We need your financial support. Since the s, the issue of reconciliation has gained such an international salience that the last decade is even widely called "the age of reconciliation.
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However, if one adopts the perspective of conflict transformation, rather than conflict resolution, then reconciliation becomes a crucial part and parcel of conflict transformation. Along that line of thinking, this essay aims to examine how reconciliation can fit into the framework of conflict transformation. For that purpose, the essay is divided into three main sections. First, it briefly discusses the concept of reconciliation and the perspective of conflict transformation.
The next section examines the relationship between reconciliation and conflict transformation. Third, the essay suggests how different forms of reconciliation efforts could contribute to transforming intractable conflicts in the world. The approach of conflict transformation was first proposed by John Paul Lederach as an alternative to the conventional perspective of conflict resolution. Conflict resolution implies the goal of ending undesired conflicts in a relatively short timeframe, focusing on the content of conflict as something that is disputed and which gives rise to conflict in the first place.
Conflict transformation, however, professes the goal of transforming the conflict into something desired in a longer timeframe, focusing not only on the content of the conflict but more importantly on the context and relationship between the actors involved. As there is currently no universally agreed-upon definition of reconciliation, it may mean different things to different people in various contexts. In common parlance, reconciliation means some kind of agreement between disputants or adversaries.
The conflict resolution meaning of the term, however, goes deeper than that. It can be argued that reconciliation, at its core, is about restoring the right relationship between people who have been enemies. Reconciliation, as De Gruchy observes, 'implies a fundamental shift in personal, and power relations. Reconciliation may become a desired goal in its own merit in divided societies. It may also represent a pragmatic way to deal with profound changes involving past injustices in order to achieve some other desired purposes such as building peace, nurturing democracy, promoting human rights, and delivering justice, among others.
Thanks to the great currency that reconciliation has gained recently, there is already a very rich literature on different efforts for reconciliation. They mainly involve truth acknowledgment, reparations, retributive justice, apology, and forgiveness.
9e. Taoism and Confucianism — Ancient Philosophies
No single form of reconciliation effort is perfect or satisfactory to all circumstances and parties involved. Sometimes hard choices have to be made in deciding whether one form is preferable to another, depending on the specific and temporal circumstance of each conflict and society. From the brief discussion above, one could possibly explore a great overlapping area and high degree of complementarity between the two.
These commonalities would serve as a basis to integrate reconciliation into the conflict transformation approach. In fact, in his later book named The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace , Lederach himself incorporates many components of reconciliation into his framework for peacebuilding such as public truth telling, restorative justice, "re-storying," and collective healing.
First, reconciliation shares with conflict transformation perspective the same focus on human relationship, rather than on immediate contents or issues that give rise to the conflict. As Lederach observes, reconciliation "is built on and oriented toward the relational aspects of a conflict [ Second, because reconciliation is mainly concerned about the right relationships between victims and perpetrators, as opposed to immediate issues of injustices, it usually takes a longer time to achieve reconciliation.
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Reconciliation is never an easy task that awaits a quick solution. Third, though reconciliation may require different efforts to deal with grievances and injustices in the past, it is very much forward-looking in nature. As argued above, reconciliation also aims at achieving desired purposes in the future such as promoting human rights, fostering democracy, and building the rule of law.
Even the definition of reconciliation as restoring the right relationship between people should not be mis interpreted as going backward to a pre-conflict situation. Instead, restoration in this reconciliation context can be understood as restoring some transcendental, Platonist concept of justice and right relationship.
To reconcile in this sense means to build relationships based on certain norms. This understanding is also a particularly distinctive feature of religious conception of reconciliation.
In the secular world, reconciliation as such becomes much like restorative justice. Fourth, like the conception of change in the conflict transformation perspective, reconciliation can be present and necessarily prescriptive at all personal, relational, structural, and cultural levels. At the personal level, for example, repentance and apology from perpetrators have psychological effects and discourse impacts on the self-perception, thus shaping the identities, of both victims and perpetrators.
At the structural and cultural dimensions, other efforts for reconciliation such as restitution in the forms of negotiated discourse and constructed narrative could contribute to building new cultural mechanism that can handle conflicts. In sum, the concept of reconciliation can fit into the framework of conflict transformation and has great potential to complement practices for transformational strategies. The next section provides a brief survey of crucial reconciliation efforts and how they could contribute to conflict transformation.
According to the survey of Priscilla Hayner, there were 21 truth commissions in the period from s to early Most of them were established in Africa and Latin America. In terms of size, impacts, and functions, major truth commissions were all in Latin America and Africa. Establishing truth commissions is a very popular reconciliation effort, for it aims to meet the public demand for truth telling from the victims. In this aspect, truth commissions could contribute to conflict transformation by creating spaces where people feel safe and can honestly talk about their fears and hopes, hurts and responsibilities.
A truth commission, if carefully designed and properly mandated, can have considerable psychological impact, not only on the victims and perpetrators at the personal level, but in the structural dimension as well. As archbishop Desmond Tutu argues, a truth commission was probably the most appropriate mechanism to reconcile the people in South Africa and, more importantly, to transform the country given its specific political and social circumstances.
It should be noted, however, that people very often place excessively high expectations for the outcomes that a truth commission can deliver. The consequent accumulation of personal power, and the attainment of psychological mastery, are goals in themselves.
For me this is a distortion of the true Taoist vision. It is a distortion that one finds quite commonly in the literature of the late Warring States period. There is no great distance in this respect between Sunzi and Hanfeizi, the Chinese proto-fascist. I can relate this to ways of functioning with which I am all too familiar from my close encounter with contemporary Chinese society. I spent most of the s either in China, or close to China in Hong Kong , and was obliged to come to terms with some of these darker aspects of Chinese social behaviour and thinking.
Although at the time I had not even read Sunzi, a great deal in the book can be connected with Sunzi's way of thinking and his descendants in Chinese culture.
www.hiphopenation.com/mu-plugins/montgomery/inma-cuesta-dating.php So, when we read this material, by all means we should take in its insights; but I feel quite strongly that we need to keep a critical perspective. I am against any sort of uncritical reading.
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What did you think about his translation and why did you decide to research it? The Jesuits, and their unique role in transmitting Chinese culture to the West, have long been one of my interests. Father Amiot's version of The Art of War is more of a re-write, and is itself based on a no longer extant Manchu version complete with running commentary , probably created in the late 17th century for the Manchu ruling class in China. As conquerors, the Manchus needed to understand how the Chinese thought-for very practical reasons! Amiot who knew that his book would be read by the French Minister in charge of Foreign Relations goes straight to the heart of the meaning of the text, and does not scruple to find fault with Sunzi's thinking where necessary.
He was after all a Christian missionary! He relies heavily on the thinking of Francois Jullien, one of France's leading sinologists. Yes, the French are very interested in this book. There are several versions available in paperback. Why do you believe this is true, and are there situations in life where The Art of War does not apply? There are many such books in the Chinese tradition.
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Some deal with personal health and diet, some deal with the environment, some with physical relationships, some deal with the practice of a specific art calligraphy, for example, or performance on the qin or Chinese lute. Among other subjects treated, The Art of War deals in a very intuitive and general almost abstract way with the workings of natural, human and interpersonal dynamics the Chinese word is shi. In this respect it has great interest and value for all people and all ages. We in our private and public lives so often forget to take in the bigger picture, and here Sunzi bingfa can be a salutary influence.
It reminds us to look beyond the immediate details to the underlying dynamic or shape. It encourages us to focus objectively on the way things really are, before we go rushing headlong into any decision or action. Of course, the focus of this little treatise is war, and many of the remarks have a primary concern with warfare. It was written at a time of unceasing conflict between the Warring States that made up a disintegrating China. But so much of the book can also be extended to apply to any area of human conflict, of human endeavour, or of human interaction.