Largely, forgiveness is subjective. As such, people have varied definitions of forgiveness, depending on factors like culture, religion and family beliefs. The degree of forgiveness should rely on the amount of crime or offense committed by offenders. In The Sunflower, the author presents but a painful dilemma of whether or not to forgive the unspeakable crimes of a young, dying Nazi soldier. People who commit mass crimes such as murder, rape, and sadism do not deserve forgiveness. Rather, they should be punished. Sometimes, individuals involved in mass crimes do get away with bail, or by simply serving time in community service. They might even serve some time in prison. People often consider the penalties for mass crimes severe, as commensurate with the crimes they commit. Heartless and cold-blooded criminals often commit crimes like murder, rape, and sadism. Hence, the best way to penalize them is by death. Even though the death penalty seems like the cruelest punishment, it is the most appropriate way to punish people who commit such crimes. Perpetrators of mass crimes do not deserve forgiveness, on the count of the crimes they commit.
Human life is very precious, and every human has the right to live a life free from criminal threats like rape, murder, and sadism. Unfortunately, some criminals take it upon themselves to decide whether someone lives or not. Federal governments have set legislations to ensure that all citizens live in a safe environment, free from criminal interference. Therefore, they should respond appropriately against offenders who contravene these legislations. People who commit mass crimes such as murder are a threat to the safety of innocent citizens. Therefore, they deserve the death penalty and not imprisonment for their heartless actions against fellow humans. The federal governments should not keep such criminal offenders in prison to continue surviving on the taxpayers’ money. In his response to Simon Wiesenthal’s article, Jean Amery refuses to reconcile with criminals. Jean Amery states that murders should not live the sweet life, but face the weak and ineffectual worldly justice. People who take away the precious lives of others do not serve mercy hence should also face a death sentence.
People who commit crimes in the best of their knowledge do not deserve mercy. It is virtually impossible to rehabilitate hardcore criminals because they are conscious of their actions while committing such crimes. Therefore, the death penalty is the ultimate penance for their transgressions. Jean Amery responds to Simon Wiesenthal’s experience with the SS soldier on the issue of forgiveness. Amery refuses to identify with criminals because he believes that anybody who commits serious atrocities should face severe penalties. If people with mass crimes pay for their crimes, it will pave the way for the future potential murderers to realize their criminal potential. The payment for hardcore crimes should carry severe penalties that will ensure that offenders indeed fulfill the potential of such offenses. On that note, those who anticipate committing such crimes would feel discouraged considering the severe penalties such as death. Such measures will help to reduce the rate at which people commit mass crimes like murder, torture, and humiliation.
Individuals who commit severe crimes should take responsibility for their actions and crimes. Forgiveness is dependent on personal behalf, and no one can absolve the guilt that one bears toward others. Smail Bali responds to the author of The Sunflower Simon Wiesenthal that forgiveness is a matter between the perpetrator and the victim. He further reiterates that you cannot offset evil by good hence hardcore criminals do not deserve victims pardon. Where the crime involves murder, the perpetrator should seek forgiveness of the murdered person. Since it is not possible to ask the deceased victim’s forgiveness, the only appropriate way to justice is subjecting perpetrator to a death sentence. The penalty extends to people who tolerate torture and murder because they have equally committed a crime not stopping the act. Remarkably, people who commit monstrous crimes do not deserve forgiveness when they lack genuine remorse. Therefore, the author of Sunflower acted in the right way by not forgiving the SS soldier. The SS soldier never showed remorse, and his apology never seemed sincere since he waited until his death point.
People who commit mass crimes like murder subject the family members and relatives of the victims to pain and suffering. Such people do not deserve acts of mercy because they show acts of heartlessness and cold blood. On that note, they deserve to understand how painful it is to take away life, to humiliate or rape. The SS soldier in the novel, The Sunflower does not deserve forgiveness because he perpetrated horrible crimes and his comrades continue to execute. He deserves no mercy instead; he should face the cruelest punishment to serve as a lesson to his colleagues who continue to execute innocent people. It is an indication that the dying soldier never intended to help anyone but only apologized to help himself feel better. While reading the Sunflower, Moshe Bujski’s response to Simon Wiesenthal had an interesting thought about the soldier’s apology. He suggests that if a doctor could have entered the room with a miracle drug, then the soldier will no longer feel remorseful. Therefore, he should suffer for the sins he committed like hurting other people by taking away the lives of their loved ones.
Forgiveness is an emotional and spiritual process that does not come easy. Real and genuine forgiveness depends on the pain and suffering hence forgiveness takes time. When a person commits heartless and cold-blooded crimes like murder, rape or sadism subjects the victims to thoughts induced by hunger and despair. Forgiveness cannot apply when the victim is helpless. Therefore, people who commit mass crimes should not get mercy because they subject victims to helplessness. According to many commentators of The Sunflower, they perceived the SS soldier as a selfish man. Moshe Bujski reiterates that the SS soldier wanted to repent because he was facing death. He believed that the dying soldier had not learned anything from his experience and therefore did not deserve forgiveness. The author could not forgive the SS soldier because of the crimes he witnessed the soldier, and his comrades commit on innocent citizens. The soldier committed these offenses without showing mercy hence making the author helpless. Similarly, Simon did well by keeping quiet so that the soldier could also feel how emotionally and spiritually distressed the victims felt.
Most of the people who commit mass crimes do not sincerely apologize for their offenses. Hardcore criminals who commit enormous crimes like rape, sadism, and murder do not feel remorseful for their acts. Their actions involve an immense multitude of heartlessness and mercilessness. They lack any empathy whatsoever, hence forgiving such criminals takes a good amount of time. The author of The Sunflower, Simon responded to the dying soldier with silence because he needed time for the wound to heal. Hardcore criminals often show pride for their actions, and they do consider their criminal actions as a sign of their supremacy over the victims. It is naïve to accept an apology from a murderer unless such crime resulted from an accident. The dying soldier deliberately committed crimes against humanity and did not deserve forgiveness from the author.
Forgiveness is one of the fundamental principles of true religion that goes along with justice. For instance, sometimes our passion for justice can trap us in our bitterness and grief. Simon Wiesenthal was in a similar situation. Simon dedicated his whole life to the relentless search for the people responsible for the murder of millions of innocent lives and penalized them for their crimes. Therefore, Simon could not forgive the SS soldier because the previous inhumanity crimes the soldier committed kept haunting the author. The painful memories of the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the dying soldier and his comrades deprived Simon of his fortune. People who subject other humans to such pain deserve nothing but severe pain and suffering that would lead to their death.
Forgiveness is a necessity in life and for the society to progress it is essential to forgive everyone. However, some crimes committed against humans may be hard to forgive. Forgiveness is effective when it is done full heartedly. On that note, it is tough to forgive people who take away the lives or who humiliate and torture of your loved ones. According to the article, the author is right by remaining silent when the SS soldier seeks his forgiveness as the soldier approaches his death. His request for forgiveness is not honest because he waited until such time he was about to die. Consistent with the responses to Simon’s novel from various respondents, the soldier was selfish by asking for forgiveness at his point of death. He was only apologizing to plead for a peaceful end. Forgiveness is not something that people can take lightly, as some people have to live with the consequences of their actions for the rest of their lives. The SS soldier should live to suffer the burden of his evil actions without mercy.