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Thinking about Reconciliation

Most recently Sarah Maddson has laboured to expound on the complexity of the process of reconciliation and political challenges facing societies attempting to transition either from violence and authoritarianism to peace and democracy, or from colonialism to post-colonialism or from internal conflicts such as the Rwandan genocide to national healing and coexistence. Maddson conceives of reconciliation as a process that is deeply political, and one that prioritizes the capacity to retain and develop democratic political contest in societies that have, in other ways, been able to resolve their conflicts. It is therefore imperative that reconciliation be pursued within a political dispensation especially at the local level since the other way is detrimental to sustainable peace. 

Reconciliation in countries emerging from very painful experiences such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity as well as other accumulated injustices should be politically inclusive with a conviction that whereas the past is painful, it is possible to transform the relations and structures that continue to divide societies. This means fostering a thoroughgoing dialogue between the belligerents and opposing factions with political inclusion of the prevailing political needs of the people; both those who perpetrated the crimes and those who suffered the consequence. This entails creative jus post bellum initiatives aimed at bringing together perpetrators and survivors. The reconciliation narrative should proceed within structural designs over which individuals have no control leading to the end of impunity and assurance of political inclusion that diffuses conflicts of greed and grievance when it comes to governance. Reconciliation should be a process that opens up a space for continuous political discourse between former rivals instead of covering up the issues of contention that are a threat to their political association as well as nation-building.


It is important to create structured political dialogue aimed at reconciliation entailing acceptance of the risk of politics and the opportunity it presents rather than eliding it. Reconciliation should be directed at fostering co-existence of democratic political expressions. According to Maddson meaningful reconciliation process occurs when divided societies enlarge their political capabilities, accept to disagree without violence and find new ways of respecting old adversaries. Reconciliation is a process that in effect recognizes that in deeply divided societies, the capacity to disagree respectively may be the most that can be expected from conflict transformation efforts.
Thinking about Reconciliation Thinking about Reconciliation Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on March 21, 2016 Rating: 5

3 comments:

  1. This was very informative, I hope to study more widely Maddson views. Many thanks

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    Replies
    1. Sure you can look for the book, it came out in July last year. It is quite insightful. Maddson Sarah, 2015. Conflict transformation and reconciliation: Multi-level challenges in deeply divided societies. New York, Routledge.

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  2. This was very informative, I hope to study more widely Maddson views. Many thanks

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