Is Forgiveness Key For Perpetual Friendship?

Whenever I read Frank Kwagmore's (though it's mistakenly attributed to six different people belonging to different eras) famous line: It's easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend, I begin to think deeply. Why it's difficult to forgive a friend or someone close to you than to forgive a foe. There are no emotions, strings and expectations attached to your enemy. You forgive him because you were prepared to get a raw deal from him. His wrongdoings are never bolts from the blue. But nothing untoward was expected of your friend. Anything unexpected therefore, hurts the most.

When Julius Caesar was stabbed by a band of conspirators and he saw the last blow come from Brutus, the dying Caesar cried, " Et tu Brutus!!" (You too, Brutus!!). This is not a poignant imagination of the great Shakespeare. The almost invincible Roman emperor indeed felt betrayed by his friend Brutus' treachery. " The stab caused by a friend's perfidy is much stronger than all the stabs caused by swords and spears," wrote Edward Gibbon in his masterpiece, " Rise and fall of Roman Empire."

Currently, I'm reading Bhutto's security officer Colonel Rafi-ud-Din's " Bhutto ke aakhri 323 din " (The last 323 days of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan, 2005) in Urdu. Bhutto could never forgive Gen Zia because Zia was known for his unctuous devotion to Bhutto and was made a General, bypassing four senior and very able Lt. Generals, one of them was Lt. Gen Muhammad Moin Ashraf. Bhutto wrote in his book " If I'm assassinated " that it was a 'friend's' cunningness and knavery, he could never come to terms with. " My friend became a fiend," wrote Bhutto. The 'friend' was obviously General Zia Ul Haq. It's not just with friends, whenever anyone close to us does some harm, we get upset.

Something inside us rankles, if not revolts. Reconciliation with a harsh truth is always very difficult. That's the reason, when your beloved finds someone else or cheats you, you can never forgive him/her, however liberal you may be. But when your ex goes around with someone, you don't care. Where there's love, there's trust and where there's trust, there's always an in-built and intrinsic endeavour to keep it alive. When this trust is dented, you feel shattered and never wholeheartedly forgive the person who you once thought to be your alter-ego.

Despite our ostensible attitude of not being affected or hurt by anyone and anything, we are all very much human and humane. Jesus may have forgiven Judas Escariot, one of his twelve apostles, who prostituted his conscience for 30 gold coins, we lesser mortals can never. Forgiving a friend leaves something unfulfilled and unresolved. There stays a lump in the throat that can never be swallowed. It keeps rankling and gnawing. To round it off with Qateel Shifai's aposite couplet, 'Dost ki bewafai hoti hai shadeed/Dushman se toh karte hi hain ye ummeed' (Harm may come from an enemy is a given/But one's shattered and shell-shocked, when a friend does the same).