By Sioum Gebeyehou
There is no one-size-fits-all global reconciliation program
The end goal of the various reconciliation programs is the promotion of national unity and transformation, and the healing of a traumatized, divided, wounded and polarized people by searching the truth, accountability, justice, forgiveness and healing.
However. the implementation strategy, tactic and process is not a one-size-fits-all that is easily understood across cultures, identities, nations and societies. Hence, different people, from different parts of the globe, having been affected in distinct ways, by different conflicts, have a different and peculiar understanding of the concept of reconciliation and how the process should be engaged to influence the outcome.
This is aptly captured by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who noted that: “As our experience has taught us, each society must discover its own route to reconciliation. Reconciliation cannot be imposed from outside, nor can someone else’s map get us to our destination: it must be our own solution. This involves a very long and painful journey, addressing the pain and suffering of the victims, understanding the motivation of the offenders, bringing together estranged communities, trying to find a path to justice, truth and ultimately peace. Faced with each new instance of violent conflict, new solutions must be devised that are appropriate to the particular context, history and culture in question.”
Reconciliation is, therefore, always a dynamic and adaptive process aimed at building and healing interpersonal and community lives and relationships.
While the overall theoretical overview shown below is similar to the reconciliation programs of the victims of the genocide in Rwanda; persistent violent conflict in Darfur, Sudan; of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; of apartheid in South Africa; of the civil wars in Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nepal, Chad, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, The Balkans… the implementation strategies, tactics, processes and action plans need to be specific to local conditions.
(The author can be reached at [email protected])