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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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R. John Elford - Andrew White in Iraq 85


R. John Elford Andrew White in Iraq Peacemaking is, of course, best made between parties before they resort to violence to settle their dif ferences. This is why reconciliation activity should not just be thought of as something which is called in when or just before violence is ceasing. People who work on the ground in these activities need to be there throughout. It is a long game. Hopefully these peacemakers will often prevent violence occurring in the first place. If they fail at this and violence breaks out, they need to be constantly at hand maintaining contacts and seeking ways of ef fecting reconciliation. All this presents what they do with a seemingly insuperable initial hurdle. People who hate, persecute and bomb each other are not natural candidates for reconciliation. They do not like sitting around being nice to each other. Quite the reverse, their natural disposition is to carry on as they are and for the conf licts they are in to get progressively worse as a result. All this is, sadly, too familiar in countless theatres of conf lict around the world. However, the powerful point is being made throughout this book that such conf lict is not irresolvable. There can be hope. Evidence for this, however slender it might be to begin with, comes whenever warring parties can begin to talk to each other. Initially, they will probably have to do this in the utmost secrecy and even by proxy, lest their actions are misconstrued and...

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