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Moran, Ry. "Truth And Reconciliation Commission." In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada, 1985—. Article published September 21, 2015

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Truth and Reconciliation | Greater Good Magazine

South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation CommissionTruth - the Road to Reconciliation.
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Do the people of Africa always know how to choose what comes from the outside, or do they indiscriminately take everything offered by the mass media, particularly violence, consumerism and moral corruption? How are the basics of African tradition reconciled with projects for the future? The matter requires not only a profound rooting in the cultural heritage of Africa, but also a discriminating yet creative ability to integrate new contributions to culture, which make cultural development possible. If the truth be told, the history of civilisations is simply a continuous borrowing from one another over the ages, while preserving one's own individuality and original character. This capacity for integration and creativity requires an open yet discriminating spirit. The basic question, then, is how to remain grounded in the community, while fostering the autonomy necessary for a person to become involved on the political, economic and social levels. This matter is of great importance in the desired development of African culture.

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Forgiveness refers more to the work within a person to regain peace and to heal the wound. In each case, it is a matter of memory. In forgiveness the possibility is offered for a real purification of memory and solid peace. "Asking for forgiveness, and granting forgiveness... are indispensable elements for peace. In this way our memory is purified, our hearts are made serene, and our gaze is clearly fixed on what the truth demands if we are to cultivate thoughts of peace. Here I would recall the illuminating words of John Paul II: 'There can be no peace without justice, no justice without forgiveness.'" On the Church's part, this calls for energetic pastoral activity to bring those at fault to a process leading to conversion and recognition of their errors or crimes. The Church must also help the victims generously to offer their forgiveness, even in the cases where the ones responsible for the crimes are rightly punished by the competent courts.

 

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Truth Commission Impact: An Assessment of How Commissions Influence Politics and Society
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Not only is healing and forgiveness ministered to local communities, butreconciliation between the leaders of rival factions often occurs as aresult of special ministry weekends.

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Likewise, traditional African societies have undoubtedly treated a certain form of social justice, which many times is considered a cooperative attitude in possessing, protecting and distributing the goods necessary for survival. Goods are such to the extent that they are useful in developing the life of the community. However, some practices, such as rituals against spells, can evidently produce contrary effects today and accentuate hatred and divisions in society. Consequently, an in-depth reflection is needed to make a distinction between everything in African Traditional Religion which can promote peace, justice and reconciliation, and what stands against these values. In this regard, a reflection in common, much like that in the dialogue with Islam, should underlie any pastoral activity.


South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission

26. Oftentimes, African religious and cultural traditions understand reconciliation as peace and a return to a state of harmony, manifested in a person's interior and exterior state of being and devoid of a harsh or rough character. It is also beneficial, active goodness which shows care and concern for the well-being of others.

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25. Oftentimes, African Traditional Religion is for African Christians and Muslims the socio-cultural context for understanding each other. In fact, "African Traditional Religion is the religious and cultural setting from which most Christians in Africa come and in which they continue to live". As a religion that embraces the totality of life, it is often the basic source of inspiration in understanding and translating the concepts of reconciliation, peace and justice. As such, it can serve as a initial opening for Christians and Muslims in their search for understanding and collaboration.

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From this vantage point, Islam is often an important yet difficult partner. Islam is important because, together with Muslims, Christians can draw up plans for a fruitful and peaceful collaboration in all areas related to reconciliation, justice and peace, the promotion of good government in society and finding common-ground on values regarding the general character of a people. The selfless devotion of consecrated persons in their lives is oftentimes greatly valued in Muslim environments. In many countries, Christians and Muslims have created associations for dialogue and the promotion of peace and justice. In some places, Christians and Muslims even have common days of fasting and prayer.

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23. In Africa, many people are leaving their country of origin seeing it as the only way out of a desperate situation. Consequently, the number of refugees and immigrants can be reckoned in millions on the continent and beyond. The phenomena of refugees, immigrants and the rural exodus go hand-in-hand with a tendency to reject ancestral culture and values. Consequently, the appeal to young people made by Pope John Paul II needs to be recalled: "Dear young people, the Synod asks you to take in hand the development of your countries, to love the culture of your people, and to work for its renewal with fidelity to your cultural heritage, through a sharpening of your scientific and technical expertise, and above all through the witness of your Christian faith". There can be no economic or technical development without cultural roots. The treatment of reconciliation, justice and peace must consider the factors of culture and religion.