Friday, September 2, 2011

A Lesson in Forgiveness

From today's New York Times comes this:

Abdel Hakim Belhaj had a wry smile about the oddity of his situation. 

Yes, he said, he was detained by Malaysian officials in 2004 on arrival at the Kuala Lumpur airport, where he was subjected to extraordinary rendition on behalf of the United States, and sent to Thailand. His pregnant wife, traveling with him, was taken away, and his child would be 6 before he saw him.
In Bangkok, Mr. Belhaj said, he was tortured for a few days by two people he said were C.I.A. agents, and then, worse, they repatriated him to Libya, where he was thrown into solitary confinement for six years, three of them without a shower, one without a glimpse of the sun. 

And yet:

Now this man is in charge of the military committee responsible for keeping order in Tripoli, and, he says, is a grateful ally of the United States and NATO. 

He says there are no hard feelings over his past treatment by the United States. 

It's truly remarkable that Mr. Belhaj (unlike other rebel leaders he has not taken, or given himself, a military rank) is not bitter towards the CIA or the United States. Of course, that could come later. For now, this is a story of survival and renewal that speaks to the human spirit and our ability to survive even the most horrific conditions. There should be an investigation into how Mr. Belhaj was treated by our government. In the meantime, we are now in a position to root for his success.

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