What does forgiveness feel like?

YinYangVenezuelans are angry, and they well should be. Beyond that, though, there is a question that has been lingering in my mind for quite some time – will we reach a stage at some point when we will forgive? And if we’re headed there anyway, why can’t we forgive starting now?

I thought about this as I read that chavista bases are disappointed with Maduro … but are unwilling to give the opposition a chance. While Aporrea is full of complaints against Maduro, not a single prominent chavista is willing to say the opposition was right, and the government was wrong. That points, perhaps, to a deep-seated aversion for those on our side, an inability to simply concieve of the idea of joining those of us who oppose the Revolution.

In other words, it’s what we normally call “hatred.”

Of course, it’s not only chavistas that are hateful. Can you imagine, just for a second, a post-chavista Venezuela, where democracy has returned, and where you consider voting for somebody from the PSUV?

Forgiveness usually requires putting yourselves in someone else’s shoes and seeing their point of view. It doesn’t mean agreeing with them, but understanding their logic.

Another example of virulence comes in the growing hatred of Henrique Capriles from within opposition circles. Whether it’s his reaction to the April election (a mistake, perhaps) or his willingness to sit down with Maduro or Rodríguez Torres (part of his job), people simply can’t forgive him for … not being what they wanted him to be.

Hatred is possibly the cheapest commodity in Caracas these days.

This inability to see the other as a human being, with flaws and virtues, is a dangerous toxin, and I’m as guilty as anyone of promoting it, so a mea culpa is in order. As we enter the decline of the Venezuelan Revolution, one is left wondering if we have become too entrenched in our points of view to consider ourselves a nation any more.

Koreans have an interesting concept: jeong. It’s hard to translate, but apparently it means the invisible bonds you have towards people – spouses, relatives, friends, even co-workers. Koreans believe a society without jeong is at risk of disappearing, and they should know given their long, tortuous history of being colonized and pillaged.

I wonder if the jeong between us is still there. Because when you can’t see beyond your own little clique, your own little clan, when the bonds between us have broken for good, you’ve hit the point of no return.

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