reconciliation

  • Dealing with a Trauma Burdened Past: between Remembering and Forgetting

    Recognition that societies will not be able to build a future as long as they do not face the ‘demons of the past’ has become a kind of universal truth over the last decades of the 20th Century (Gibney et al., 2008, p. 1). This view, though challenging and ambiguous, is reflected in the globally present attempts to improve or rebuild relations within and between different communities at the domestic and international level. The question concerning, on the one hand, the essence and most essential elements and, on the other hand, the instruments and the limitations of rebuilding relations, as well as the political implications of those processes have become the broad area of interest and the discourse leading to significantly different ideas and solutions. The article aims at presenting different approaches referring to dealing with the conflicted and traumatized past both at the domestic and international level. Some selected instruments and methods which enable movement from a divided past towards a common future are discussed namely the strategy of engagement with the past versus the strategy of avoidance of the past. The special attention is paid to the notion of reconciliation understood as a process of rebuilding of relations through the multi-dimensional transformation of former adversaries after the period of violence and repression.

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