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Tom Tate with Emilie Bohnenberger who, 52 years before, had given him her late husband's boots for his journey to prison camp
Monday, 29 February, 2016

The Times of London last week carried an obituary of RAF officer Tom Tate. The paper said of him, 'In the story of Anglo-German reconciliation after the war there were few more extraordinary tales than that of Tom Tate.' His story is one of the many featured by Michael Henderson in his book 'No Enemy to Conquer - Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World.'

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby
Tuesday, 24 February, 2015

The German President, Joachim Gauck and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, both struck appropriate notes at a moving memorial service in Dresden on 13 February marking the 70th anniversary of the devastating World War II Allied bombing of that historic German city.

The Railway Man (for use on M Henderson website only)
Monday, 06 January, 2014

A film about the amazing life of Eric Lomax has just opened with Colin Firth playing the part of this terribly tortured World War II prisoner of the Japanese who turned a hated enemy into a friend. Lomax died in 2012 at the age of 93 and was a soldier who in the words of an article in the Daily Telegraph made 'the choice of reconciliation over retribution'. His experience indicates that there may be a time and season for forgiveness that sometimes cannot and should not be rushed.

Edith Staton, whose grandfather was in Lincoln's cabinet, with her own great-granddaughter.
Wednesday, 13 March, 2013

In 1993 Edith Staton was named as a consultant to a new committee for curing racial bias at her integrated Episcopal church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The appointment would not be surprising but for the fact that she was then 97 years old.

David Howell
Wednesday, 13 March, 2013

Flight Lieutenant David Howell DFC who died in January aged 97 was one of another band of brothers who after World War II together took on to build bridges with their former enemies. I am fortunate in having had the chance to work alongside them. Obituaries in The Guardian and other papers have described his service as a navigator in the RAF’s Bomber Command. But led me add more detail on a story that illustrates his commitment which began even in the midst of hostilities.

'Dare for peace - the audacity of the reconcilers'
Wednesday, 05 October, 2011

On the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorists attacks the the French publisher, Editions Autrement in Paris, brought out a 128-page book with the title of 'Dare for peace - the audacity of the reconcilers'. It gives examples of people working to heal history and memories around the world. It begins with a section containing interviews with Mohamed Sahnoun, the Algerian founder-president of the Caux Forum for Human Security, and Cornelio Sommaruga, the Swiss former head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, at Caux. The editors are French journalists Richard Werly, Francois d'Alancon and Anne Dhoquois; the introduction to the publication, in English, is by Michael Henderson.

Monday, 01 August, 2011

A new nation, South Sudan, has just been born amidst great celebration and, sadly in some quarters, predictions of failure. The world's 193rd state and Africa's 55th, one of the world's poorest, faces enormous challenges following civil wars and neglect, with nearly 40% of its population on food aid. The land-locked country is rich in oil and minerals but dependent on agriculture and desperately in need of development. As Richard Dowden, Director of the Royal African Society, wrote last week, 'If South Sudan becomes a peaceful successful state, it will be a miracle.'

Thursday, 07 July, 2011

Professor Elazar Barkan, a political scientist, in his book The Guilt of Nations, has observed that there is a new international emphasis on morality which has been 'characterized not only by accusing other countries of human rights abuses but also by self-examination'. He writes of a new internationalism personified by leaders who have been ready to apologize and repent for gross historical crimes in their own countries and for policies that ignored human rights. 'Moral issues came to dominate public attention and political issues and displayed the willingness of nations to embrace their own guilt.' And, as I wrote a few months ago Professor McCall Smith looked at the same phenomenon as a philosopher and has seen the emergence of forgiveness as one of the great ideas of our new century.

Thursday, 07 July, 2011

It was an American clergyman who introduced me to the importance of valuing other faiths besides my own. He was ahead of his time in appreciating that you did not need to water down what you believed in order to find unity. He was never slow to share his own source of power, but as a Christian respected the way God's spirit could work through any other person.

Thursday, 07 July, 2011

The week of 16 May 2011 was a special one for me. Not because we inducted a new vicar in our church. That was of course special, too, as we welcomed our bishop and together lived through the solemnity of that Church of England ceremony. But that week was specially memorable to me because of the courage and perspective and grace of the head of the Church of England, our 85-year-old Queen.

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