“Some nights I dream about forgiveness. […] I dream about forgiveness itself, curling around buildings and nuzzling people like the cool west winds. […] When I dream, forgiveness has a smell. Forgiveness smells like limes.” – Doug Dorst, “La Fiesta de San Humberto el Menor”

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.


This entry was posted in Essays. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s