to forgive Judas than the former friend who never admitted his guilt. Judas agonized over his betrayal and committed suicide. 

It is the fact that the process of forgiveness through truth and reconciliation saved South Africa from possible massive bloodshed. The same process worked in Northern Ireland ending centuries of bloody conflict between Catholics and Protestants. I believe they now have a Shin Fein, a former IRA, member as First Minister. Miracles can happen when truth is told and the culprits forgiven. There was no such process adopted in Zimbabwe. 

Look what an almighty mess they got into. Decades long bloody conflicts in Israel and Palestine seem hopeless. Is it too late to apply the “Truth and Reconciliation” process there? Forgiving the guilty merely as the result of the admission of truth seems impossible now. The cycle of violence and revenge killings continues so long as the terrorism and genocidal war are used as the instruments of peace. 

If you are interested to know more about Craig Williamson, there is a book written about him by a South African journalist in Cape Town. Jonathan Ancer, “SPY: Uncovering Craig Williamson.” 

A question remains. Should Judas Iscariot be forgiven? He did not profit from his betrayal and killed himself. 

Should I forgive Craig Williamson? He didn’t think he did anything wrong. “It was a war,” he says. In a war we kill each other, betray and lie as instruments for victory.” When I was in Johannesburg as a member of the International Election Observers Group in 1994, a local journalist arranged my reunion with “old friend” Craig Williamson. I chickened out. I had no confidence that I could control my temper.

The old Canadian regime of the last two centuries applied the policy to extinguish “Indians in the Indian children” as the way to create a Christian European country in Canada.

 Is the truth and reconciliation process working in Canada between the Indigenous people and the settlers? Do we truly believe that Canada made a mistake? It seems like the work is a very slow process.

Tadashi (Tad) Mitsui


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Glad you enjoyed the UofL performance, “Jesus Christ Superstar” and your comments on the character depiction of Judas Iscariot.

The rest of your comments appear as disjointed and incoherent.

What is it that you are trying to project, if it is, we all need forgiveness, then 100% agreed.

What is not clear is to who/what/when the forgiveness stems.

Jesus Christ knew that he was going to be betrayed and on the Cross where Jesus hung and died, he did so for all transgressions of those who accept Him as their Lord and Saviour.

“It is finished” Jesus final words on the cross….

I trust that you agree and cofirm that it is Jesus Christ who grants unconditional forgiveness to those who accept and believe upon Him.


Whether the writer confirms your personal belief system is irrelevant. Your final sentence is typical preaching from you – ignoring the fact millions of others have equally valid belief systems or possibly none at all. And those same persons exhibit the same concern for humanity and carry out acts typical of “loving thy neighbour…”, a phrase I am sure you are familiar with.
Again, your inference “…. he died for all transgressions” sums up your belief suggesting that only those accepting JC without question are worthy of the afterlife.
Having read most of Tad’s contributions over the years, his words and thoughts exceed those of yourself a hundred fold, no preaching, no judgement and a deep respect for humanity.
(And BTW, are you still pondering the question I raised three days ago concerning Freemartins in nature, countering your assertion that such profiles do not exist? I am also surprised you readily accept our near identical (99%) DNA profile with a species of ape (Bonobos), obviously a close ancestor of human beings. )

Guy Lethbridge

Thumbed up your comment. One clarification, we share a common ancestor with Bonobos, they are not our ancestor. But I’m sure that’s what you meant .


Quite right . The chimpanzee / bonobo line does share a common ancestor with ourselves from around 6 -7 million years ago . Bonobos themselves separated from the chimpanzee lineage sometime later. Pretty recent given earth’s history.
Perhaps HP could enlighten us further?
Thanks for the observation GL.

Last edited 1 month ago by BigBrit

Here is something more scientific and authenticated regarding Bonodos…. what say you to this more comprensive report, over your past dictated (false) comments:


BigBrit, Firstly, don’t attempt to “make a monkey” out of me…. your reference to “Bondos” is not new or relevant information. The “study” and unscientifically stated information was promogated by Frans B.M. de Waal in 1995. Mr. de Waal also wrote the book “Chimpanze Politics”.

In no way, do we/I accept a “theory” that the Bondo monkeys are homosexual as wildlife are NOT equal to humans. Wildlife are, admittedly driven by survival instincts that may in some instances result in cannabalism and exhibiting dominance in their particular species. Animals as well expeience “going in heat” seasons and this is all in effort of promoting/sustaining their existance in nature. Will, a Bondo “dry hump” one another as Frans de Waal reports? Probably, but does this suggest or prove a homosexual attribute? I think not. Noted that Mr. de Waal passed away in March of this year, so any attempt to question Mr. Frans de Waal on his personal theory, is not now possible.

BigBrit, if you are, as it appears, fascinated by one off “theories” and obscure books, have you considered “The Flat Earth Society”?

As for me, I accept, and have so for the past number of years, the fact that God made me a male and that he made my wife a female, we are quite satified in that regard.

Last edited 1 month ago by HaroldP

good for you both – however, the point is what works for you may not work for another. you have the right to your body, your conscience, your preferences and choices, BUT, so do others. why must your ilk seek to exert control over the affairs of others? that is the issue here. has the church not yet left enough of a legacy of torture, injury and death, in the so-called name of god? you folk are at best, pathetic.


well stated


is your inability yo acknowledge true beauty, compassion, tolerance the result of having had your brain thumped one too many times by the bible?


Hi Biff “et al”… you just don’t stop with the personal attacks do you? Oh well, perhaps at least you (and your imaginary personas) proof read your posts so that they could at least be readible, free of grammer and spelling errors.

Biff (and friends) how is your response to “who do you say Jesus is” coming along?

Last edited 1 month ago by HaroldP

hardly personal attacks – just reaction to how you and so-called jesus following ilk use religion in attempts to control and subvert the rights of those whose preferences differ. it is shameful.
moreover, i have no other alias here save for biff.


Biff “et al” , you can fool some of the people some of the time but not all the people all of the time! It is very obvious of how you respond and your vocabulary that posts are one and the same…. It is actually hilarious how you even compliment some of your pseudo personas on this and other threads.

When you state “religion” to what are you referring? There are many religions, some hold strong belief in green men from Mars, others believe in “Holy cows” others believe, religiously that Elvis is alive!

Biff, no one attempting to “control or subvert” the rights of others….. the Truth is the Truth and Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life”.

I suppose, based on your rationale, if someone told you the red hot element on the stove will burn you if you touch it… your reaction, “Don’t try to control me and subvert me” I can do what I want… so go ahead and touch the element…like it? Did you get burned? Well…sorry, but “told you so!”.


coming from religious blabber, seemingly only christians, are attempts to enact laws that desire to control and subvert the rights of others.
further gross is that so very many of those that profess jesus as saviour and son of god hardly act according to his teachings.


your entry reads as most simple, childish. however, if everyone just took the word of another, without reflection and investigation, there is an awful lot of discovery that never would have been.


duh, here is an analogy about as intelligent as yours about the stove: i suppose if all the christians jumped off a cliff, in the name of jesus as their saviour, you would jump, too.btw – you get all smart about proof reading, and your posts are dotted with errors. in fact, how is it you somehow fail the spell check that is automatic in this forum?


The “study” and unscientifically stated information was promogated by Frans B.M. de Waal in 1995. ??? — “promogated” as you choose to write here as well as in past columns is correctly written as “promulgated” Harold; I recommend that you hire buff and friends to proofread your contributions. This regular habit of yours, confusing the meaning of specific words, makes your understanding, your interpretations of the Bible comical at best.


BTW: If you weren’t already aware, buff is biff’s buff sister ! Yes, I realize that I shot myself in the foot here. Alas, as you oft say about fundamentalist Christians, “We all make mistakes.”


yes, she used to be beff, but what with her transition to the male in her, she became buff.


Biff, Buff. ReallyReally, SophieR, it appears that these are all one and the same personas being used by Biff!


curious how it is only those that profess to be jesus saved christians who believe this. is paranoia, then, the basis upon which your blind faith rests?


Admitted, I use voice dictation and should proof read more diligently.


to your query: he is the kind of person i would like to know, to have as a friend, a parent, a confidant, a mentor and guide and teacher, a leader…rather odd as it would seem, quite unlike how i feel about the great many that purport to “follow” jesus and ring him up as their saviour.


So, you identify Jesus as a “kind of person”? Did Jesus as a “kind of person” walk the earth and end up being crucified on a cross at Calvary?


cannot say for sure – we have only accounts that have been interpreted many times over spanning about 2000 years. even historical accounts of far more recent events are matters of debate and interpretation. have you ever played ‘telephone’? among a mere handful of people in real time the message invariably gets botched.


Biff (et’ al) In the case of Jesus Christ, the message, eye witness accounts, history, archaeological evidence and foremost, the Holy Bible, the message is not “botched” Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)


“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)”

— This idea noted I suspect was penned to offer comfort, but it is more or less ripped to shreds when the numerous revisions that have been adopted by the Bible over the years as scholars discover both new materials and new information regarding ancient language meanings, versus contemporary language meanings are considered — significantly because once again it magnifies the FACT that the Bible is an INTERPRETATION of oral history and ancient artifacts. As biff notes, some portions of the Bible you presumably reference (you repeatedly have dodged answering what version you use as “your Bible”), are debated and often questioned as to source and veracity as they are so far removed from the period of Jesus times as the Son on Earth; thus these portions essentially muddy the tale. There are approximately 45,000 distinct denominations of Christianity practised globally. Some denominations slight others, declaring them “cults”. Jesus is definitely NOT represented the same, or even revered the same, in some of these denominations as in another. So, once again, Christians seem to have an innate inclination, a bent, for INTERPRETATION and pretty much “cherry picking” scripture to align with their agendas. THE Holy Bible is no more a consistent fact than a home-made recipe. I acknowledge your right in Canada to follow your faith, whatever version of those 450,000 denominations you claim to adhere to Harold, but your two-faced attitudes in these columns have worn out the respect of myself and many others obviously.


excellent summation. as for which version of the bible harold uses, i suspect his answer will be similar to all the jesus posers around us who can and will tell everyone else how to live – even if they have to lobby for laws ensure it is their way, or else: “i use the bible.”


Biff (et’ al) it is not “their/my way” it is the Way of Jesus Christ. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. Wanna gamble on that one Biff? Once again “Amazing Grace” my friend and the salvation after a dreadful life of sin, how John Newton was changed in his conversion to Christianity. Biff, if you refuse to believe John Newton’s testamony, perhaps you should dig a bit deeper and more contemporary and read “Cold-Case Christianity” written by Homocide detective Warner Wallace. For your information J. Warner Wallace was a devout athesist who rejected Christianity entirely. However his life changed and he accepted the Lord after his critical investigative study of the Christian faith, documents, testamonies, artifacts etc.

There are many, many other similiar books, movies of life changing experiences because of acceptance of Jesus Christ in their lives. I too have such a testamony (which I have not been led to publish todate).


ReallyReally, yes, absolutely there are many “religions” with more to come in these last days. Granted there are several translations of the Holy Bible, however you apparently fail to recognize/admit that the Bible has been supported by original and verified scrolls ergo the Septuagint. Today, English translations will never represent the origial biblical language perfectly, due to the ancient languages do not perfectly match to an English word, none the less, the Spirit of the Holy Scripture and the certified translations (Wycliffe Bible Translators) offer to us the most accurate and unabridged versions. We can argue “translations” and “religions” until the cows come home….the focus of humanity and their (your) response is simple, “who do you say Jesus is?”


you are christian, not jewish…”your” book, written by another religion says you are not chosen.


Biff (et’ al) with respect to your comment, your concept of Christianity is terribly skewed. The old Testament melds perfectly into the New Testsment and Jesus Christ is the “bridge” through Jesus Christ we (Christians) are grafted in. Sorry not enough time or room to give you a Sunday School lesson(s) here.

Last edited 1 month ago by HaroldP

ReallyReally i have several Bibles that I cherish and read. I usually read the New Kings James, however read the New American Standard and Living Bible as well. When I am wishing to go more indebth, I will reference Strongs Concordence.

Now, back to you, as you are apparently interested in “facts” and supporting “evidence” (a doubting “Thomas” so to speak, who needed to actually feel the nail holes in the hands of Jesus),
Have you considered the facts surrounding the song “Amazing Grace” and the salvation after a dreadful life of sin, how John Newton was changed in his conversion to Christianity. If you refuse to believe John Newton’s testamony, perhaps you should dig a bit deeper and more contemporary and read “Cold-Case Christianity” written by Homocide detective Warner Wallace. For your information J. Warner Wallace was a devout athesist who rejected Christianity entirely. However his life changed and he accepted the Lord after his critical investigative study of the Christian faith, documents, testamonies. artifacts etc.

Regardless as to you xan be bothered to reseach these “facts” rather be centered on your own point(s) of view, then at least honestly answer this question to yourself, “Who do you say Jesus is?”

Last edited 1 month ago by HaroldP

all of that has been subjected to numerous revisions, and hence, the many revised and versions of the bible that exist. and, of course, the old bible, the one before the baby jesus, was written by the same hebrews that say god told them they are his chosen people? now, is that just the males, or does that include the less equal, property of the males, females?
moreover, are you aware that eye witness accounts are among the least reliable sources of evidence? here is an interesting read, although it will lose you and ilk because it is underscored…well, by that unbelievable field called science.


I do not know which Court you refer to, however “eye witness testamony” is crutial in the judicial system…..probably why some eye witness testifiers end up dead or missing before giving their testamony!

Last edited 1 month ago by HaroldP

and, of course, you do not have a look at the link. perhaps you know a cop, or a judge, or a lawyer – if you will not read, ask one of them how reliable eye witnesses are.


I have had lots to do with the Criminal justice system, thanks very much.

Last edited 1 month ago by HaroldP

back to your bible – does it not say somewhere in there, and i think in every version, something to the effect of judge not, lest ye be judged? thus, as we come back to teerling’s letter, and to supporters of that letter, how about following your scriptures and learn to have a preference, an opinion, without judging.


Yes, please back to the Bible. Your rough quotation is correct, but there is a Judge, and you should be aware that the righteous judgement day will come. As for us (Christians) we do not judge but are commanded to spread the gospel (Good news) to every nation. Spreading this news may step on the toes of those who refuse to hear and/or reject the Message.

Last edited 1 month ago by HaroldP

another thoughtful, deep, and valuable entry from tad. one letter at time we are privy to an ever widening window into a most fascinating life, and through it, shines wisdom in bright beams, borne of experience, reflection, and a brilliant heart.

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