In the modern climate of hostility and violence that is observed in many parts of the world the issues of reconciliation, justice and trauma-healing acquire crucial importance. The reason for this is that the inability to solve the conflict situation only by means of political negotiations and adoption of certain legal regulations prescribing the completion of war actions has been recently recognized – Lederach (1997) proves this fact by numerous examples and argues that the conflict is much more deeply rooted and cannot be resolved only by formal, political means. The issue will still be not eliminated, and sooner or later the problem will arise again in a sharper and more violent form.
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The ways of facilitating reconciliation and establishment of justice are the subject of continuous research at the present moment – Ho-Won (2005) sees the complex process of psychological rehabilitation at the national, group and individual level as the major matter of concern for peace-builders. He argues that the main aspects for taking action are rebuilding trust, personal and group healing of direct victims of violence in medical, religious and educational institutions (Ho-Won, 2005). He also admits that the easiest and the most effective way to reconciliation is truth telling – nothing reduces the conflict so well as admission of mistakes by the offenders, their punishment and cancellation of all enforcement structures that used t be responsible for the violence and terror on a certain territory. Ramanna (2007) also supports this idea by indicating the main ways for reconciliation in the unarmed dialogue with the opposition, freedom of expression and assembly, demobilization of armed groups etc., i.e. in all aspects of political, social, cultural and religious life of the communities.
Lederach (1997) follows the idea of Ho-Won in the aspect of building trust between the negotiating parties – he states that the main idea by which the negotiators should be guided is not to remember the pain of the past and not to live with it, not to try to compete in the present, but to think strategically for the future. This idea is illustrated by the example of the Mohawk people who are guided by the experience of seven generations of chiefs, and those who are in charge of the tribe nowadays have to conduct their activities knowing that they will become the guideline for people who are seven generations ahead (Lederach, 1997). This wisdom is the key to success of reconciliation and peace-building in any society – seeing the common future and designing it the way which would satisfy all hostile parties can be a powerful tool on the way to success of peace-building.
These ideas really seem to be highly credible in the context of today’s religious and economic struggle that takes place in different corners of the world – it is enough to mention the Afghanistan terrorist groups, the war actions in Chechnya and other Middle East countries that are irreconcilable on the ground of their beliefs and other motives. So the only way to resolve the conflict is to show the possible ways of reunification; it is impossible for hostile groups to live next to each other if they d not see the common future. Lederach (1997) is right stating that the system on the whole will never function if each separate part is not taken into consideration and assembled correctly with the rest of parts. So each political action aimed at reconciliation should be based on the ideas of truth, justice, peace and mercy (Lederach, 1997) – if any person in the society remains unpunished or the whole community does not feel that the guilt of their offenders has been recognized and they have been punished, the feeling of pain, suffered violence and horror will prevent the groups from unification. Sense of security is an indispensible element of a peaceful society that will successfully operate in future – without the tribunal over the guilty, the vast criminal processes and dismissal of high-level political officers who were responsible for the violence and conflict initiated in the particular territory reconciliation and healing of moral and psychological trauma will be incomplete, and the conflict will emerge in future with a new force and intensity.
Ho-Won, J. (2005). Peace building in Post-conflict Societies. Boulder, Colo.: L. Rienner Pub.
Lederach, J.P. (1997). Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press.
Ramanna, A. (2007). Peace Building in Post-Conflict Societies: A Study of the Process in Nicaragua. The Icfai University Journal of Governance and Public Policy, Vol. 3, pp. 19-34.