Reconciliation has a moral resonance […] certainly it is far better than endless, corpse-strewn cycles of revanchism and revenge. Yet there is sometimes a disturbing glibness when outsiders tout the wonders of reconciliation, as if they are leading the barbarians from darkness into light. Even worse, the phenomenological realities—the human truths—of the victims’ experiences are often ignored or, at best, treated as pathologies that should be “worked through” until the promised land of forgiveness is reached. This is not just a mistake but a dangerous one; for it is doubtful that any sustainable peace, and any sustainable politics, can be built without a better, which is to say a tragic, understanding of those truths.
Guernica has a heartbreakingly sad and provocative piece about post-genocidal reconciliation that’s worth the long read. The author’s forthcoming book, The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence, has been added to my Amazon Wish List.