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Forgiveness Post #2 March 31, 2007

Posted by amberpeace in Uncategorized.
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The Truth and Reconciliation Commission sounds either quite fake or something out of the days of Puritan rule. Instead, the TRC was a commission created after the fall of apartheid in South Africa. Nelson Mandela had it created, and put Desmond Tutu at the forefront. The point of the TRC was not justice, as one might think. The idea was not to bring forth the guilty, convict them, and punish. The TRC was created to provide healing, reconciliation, to the people of South Africa.
If you had committed an atrocity against humanity between 1960 and 1994, you were to come before the tribunal. If you admitted, gave the details of the crime, and and pled guilty, you were given amnesty. You were absolved. To avoid victor’s justice, no side was exempt from appearing before the commission. The commission heard reports of human rights violations and considered amnesty applications from all sides, from the apartheid state to the liberation forces including the African National Congress.
The TRC is generally, but not universally accepted as a success. Many wanted justice. They wanted to see evil repaid. However, evil is never stopped with evil. Mandela understood this, as did Desmond Tutu

The central concern is the healing of breaches, the redressing of imbalances, the restoration of broken relationship, a seeking to rehabilitate both the victim and the perpetrator, who should be given opportunity to be reintegrated into the community he has injured by his offense.

When people are faced with their beliefs and actions that contradict, we have cognitive dissonance. One of the two has to change, either your beliefs or your actions. To be a Christian and have such atrocities committed against you, and then to know that forgiveness is central to your beliefs, you must either rationalize the sin of not forgiving or forgive. And forgiveness, the destruction of barriers to move into a relationship not defined by the wrongs, is beyond our strength.

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1. GINUSHKA! - April 1, 2007

This is severely tl;dr (too long; don’t read), but just in case you’re bored…

We talked a little about this in my sociology class because after Communism, there was a lot of discussion about what to do with people who collaborated with the Communist regime, particularly in the SB (Polish state security). The first prime minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, wanted to go a step beyond TRCs, draw a line in the sand, and basically grant amnesty to everyone. He did this for three reasons: 1.) they had a lot more important things to do, like fixing the economy, 2.) a lot of the most qualified experts had been members of the Communist Party because it was the only way they could go abroad and study (for example, the fellow who orchestrated Poland’s transition to capitalism, Leszek Balcerowicz, joined the Party so he could get a passport in order to go get his MBA at Harvard), and 3.) the president of the Czech Republic told them not to mess with lustration (the outting of collaborators). Unfortunately, Mazowiecki’s extremely sensible policy didn’t last long because there were too many people who were for lustration for political/personal reasons and it’s a mess now. Basically, in all former Soviet Bloc countries, it’s being used as a political weapon to discredit opponents and also distract people from the real problems of the country (the Brothers Kaczynski are particularly good at this…mostly because scandal-mongering is really the only thing they know how to do, so now we have lots of scandals, but I have yet to see the unemployment or housing problems addressed).

2. dulwichmum - April 1, 2007

Profound.


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