And speaking of vengeance…. You want to read an inspiring revenge story? Read about South African Albie Sachs.
Sachs was a lawyer on the wrong side of apartheid, was exiled in Mozambique in the 1980s, and blown up by a car bomb in 1988. To the disappointment of the death squad hired to kill him, he lived. Arm blown off. Blind in one eye. He lived. I met the man, as a graduate student in London in 1990 — he was writing the new constitution for a Democratic South Africa, which is now considered one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. Kind of like having Thomas Jefferson in your lunch room. Lovely, friendly, funny man. He went back to South Africa — today he is a retired Supreme Court justice. He not only lived to see the end of apartheid, he stuck around long enough to rewrite all the goddamn laws. Check out this quote from an interview with him:
His calm, philosophical demeanour enabled him to meet the person who organised the placing of the bomb in his car 20 years ago. They came face to face years later, assailant and his victim; two men from diametrically opposed philosophies brought together by unique circumstances. Sachs called him “an instrument of his side” and the security official proffered his hand upon meeting him. Albie Sachs declined.
“I told him I couldn’t shake his hand but maybe we could meet after he went to the Truth & Reconciliation Committee. Nine months later, we saw each other again and I then shook his hand. He came to see me and we had an extraordinary conversation. This was the man who had tried to kill me but we didn’t hate each other.”
In Sachs’ words, the man left that meeting absolutely beaming. But he heard later, his assailant went home and cried for two weeks.
“I feel that we have achieved what I call my soft vengeance. It is much more beautiful than ordinary punishment. It is a huge transformation… that validates everything we went through.”
I love this quote. And what does a South African freedom fighter have to do with infidelity? He’s an inspiration. People survive far worse shit than infidelity, and they rise above it. Your life was blown up? This man was literally blown up. The notion of “soft vengeance” is so moving to me. Far better than destroying the man who tried to destroy him, Sachs shattered him by succeeding. And had the grace to shake that man’s hand.
You may never get crying remorse from your cheater, they won’t go to a tribunal like the TRC to atone for their crimes, but you can be like Albie Sachs and not let the bastards kill you.