Riflessioni sul Perdono, sulla Dignità e sulla Riconciliazione

S.E. Jorge Sampaio

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?

In divided societies, such as those marked by old and sometimes protracted conflicts, making peace agreements on political and economic issues is not enough to build sustainable peace. Because of deep-rooted and long-standing animosities, violence among contenders and mutual victimization, psychological and even cultural features often drive and sustain the conflict preventing societies from moving ahead and looking at the future. Reconciliation as a social and collective process seems therefore necessary to allow former enemies to cast out the burden of past plights, look at the present and talk about the future. To engage a divided society in a process of reconciliation is the only way to guarantee sustainable peace. But this is a long-term process requiring a step by step approach, involving all levels of leadership (from grass-roots to middle-range and top leadership) aimed at building a new social contract or social relationships. Peace, justice, truth and mercy or forgiveness are usually considered as the four points of the compass showing the way to reconciliation. In my view each situation requires an appropriate strategy to be devised with specific activities to be implemented in various fields of action, namely education, youth and media, on the basis of the various studies available in the field of building peace.

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?

For me there are five conditions: ownership of the reconciliation process by the divided society; support for the process by international community; an integrated framework and a sound strategy for peace-building; coordination and monitoring of the whole process; available resources to ensure sustainability of the process.

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

Regarding forgiveness, let me start by stressing that language here diverges sometimes from author to author. In specialized literature you see mentioned either forgiveness or mercy. I wonder whether these are appropriate concepts because reconciliation as a journey toward sustainable peace is mainly a social process aimed at building a new social contract between former belligerents or contenders. In my view, what has to be stressed is that for reconciliation to be successful there must be a process that allows former contenders to get rid of the burden of past plights and build their future on the present challenges.

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?

Normally yes, but I am not that sure that it is always the case. Sometimes reconciliation is based on a common decision to put the past on hold. Instead of demanding acknowledgement of who was wrong or right in the past during the former conflict, people may decide to be accountable in the present and look together to the future. However, even in this case a kind of shared acknowledgement of the “wrongs of the past” is in my view always needed to have a sustainable reconciliation process.

Based on your experience on working with reconciliation what are the structure and activities you would suggest for a universal council on reconciliation?
Let me be very blunt: for me the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations is an appropriate and promising platform to deal with this kind of process.

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