In the wake of unthinkable atrocities, it is reasonable to ask how any population can move on from the experience of genocide. Simply remembering the past can, in the shadow of mass death, be retraumatizing. So how can such momentous events be memorialized in a way that is productive and even healing for survivors? Genocide memorials tell a story about the past, preserve evidence of the violence that occurred, and provide emotional support to survivors. But the goal of amplifying survivors’ voices can fade amid larger narratives entrenched in political motivations.
In After Genocide,Nicole Fox investigates the ways memorials can shape the experiences of survivors decades after mass violence has ended. She examines how memorializations can both heal and hurt, especially when they fail to represent all genders, ethnicities, and classes of those afflicted. Drawing on extensive interviews with Rwandans, Fox reveals their relationships to these spaces and uncovers those voices silenced by the dominant narrative—arguing that the erasure of such stories is an act of violence itself. The book probes the ongoing question of how to fit survivors in to the dominant narrative of healing and importantly demonstrates how memorials can shape possibilities for growth, national cohesion, reconciliation, and hope for the future.
Has South Africa dealt effectively with the past, and is the country ready to face the future? What are the challenges facing both government and civil society in the years ahead? These and other questions are explored in this collection of essays by international and local commentators on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
A range of perspectives on whether the TRC met its objectives of truth and reconciliation is presented. The areas of particular contention-the payment of reparation, the granting of amnesty, and memorialization-are also examined.
Finally, the major challenges facing South Africa are identified, and ways of meeting these challenges and developing the assets of the nation are explored.
Contributors: Haribert Adam, Kanya Adam, Alex Boraine, Colin Bundy, Mary Burton, John de Gruchy, Richard Goldstone, Willem Heath, Wilmot James, Jeffrey Lever, Mahmood Mamdani, Gary Minkley, Njabulo Ndebele, Dumisa Ntsebeza, Kaizer Nyatsumba, Grace Naledi Pandor, Mamphela Ramphele, Ciraj Rassool, Albie Sachs, Patricia Valdez, Linda van de Vijver, Jan van Eck, Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert, Charles Villa-Vicencio, Francis Wilson, and Leslie Witz
In 1993, white American Fulbright scholar Amy Biehl was killed in a racially motivated attack near Cape Town, after spending months working to promote democracy and women’s rights in South Africa. The ironic circumstances of her death generated enormous international publicity and yielded one of South Africa’s most heralded stories of postapartheid reconciliation. Amy’s parents not only established a humanitarian foundation to serve the black township where she was killed, but supported amnesty for her killers and hired two of the young men to work for the Amy Biehl Foundation. The Biehls were hailed as heroes by Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and many others in South Africa and the United States—but their path toward healing was neither quick nor easy.
Granted unrestricted access to the Biehl family’s papers, Steven Gish brings Amy and the Foundation to life in ways that have eluded previous authors. He is the first to place Biehl’s story in its full historical context, while also presenting a gripping portrait of this remarkable young woman and the aftermath of her death across two continents.
In the aftermath of the genocide, the Rwandan government has attempted to use the education system in order to sustain peace and shape a new generation of Rwandans. Their hope is to create a generation focused on a unified and patriotic future rather than the ethnically divisive past. Yet, the government’s efforts to manipulate global models around citizenship, human rights, and reconciliation to serve its national goals have had mixed results, with new tensions emerging across social groups. Becoming Rwandan argues that although the Rwandan government utilizes global discourses in national policy documents, the way in which teachers and students engage with these global models distorts the intention of the government, resulting in unintended consequences and undermining a sustainable peace.
Nation-building imperatives compel citizens to focus on what makes them similar and what binds them together, forgetting what makes them different. Democratic institution building, on the other hand, requires fostering opposition through conducting multiparty elections and encouraging debate. Leaders of democratic factions, like parties or interest groups, can consolidate their power by emphasizing difference. But when held in tension, these two impulses—toward remembering difference and forgetting it, between focusing on unity and encouraging division—are mutually constitutive of sustainable democracy.
?Based on ethnographic and interview-based fieldwork conducted in 2012–13, The Black and White Rainbow: Reconciliation, Opposition, and Nation-Building in Democratic South Africa explores various themes of nation- and democracy-building, including the emotional and banal content of symbols of the post-apartheid state, the ways that gender and race condition nascent nationalism, the public performance of nationalism and other group-based identities, integration and sharing of space, language diversity, and the role of democratic functioning including party politics and modes of opposition. Each of these thematic chapters aims to explicate a feature of the multifaceted nature of identity-building, and link the South African case to broader literatures on both nationalism and democracy.
The most bitter guerrilla conflict in American history raged along the Kansas-Missouri border from 1856 to 1865, making that frontier the first battleground in the struggle over slavery. That fiercely contested boundary represented the most explosive political fault line in the United States, and its bitter divisions foreshadowed an entire nation torn asunder. Jeremy Neely now examines the significance of the border war on both sides of the Kansas-Missouri line and offers a comparative, cross-border analysis of its origins, meanings, and consequences.
A narrative history of the border war and its impact on citizens of both states, The Border between Them recounts the exploits of John Brown, William Quantrill, and other notorious guerrillas, but it also uncovers the stories of everyday people who lived through that conflict. Examining the frontier period to the close of the nineteenth century, Neely frames the guerrilla conflict within the larger story of the developing West and squares that violent period with the more peaceful—though never tranquil—periods that preceded and followed it.
Focusing on the countryside south of the big bend in the Missouri River, an area where there was no natural boundary separating the states, Neely examines three border counties in each state that together illustrate both sectional division and national reunion. He draws on the letters and diaries of ordinary citizens—as well as newspaper accounts, election results, and census data—to illuminate the complex strands that helped bind Kansas and Missouri together in post–Civil War America. He shows how people on both sides of the line were already linked by common racial attitudes, farming practices, and ambivalence toward railroad expansion; he then tells how emancipation, industrialization, and immigration eventually eroded wartime divisions and facilitated the reconciliation of old foes from each state.
Today the “border war” survives in the form of interstate rivalries between collegiate Tigers and Jayhawks, allowing Neely to consider the limits of that reconciliation and the enduring power of identities forged in wartime. The Border between Them is a compelling account of the terrible first act of the American Civil War and its enduring legacy for the conflict’s veterans, victims, and survivors, as well as subsequent generations.
No one can deny how September 11, 2001, has altered our understandings of "Peace" and "Justice" and "Civil Conflict." Those have become words with startling new life in our vocabularies. Yet "making" peace and "doing" justice must remain challenges that are among the highest callings of humanity—especially in a terror-heightened world. Nigel Biggar, Christian ethicist and editor of this now more than ever "must read" (Choice) volume, newly expanded and updated, addresses head-on the concept of a redemptive burying of the past, urging that the events of that infamous date be approached as a transnational model of conflict-and suggesting, wisely and calmly, that justice can be even the better understood if we should undertake the very important task of locating the sources of hostility, valid or not, toward the West.
Burying the Past asks these important questions: How do newly democratic nations put to rest the conflicts of the past? Is granting forgiveness a politically viable choice for those in power? Should justice be restorative or retributive? Beginning with a conceptual approach to justice and forgiveness and moving to an examination of reconciliation on the political and on the psychological level, the collection examines the quality of peace as it has been forged in the civil conflicts in Rwanda, South Africa, Chile, Guatemala and Northern Ireland.
There are times in history when "making peace" and "doing justice" seem almost impossible in the face of horrendous events. Those responses are understandably human. But it is in times just like these when humanity can—and must—rise to its possibilities and to its higher purposes in order to continue considering itself just and humane.
Coexistence in the Aftermath of Mass Violence demonstrates how imagination, empathy, and resilience contribute to the processes of social repair after ethnic and political violence. Adding to the literature on transitional justice, peacebuilding, and the anthropology of violence and social repair, the authors show how these conceptual pathways—imagination, empathy and resilience—enhance recovery, coexistence, and sustainable peace. Coexistence (or reconciliation) is the underlying goal or condition desired after mass violence, enabling survivors to move forward with their lives. Imagination allows these survivors (victims, perpetrators, bystanders) to draw guidance and inspiration from their social and cultural imaginaries, to develop empathy, and to envision a future of peace and coexistence. Resilience emerges through periods of violence and its aftermaths through acts of survival, compassion, modes of rebuilding social worlds, and the establishment of a peaceful society.
Focusing on society at the grass roots level, the authors discuss the myriad and little understood processes of social repair that allow ruptured societies and communities to move toward a peaceful and stable future. The volume also illustrates some of the ways in which imagination, empathy, and resilience may contribute to the prevention of future violence and the authors conclude with a number of practical and policy recommendations. The cases include Cambodia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, Colombia, the Southern Cone, Iraq, and Bosnia.
Decency remains one of the most prevalent yet least understood terms in today’s political discourse. In evoking respect, kindness, courage, integrity, reason, and tolerance, it has long expressed an unquestioned duty and belief in promoting and protecting the dignity of all persons. Today this unquestioned belief is in crisis. Tribalism and identity politics have both hindered and threatened its moral stability and efficacy. Still, many continue to undertheorize its political character by isolating it from the effects of identity politics. Decency and Difference argues that decency is a primary source of the political tension that has long shaped the struggles for power, identity, and justice in the global arena. It distinguishes among basic, conservative, and liberal strands of decency to critically examine the many conflicting and competing applications of decency in global politics. Together these different strands reflect a long and uneven evolution from the British and American empires to a global network of justice. This powerful book exposes the gaps of decency and the disparate ways it is practiced, thus addressing the global challenge of configuring a diverse political ethic of decency.
On November 3, 1979, five protest marchers in Greensboro, North Carolina, were shot and killed by the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party. There were no police present, but television crews captured the shootings on video. Despite two criminal trials, none of the killers ever served time for their crimes, exposing what many believed to be the inadequacy of judicial, political, and economic systems in the United States. Twenty-five years later, in 2004, Greensboro residents, inspired by post-apartheid South Africa, initiated a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to take public testimony and examine the causes, sequence of events, and consequences of the massacre. The TRC was to be a process and a tool by which citizens could feel confident about the truth of the city's history in order to reconcile divergent understandings of past and current city values, and it became the foundation for the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the United States. Spoma Jovanovic, who worked alongside other community members to document the grassroots effort to convene the first TRC in the United States, provides a resource and case study of how citizens in one community used their TRC as a way to understand the past and conceive the future. This book preserves the historical significance of a people's effort to seek truth and work for reconciliation, shows a variety of discourse models for other communities to use in seeking to redress past harms, and demonstrates the power of community action to promote participatory democracy.
In 2002, North Korea precipitated a major international crisis when it revealed the existence of a secret nuclear weapons program and announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Earlier in the year, George W. Bush had declared North Korea part of the “axis of evil,” and soon afterward his administration listed the country as a potential target of a preemptive nuclear strike. Pyongyang’s angry reaction ensured the complete deterioration of relations on the Korean peninsula, where only two years before the leaders of North and South Korea had come together in a historic summit meeting.
Few international conflicts are as volatile, protracted, or seemingly insoluble as the one in Korea, where mutual mistrust, hostile Cold War attitudes, and the possibility of a North Korean economic collapse threaten the security of the entire region. For Roland Bleiker, this persistently recurring pattern suggests profound structural problems within and between the two Koreas that have not been acknowledged until now. Expanding the discussion beyond geopolitics and ideology, Bleiker places peninsular tensions in the context of an ongoing struggle over competing forms of Korean identity. Divided Korea examines both domestic and international attitudes toward Korean identity, the legacy of war, and the possibilities for-and anxieties about-unification.
Divided Korea challenges the prevailing logic of confrontation and deterrence, embarking on a fundamental reassessment of both the roots of the conflict and the means to achieve a more stable political environment and, ultimately, peace. In order to realize a lasting solution, Bleiker concludes, the two Koreas and the international community must first show a willingness to accept difference and contemplate forgiveness as part of a broader reconciliation process.
Roland Bleiker is professor of international relations at the University of Queensland. From 1986 to 1988 he served as chief of office for the Swiss delegation to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in Panmunjom.
This book brings together a unique combination of experts in the area of conflict resolution and focuses on the role forgiveness can play in the process. It deals with the theology, public policy, psychological and social theory, and social policy implementation of forgiveness.
The first section of the book explores how ideas like "forgiveness" and "reconciliation" are moving out from the seminary and academy into the world of public policy, and how these terms have been used and defined in the past. One of the contributors, Miroslav Volf, speaks to the Christian contribution of a more peaceful environment. The second section looks at forgiveness and public policy. One of the chapters, by Donald W. Shriver Jr., addresses forgiveness in a secular political forum.
The third section of the book draws us to a more particular analysis of the relationship between forgiveness and reconciliation from voices in the academic and theological community. John Paul Lederach presents five qualities of practice in support of the reconciliation process. John Dawson gives hope for peace-making in a new century. The final section highlights the work of practitioners currently working with religion, public policy, and conflict transformation, particularly in areas such as Ireland and Africa. This book will be an essential for libraries, scholars, conflict negotiators, and all people who hope to understand the role of forgiveness in the peace process.
Contributors include: Desmond M. Tutu, Rodney L. Petersen, Miroslav Volf, Stanley S. Harakas, Raymond G. Helmick, SJ, Joseph V. Montville, Douglas M. Johnston, Donna Hicks, Donald W. Shriver, Jr., Everett L. Worthington, Jr., John Paul Lederach, Ervin Staub, Laurie Anne Pearlman, John Dawson, Audrey R. Chapman, Olga Botcharova, Anthony da Silva, SJ, Geraldine Smythe, OP, Andrea Bartoli, Ofelia Ortega, and George F. R. Ellis.
Before the Civil War, Northern, Southern, and Western political cultures crashed together on the middle border, where the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers meet. German Americans who settled in the region took an antislavery stance, asserting a liberal nationalist philosophy rooted in their revolutionary experience in Europe that emphasized individual rights and freedoms. By contextualizing German Americans in their European past and exploring their ideological formation in failed nationalist revolutions, Zachary Stuart Garrison adds nuance and complexity to their story.
Liberal German immigrants, having escaped the European aristocracy who undermined their revolution and the formation of a free nation, viewed slaveholders as a specter of European feudalism. During the antebellum years, many liberal German Americans feared slavery would inhibit westward progress, and so they embraced the Free Soil and Free Labor movements and the new Republican Party. Most joined the Union ranks during the Civil War.
After the war, in a region largely opposed to black citizenship and Radical Republican rule, German Americans were seen as dangerous outsiders. Facing a conservative resurgence, liberal German Republicans employed the same line of reasoning they had once used to justify emancipation: A united nation required the end of both federal occupation in the South and special protections for African Americans. Having played a role in securing the Union, Germans largely abandoned the freedmen and freedwomen. They adopted reconciliation in order to secure their place in the reunified nation. Garrison’s unique transnational perspective to the sectional crisis, the Civil War, and the postwar era complicates our understanding of German Americans on the middle border.
Hasidism on the Margin explores one of the most provocative and radical traditions of Hasidic thought, the school of Izbica and Radzin that Rabbi Gershon Henokh originated in nineteenth-century Poland. Shaul Magid traces the intellectual history of this strand of Judaism from medieval Jewish philosophy through centuries of Kabbalistic texts to the nineteenth century and into the present. He contextualizes the Hasidism of Izbica-Radzin in the larger philosophy and history of religions and provides a model for inquiry into other forms of Hasidism.
The construction of memory entails a battle not only between memory and forgetting but also between different memories. There are multiple constructions of memory, and in the dispute between them, some become hegemonic, while others remain in the margins. Ana Forcinito explores the intermittences of transitional justice and memory in post-dictatorship Uruguay. The processes of building memory and transitional justice are repetitive but inconstant. They are contested by both internal and external forces and shaped by tensions between oblivion and silence. Forcinito explores models of reconciliation to present an alternative narrative of the past and to expose the blind spots of memory.
What would it take to renew our ability to name our sins in a meaningful and pertinent way? Naming sins is a particularly important task for Catholic moral theology, but it is one that often falls back into a paradigm of simple violations of rules. While laws and commandments are essential, Vatican II’s universal call to holiness and the revival of virtue ethics require moving further. Yet in part because moral theologians today tend to be lay people, not priests, there has been a de-emphasis on the confession of sins. Contemporary questions like poverty, racism, and abortion are usually connected to questions about sin in some way, but they are disconnected from the idea of naming specific sins in the sacrament of penance. Lay moral theologians raise these issues in a way that makes clear their implications for a parish social justice committee (or the voting booth), but not their implications for the naming of sins in the sacrament of reconciliation. Naming Our Sins proposes to re-make that connection: the moral theologian’s task of helping people name individual sins needs to be restored, though in ways distinctive from dominant pre-Vatican II notions.
In this volume, editors Jana Bennett and David Cloutier gather some of the best of the current generation of moral theologians in order to reflect on the classic tradition of the vices. It is crucial to the Christian understanding of sin that we recognize (a) we bear at least some responsibilities for injuries, and (b) God wants us to participate in the process of healing and conversion. Neither the sin itself nor the healing simply come from somewhere else; the task of naming sins enlists us as mature, growing disciples.
Each chapter takes on a different classical vice, describing the vice, exploring its dimensions in contemporary experience, and moving the reader toward naming specific sins that arise from the vice. The concluding chapters from Catholic priests explore two basic dimensions of the sacrament of penance: liturgical and communal.
Perhaps no country in history has so directly and thoroughly confronted its past in an effort to shape its future as has South Africa. Working from the belief that understanding the past will help build a more peaceful and democratic future, South Africa has made a concerted, institutionalized effort to come to grips with its history of apartheid through its Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In Overcoming Apartheid, James L. Gibson provides the first systematic assessment of whether South Africa's truth and reconciliation process has been successful. Has the process allowed South Africa to let go of its painful past and move on? Or has it exacerbated racial tensions by revisiting painful human rights violations and granting amnesty to their perpetrators? Overcoming Apartheid reports on the largest and most comprehensive study of post-apartheid attitudes in South Africa to date, involving a representative sample of all major racial, ethnic, and linguistic groups. Grounding his analysis of truth in theories of collective memory, Gibson discovers that the process has been most successful in creating a common understanding of the nature of apartheid. His analysis then demonstrates how this common understanding is helping to foster reconciliation, as defined by the acceptance of basic principles of human rights and political tolerance, rejection of racial prejudice, and acceptance of the institutions of a new political order. Gibson identifies key elements in the process—such as acknowledging shared responsibility for atrocities of the past—that are essential if reconciliation is to move forward. He concludes that without the truth and reconciliation process, the prospects for a reconciled, democratic South Africa would diminish considerably. Gibson also speculates about whether the South African experience provides any lessons for other countries around the globe trying to overcome their repressive pasts. A groundbreaking work of social science research, Overcoming Apartheid is also a primer for utilizing innovative conceptual and methodological tools in analyzing truth processes throughout the world. It is sure to be a valuable resource for political scientists, social scientists, group relations theorists, and students of transitional justice and human rights.
In case studies focusing on contemporary crises spanning Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe, the scholars in this volume examine the dominant prescriptive practices of late neoliberal post-conflict interventions—such as statebuilding, peacebuilding, transitional justice, refugee management, reconstruction, and redevelopment—and contend that the post-conflict environment is in fact created and sustained by this international technocratic paradigm of peacebuilding. Key international stakeholders—from activists to politicians, humanitarian agencies to financial institutions—characterize disparate sites as “weak,” “fragile,” or “failed” states and, as a result, prescribe peacebuilding techniques that paradoxically disable effective management of post-conflict spaces while perpetuating neoliberal political and economic conditions. Treating all efforts to represent post-conflict environments as problematic, the goal becomes understanding the underlying connection between post-conflict conditions and the actions and interventions of peacebuilding technocracies.
“In The Price of Racial Reconciliation, Ronald Walters offers an abundance of riches. This book provides an extraordinarily comprehensive and persuasive set of arguments for reparations, and will be the lens through which meaningful opportunities for reconciliation are viewed in the future. If this book does not lead to the success of the reparations movement, nothing will.”
—Charles J. Ogletree, Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
“The Price of Racial Reconciliation is a seminal study of comparative histories and race(ism) in the formation of state structures that prefigure(d) socioeconomic positions of Black peoples in South Africa and the United States. The scholarship is meticulous in brilliantly constructed analysis of the politics of memory, reparations as an immutable principle of justice, imperative for nonracial(ist) democracy, and a regime of racial reconciliation.”
—James Turner, Professor of African and African American Studies and Founder, Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University
“A fascinating and pathbreaking analysis of the attempt at racial reconciliation in South Africa which asks if that model is relevant to the contemporary American racial dilemma. An engaging multidisciplinary approach relevant to philosophy, sociology, history, and political science.”
—William Strickland, Associate Professor of Political Science, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst
The issue of reparations in America provokes a lot of interest, but the public debate usually occurs at the level of historical accounting: “Who owes what for slavery?” This book attempts to get past that question to address racial restitution within the framework of larger societal interests. For example, the answer to the “why reparations?” question is more than the moral of payment for an injustice done in the past. Ronald Walters suggests that, insofar as the impact of slavery is still very much with us today and has been reinforced by forms of postslavery oppression, the objective of racial harmony will be disrupted unless it is recognized with the solemnity and amelioration it deserves. The author concludes that the grand narrative of black oppression in the United States—which contains the past and present summary of the black experience—prevents racial reconciliation as long as some substantial form of racial restitution is not seriously considered. This is “the price” of reconciliation.
The method for achieving this finding is grounded in comparative politics, where the analyses of institutions and political behaviors are standard approaches. The author presents the conceptual difficulties involved in the project of racial reconciliation by comparing South African Truth and Reconciliation and the demand for reparations in the United States.
Ronald Walters is Distinguished Leadership Scholar and Director, African American Leadership Program and Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland.
Secrets and snakes, rock and gospel, guilt and grace.
The Psalms of Israel Jones is the story of a father and son’s journey towards spiritual redemption. This novel tells the tale of a famous father trapped inside the suffocating world of rock and roll, and his son who is stranded within the bounds of conventional religion.
When Reverend Thomas Johnson receives an anonymous phone call, he learns his Dylanesque rock star father is acting deranged on stage, where he’s being worshipped by a cult of young people who slash their faces during performances. In his declining years, Israel Jones has begun to incite his fans to violence. They no longer want to watch the show—they want to be the show.
Eager to escape troubles with his congregation as well as gain an apology from his dad for abandoning his family, Reverend Johnson leaves town and joins Israel Jones’s Eternal Tour. This decision propels him to the center of a rock and roll hell, giving him one last chance to reconnect with his father, wife, congregation—and maybe even God.
The Psalms of Israel Jones is the 2010 Hackney Literary Award winner for an unpublished manuscript.
A meditation on the lessons to be learned from South Africa's transformation in the wake of apartheid.
Justice, truth, and identity; race, society, and law--all come into dramatic play as South Africa makes the tumultuous transition to a post-apartheid democracy. Seeking the timeless through the timely and trying to find the deeper meaning in the sweep of events, Daniel Herwitz brings the vast resources of the philosophical essay to bear on the new realities of post-apartheid South Africa--from racial identity to truth commissions, from architecture to film and television.
A public intellectual's reflections on public life, Herwitz's essays question how the new South Africa has constructed its concepts of reconciliation and return and how its historical emergence has meant a rethinking, reimagining, reexperiencing, relabeling, and repoliticizing of race. Herwitz's purpose is to give a philosophical reading of society--a society already relying on implicitly philosophical concepts in its social and political agendas. Working through these concepts, testing their relevance for reading society, his book itself becomes a part of the politics of definition and description in the new South Africa.
Daniel Herwitz is director of the Institute for the Humanities, University of Michigan, and holds professorships in art and philosophy at the School for Art and Design. He taught at the University of Natal in South Africa from 1996 to 2002.
No historical event has left as deep an imprint on America's collective memory as the Civil War. In the war's aftermath, Americans had to embrace and cast off a traumatic past. David Blight explores the perilous path of remembering and forgetting, and reveals its tragic costs to race relations and America's national reunion.
Postapartheid South Africa's efforts to come to terms with its past, particularly its Truth and Reconciliation Commission's emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation, is of special interest to many in the world community. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was mandated to go beyond truth-finding and to "promote national unity and reconciliation in a spirit of understanding which transcends the conflict and divisions of the past." In contrast with other truth commissions, the TRC was led by clerics rather than lawyers and judge, and the TRC's approach to reconciliation was shaped by and imbued with religious content. The TRC submitted its final report to the Mandela administration in October 1998.
Over the next two years, the Rev. Bernard Spong, former communications director of the South African Council of Churches, conducted a series of in-depth interviews about the TRC with thirty-three key religious figures. In this volume, they discuss and evaluate the following issues:
•How should we understand the concept of national or political reconciliation and its requirements?
•What are the differences and similarities between religious and political approaches to reconciliation?
•Does national or political reconciliation require forgiveness between former victims and perpetrators?
•What is the appropriate role of religious representatives in a truth commission process? And is it recommended that other countries emulate the South African model?
•How do religious leaders assess the contributions and limitations of the TRC?
•What kind of initiatives are contemporary religious communities taking to promote reconciliation among their members and in the wider society?
The conversations presented in this volume, and the essays interpreting them, seek to illuminate issues and questions raised by the TRC model, including how to conceptualize reconciliation and the differences between political and religious approaches.
Most current talk of forgiveness and reconciliation in the aftermath of collective violence proceeds from an assumption that forgiveness is always superior to resentment and refusal to forgive. Victims who demonstrate a willingness to forgive are often celebrated as virtuous moral models, while those who refuse to forgive are frequently seen as suffering from a pathology. Resentment is viewed as a negative state, held by victims who are not "ready" or "capable" of forgiving and healing.
Resentment's Virtue offers a new, more nuanced view. Building on the writings of Holocaust survivor Jean Améry and the work of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Thomas Brudholm argues that the preservation of resentment can be the reflex of a moral protest that might be as permissible, humane or honorable as the willingness to forgive. Taking into account the experiences of victims, the findings of truth commissions, and studies of mass atrocities, Brudholm seeks to enrich the philosophical understanding of resentment.
The ongoing violence, despair and paralysis among Israelis and Palestinians resemble the gloomy period in South Africa during the late 1980s. Heribert Adam and Kogila Moodley show that these analogies with South Africa can be applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for two purposes: to showcase South Africa as an inspiring model for a negotiated settlement and to label Israel a "colonial settler state" that should be confronted with strategies (sanctions, boycotts) similar to those applied against the apartheid regime. Because of the different historical and socio-political contexts, both assumptions are problematic. Whereas peacemaking resulted in an inclusive democracy in South Africa, the favored solution for Israel and the West Bank is territorial separation into two states. Adam and Moodley speculate on what would have happened in the Middle East had there been what they call "a Palestinian Mandela" providing unifying moral and strategic leadership in the ethnic conflict. A timely, relevant look at the issues of a polarized struggle, Seeking Mandela is an original comparison of South Africa and Israel, as well as an important critique on the nature of comparative politics.
Sulh is a centuries-old Arab-Islamic peacemaking process. In Shades ofSulh, Rasha Diab explores the possibilities of the rhetoric of sulh, as it is used to resolve intrapersonal, interpersonal, communal, national, and international conflicts, and provides cases that illustrate each of these domains. Diab demonstrates the adaptability and range of sulh as a ritual and practice that travels across spheres of activity (juridical, extra-juridical, political, diplomatic), through time (medieval, modern, contemporary), and over geopolitical borders (Cairo, Galilee, and Medina). Together, the cases prove the flexibility of sulh in the discourse of peacemaking—and that sulh has remarkable rhetorical longevity, versatility, and richness. Shades ofSulh sheds new light on rhetorics of reconciliation, human rights discourse, and Arab-Islamic rhetorics.
Sin, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation: Christian and Muslim Perspectives is a collection of essays and scripture passages studied at the 2014 Building Bridges seminar.
Thoughtful and provocative, the book begins with the complete texts of the opening lectures by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen and Jonathan A. C. Brown and contains essays by Christoph Schwöbel, Ayman Shabana, Susan Eastman, Mohammad Hassan Khalil, Philip Sheldrake, and Asma Afsaruddin. Peppered throughout with relevant scripture passages and commentary, the text concludes with an extensive account of the informal conversations at the seminar that conveys the lively and respectful dialogue that is the hallmark of this meeting.
Debates have swirled around the question of national forgiveness for the past fifty years. Using two examples—the land claims of the Oneida Indians and the claims for reparations to Japanese Americans interned during World War II—Brian Weiner suggests a way of thinking about national misdeeds. Arguing beyond collective "innocence" or "guilt," Sins of the Parents offers a model of collective responsibility to deal with past wrongs in such a way as to reinvigorate our notion of citizenship. Drawing upon the writings of Abraham Lincoln and Hannah Arendt, Weiner offers a definition of political responsibility that at once defines citizenship and sidesteps the familial, racial, and ethnic questions that often ensnare debates about national apologies. An original contribution to political theory and practice, Sins of the Parents will become a much discussed contribution in the debate about what it is to be an American.
Race remains a potent and divisive force in our society. Whether it is the shooting of minority people by the police, the mass incarceration of people of color, or the recent KKK rallies that have been in the news, it is clear that the scars from the United States’ histories of slavery and racial discrimination run too deep to simply be ignored. But what are the most productive ways to deal with the toxic and torturous legacies of American racism?
Slavery’s Descendants brings together contributors from a variety of racial backgrounds, all members or associates of a national racial reconciliation organization called Coming to the Table, to tell their stories of dealing with America’s racial past through their experiences and their family histories. Some are descendants of slaveholders, some are descendants of the enslaved, and many are descendants of both slaveholders and slaves. What they all have in common is a commitment toward collective introspection, and a willingness to think critically about how the nation’s histories of oppression continue to ripple into the present, affecting us all.
The stories in Slavery’s Descendants deal with harrowing topics—rape, lynching, cruelty, shame—but they also describe acts of generosity, gratitude, and love. Together, they help us confront the legacy of slavery to reclaim a more complete picture of U.S. history, one cousin at a time.
Political violence does not end with the last death. A common feature of mass murder has been the attempt at destroying any memory of victims, with the aim of eliminating them from history. Perpetrators seek not only to eliminate a perceived threat, but also to eradicate any possibility of alternate, competing social and national histories. In his timely and important book, Unchopping a Tree, Ernesto Verdeja develops a critical justification for why transitional justice works. He asks, “What is the balance between punishment and forgiveness? And, “What are the stakes in reconciling?”
Employing a normative theory of reconciliation that differs from prevailing approaches, Verdeja outlines a concept that emphasizes the importance of shared notions of moral respect and tolerance among adversaries in transitional societies. Drawing heavily from cases such as reconciliation efforts in Latin America and Africa—and interviews with people involved in such efforts—Verdeja debates how best to envision reconciliation while remaining realistic about the very significant practical obstacles such efforts face
Unchopping a Tree addresses the core concept of respect across four different social levels—political, institutional, civil society, and interpersonal—to explain the promise and challenges to securing reconciliation and broader social regeneration.
In the fall of 1957, Gov. Orval Faubus used the Arkansas National Guard to prohibit nine black children from entering Little Rock's Central High School. In the fall of 1997, the "Little Rock Nine" returned to Central High, this time escorted by President Bill Clinton. In the forty years that had intervened, the United States witnessed substantial changes in American race relations, but the city of Little Rock had not overcome its legacy of strife. The two-year crisis, once over, left behind confusion and misunderstanding. Racial and class-based mistrust lingers in the city of Little Rock, and, nationally and internationally, perceptions of Arkansas are still tied to the decades-old images of hatred and strife that marked the Little Rock crisis. In 1997, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock sponsored a gathering of scholars who traced the origins and addressed the legacy of the Central High crisis. Elizabeth Jacoway and C. Fred Williams commissioned a series of original and insightful papers that discussed economic, constitutional, historical, and personal aspects of the crisis and of segregation. Jacoway and Williams have collected the best of these papers, by such authors as Sheldon Hackney, Joel Williamson, and James Cobb and offer them here in the hope of enhancing understanding of, and creating a dialogue about, this defining moment in American history. This collection of accessible and provocative essays on a signal event in civil rights in this nation will resonate broadly and appeal to a diverse audience.
In the 1990s, many evangelical Christian organizations and church leaders began to acknowledge their long history of racism and launched efforts at becoming more inclusive of people of color. While much of this racial reconciliation movement has not directly confronted systemic racism's structural causes, there exists a smaller countermovement within evangelicalism, primarily led by women of color who are actively engaged in antiracism and social justice struggles. In Unreconciled Andrea Smith examines these movements through a critical ethnic studies lens, evaluating the varying degrees to which evangelical communities that were founded on white supremacy have addressed racism. Drawing on evangelical publications, sermons, and organization statements, as well as ethnographic fieldwork and participation in evangelical events, Smith shows how evangelicalism is largely unable to effectively challenge white supremacy due to its reliance upon discourses of whiteness. At the same time, the work of progressive evangelical women of color not only demonstrates that evangelical Christianity can be an unexpected place in which to find theoretical critique and social justice organizing but also shows how critical ethnic studies' interventions can be applied broadly across political and religious divides outside the academy.
Effective peace agreements are rarely accomplished by idealists. The process of moving from situations of entrenched oppression, armed conflict, open warfare, and mass atrocities toward peace and reconciliation requires a series of small steps and compromises to open the way for the kind of dialogue and negotiation that make political stability, the beginning of democracy, and the rule of law a possibility.
For over forty years, Charles Villa-Vicencio has been on the front lines of Africa's battle for racial equality. In Walk with Us and Listen, he argues that reconciliation needs honest talk to promote trust building and enable former enemies and adversaries to explore joint solutions to the cause of their conflicts. He offers a critical assessment of the South African experiment in transitional justice as captured in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and considers the influence of ubuntu, in which individuals are defined by their relationships, and other traditional African models of reconciliation. Political reconciliation is offered as a cautious model against which transitional politics needs to be measured. Villa-Vicencio challenges those who stress the obligation to prosecute those allegedly guilty of gross violation of human rights, replacing this call with the need for more complementarity between the International Criminal Court and African mechanisms to achieve the greater goals of justice and peace building.