Riflessioni sul Perdono, sulla Dignità e sulla Riconciliazione

Barry Hart

1. I negoziati di pace, generalmente, sono incentrati sulle dimensioni politica ed economica. Quale è la Sua percezione della necessità di toccare aspetti più profondi e genuini della riconciliazione e come si può ottenere questo?

It is always a challenge to know how each person, group or culture responds to violence, particularly large-scale violence and war. If we are to touch the deep pain of an individual or group’s trauma, we must come to know who they are, their history, including historical trauma, and how they view their strengths and weaknesses (issues related to resilience). This understanding is the basis for those who desire and have the ability to enter into the lives of others, whether as members of the same ethnic, religious or gender group or as partners in the healing process from outside the context. In addition to these factors, care-givers must be deeply self-reflective practitioners who both understand their limitations and recognize the possibility for healing and change to take place.
The process of reconciliation starts with these guidelines—a process that includes acknowledgement of wrong done on the part of the perpetrator. This sets the stage for the possibility of forgiveness and real and/or symbolic restitution to further the healing and restorative justice process. Finally, the healing of perpetrators should not be left out of this equation, since they are often victims of a traumatic past—which frequently becomes a salient factor in their violation of others. It is clear that perpetrators need to be held accountable for their violent acts, but they also need to be healed from past traumas and the current violence done to their victims. Victimizing others often has a traumatic impact on the perpetrator.

2. Quali sono le condizioni nelle quali, al di là dell’assicurare gli interessi della parti in conflitto, può essere stabilito un processo incentrato su un senso di equità e dignità?

The process question is central to the hoped for restoration of the parties to the conflict and how their human needs, dignity and rights are most effectively met. Such a process requires leadership that pays close attention to creating the healing and eventual dialogical space for victims and perpetrators to reconnect and restore the human bond that was broken by the violence of the conflict. These leaders must hold high the values of relationship, non-violence and social harmony and know that human beings, at their core, desire safe and secure environments that promote life and stable social conditions.
Leaders must also know that the process of reconciliation is difficult and risky, yet offers the best hope for a more just and peaceful future. Therefore, they must create the conditions where victims and perpetrators can first meet among themselves and when the time is ripe, with each other. This takes courage, political will, but also vision and strategic planning that puts in place structures that will prevent future conflicts. To make this happen, leaders at all levels of society should include the relevant stakeholders to the conflict, who then become active participants in developing the policies for relational and structural change.

3. Quanto il perdono è essenziale alla dimensione della riconciliazione? Alla radice della Sua cultura politica e/o della Sua fede religiosa quali sono i principi che implicano o escludono il perdono? Quali versi o detti che fanno parte del Suo personale patrimonio spirituale possono, nella sua opinione, avere un significato universale

The first question is crucial to differentiating deep forgiveness and reconciliation from political reconciliation. The former implies a set of values and standards that in my Christian Mennonite tradition say that all humans are equal and created in the image of God. This tradition also says that we all should be in partnership with each other to do peace with justice in all circumstances—or attempt to do so at all times.
In the case of political reconciliation, the implication in my and other political cultures is that we work together to form a relationship or even an alliance that agrees to no longer do harm to the other. There may be elements of restitution involved in this process, but it does not fully address past traumas or harm done, and does not provide the basis for restoring relationships at a deep level. The old narrative is suspended, but a new one within and among the parties to the conflict has not been developed.
In the Christian Mennonite Anabaptist tradition we invite each person, “to follow Christ’s call to bear witness to faith, serve with compassion, and walk boldly in the way of nonviolence and peace.” We also, “commit ourselves to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.

4. Il perdono richiede qualche forma di pentimento da parte di coloro a cui il perdono viene offerto? Il perdono ha condizioni o è senza condizioni?

It has already been noted (see above) that repentance by the perpetrator is an important element in the process toward forgiveness. When this doesn’t happen, it means that that forgiveness has been asked ( and often accepted) without a full acknowledgement or a deep sense of the wrong done. In this case, the full power of forgiveness has not been recognized or invoked and may leave an opening for future violence and pain.
The Amish community in Pennsylvania, USA, that forgave the family of the killer of a number of their children, forgave unconditionally. Their understanding was that God had forgiven them in this way and they must do this for others. This was their first step in the healing process. I honor this approach, since I understand their culture, theology and worldview. I also believe that in most cases the process of healing has a different starting point. First the confusion, anger and grief need to be addressed and time is needed to integrate these and other emotions into their new reality. This is generally the process needed before an individual (or group) is ready to start the long journey of healing. As part of this journey, forgiveness and reconciliation become a possibility.

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