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Riflessioni sul Perdono, sulla Dignità e sulla Riconciliazione

Jan Oberg

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?

All the present conflict-management by the international so-called community lacks the understanding, the institutions, the tools and the budgets for addressing the deeply human aspects of conflict-resolution processes, including forgivess and reconciliation. The standard post-war focus is on repairing bodies, roads, infrastructure, etc – not on repairing souls, neighbourhoods, trust, ethics or move towards a culture of peace.
International missions often have departments for NGOs, media, human rights, gender and of course economics, security sector reform and all that – but never departments or experts on the deeply human aspects and how to transform traumas, hate, suspicion etc. Neither, by the way, departments for peace.
It is hardly strange. Much international politics tries to pracise on the macro llevel what we know will never work on the micro level, in smaller human conflicts. For instance, we know that pointing guns, threatening or humiliating a fellow human being leads to nothing constructive – but governments anyhow do it more or less constantly in international affairs.
So, building the broader human aspects of forgiveness and reconciliation into conflict-management is the sine qua non of any future, succesful peace process – presumably more impotant for a lasting, sustainable new peaceful order than any World Bank loan or security sector reform.

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?

Fairness and dignity can best unfold in broad-based dialogues among all parties – and there are usually more parties than media, politicians and experts tell us.
The perceived division between some presumed “primitive” people who fight each other and some “civilised” Western governments that come in on an impartial ticket and have only the wish to help the parties stop using violence and help them make peace has nothing to do with reality. The reality is that there is hardly a conflict anywhere in which leading powers are not participants to the conflict.
That is the reason why we need some mediation and facilitation which is not organized by more or less direct, historic participants/parties to the conflict but by genuinely neutral actors who have no interests in one particular outcome of the conflict but only the interest to assist all the parties in finding future solutions with and within which they can all live that they accept voluntarily. Forced or threatened peace is no peace and won’t hold.
Fairness and dignity means being invited to speak and be listened carefully to in the process and developing peace proposals rather than having them presented from the outside by some partial mediator commissioned by countries or organisations to work with or manipulate parties into consent.
There is also the simple idea of asking populations what peace plan – say, Plan # 1, 2 or 3 – they prefer through a referendum. People will much more likely stick to peace plans they know a clear local majority favours than live loyally with something constructed in a foreign capital.
That’s where ownership comes in and that is a better road to dignity and commitment than anyting else.

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

I see forgiveness as an entirely individual, willed decision. I decide to forgive someone because I want to rid myself of wanting revenge, hating, grieving, or whatever, the rest of my life. I decide thereby to move on my life but remember, internalise, live with what happened – certainly not, as some people sometimes think, to forget what happened.
This type of forgiveness requires, among other things, a healthy mourning process as well of a strong will. It may be assisted by the perpetrator recognizing the hurt he or she has caused, even an apology but forgiving someone does not necessarily require such a recognition or apology. As I said, forgiveness in an individual act of liberation, a going on in my life – precisely without being dependent on what the perpetrator does or doesn’t do.
Much inspiration could come from world spiritual leaders whether religious or not. Mohandas K Gandhi practised both forgiveness and reconcilitation, not as separate act from conflict behaviour but as part of it – like saying that we only want to get rid of the British colonial system, not the British, they are welcome to stay. Or inviting the opponent to find a solution together with him – which is like treating the other side as a friend – reconciliation implied.
We must be the change we want to see” – Gandhi said; if we want forgiveness and reconciliation we can’t require that the other stretch out the hand before we do. We must do it fearlessly ourselves.
The Danish poet, philosoper and designer Piet Hein has this wonderful way of putting it:
The noble art of Losing Face may one day save the Human Race and turn into eternal merit what weaker minds would call disgrace
Yes, it is no disgrace to focus on the other as a human being and not as a two-legged (d) evil.

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?

Repeat what I said above under 3) : —- I see forgiveness as an entirely individual, willed decision. I decide to fogive someone because I want to rid myself of wanting revenge, hating, grieving, or whatever, the rest of my life. I decide thereby to move on my life but remember, internalise, live with what happened – cvertainly not, as some people simetimes thnk, to forget what happened. This type of forgiveness requires, among other things, a healthy mourning process as well of a strong will. It may be assisted by the perpetrator recognizing the hurt he or she has caused, even an apology but forgiving someone does not necessarily require such a recognition or apology. As I said, forgiveness in an individual act of liberation, a going on in my life – precisely without ebing dependent on what the perpetrator does or doesn’t do. —–
A universal council for these matters should strive for maximum diversity and have no one HQ but several “nodes” in terms of geography, religion, gender, age, and – not the least – professions. With due respect, a council consisting primarily of politicians will probably not be seen as genuine by citizens around the world, no matter where and no matter how well-intended.
The least Western in reality and in appearance the better.
Activities should be research, dialogues, basic education and skills training – educating and training “armies” of people who know something about the deep and broad human dimensions wil be of utmost importance. Supplying such expertise of many and different kinds with low profile – the best peace and reconciliation work is not made with microphones but by not being seen a la the Quakers historically – to areas where it is needed in the West, East, South and North would certainly be a great assett in future conflict-handling. e must not practise reconciliation and forgiveness only with the others – the West needs reconciliation with much and many to undermine future terrrorism which grows (also, but no nly) from a sense of historic humiliation by the West, the U. S. in particular.
At the same time the Council should not hesitate as council to

  • critizise in- or non-human conflict-handling and peace-making, particularly where the military is monopolising or are given tasks it has no profesional skills at doing – and
  • constantly point out how overall peace proposals could be shaped in respect for human and global security, conflict education and a culture of sustainable peace.

To do that it will have to have very thin walls and be open to many and different influences, inviting the most diverse views to achieve maximum creativity – science, media, ciil society, the arts, business and more. The most promising thoughts of our era doesn’t come from those in formal power but from, potentially, everybody else. Women and children in particular need to be listened to.
Such a council should ideally have a budget based on many and different sources and large enough to bring people together and to conduct high-level research and outreach independent of particularistic interests and short-term goals.

Il sito della Fondazione Pax Humana è in arrivo!