I have thought long and hard as to comment on the reconciliation forum. Having read with interest the thoughts of others these are mine-
Surely this has to be the decision of each and every member and not a decision made by the organisation.
It is such an emotive subject, I agree with others sentiments that forgiveness is not ours to give or withhold for those who were directly affected, however; as a daughter of a FEPOW I lived with the effects of what my beloved Dad experienced. I have no idea obviously of how it would have been without him experiencing what he did, I do however know that it impacted on my childhood. Writing a chapter for the book ‘A cruel Captivity’ was part of my journey in accepting what had happened to him and how it affected me, as was visiting Thailand and seeing for myself the infamous railway.
So, with that in mind am I am ready to reconcile and forgive?
I will be the only person affected if I don’t forgive, hating has to stop, and that is something I have had to accept. I do not wish the damage that was done to Dad to continue to affect me so I was left with no option but to forgive, however, that does not mean I will forget history or the injustice that went along with it. I can still be justifiably angry at man’s inhumanity to man. Reconciliation though is different, while I may have forgiven I have no wish to take it further and be reconciled to a previous generation that could inflict such cruelty. I may in the future as life is a journey, but that has to be my decision not an organisations one.
Sadly if it is the decision taken by COFEPOW then I feel it could split the membership and bring about the end of the organisation. My view of the organisation is that of support for the children of FEPOWs and accepting their views whether they differ from others or not, while keeping what happened to FEPOWs in the public eye.