"I would suggest that there are three basic principles underlying forgiveness in the move toward reconciliation.

"Principle 1: There can be no forgiveness of ourselves or of others unless we believe that we are all part of a common humanity. What this means in practical terms is that no one individual, no one group is superior to others. . . . In order to enter the path of forgiveness, we have to lose our feelings of both superiority and inferiority. Each of us has hurt another, each of us has been hurt. And so we must own and take responsibility for our lives as well as for the future. We are all called upon to stand up and take our place freely in the world.

"Principle 2: To forgive means to believe that each of us can evolve and change, that human redemption is possible. . . 

"Principle 3: To forgive means to yearn for unity and peace. Unity is the ultimate treasure. It is the place where, in the garden of humanity, each one of us can grow, bear fruit, and give life. . . .

"At the heart of the process of forgiveness is the desire to be liberated from negative passions, from sharp dislikes and hatred. This is a desire that starts us on the road to true forgiveness. Having proposed three principles of forgiveness, let me now propose five steps.

"The first step is the refusal to seek revenge. No more 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'

"The second step is the genuine, heartfelt hope that the oppressor be liberated. The victim cannot change the heart that is filled with fear and hate, but one may hope and pray that one day the oppressor's heart of stone may become a heart of flesh.

"The third step is the desire to understand the oppressors: how and why their indifference or hardness of heart has developed, and how they might be liberated.

"The fourth step is the recognition of our own darkness. We, too, have hurt people and perhaps have contributed to the hardness of the oppressors.

"The fifth step is patience. It takes time for a victim to be freed from blockage and hatred; it takes time for an oppressor to evolve and to change.

"Reconciliation is a bilateral affair; it is the completion of the forgiveness process, the coming together of the oppressed and the oppressor, each one accepting the other, each acknowledging their fears and hatreds, each accepting that the path of mutual love is the only way out of a world of conflict."