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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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D.C. Webb, Gavin Fairbairn, Seidu Alidu and Ayeray Medina Bustos - What Do We Mean by Reconciliation? 21


D.C. Webb, Gavin Fairbairn, Seidu Alidu and Ayeray Medina Bustos What Do We Mean by Reconciliation? Introduction In this chapter we ask ‘What do individuals and societies mean by the term “reconciliation”, and how does that af fect what they expect from the reconciliation process?’ We draw attention to the importance for practice, of the ways in which we conceive of reconciliation and pay particular attention to the question of whether formal apologies should form a part of the reconciliation process. By way of illustration we will start with a tragic new item. At the beginning of July 2008, Dr Hayford De-Graft Yankah, a fifty-five-year-old Ghanaian urologist, who had worked in the United States for thirty years, hanged himself in his home near Accra. He and his wife were no longer living together. Shortly before hanging himself, Dr Yankah had telephoned a friend and asked him to come to his house. The friend set of f, but when he was about thirty minutes away Dr Yankah, telephoned again asking how far away he was. The friend arrived at the house at about 10am, to be met by Dr Yankah’s house boy, who had been asked to wait at the gate to let him in. When Dr Yankah responded neither to knocking at his door, nor to telephone calls, his friend forced open the door and found him hanging by a computer cable. Dr Yankah had left a hand-written will and a note saying that he had failed to ‘reconcile...

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