Adam Borowski

On forgiveness

When I come across comments written by people claiming that massacres in Israel, Ukraine, indeed, around the world, are fake, I wonder: what drives these people to write such stupid and sadistic things? Are they trolling? Sure, some are trolls. Are they paid propagandists? Some are. Are they living in a bubble where no evil ever happens? Sure.

But it doesn’t explain everything.

Two years ago, on March 31, 2022, the town of Bucha near Kyiv was liberated from the Russians. What the world saw was a typical Russian modus operandi: civilians in ditches, bound and gagged. We Poles know this ”style” of Russian execution aka liberation well. Yes, Russians call it liberation. Go figure. It’s been the same story with them for hundreds of years.

There are fools, cynics, propagandists and psychopaths who claim that Bucha, and other massacres of civilians in Ukraine, are all staged. That the bodies of victims in Bucha were painted, maybe mannequins. Some morons and mental cases even said that Bucha sounds similar to butcher in British English which proves that Bucha is a British psyop (psychological operation).

I wonder if these people would say these absurdities to a Ukrainian who barely escaped from Bucha. It’s easy to write stupid stuff online, under the guise of apparent anonymity, but it’s dramatically different when you are facing a Ukrainian parent who lost his or her child in a Russian invasion. Try telling him or her it’s all fake then. That they are paid actors.

Russian propagandists like to bring up Volhynia and other massacres of Poles and, indeed, Jews by Ukrainians during the Second World War. ”Look, Ukrainians did that in the Second World War, why wouldn’t they stage Bucha?” Except, the mass killings of Polish officers by the Soviets in 1940 were also called lies for decades. Guess who announced the discovery of mass graves in the Katyń forest? The Nazis. The real Nazis, not the fake Nazis of Russian propaganda. It took a murderous Nazi regime to call out the Soviets for their genocidal actions. The Soviets, being Soviets, blamed the Nazis.

Several decades later, Russians finally admitted that yes, they had murdered the Polish Officers in Katyń. Russians are using the same playbook now by repeating, endlessly, that Bucha is fake, that Russians never massacre or castrate civilians, that it’s all Ukraine. Russian propaganda is using the oldest trick in the book: a lie endlessly repeated becomes the truth. Not this time. We see right through you, Russian propagandists.

Russian propagandists are despicable, at times deranged. They are fully aware of what they are doing. When nothing else works, they are gonna accuse you of Russophobia. They are always the victims, just innocent civilians and journalists expressing an ”opinion.”

I encourage you to read up on gaslighting. Psychopaths and pathological narcissists use this manipulation technique a lot. Gaslighting is making you doubt your sanity by doing all sorts of little things around you. Moving your keys. Projecting. Deflecting. All kinds of things to make you question your own sanity. Russia, Iran, North Korea and other regimes are masters of gaslighting and propaganda. While their propaganda may seem cartoonish when you know what to look for, the fact is that many, many minds around the world are brainwashed beyond hope by these paid liars. Heck, Russia even has the term maskirovka (masking, deception) as part of its military doctrine.

Remember when Russians said that they weren’t going to invade Ukraine a week before the war started – and mocked anyone who said otherwise? That’s a good example of maskirovka and gaslighting.

You’re probably familiar with the saying that, ”He who seeks revenge, digs two graves.” You are dooming yourself and whoever you are seeking revenge against. Hence, dig two graves. Cliches rarely reflect reality. Life is complex and at times unpredictable. When your enemy wants to kill you, and you manage to win, then yes, you should dig two graves – one for your enemy and a symbolic grave for your hatred towards the enemy. So that, when all is said and done, you are cleansed, psychologically purified, and can move on. Then, you can even pray for your enemy’s soul. But surrendering because you don’t want to get violent and hoping your enemy is going to show you mercy? That’s preposterous. Yet, that’s what Ukrainians are encouraged to do by the Catholic Pope. Golda Meir said, “You cannot negotiate peace with somebody who has come to kill you.”

I’m sure John Paul II would have agreed with Golda Meir. Maybe Pope Francis is afraid that the Z-Army is going to visit him in the Vatican? Hitler didn’t touch the Vatican, after all, so maybe Putin won’t either?

What about forgiveness? Scholars, be it ancient or modern, have likely said all there is to say about forgiveness. Should a Russian propagandist such as Darya Dugina, who proudly posed in front of a building with hundreds of Ukrainian victims of a Russian massacre, be forgiven? You could argue that even a vile propagandist could change, just as Saul of Tarsus, the notorious persecutor of Christians, became Paul the Apostle. But that would imply a divine intervention or a punishment in some sort of a purgatory for such a dramatic change of heart to take place.

So let’s not condemn those who refuse to forgive and forget. Those who seek revenge. I don’t dare to lecture someone who lost a child or a parent in a terrorist attack or some other tragedy. And I firmly believe that no ivory-tower religious scholar, intellectual or scientist has the right to tell someone that it’s vital to forgive and forget.

Ask God for guidance. Pray. Should you forgive a psychopath who has hurt you? Is God going to punish the evil-doer? Maybe God has other plans. Whatever the Creator does, He sees all the pieces of the puzzle. We see only a small portion.

Forgiveness can help you, too. Forgiving a psychopath un-anchors you from him or her psychologically. They don’t live ”rent-free” in your mind anymore. The psychopath won’t change, they can’t, but you won’t care anymore. You’ve been liberated.

Can God give psychopath a conscience? I’m sure esteemed Jewish religious scholars can say a thing or two about that.

About the Author
Adam Borowski is a technical Polish-English translator with a background in international relations and a keen interest in understanding how regime propaganda brainwashes people so effectively. He's working on a novel the plot of which is set across multiple realities. In the novel, he explores the themes of God, identity, regimes, parallel universes, genocide and brainwashing. His Kyiv Post articles covering a wide range of issues can be found at
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