Last night I was discussing with a dear South African friend about their Truth and Reconciliation Commission and all it’s complicated aspects, it’s attributes and shortcomings.
This discussion was educational and instructive. My friend disabused me of the notion, or the tendency to equate reconciliation to forgiveness.
In the case of South Africa, the implications are how to move forward, working together, bringing the truth out about the monstrosity of apartheid in order to forge ahead.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu did refer many cases for criminal prosecution and absolved many individuals, while it also exposed the barbaric nature of apartheid.
In the case of Rwanda, as of necessity, there has to be reconciliation for the greater good of the Nation.
And this much I know:reconciliation must never be equated with forgiveness, particularly in the absence of remorse on the part of genocidaires. I have looked far and wide in search of apologies or expressions of regret by those who planned and executed the genocide against Tutsi and found none.
This much I also believe: survivors must never be put in a position to forgive. Forgiveness cannot be legislated. We must reconcile for the greater good of Rwanda, for the sake of the national soul.
We must neither forgive nor forget.