Peace and conflict transformation has globally been on the spotlight, especially after the grand finale of World War II and Cold War. It was then that the new idea of “transitional justice” had been officially introduced, including both judicial and non-judicial measures implemented in order to redress legacies of human rights abuses. Memory, truth, healing, human rights protection, reparation, and finally reconciliation, all interlinked and interconnected, appeared as a necessity which is ongoing until modern ages especially in conflict and post-conflict areas. Still wondering what this is all about? Well…
The process of reconciliation is not an excuse for impunity or a solely individual process. It is not in opposition to or an alternative to truth and justice neither is it a quick answer! It should not be considered a religious concept or a matter of merely forgiving and an excuse to forget. In no case though should we imagine perfect peace provided by a tabula rasa.
On the contrary, reconciliation equals:
- finding a way to live that permits a vision of the future;
- (re)building relationships;
- coming to terms with past acts and enemies;
- a society-wide, long-term process of deep change;
- a process of acknowledging, remembering, and learning from the past;
- a voluntary process that cannot be imposed1.
1 Reconciliation After Violent Conflict: A Handbook (2003), by David Bloomfield, Teresa Barnes and Luc Huyse – International IDEA Handbook Series
And quoting Nelson Mandela “In the end, reconciliation is a spiritual process, which requires more than just a legal framework. It has to happen in the hearts and minds of people.”
It is a fact though, that reconciliation is not about a sole moment. It’s not a glimpse of an eye. Neither is it a matter of chance and fate. It is a process!
Is it a challenging process? YES!
Is it demanding and sensitive? ABSOLUTELY!
Is it worth it? THERE IS NO DOUBT!