Articles on Reconciliation

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A woman arrives for Nelson Mandela’s memorial. The idea of a rainbow nation has been futile. EPA/Jim Hollander

Why forging social cohesion still eludes post-apartheid South Africa

Despite the noble goals of the new South Africa and its ideals of racial harmony, racial tensions remain a major problem in the country. Prejudice and bigotry persists even in universities.
At the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Desmond Tutu promoted restorative justice. But focusing on individuals neglects broader contexts of violence and inequality. Reuters

Why a narrow view of restorative justice blunts its impact

If violent contexts aren't taken into account, restorative justice does not serve broader society. Instead it serves as a peacemaking process within a paradigm stacked against the poor and vulnerable.
Abdurrashim, 72, who served 12 years in detention for links to the communist party, attends a state-backed event on the controversial 1965 anti-communist purge. Reuters/Darren Whiteside

For reconciliation, Indonesians need to embrace a new understanding of the 1965 ‘anti-communist’ purge

For decades, Indonesia's official national history was silent about the murders and incarceration of hundred thousands of people. Moving beyond that will require a new understanding of what happened.
Aboriginal elder Max Eulo holds a baby in front of a sea of 70,000 multi-coloured paper hands at the Sydney Opera House in December 2000. David Gray/Reuters

Friday essay: reflections on the idea of a common humanity

Racism is again on the rise in many parts of the world. So is the dehumanisation of our enemies. What hope is there, then, for notions of a common humanity?
Nelson Mandela laughs with journalists and performers ahead of the second 46664 concert in the Western Cape in 2005. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Reflections on building the South Africa of Nelson Mandela’s dreams

When celebrating Nelson Mandela Day, it would benefit South Africans to reflect on what the statesman's legacy means for the nation and how they are living up to his dreams for the country.
Apologies for past injustices issued to indigenous people in Canada, Australia, the United States and New Zealand in the last few decades are signs of progress. butupa/Flickr

Indigenous reconciliation is hard, it re-opens wounds to heal them

Australia's national legitimacy is compromised by the failure to repair its relationship with its Indigenous population. Our series explores different ways of resolving this unfinished business.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is calling for innovation to improve the lives of Indigenous people, but must beware of causing instability with new policies that dismiss everything before them. AAP/Mick Tsikas

How community-based innovation can help Australia close the Indigenous gap

Across Indigenous Australia, innovation is occurring locally, under the radar of government policies and support. We can look to this innovation and stop fixating on finding the elusive policy solution.
South Africa is slowly transforming the retributive Western criminal justice system it inherited from colonial times to incorporate African principles of reconciliation and reparation. shutterstock

Why South Africa’s tentative moves toward restorative justice need support

The emergence of the restorative justice philosophy responds to the need to change South Africa's retributive criminal justice system to accommodate African legal practices.
While Adam Goodes is the public face of the debate, almost any Indigenous Australian can speak of the day-by-day experience of a lack of respect for who they are. AAP/Paul Miller

White Australia needs to take responsibility for reconciliation too

For at least some Australians, it seems that Indigenous culture is acceptable only as an object of consumption for tourists visiting the remote north.
While plans to close ‘unsustainable remote communities’ have triggered recent protests, at the heart of the issue is the nature of the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. AAP/Richard Iskov

Who decides? A question at the heart of meaningful reconciliation

Decisions being made from on high about the fate of remote Indigenous communities are symptomatic of a continuing imbalance in the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Andrew Bovell’s adaptation of Kate Grenville’s The Secret River is a key example of post-Apology theatre. AAP Image/Heidrun Löhr

Beyond Sorry: colonial oppression on Australian stages

It's been seven years since Kevin Rudd delivered his apology to Indigenous Australians. On Australia's stages dramatists continue to explore the ramifications of that apology and colonial history.
The breastplate given to ‘U. Robert King of the Big River and Big Leather Tribes’ by an unknown settler at Goonal station. Photo Dragi Markovic, National Museum of Australia

A breastplate reveals the story of an Australian frontier massacre

The flood of coverage of the centenary of Gallipoli and the first world war profoundly shapes the way we think of Australia’s history; but we suppress other violent events in our own country that also…
Non-Indigenous Australians should say sorry because they feel sympathy for the plight of the Stolen Generations, not because it was their fault. butupa

‘Sorry’ isn’t the hardest word, so say it for the Stolen Generations

As we are about to mark the 14th National Sorry Day and the fourth since the National Apology was delivered by former prime minister Kevin Rudd, I can’t help but wonder if much has changed since the days…

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