When one of your closest friends, whom you have known for more than 50 years, is accused of a crime you know they couldn’t possibly have committed, of course you defend them to the hilt. You berate the people who reported them to the police, you berate society for encouraging those people to have done so when they clearly weren’t in possession of the facts, or when they exaggerated because they had their minds twisted by others. You sympathise with your friend and you feel devastated that there’s nothing you can do to ease the pain of their ruined life. For the next 20 years you feel bitter about their treatment. And then one day you discover things you had never known about their past. And finally they admit to you, their closest friend, that actually they might just have been at least partially guilty. And when you know the whole story, you know why they did it, and even though it was a terrible thing, you understand it completely. And it turns your whole world upside down.
The more I travel, the more I read and learn, and the more I experience different cultures, the more I realise that there are two sides to every story. And the world is never as black and white as you think. Even when the most hateful crimes and the darkest deeds are committed, you can guarantee there’s a patch of white in there somewhere. There’s at least a tiny part of it that makes perfect sense, and that deserves our compassion.