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Just Reconciliation

The Practice and Morality of Making Peace


Edited By John R. Elford

Most people desire peace but understand that military intervention is sometimes required as a last resort. This book argues that more attention must therefore be given to the study and practice of post-conflict reconciliation. The essays collected here look at the work of figures such as Marc Ellis, Donald Reeves, Justin Welby and the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’ Andrew White, and examines how these individuals portray the different successes and failures of reconciliation in dangerous situations. Other chapters examine the contributions made to reconciliation activity by psychology, aid distribution, commissions and peace treaties. The countries and regions under discussion include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, the Middle East, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. The contributions reflect both religious and secular views on reconciliation.
The central debate takes place in the context of the changing role of the military in the modern world. The essays in the volume argue that issues relating to reconciliation and the post-conflict reconstruction of civil society should be considered a part of the moral assessment of military action and that the theory of just war needs to be developed to include considerations of this kind.


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Justin Welby and R. John Elford - Introduction: Modern Reconciliation Activities 1


Justin Welby and r. John Elford Introduction: Modern Reconciliation Activities On 14 November 1940 a major air raid on the city of Coventry by the Luftwaf fe destroyed the beautiful medieval cathedral in the city centre. The cathedral was almost certainly not a target, but from the air must have looked very much like one of the factories producing aero-engines and other munitions of war. The following morning, with the smoke from the bombed city rising around him, in the rubble and ashes of his cathedral, Provost Richard Howard took some burnt wood and wrote behind the high altar ‘Father Forgive’. He very carefully did not write ‘Father Forgive Them’ saying to one of his colleagues ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. On Christmas Day 1940, speaking on the BBC, he called for prayer for reconciliation with Germany. It was not a popular move, and there are still people in Coventry who remember his ministry of reconciliation with bitterness. It appeared to ignore issues of justice, and the need for standing up to evil. Both of these understandings would misinterpret the purpose of Richard Howard. He was fully committed to the necessity of the defeat of the Nazi regime in Germany, but he also looked forward to a post-war world in which Christian values would lead to ‘a better more Christ-like world’. In 1945 a small group went from Coventry to Dresden, in sympathy with the bombing that that city had suf fered, and the...

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