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> Why the difference?

Religion or religious history can account for at least some of the difference.

A lot of religions explicitly teach and emphasize forgiveness, even for grave injustices [0]. When people have an attitude that says "forgiveness is required", this can have a lasting and widespread influence. Nations with a strong history in such teachings, even if they are not particularly religious now, may retain that attitude toward forgiveness.

[0] A friend of mine wrote, after his sister was murdered, that he had no option but to forgive, that regardless of his emotions, his theology required it. http://darrow.faithweb.com/murder.htm

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